Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Inefficient

Talk about starting all over again! Well, not really, but it is taking a LOT more effort to reach speeds or distances that used to be easy. Let's break it down:

The Swim:
On August 19th (IMMT) I swam the 2.4 mile swim (4224 yards) in 1:05:08 for a 1:32/100 yard pace. I peaked for the season with the swim FOR that swim. Mission accomplished!

Last night I did my 7th swim since. There was a 4 week block of NO swimming somewhere in between. I did a descending distance set going 500-400-300-200-100 for 1500 total yards with 1 min rest in between each distance. I was ZAPPED getting out of the pool. I held an average of 1:36/100 pace for the entire thing.

Basically I have zero endurance in the pool. Good news though! I flip turned the entire thing, which takes a lot more effort than open turns.

Every off season I always regret taking long breaks in the pool because of what I described as above. I don't mind losing fitness, I just hate starting all over again...

The Bike:
Like the swim, yesterday's trainer ride was the 7th time I have touched the bike since IMMT. However! There was a 7 week block of not touching the bike during that time. DOUBLE ouch!

I went outside for an hour this past weekend, and while my legs are totally fine riding, it is my butt that can't take it! Again, I wish I had ridden the bike at least once a week since IMMT just so my butt didn't lose its toughness to that saddle....

The Run:
This is actually one thing that I have kept up with. There was a 2-3 week period where I was only running 1 to 2 times a week, but I never lost my "feel" for the bike.

Unfortunately looking at heart rate is more like heart breaking! This morning was an easy 45 minute run in cool temperatures. Average heart rate? 160! Last February I was doing the same easy run in the same temperatures and holding an average heart rate in the low to mid 140's.

THAT is what inefficiency is.

Fortunately, the break I have taken during September and October has been great. I have mentally recharged a lot and let all of last season absorb into my body.

Going forward, I am looking forward to seeing those numbers improve!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Training By The Numbers

DATA!!!!

I am a numbers person. I always love to review my data to see my run splits, averages, distances, FTP, CP, Kj, etc.

This is who I am.

With a coach, he would tell me what to aim for X number of watts for Y number of minutes, and I would follow it. So I relied on him to do the numbers work for me. I would say it worked as he got me pretty fast on the bike over the last two seasons.

Now it is my turn to use the numbers to my advantage.

I have the Garmin 800. It is great at spitting out loads of data, but stupid me, I had no idea there was a firmware upgrade that could then show off real time TSS, IF, % of FTP, NP. DATA!!!! After this firmware upgrade, suddenly there was a new thrill of riding the bike......looking at, ready?, DATA!!!!

I guess with 5 seasons under my belt and now having done ever major distance of triathlon at least twice, I am looking for new ways to reinvent my motivation in this sport.

I have owned WKO+ for at least 1.5 years now and I have barely used it. What is the point of using a power meter on the bike if you have been using it as a gigantic feedback computer? Well, that is not fair, I have been using it for FTP and then using a % of FTP to aim for in the 70.3 and 140.6 distances. (Listening to those numbers is another matter....)

But what I want to do next year is to pay closer attention to my training load and its resulting stress.

Hello WKO+

With a power meter for the bike, and a HR meter on the run, WKO+ is able to calculate your TSS, or Training Stress Score for you. You can read more about TSS here. But what about the swim? There are no swim "power meters" or any meter for that matter that gauges your output. Fortunately TrainingPeaks came up with something (that is better than nothing!) to roughly gauge your TSS. You can read about it here.

So now that I can quantify my output of all three disciplines in this sport and track it, there is now some new motivation to see improvement.

In order to more accurately calculate your TSS, you need to retest your disciplines to find your threshold pace. For the swim, it is your T-Pace. For the bike, it is your FTP. For the run, it is your threshold HR.

Testing = motivation for me. It also breaks up the monotony of training.

Testing = goals. Goals = MORE motivation.

These are good things!

I have realized over the this past season, now that I have completed every major distance at least twice, that my motivation for this sport is no longer about accomplishing a new distance, nor is it about PR-ing a distance. It is about placing.

Every race course is different. Of course you will go faster on a flatter course vs a hillier course. Its gravity at work here! So instead of worrying about a time, it is time to start "racing."

One of the greatest things my coach told me at the start of an Olympic race back in June is this: "Jon, don't just go for a PR. You are racing now!"

Now I pray to God my job doesn't eat me alive first and I can actually fit in some decent volume next season!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why, Hello There!

I took a break from blogging.

Something in my life had to give in September, and it was training. And since I wasn't training, I wasn't blogging. Training = blogging content.

It wasn't just one thing, it was a number of things that were adding up that was adding all of this unneeded pressure (all from within) that were putting expectations on me to perform and succeed. I couldn't take it anymore, and my body started to revolt on me. And over the last 5 seasons, I have learned that when my body starts to revolt on me, its time to take a break.

And I did just that.

I didn't go to the pool for 6 weeks.

I didn't touch my bike for 6 weeks.

I was running maybe once a week?

I didn't lift a heavy thing other than a box of cereal.

How did all of this come to a head?

Well, let me tell you!

First, I was mentally fried all season with training. I really didn't want to do Mont Tremblant (I am glad I did it!) and so I suffered through all season of training. That is how I became so burned out.

Second, a few weeks before Mont Tremblant, I was experiencing some lower back pain, but I thought it was just fatigue or the usual wear and tear of Ironman training and that it would go away. It never did. After Mont Tremblant it started to get worse, and by the end of September it was starting to debilitate my running!

Third, a LOT has been going on at work. In my trifecta of life, relationships come first, followed by work, followed by triathlon. If work is nuts, then triathlon will suffer, since work provides funding for triathlon. Unfortunately there was a very quick management change in my department, and I was thrust into an interim supervisor role to finish off "Epic" due out next May and also to oversee the look development for Fur on our upcoming movie "Peanuts" due out in less than three years. Not to mention as being a Supervisor, I am overseeing 13 other members of my department making sure everything is going well. And not to add any more pressure, I am the youngest person in my department....SCARY!!!

This has taken my level of responsibility and multiplied it by a factor of 10!

And unfortunately another thing had to give. With me being so busy at work and training suffering, having a coach was no longer a logical thing to have. It tears me up really really bad to have to end having a coach as Eric pushed me above and beyond anything I thought was possible in this sport. I hope to one day return to him when I re find that balance of life/work/training.

So what does all of this mean?

I would like to continue training, as I have plans to head out to Utah next May for the St George 70.3 and have another crack at the Mont Tremblant 70.3 in late June. But my work responsibilities will dictate how much time I will have to train. I don't want to repeat this past July & August in terms of how many hours I was working and how many hours I needed to train. That was absolute misery and I just wasn't functioning like a normal human being then.

As for this blog? I would like to continue blogging. Unfortunately I can't follow others anymore. I might read your blog every now and then, but don't expect a comment from me. I'd like to get more back to my roots with this blog and use it more as a journal to describe my latest workout. I did this at first, then discovered other readers, and then changed my style of writing to more entertaining for others, when the whole point of this blog was for chronicling my triathlon "journey." Ok, I guess I accomplished both, I was putting too much pressure on myself to write posts that would be solely entertaining for my readers. Time to pull this back from a post modernism style to just modernism.

I realized that this past Fall that I WANT triathlon to continue to be a part of my life, but I think this next year is going to be a bit of a step back in terms of involvement to prioritize other aspects of my life. This latest career development is a HUGE step forward in my career and if it turned from "interim" to "permanent" it would basically solidify an already successful career.

I feel like "something out of our control" was steering me in this direction all along. Have you ever taken a Myers Briggs Personality Test to figure out what kind of personality you have? I did this a few years ago and it yielded this:

ESTJ
Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.

Uh, DUH! The above describes me PERFECTLY. Basically my personality type is meant for management. I have NO place creating artwork. In fact my personality type is the polar opposite of a true artist. I was hand picked by "the powers that be" to fill the role of supervisor. No fucking wonder I was picked! Haha!

So, anyways, this is what is up. I am coming off of my burnout of training. Not having a coach is scary since he dictated what I did on a daily basis for two years, and he pushed me forward at the same, but also at the same there is some relief that I am back in control of what I want to do going forward.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Speed? HA! Ha ha! Haaaaaaaaaaa....

The last two weeks I have been running. Compared to the thick of Ironman training, I haven't been running as much volume, just more frequency.

Last week I ran 5 times in a row. 45 mins each time, except for one 75 min run. Every run was slow, 9+ min pace, except for one speed workout, where I *gasp* broke a 7 min/mile pace for 30 seconds about 12 times. WOAH!

This week, same deal. Slow runs, except for an 85 min run, a speed workout where I broke a 7 min/mile pace again for 30 secs but about 15 times. WOAH!

Then that brings us to this morning. 20 min warmup, 15 mins tempo, 10 min cool down. I was told to go by heart rate. Easy enough: Run at a pace where if the alarm goes off, then slow down a tad until you bring that HR down and try to keep it consistent.

I did this. Not bad. I finish the cool down. Then I look at my results. 7:55 pace @ 162 bpm for 15 mins for the tempo part. On pancake flat ground, in drizzling rain.

OUCH!

That

was

slow....

I mean, back in June, even when I wasn't even close to my running peak of last March for the National Half, I was holding 1 mile repeats @ 6:35 pace at a HR of 170 bpm. 5 bpm more for 1:20/min faster pace.

Ouch...

Thank you Ironman training! You killed all of my running speed.

Not that taking 5 weeks off from structured training did anything....

:)

But really, I am NOT concerned. I took some time off to relax and let my body heal. It is done healing and it is time to make a running comeback. It will come back. It always does.

I am going to redo this morning's run a few times over the next few weeks, now that I have a benchmark.

I am calling this my start, with a HUGE peak yet to come.

I just need to sign up for a race now. Perhaps a 10K somewhere?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Island Beach Two Mile Swim Race Report

(this is a throwback race report. I did this race back on August 4th)

I did this race in 2009, as a confidence boost for doing my first 70.3, Timberman. I did that race with a wetsuit and in 1:08:xx.

This year I did it sans safety blanket wetsuit in 1:12:33. OUCH!!!! Yes, I had a slight FREAK OUT about my swimming ability when I saw my time. I mean, I had a 2.4 mile swim to do in two weeks!!! And! I did a 2 mile OWS without a wetsuit back in May when I was in WAY worse shape in 1:08:xx. How was I in better shape AND going slower?!??!? AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

Well, when at the awards ceremony, the RD goes, "Thanks everyone for coming to the first, haha, Island Beach two and a half mile swim...."

Then you realize what was up. Yes, the swim course was long, but also the current on the way back was pretty gnarly!

Beth and I started out the swim, and she took off (because she is part fish) and I settled into my pace. Like in 2009, I got to the turn around fairly quick (or so it felt) turned, and then it felt like an ETERNITY to get back to shore.

Every time I approached a buoy, it felt like I had to make a 90 degree turn to steer towards the next buoy. That is when I figured it out. There was a cross current that was pushing us right. So I would aim left. Didn't matter. I would still make a 90 degree turn. That current was wicked!

So between the longer set course and the current, it explains why my swim time was longer than expected.

I mean, Beth went under an hour last year, and did a 1:05:xx this year and she was in WAY WAY WAY better shape this year. Overall everyone's times were slow this year.

But I looked at the positive of the experience with the fact that I just swam 1:12:xx straight without a wetsuit. I knew at IMMT with a wetsuit on that I would go faster. This race didn't count towards anything other than getting a long swim in and mentally prepping myself for a 1+ hour straight swim.

And this swim did help. I went a low 1:05 @ IMMT.

And! Because nobody else showed up in our age groups, both Beth and I took 1st. Haha! YAY US!



Thursday, September 13, 2012

What I Want

About two weeks before Mont Tremblant, I wanted nothing to do with swimming or biking. I just wanted to eat healthy, lift heavy things, and run fast!

I finished Mont Tremblant, sort of wanted to run, but then my left knee started to act up again. So there went the running, and I had no motivation to swim or bike. Blaaahhhhh......

I did have motivation to lift the heavy things. So I have been doing lots of that!

Looking at my logs, I have lifted 3-4 times a week for almost the past 3 weeks. Already I can notice a difference!

Well, at first the lifting was SUPER humbling. I always say that the first day is free, and the second day you pay for it. Oh, I paid for it. HARD. I could barely walk for the next three days! Basically my glutes were so tight from all of the squats, lunges, and leg presses. (Regretting taking about 12 weeks off my strength training!)

Then, I could only hold a plank for like 45 seconds before I got the violent shakes. Now? I can do a 3 x (90 sec front, 60 each side) plank set. Improvement already!

While I haven't upped the weight yet with the lifting, I am noticing that it is getting easier, and I am not getting sore afterwards.

And my knee while running? Haven't felt it act up over the last 3 runs. The leg strengthening is already working its magic. Phew! I did NOT want to have a repeat of last Fall. That sucked...

So! Going forward, I am starting to feel an itch to do a run race finally. Just a 10K, with possibly a 5K leading up to it. That is all I want to do this Fall in terms of racing. I have already raced 15 times this season. That is a LOT of racing for me!

Now I gotta find a 5K and 10K race....

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Leg Strengthening Routine

Since my last post, I have gotten a few requests for "what is your leg strength routine?" So instead of emailing out to individuals, I might as well just write up the entire workout.

This is basically what the PT had me doing to rehab my knee a year ago. Since then I have added some stuff. I won't lie, this is a decent 1 hour to 1:15 lower body workout once you get efficient at what you are doing. I think it is easiest to do this in a fully stocked gym. You will need the following equipment: Ankle Weights, Bosu Ball, Physio Ball, dumb bells, a chair or bench or step ups, leg extension machine and leg press machine. Also, a clock or timer.

Warmup - do 10 mins of your choice of walking, running, bike, eliptical. Just easy and just enough to get the blood flowing in your legs

Stretch - quick calf, hamstring, quad, and glute stretches. 30 seconds each muscle group, each side. 1 time each.

Abductors with weights - Grab your ankle weights and get ready to do some Jane Fonda style leg lifts. This exercise works your abductor muscles, which make up your outer thigh. Do 3 x 10 each leg. Start out with lighter ankle weights at first, and up the weight over time. I consider this part of the warmup.



Adductors with weights - Using the ankle weights again, this exercise works the inside of the thigh. 3 x 10 each leg


Leg raises on physio ball - Can't find a video for this one, but keeping your ankle weights on, lie on your back with both feet propped up onto a physio ball, legs straight. Take one leg and rotate it up and off to the side of the ball and down onto the ground beside the ball, then move the leg in a reverse motion back to resting position on the ball. Your leg does a kind of circular motion. Keep your leg straight and your foot flexed. This is one rep. Do 3 x 10 each leg.

Squats on Bosu Ball - Do 3 x 10. I use a 17lb kettle bell for some extra weight. Make sure your knees don't cross your toes!!!!



Lunges - Do 3 x 10 each leg. Same as squats, keep that knee behind your toe!!! You can add dumb bells if you need more weight.



Step Ups - Using either a chair, or a bench, or high step up board, step up, and step back down using the same foot. This is one rep. Do 3 x 10 each leg. You can add dumb bells if you need more weight.




Pitcher's squats - This is one of the harder exercises in this workout. Just like a squat or lunge, make sure that knee stays behind the toe! Add some dumb bells if you need more weight. This is a more challenging exercise and I feel like it did wonders for my rehab! Do 3 x 10 each leg.



Leg Extensions - Use a machine for this. This machine will work your VMO muscle. My VMO became very weak and is what caused my knee injury. To do this one, raise the bar with both legs, but then drop one leg, and slowly lower the bar with the other leg. Do 3 x 10 each leg. Pick a weight that you can do a full 3 x 10 set, but not so easy that it didn't do anything, but yet just hard enough to challenge you.



Leg Press - Use a machine for this. Don't lock your legs straight on the extension, and remember to breath! Again, pick a weight that is challenging, yet doable for a 3 x 10 set. Both legs are used at all times!!! No single leg!!



Planks - Time to work that core! I do a front plank, then each side, then rest, then repeat. Do 3 sets of these. How much time you do each plank will depend on how long you can hold it. Challenge yourself! And keep that body straight. NO up in the air butt. That is cheating!



Stretch - repeat the same stretching you just did after the 10 min warmup.

Like I mentioned in my last post, this route not only rehabbed me from a knee injury, but it made me way stronger and even faster. I was able to hold a faster pace for longer, AND! recover quicker from hard workouts.

Good luck and leave a comment if you have any Q's.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Thought Vomit Post

Since finishing Mont Tremblant, and not being signed up for another race until next May, I have had a lot of time to digest how the race went, what I did differently this season, and what I want to do in this sport going forward.

I still see the race as a success. Now that I think about how I felt on those final two hills of the run, I question whether I ran hard enough? I recall my legs being REALLY pissed off at me in the final 5K, so I also think had I gone like 10-15 secs/mile faster overall, would I have even run the final 5K because I would have been cooked? We will never know. But I guess this speaks one thing: I want to run my next Ironman Marathon even faster. Perhaps another 27 min PR for that distance is in order? HA!

As for what I did differently this season, I told my coach back in January when he asked about my goals for the season, I put "I want to become a monster on the bike this season." This happened. I broke 2:30 in a 70.3, and went 25 mins faster at IMMT vs Placid. I didn't even feel like I rode as much this season vs 2011, yet I was just stronger overall on the bike.

A fundamental thing I did differently this season was leg strengthening. My knee injury from a year ago was probably the best thing that could have happened to me in this sport. Sounds fucked up right? But to rehab myself from that injury, I did leg strengthening 3X a week for a solid 12 weeks. And then I continued with it 1-2X a week.

What I noticed from this was quick recovery times from tough races. I was running faster! I was breaking the 7 min pace mark in a lot of shorter running races all of a sudden, and immediately after coming back from an injury. It also helped support and sustain my endurance in longer races. I could hold that faster pace for longer. I am convinced strengthening my legs that much changed me as an athlete this season.

Going forward I will do another Ironman. I really really really hated the distance this season. I did NOT want to do IMMT this season. I don't know what was up with me or when I suddenly didn't want to do the race, but those 5+ hour rides all sucked except for a few. I dreaded those long 2.5 hour runs. I just wasn't in the mood to do an Ironman this season!

But I made a commitment and when I realized that I did NOT want to do this race this season, I told myself to get through it and to take a break from the distance for awhile after completing IMMT. And I am doing this. NO Ironman in 2013! Just 70.3's or shorter.

Now, I am VERY happy that I followed through with doing the race. I had an absolute blast doing the race with an exceptional group of just awesome people. YOU guys made the race fun!

I also realized something this season, especially when my coach told me on the beach at the Pat Griskus Olympic, "Jon, you are racing now! Not going for a PR, but RACING!"

And because Griskus was a super hilly course, I knew I wouldn't be able to PR the bike course as easily just because it was hilly! My realization is that PR's are starting to become overrated. I am racing now.

I now want to race to place. And not just in the small races, but in the bigger races. I was 11 mins away from a Vegas slot @ IMMT 70.3. 11 minutes!!! Had I ran a 1:36 or faster, a slot would have been mine! And I KNOW I can run a 1:36 in a 70.3. My standalone is a 1:32:xx.

So next season, I am not going to make it a goal to get a Vegas slot, but I think it would be fun (and motivating!!) to get as close to one as possible.

This Fall I am doing two things: Getting strong and getting lean. I have been craving strength training and eating healthy. My diet the last 4-5 months has been ATROCIOUS! I didn't cook a healthy dinner for myself once during that period. In the last two weeks alone, I have cooked almost every night, and cooked a ton of healthy things. I refuse to processed anything. If it isn't whole food, then I don't eat it.

FYI: Beer is whole food. Don't argue. It just is! ;)

Over and out!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant: The Run

4:08:32

Running into T2 on that red carpet after handing off my bike, I actually stopped, took off my cycling shoes, and ran barefoot into the tent. I don't like running leg a penguin for that long!!

Considering the negative thoughts that I had about running at that moment and not wanting to finish the damn race, I was quite surprised at how well my legs were doing at that moment.

But I didn't think about it and just got into my running gear as quick as possible. Then I started to walk.

I didn't want to run. I just wanted to walk. So I walked out, to the sunscreen crew, got all lathered up, and started the run.

Regardless of how well the bike went, I knew that running would feel "funny." Well, any brick run always feels "funny", but not like after biking 112 miles, ESPECIALLY after botching the bike.

But this "funniness" didn't feel too "funny." It was in the normal realm of "funny."

So I went with it.

I quickly saw my parents and then I saw Beth.

Schmoopy alert!!!

Then I ran. AS SLOW AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

I learned something from the last couple of brick runs after riding 100+ miles: If I ran at a normal pace I would be running 8 min miles and I would burn out after 30 mins.

However!

If I ran as slow as humanly possible, I would still be running 8:30-9:00 min miles and yet I could sustain that pace forever. Its that strange sensation of going fast for so long, that your perception of slow is WAY slower than what you are actually physically doing.

So I did this.

Coming out of T2, you make a few turns, then you go up a short, but steep hill. It would be the first true test of how your legs would feel. It was already hot and bright and sunny out and I knew that going slow would save my day.

There is a famous actor in this photo racing behind me. He is covering his face, of course!

My legs also didn't hurt! WTF?!?!? MY LEGS DIDN'T HURT!!!!

It was a miracle! 

After blowing up on the bike, which, statistically, should yield a crappy marathon, gave me the best long run of my life!

So I created a mantra every time I felt myself speeding up:

My race, My pace, SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!!!

And it worked! Here are my mile splits:

click to enlarge


I ran as if I was going to blow up at any moment. Talk about running scared!

If you notice the graph, you will notice 4 blips. Those are bathroom breaks. Hey, you gotta go! No issues like at Lake Placid, just normal long run breaks.

As for nutrition, I didn't eat for roughly the first hour. I just couldn't. I wasn't hungry and couldn't stomach anything other than water. At around the 6 or 7K mark I saw Kevin for the first time. He was looking strong.

At the first turnaround, I took my first Gu. I didn't want it, but I knew I had to take in something for fear of my body bonking. I continued to run in fear of my life.

As I was getting towards the end of the dirt path back onto pavement, I saw Sarah, Jeff, and then Dave. I now knew where everyone was, and I used this on the 2nd lap as landmarks to find people and would gauge that as to how I was doing vs them. I wasn't competing against them, it just gave me something to look forward to. It is all about breaking up the monotony!!

As I was coming into town for the first time, I saw Kevin coming on his second loop and he again looked strong.

Then I saw my folks and Beth and I yelled to them "1:56!" before I headed up into the village to complete the first lap. I did lap #1 in 2:02.

As I headed out of town it was getting gloomy. It had been getting gloomy since about the 5K mark onwards, but I knew it was going to get gloomier as the run continued.

I still ran scared of blowing up.

Basically every 30 mins I took a Gel and when I reached the beginning of the dirt path on lap #2, I started in on the coke. OMG. Coke. Simple yet tasty yet easy pure energy. At the turn with about 7-ish miles to go, it was starting to get cold and drizzly and I heard the magic words "chicken broth." I started YELLING for the chicken broth!!! I had one cup of it. It was so warm and comforting that it literally snapped me awake. I mean, I wasn't in a funk or anything or even sleepy, it just snapped me MORE awake! Unfortunately that was the only station I found that had broth. It was enough though!


With 5K to go, I was starting to feel it. My feet up that point were what hurt the most, and NOT my legs. Those two things quickly switched and my feet felt better, but my legs, especially my quads and hamstrings were starting to really really feel it. But! I only had 5K to go. I just had to keep on moving...

Up this point, at 37.xx kilometers in, I didn't have to walk once. I only walked a few steps at aid stations to get a drink down without spilling it on myself. I never had to walk because I couldn't run any further. This was a matter of pride mostly because of A) To prove to myself that I could redeem my poor pacing choices on the bike and B) To redeem the pride I lost from walking the last 8 miles of the marathon at Lake Placid.

At last I was on the home stretch coming back into town and around the lake. There were three climbs ahead and I dreaded them, just waiting for my legs to give out. It never happened. I powered up those final three climbs with ease (and total shock!) and once I was passed the special needs area, I started to get SUPER fired up! I knew this race was in the bag and I had REDEEMED myself from the bike and from that Lake Placid run and started sprinting down the long long finisher's chute, high fiving total strangers until I came up to the finish line and I was an Ironman for the 2nd time in my life.

Feeling strong!



After crossing and a volunteer grabbing me, I felt great! Well, great in that I did NOT need to go to the med tent and I could still walk (not great) and function. I found Beth and then my folks showed up.

HAPPY!!!
I went and got my bike and bags and headed towards the hotel just as the sky let loose. I finished just in time!

I was SO satisfied with this race.

1:00:08 PR!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant: The Bike

5:41:44

From volunteering in the men's T1 tent at Lake Placid in 2010, I remember that the tent gets most crowded for the 1:05-1:15 range of swimmers. That is when the tent becomes utter mayhem. I landed in the tent at Lake Placid in 2011 with a 1:10 swim and was lucky to find a seat to put my bag on.

With a low 1:05 swim this year, I got into the tent just before the hordes took the place over and I had the entire tent to myself! This also meant that I would get onto the bike course before the hordes also took over.

I simply got in and out of T1 as fast as possible. As I was exiting, there was Beth! She was working on the sunscreening screw. I stopped for a split second, gave her a big kiss and away I went for my bike.

Onto the bike it was flashback city to June in the 70.3. I KNOW THIS COURSE!!! I OWN IT!!!



For the first loop, I just kept it in check (or so I thought) and did my thing (or so I thought).

Fast forward to starting the second loop after special needs, and I was NOT a happy boy any more.

Shit....

Basically, I did what I vowed NOT to do: Go out too hard on 117. I also vowed NOT to big ring up every single tiny little up on the Lac Superior out and back. Did that!

Basically I screwed myself royally.

And as a result? My stomach wouldn't take the Uncrustables anymore, which those turned into gigantic sponges that blocked any more nutritional I piled in on top of it in my stomach.

So the 2nd loop of the bike went like this:

"Yep, I screwed up."

"I am not hungry. Full in fact, yet my legs feel like they want to bonk! WTF?"

"I might not finish the bike."

"I REALLY want to quit!"

"Oh, I am TOTALLY quitting!"

"Why would I spend the next 5.5 hours walking a stupid marathon."

"This isn't fun anymore. I knew I should have called it a season back in June."
TALK ABOUT NEGATIVE ENERGY FOLKS!!!!

Then I started to think about my fellow racers. My family. The disappointment in Beth's face. My coach's! Kevin, Jeff, Mandy, Dave. What would my explanation be? That I had a stomach ache and poor little legs hurt?!? And I dropped out because of that?



I eventually finished the 2nd loop of the bike in just about 3 hours, after going a 2:41:xx for the first loop. All said and done by that point of the race, I had 10 MORE HOURS TO FINISH A MARATHON!

I AM NOT A QUITTER!!!

Amazing how your mind can rationalize quitting in this way. I felt so......damn guilty about even thinking about this!

Then I remembered something: You will always have your dark moments in ANY race you do. This was my dark moment, and I simply didn't need to listen to it.

So I made a deal with myself: Get into T2, put your shoes on, and just start running and see what happens. That is all.

I knew I could finish this bike ride, I knew it would hurt and would take a bit more time than expected.

With about 45 mins left, or about when I hit town for the final out and back up to Lac Superior, those stupid Uncrustables in my stomach made their way through and the Gu's and EFS that had piled on top also made their way through, AND! into my legs FINALLY! So the final 45 mins of the bike I was feeling better. NOT great! But just better.



Trust me, I am still kicking myself for that awful performance on the bike.

Wait a second, yes, I did do the bike 25 mins faster than Placid, but I felt like I executed the bike at Placid 10,000,000,000% better, even with a broken front derailleur from mile 43 on. It is a matter of pride here! Haha!

Also, I am not blaming the Uncrustables. The harder you race, the more inefficient your stomach becomes, which means you need to eat simpler foods. An Uncrustable is NOT a simple food. At a slower pace (which I should have held and trained for), I can easily digest an Uncrustable. But I did not do that and shut my stomach down for digesting such as a thing. At that effort, I should have been consuming EFS, Gu, and Gatorade only.

Lesson learned!: Don't go harder than you trained for. Otherwise expect a big fat nutrition FAIL.

Once off the bike and running into T2, I dreaded what was to come....

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick little update....

For some reason I just haven't found the motivation yet to write up the bike and run race reports from Mont Tremblant yet. I even haven't written up a 2 mile swim race report I did in early August. They will get done. I have the time to write them, just no motivation.

I guess I had such a satisfying race at Mont Tremblant that I don't feel like I should write a race report. They will get written.

Now that I am ~10 days post Ironman, MAN does life feel liberating right now! I have ran 3 times, done leg strength 2X, biked easy twice, and otherwise have sat on my ass doing a whole lot of nothing.

AND.IT.FEELS.GOOD.

I have written about this in the past, and I will write about it again. Most of my motivation through the first 4 years of my triathlon "career" have been all about discovering new distances and the excitement associated with that.

Now that I have experienced every "standard" distance (basically NON ultra distances...) more than once, that "excitement" had and has and still does continue to wain.

It is all about reprioritizing my goals in this hobby. I think this is why I am not as enthusiastic about writing another race report. I remember I couldn't WAIT to write up race reports because it was either a new distance, new venue, or new PR.

Those days are mostly gone and its now, "How did I place?"

And, for the first time I am NOT chomping at the bit for an aggressive Fall running race campaign. Those three runs I have done have been for 30 mins each, at a 9:14, 9:06, 8:58 pace. Slow, yes. And on two of those runs, I felt some pain in my left knee.

Yes, that SAME left knee. It wasn't bad. It was subtle. But it freaks me out! And recall this is how it started last year after Placid.

So! No more running. No idea how this is happening a second time, but unlike last time, I am NOT going to run. I am going to do my PT exercises until this thing goes away.

Which brings me to some goals I have for this Fall "off season". Knee permitting, I would like to break the 20 and 40 minute barriers in the 5K and 10K. I have broken 20 twice before, but unofficially as part of a 4 miler and 10K. I would like to have an "official" sub 20 though.

Otherwise, I want to do strength training. And lots of it. Strengthening my legs brought me back from injury last Fall, brought me back faster than ever before, kept injury at bay, and helped me recover a LOT faster.

I know a lot of people say "strength training has no place in triathlon. You should be spending that time doing S/B/R instead..." But I don't buy it. My coach said to me last winter:

"Jon, Ironman isn't all about endurance. It is about strength. At hour 9 you will thank yourself for doing all of that strength training because that is the time when your body starts to fall apart. Strength training will hold your body up, allowing your endurance to do its thing."

I didn't know what to say at first, but at exactly 9 hours (or at ~13.1 miles into my marathon), my form was still great. I felt great! I even powered up the last two hills of the marathon! I owe it all to strength. Not long run training. I only ran 2.5 hours, or 17 miles as my longest run the ENTIRE season.

I also want to get leaner. I put on weight this season. I was as heavy as I was 2 years ago, and yet I was still PR-ing everything this season. (Again, thank you strength!) but if I can get leaner, that is less gravity working against me going up hills on the bike and running in general.

Which brings me to my next point: DIET. My diet the last 3-4 months SUCKED. I haven't cook myself a healthy dinner since April, I think. I basically lived off of high glycemic cereal to fuel my workouts and deal with stress while working overtime at work. I felt.just.gross.and.disgusting.

Already within the last 10 days I haven't touched cereal once. I have eaten 4 slices of bread total. I have eaten quinoa, black beans, lots of avocado, TONS of green things, lots of fruit, and just plain old healthy things. I can already feel my blood sugar levels coming back down from the stratosphere. I feel "whole again".

I have been craving this feeling all season long, and I finally have it! Work has calmed down. The weather is getting nice. I feel NO pressure to train. Hell! I am no longer training. I am *gasp* working out, or even *gasp* jogging! (sorry folks, won't be running in place at "don't cross" signals)

To a wonderful, STRESS FREE Fall!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant: The Swim

1:05:08

Woke up at 4:30 and just wanted to get up for the sake of getting up. Because transition was so close to my hotel, I went down as soon as it opened, dropped off my remaining bags and added water onto my bike, etc. Then I went back to my hotel and started to eat and put my temporary tattoos on. Thanks Kevin for hooking us up! And thanks Beth for putting em on me!



Then it was time to march over to the swim start. It was COLD out! But oh so pretty with an almost clear sky that would signal a good day ahead



There I met up with my parents, hung out with Beth, put on my wetsuit and made my way into the pen to watch the pros go off.

Good God I look bloated!

(funny story while putting on my wetsuit. I was lubing up my neck, wrists, and ankles with Tri Slide when this woman came over totally amazed at all of this going on. I think because my arms were tatted all up with temporary tattoos and I was using some "magical spray" (oh! It IS Magical!) that she thought I was a pro! ha ha ha haaaaaaaa.....)

It was a very short wait before it was OUR turn! I lined up 2 people back, and to the left. Jeff and Kevin were right there with me (THANK YOU!!! It totally calmed my nerves having you guys right there). Then I saw Sarah walk by. She had this terrified look on her face. Well, I did too. But! She swam a 1 hour flat swim! Woah!

(source) I am screen center. Right behind Mr. Wetsuit-less
Compared to Placid, I wanted to DESTROY this swim! I was ready to leap into battle whereas in Placid I was wincing in anticipation for that clock to hit 7:00:00. I would look behind me at the hordes of people and realized something: They are back there because they aren't 100% confident in their ability to hash it out with us. US! I WAS the fast guy for once! Sweet! That further calmed my fears and revved me all up even more.

We all waited for the cannon to boom, but it never did, so we just WENT! BATTLE!!!


Then the contact started, and then it ended....

I was like, am I off course? Where is everyone?

We found clear water! Within the first 200 yards! It was maybe 5 mins of mayhem, maybe not even that long. Then I found my groove and just started swimming.  It wasn't hard to draft, especially with 100's of swimmers around you. In fact, I never really sighted until I got to about 2 buoys left on the outward bound leg.

On the cross section is where I started sighting and further getting into my groove.

Finally on the last turn, with 1 mile to go (ha!) I was able to stay  as close to the buoy line as possible with no contact. In fact, I saw a group ahead of me that I was catching up to. So I caught them, drafted off some feet for awhile, SWORE I saw Kevin (then he magically disappeared on me) and continued on. To break this long last portion up, I was using the peninsula that you swim around as a bearing for how much further I had left. I could NOT see shore so this was my last major landmark.

Coming into the final stretch, I knew it would get shallow to the left, so I hung to the right has much as possible. For some reason I KNEW I was swimming a 1:05, and just as I was standing up, I heard Mike Reilly announce some random person's name with a time of 1:05:xx. SCORE!

Found a wetsuit stripper, and then started BOOKING IT towards T1. My legs felt SO great! I was cruising with no dead leg to T1 syndrome. It was awesome! And the crowds lining the run were just awesome.



And I had no idea that Kevin was literally right behind me. Next time, we draft off each other!

Stay tuned for T1 and the bike!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Pre Race Report

Ironman #2 is done and I AM THRILLED with my result!

11:05:36

Despite some botched bike pacing, I had the swim and run of my life and rounded the corner to the finish line to nothing but utter surprise of a time I never thought I would hit.

It was a good day, and I learned that even the hint of thinking about quitting a race is a VERY dangerous thing.

But! One thing that made this race one of my most favorite races ever was a great group of friends and family to race with and have as support.

I can't thank enough to Beth for her SUPER DUPER sherpa-ing. You really took the stress out of the equation!



Can't thank enough to my parents for making the trek up from NH and for cheering support.



And I couldn't think of a better group of friends to race with: Jennie and Kevin, Jeff and Annie, Mandy, and Dave and Jen.



Seeing you all at the swim start totally took the edge off the entire thing and for one of the first times in a triathlon, I wanted to kick the crap out of the swim (and other people! haha!).


After the race, I went back and looked at my goals post and was actually shocked at how many things I actually hit! There was one very blatant thing that I did NOT hit, but that "miracle" of a marathon made me feel better about my bad bad bike pacing.

This race was the largest PR of my life (60 mins, 8 secs) and wrapped up a super successful PR-ridden season.



Stay tuned for the FULL race report early next week!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Goals Post!!!!

Go faster than Lake Placid!!!

Sub 12:05 or bust!!!!

-----------------------------------------
But seriously, I am NOT going to race this one. I have PR-ed various distances 9+ times this season, taken a number of podium finishes, and been satisfied with SO many races, that I just want to go out there and enjoy a long day swimming, biking, and running for once instead of doing race math for 5 hours or less.

I know what the "feeling" of the pace is that I should be doing for each discipline; I know what to eat and drink and when to eat and drink.

I mostly just want to run the entire marathon without doing the Ironman shuffle the last 8 miles.

I made it 18 miles into the marathon at Placid before I had to walk/visit every bathroom left on the course.

I don't want to get sick this time.

I just want to keep moving without stopping.

I don't want my bike to break at mile 43.

I want to finish the bike without my legs screaming at me.

I want to start the run able to run 9 min miles from beginning to end.

Do you know how easy it is to run 9 min miles for me? It is MY "easy" pace. I just hope a 112 mile bike warmup won't hinder that...

I just want to have a good day finishing with a smile on my face.

I know this course and know it well. I went a 4:54:xx in the 70.3!

I am looking forward to getting this sucker done with and calling it DONE with the 140.6 distance for awhile.

I want some fucking poutine at the finish!!!! (yeah right, I prolly will want to die)

I can't wait to see Beth when I finish :) SCHMOOPY ALERT!!!

I can't wait to eat waffles the next morning. Possibly in bed because I won't be able to move.

I just can't wait to finish!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Putting/Pulling Myself Back Together

Maybe its the past two mornings of 60 degree temps, or my body is finally healing, but I feel a LOT better than this time last week and weekend where I was prepared to just quit the sport because I had had it with just feeling slow/burned out/sore.

Hi there taper! Remember me?

I think mentally I am feeling better than physically. I just haven't been thinking about the race. All I have to do is pack, drive up there, check in and race. That.is.all. I have done this before, I can do it again.

Besides, I am looking forward to riding that course. It is broken up into so many pieces that mentally it goes by quick! Or maybe riding a 2:28 helped.

Maybe I should ride a 5 hour bike split? That should help get my legs loosened up for a marathon? RIGHT?!?!? Riiiiiiiiiiiight ;)

I will leave you now with a clip from one of my favorite comedians, Tommy Tiernan, with an Olympic themed act:

My favorite part: "Athletes would no longer represent countries, they would represent pharmaceutical companies."


Monday, August 6, 2012

Blaaaahhhhhhhhh

This is how I feel right now:

BLAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Happy Monday :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

There is NO race coming up!!!!

Screw it!!! I am convincing myself that there is NO race coming up in less than 3 weeks.

Ironman Mont Tremblant?

A) What is an Ironman?
B) Where is Mont Tremblant?

Anytime I think about my next workout, my mind immediately jumps into "Oh no! Don't go too hard! You might blow it and never recover!!!"

I have had some of the best runs and rides and swims of my life on an absolutely train wrecked and tanked body, and some of the worst rides/runs/swims of my life on a perfectly rested body.

Why or how could or would ANY workout in the next three weeks wreck the last 7 months of training?

FUCK YOU TAPER!!!!! YOU DON'T EXIST!!!!

(and I feel better now)

Basically I am mentally having a hard time right now. I recall making a good decision by only training for 7 months last year and ending my season with Lake Placid. This was because around that time in 2010 I peaked for Timberman and realized that training non stop for 8 FULL months is too much. 7 FULL months is the perfect amount my body can handle.

Next season? Maybe the end of June will end it...

Oh, and.....

FUCK YOU TAPER!!!!! YOU DON'T EXIST!!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August: The Final Month

Welcome to the beginning of the end of the world! of my training season. I can't believe it is already August and I am racing my 2nd Ironman in less than 3 weeks.

For those seasons where my season ended either in August or September, I always remember that physically I feel like the King of the World, but mentally I feel like a scared timid little child not wanting to jump off of the diving board at Mr. Switzer's for the first time.

Have I done this before? YES! Why does it seem so so hard to get through the final 3 weeks of the training cycle? I think it is because of anticipation.

Ever wonder why the first 5 miles of a 10K zooooom right by and yet the final 1.2 feels like it takes a friggin marathon of time to complete?

Anticipation.

You want it over SO badly that it won't come soon enough. I liken this to watching a kettle boil or for Christmas to arrive when you were 6. It would never happen!!!

So! I gotta stay mentally sharp.

This morning I took my 1 trillion x 400 workout on the track and turned it into a 60 min easy run. I felt guilty. My coach, without even telling him I did this, sent me an email with the following:

"Be very smart now with the last 2.5 weeks....So, whenever you feel as though you may be going a bit too hard between now and race day, chances are you probably are. Back off and ease up."

Boy did I feel relieved!!! And.......CONFLICTED!

When should I slow down? When is it ok to keep going hard despite it hurting?

I think the fine line rule here is this: STAY SHARP!

I have done this before. With less than 3 weeks left, my Ironman fitness is in the bag. I may add to it slightly, but the bulk of everything is done.

We are determining my race wattage. My swimming pace. My running pace (until my legs give out).

Now it is time to cement those paces and practice them and know what they feel like, and make sure my fueling supports it.

I have been here. I have done this. I have followed through with it.

Now I just can't fuck it up.

Happy August!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Unsustainable

I am starting to hit my breaking point with training and work. My current lifestyle is unsustainable long term.


Basically my job, which pays the bills, AND! pays for my triathlon lifestyle, comes first. Without it, I would ditch triathlon in a heartbeat and just be a runner and do only local races. Priorities people!!!

Fortunately (but also unfortunately) I have been working a shit-ton of overtime! Yes, the extra cash is wonderful, but that in itself is expensive: NO FREE TIME TO SPEND IT!!!

Well, my free time currently is training. And with Ironman crunch training currently going on, I am doing LOTS of it!

Here is a sample of a Tuesday:
  • Wake up @ 6 AM, run from 6:30-7:30AM.
  • Work from 9AM-6PM
  • Ride bike from 6-8PM
  • Work AGAIN from 8-9:30-ish or till 10PM
  • Get home, try to be in bed by 10:30

Wednesday:
  • Wake up @ 6 AM, run from 6:30-7:30AM.
  • Work from 9AM-8PM
  • Pool from 8:30-9:30PM-ish
  • Try to be in bed by 10PM
Thursday:
  • Repeat Tuesday, same volume, different variation of a run/bike workout.
DO YOU SEE ANY FREE TIME IN THERE?!?!

Before I go any further. This is no "woe is me" cry for help. I am bringing this all onto myself! I could tell work, "Nope! Not gonna work OT." I could be like, "Fuck triathlon! I am gonna be a professional couch surfer instead." And all of a sudden I have all the time in the world.

But, that is not the reality of life right now.

FORTUNATELY!!! Ironman training and working overtime are both short term things (and will be over soon!!! *fingers crossed*) but UNFORTUNATELY they are colliding at the same time.

I was thinking this morning about the last time I actually cooked myself a meal outside of breakfast? I can't remember! Work has provided food for me for the past I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER that I think the only things I have bought at the grocery store have been gatorade, uncrustables, generic chocolate Ensure, and a case of water, and that has all been for training!

I am looking forward to August 20th, the day where I won't be able to physically move, yet totally free from a HUGE obligation.

Over and out!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Irn Bru & Meat Pies

If there was ever Ironman Scotland, this is a sample of what might be provided in terms of on course nutrition, AND!!!! weapons for battling the Brits during the run.(I was at a Scottish fest over the weekend)
This is a Scottish Orange Soda. It is disgusting. Tastes like liquid bubble gum and or liquid children's tylonel, with fizz

A meat pie and a bridie, with HP sauce.

Also useful for WHEN the zombies attack ;)

However, before you can cross the finish line, you have to do two more events:

#1 The Sheaf Toss:


and #2: The "throw the kettle bell thing over another pole" thing....


As you might be able to tell, my loopiness is pretty much there. I am in the thick of Ironman training with lots and lots of volume going on. Good news though! My body is handling it a lot better this year vs last year.

One more 100+ mile ride to go this weekend then taper!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Success!!!

I finally had the breakthrough in Ironman training that I have been yearning for during this Ironman specific training cycle.

Yesterday I did a 5 hour bike plus a 1.5 hour brick run. Still small in comparison to the full Ironman, but 4 weeks out a decent length workout! Everything went well, mostly because I paced myself good enough (I could have gone a tad slower on the bike) on the bike which led to a very good run on some hills. I owe the above to also smart nutrition.

Nutrition, I have learned, can be fudged from the 70.3 distance and shorter. Now, I wouldn't play around too much during a 70.3, but at least you can recover from one by shoving copious amounts of salt and vinegar chips + pretzels + powerbar chocolate sticks + an espresso Gu + coke + gatorade + water all down your gullet @ once. (This works by the way!!!)

But nutrition for the 140.6 distance, I have learned, CANNOT be fudged! (Mmmmmmm, maybe fudge in bike special needs? Fudge doesn't melt, right?!?)

And I struggled with this last season for Lake Placid, and I was struggling with it this season for Mont Tremblant: I COULD NOT FIND A CONSISTENT EATING PLAN + FOOD THAT MY STOMACH WANTED AND WORKED AND I COULD GET DOWN EASILY

I think I solved that yesterday:

30 mins: Gu
60 mins: Kona Mocha + Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot
90 mins: UNCRUSTABLE!!!
2 hours: Kona Mocha + Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot
2.5 hours: Gu
3 hours (or special needs bag): Generic Chocolate Ensure
3.5 hours: Gu
4 hours: Kona Mocha + Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot
4.5 hours: UNCRUSTABLE!!!
5 hours:  Kona Mocha + Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot
5.5 hours: Gu
6 hours: I BETTER BE FUCKING DONE!!!!

See what I did there? NO MORE SNICKERS BARS!!! They work if you buy one at a convenience store and eat it on the spot. Unfortunately that doesn't exist during a race! Freezing works, but even in cool temps, if will still thaw out in 30 mins, and pressed up against your body (even with a jersey in between) it will melt into a disgusting gooey mess within that 30 mins. And not to mention it will sitting in your T1 bag for however long before the race even starts + the amount of time you are swimming. Sorry Snickers, but you are out!!!

But I found a REALLY good and SMART replacement! Smucker's Uncrustables! They are frozen, but even when totally thawed out and baking in the sun, they don't get messy. Aaaaahhhhhh. And! Who doesn't love a PB&J?!


 So no hunger spells. No dizzy spells. The temps got up into the 80's, and the EFS was giving me plenty of electrolytes. The Uncrustables @ 210 calories were enough to settle my stomach. It.just.worked! And! I knocked the number of Gu's down to 4. BAM!

I always do this, but my bike wound up being 99.62 miles. Gah! I don't have a distance display on my Garmin (because I would drive myself insane looking at it), but don't worry! I hopped back onto the bike after my run and got that last .38 miles in ;)

Side note: I was riding past a Jehovah's Witness, uh, Church? at one point, and this woman in her car came out of the parking lot and I was worried she might crash into me. Hypothetically speaking,  if she had, and had she helped me, do you think she still would have tried to recruit me?

As for the run, I FORCED myself to take the first 3 miles EASY! Then I started getting excited about everything in life, and by mile 6 my split was an 8:06. Whoops! Gotta reign that back in if I wanted to stay smooth for the entire run.

My run course was run UP!, then run down, then flats, then run back UP!, the back down. The last major up UP! totally kicked my ass, dropping my final mile split to a 9:30. OUCH! But I ran in Rockefeller State Park. OMG! It was sooooooo beautiful there today. Had Monet been painting there then, he prolly would have had to call his doctor after 4 hours. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ;)

Fortunately Mont Tremblant is NOT as hilly as what I did. The first 2 miles of the course are uphill, but at an annoying pitch that isn't too steep, but steep enough that it is annoying. Did you get that? ANNOYING!!!

I think I have one more 5 hour ride, and then taper starts!

This Ironman training cycle, compared to last season, feels REALLY short! But! My long rides have been showing a HUGE improvement over last season, so my coach and I are doing something right!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I miss the good `ole days of the TDF when....

...Lance was winning year after year

...there was a rivalry between him and Ullrich, aka, the "Bad Guy"

...the leaders looked behind them with dirty looks then hit the gas

...doping was rampant (hahahahahahhahahahahahaha!!!!)

...nobody wore helmets

...there was OLN!!!!

...Cavendish wasn't such a fucking princess

...I looked up to Tyler Hamilton cuz he seemed like such a good guy

...Mario Cippolini was racing. He truly was a styling man!

...there was a pirate racing. RIP Pantani!!!

...Richard Virenque owned the mountains year after year

...they did prologues through strange futuristic theme parks

...the still fastest prologue ever was ridden on a Cervelo P3

...there was a guy nicknamed "The Cannibal" who raced like one

...his name was Eddy Merxx, and he raced to put food on the table

...a guy named "The Badger"! (he won it 5 times as well)

...a guy died climbing Mont Ventoux (I have seen his monument) (he was stoned and drinking liquor that day)

...a young American beat a cocky Frenchman by 8 seconds on the last day!!!

...another American got busted with an 11:1 ratio of testosterone in his system!

...some unknown dude put 30+ mins into the field on a breakaway, and wound up winning the tour! (after that american was DQ-ed)

...stages were so long, that the riders would finish before the race officials

...riders had to fill up their own water bottles

Sadly this year, I have NOT been following the tour. I just don't have that fire anymore. We don't have anymore "came back from cancer to win it 7 times in a row" stories or "good vs evil" (Ullrich vs Lance) stories.

Its most likey a change in interests. I saw 3 stages of the tour in 2003, including L'Alpe D'Huez and the Champs Elysees. Now that triathlon has taken over my life, I get more jazzed about the Ironman World Championships than the tour.

Maybe the Tour should be shortened, or, just turned into one gigantic continuous stage where the riders ride all 21 stages in succession with fricking chainsaws on the the handlebars.

Thanks Kevin for sharing!


Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mossman Sprint Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday, Beth and I did the Mossman Sprint Triathlon at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, CT.

I have a small history with this race, my first DNS back in 2008 when my eyes got terribly infected with pink eye and corneal infiltrators. Long story short, I didn't want to jump into Long Island Sound with infected eyes and race. But! I have always kept this race on the radar. I wanted to do a sprint race this year and this was the one that best fit my busy 2012 race schedule. So here goes!!!

The Nitty Gritties:
Total Time: 1:07:23
Overall: 25/531
Age Group: 1/36 (M30-34) BAM!!!
Satisfaction Level: Overwhelming!

Pre Race:
Uh, I spent 4 days out on the North Fork of Long Island riding my butt off, so after a 3.5 hour ride going from the North Fork to the South Fork and across Shelter Island (including the ferries) and back to the North Fork, then dropping 100 miles in 4:47:xx the next day, I would say I was NOT tapered at all for this race. It was a sprint race after all!

Then Saturday we went back to NYC for dinner and a show, getting home before midnight with the alarm set for 4AM. Uhg. 4 hours of sleep anyone?



I warmed up for 5 mins in the water, which, for the Long Island Sound, didn't taste very salty....(I HATE salt water!!!)

Swim: 11:41
I was in wave #2. I hadn't swam in almost a week, but I felt good! It was a short short distance to the first turn buoy before you settle in along the length of the beach before turning towards shore.

I went out VERY aggressively and just hung onto the leaders. With only one bad sighting error, I hung with the leaders for most of the way and wound up coming out of the water in 11:41 (not knowing I was already in the lead of my AG)

T1: 1:36
I just transitioned....

Bike: 32:56
So after biking tons of miles days before and zero sleep, this is where my body would either just be flat or would charge ahead.

It charged ahead!

Since I was in wave #2 and one of the first out of the water in that wave, I had super super clear road ahead of me. Unfortunately the bike is a two looper and as I was approaching transition for the start of loop #2, I saw the traffic that I would need to work through. It wasn't too  bad! EVERYONE was staying to the right and nobody was veering. It was awesome! Thank you fellow racers! Beth saw me as she was finishing loop #1, and was WAY ahead of where I thought she was going to be. I knew she was having a good day!


I evenly split the two loops, finishing loop #2 one second off. I held 22 flat for the course. This was actually a rather technical course with lots of turns, so you had to bleed off a ton of speed at the corners before accelerating again. I was working the bike pretty hard the entire time. VERY happy with this bike split

T2: 1:25 (estimate)
Since they lumped T1 time + bike time together, they also lumped the T2 time + run time together. Next season I am going to make a point of getting my transitions down faster. I know how to do a flying dismount, yet I don't do em. I need to run sockless with pull and synch lases only. Next season!!!


Run: 20 mins (estimate)
Didn't run with a watch. I recall leaving transition and the clock saying 50:xx and finishing with the clock saying 1:10:xx, so I am calling this 20 mins.

It was so strange starting the run this far ahead of everyone else. Basically I was in this fuzzy zone of the race. The elites were all way ahead of me. Everyone else was behind me. Some of the run directions were fuzzy and there were volunteers not paying attention. I had to yell for directions a few times!!!

The run course was basically a 1.55 mile up, 1.55 mile down. Running up sucked, but I kept reminding myself that the 2nd half would fly by! And it did! On my way down, I was keeping track of how many women I saw coming the other way, then I saw Beth, knowing she was way up in her age group.

But I had no idea where I was in my age group, but I had a feeling I was leading it. Only a couple people passed me on the run, but they were either younger or older than me. I was still running like someone was after me! (Zombie training)


Good thing I kept my effort up and I ended up winning my age group. The 2nd place finisher in my age group ran the 3rd fastest run of the day and made up 3 mins on me! If it were a 10K, I would have been caught.

After thoughts:
After finishing and drinking some water, I hung by the finish eagerly waiting on Beth's finish. She came in not far after me with a 1st place in her age group as well! Great job!

Winners!!!
What a great race! Glad I came back to do this race. It truly is a gem of a race. Small (well, 532 finishers is a good #), LOCAL!, and full of people I know. I love the low pressure of local races vs the big circus of a WTC event.

This race was also a confirmation of my fitness. Looking at the results, I actually went wire to wire in my age group! Yay Ironman training!

Instead of a trophy or medal they gave out gift certificates for a free entry into next year's race! Sweet! Basically an $85 value! I will take that! Guess I already have a race on the docket for next year. Gotta defend my title!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Crunch Time!

After last weekend's "introduction" to Ironman specific workouts, my coach emailed me with "Jon, its crunch time!"

Over a few emails, this past weekend's efforts went from a 5.5 hour Saturday ride plus a Sunday 2.5 hour to a Saturday 5 hour ride plus whatever Sunday run to finally a phone call to solidify things. The phone went like this:

"Jon, how much time do you have this weekend? It's crunch time! I want you to do 6 hours on the bike on Saturday plus a 30 min run. Then on Sunday I want you to do another 4 hours on the bike plus a 45 min run"

HOLY SHIT!!!! (and I had to work OT both days....)

I immediately thought back to that training camp with him a year ago....

Just a few days earlier from this phone call, I already done 2 x 30 mins @ 250 watts and 245 watt intervals plus two easy rides of 90 mins and 60 mins.

It was a big bike week, easily the biggest one so far this season....

So after 5 bike workouts, 265 miles in almost 14.5 hours, this was INDEED the biggest week of biking so far this season.


I cannot sit down on a bicycle seat for a few days, and I need a lower neck massage BADLY!

So Saturday I linked up with @johnpierz up on route 100 and we did loops upon loops of Titicus, Hardscrabble road, Somers, and North Salem. John is a week ahead of me in Ironman training since he is doing IMNYC. I had to do a 6 hour ride, so didn't he. And! We are the same speed, so it was a HUGE mental break to have someone to chat with and otherwise break up the monotony of such a long ride. Thanks for the company, John! And! You are going to do great @ IMNYC! Hope to see you at the finish line!

Despite the heat warnings of the day, it was pretty hazy and even clouded up some which meant there was really only one hour in the direct sunlight. I think this saved me, especially when I hit my 30 min brick run, which I was able to hold an 8:12 pace while trying my best to slow-the-f-down! Can't hold that for a full 26.2 after just riding 112.97!!!

Sunday was a tad cooler, but I only had to ride 4 hours and then run another brick. Unfortunately I could hardly sit down on the saddle and keeping my neck up in the aero position felt harder than doing 1000 squats. OUCH!

The butt issue eventually went away, but my neck, OMG! hurt SO bad with 2 hours left to go. I think this is more to do with just riding a ton, and not so much my position. Didn't have any neck or butt issues on Saturday's 6 hour ride, since my body was fresher. My body should be even fresher for IMMT!

In regards to nutrition, I am comparing last weekend's Placid ugly 90 miler to this weekend's rides. I ditched the the 50/50 gatorade/water mixture and just went with water, then used EFS liquid shots every hour + Endurolyte pills every 30 mins. No more thirst issues. Up in Placid, I kept getting thirstier and thirstier despite drinking more and more water/gatorade mixture. The sugar just makes me want pure water. I have experienced this when I was using Infinit in the heat.

So the fact that I was fine electrolyte wise on a HOT day (ride ended in 94 degrees) on just water + EFS + Endurolytes = I got my electrolyte and thirst quenching issues FIXED.

I am still tweaking my calorie intake. I don't like liquid only, and I love chocolate and orange Gu, but I am getting sick of clif bars, especially if it is hot out. But I can't eat Gu for entire 5-6 hour ride. But! I keep getting hankerings for Snickers bars. Yes, Snickers. Especially at the two hour mark. So I think I am going to freeze a snickers bar, and it should be thawed out (but not melted hopefully!) by the 2 hour mark of Ironman.

Right now what I hope to do is this for IMMT on the bike:
30 mins: Eat a Gu (or nothing at all if I feel sloshy)
60 mins: 1/2 EFS liquid shot (half vanilla, half mocha + 1 oz water to thin)
1.5 hours: Gu
2 hours: Snickers bar
2.5 hours: Gu
3 hours: 1/2 EFS liquid shot (of hit up a generic chocolate Ensure @ special needs)
3.5 hours: GU
4 hours: Snickers Bar
4.5 hours: Gu
5 hours: 1/2 EFS liquid shot
5.5 hours: Gu
6 hours: DONE (and start running!)

This will only have me eating 5 or 6 Gu's total on the bike. I'd like to bring this number down a bit more. I am finding bar type foods that are on the dryer side, like clif bars, are hard to chew and get down and make me thirst, while bars like Snickers have a bit more moisture to them (blame it on the creamy nugget?) and are easier to go down and stomach.

I just remember saying after Placid last year that I wished I had eaten more solids for the first half of the bike, then all gels for the 2nd half. Looking back now, I am not sure I can stomach that this year! Amazing how your food tastes change. I still have TONS of time to experiment with foods choices, but I am VERY happy to have gotten down my hydration & electrolyte needs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

2012 Half Year in Review

I did this blog post in 2010 and thought it was a great mid season wrap up to an already busy season. Last season was very race light and didn't really warrant one.

This year? HOLY CRAP!!!! Not only have I raced WAY more than ever, but I have also PR-ed EVERY SINGLE FREAKING RACE I HAVE ENTERED. Weeee hoo!!!

I wrote back in early January and then again in March that "I have made a bet with myself to PR all distances this season (* gulp! *)"

and

"I have no idea the stakes, and if I am holding up my end of the bargain, who is holding up the other end of the bargain? The other side of myself?"

With only three more races to go this season (not counting post Ironman), it will come down to a sprint, a 2 mile swim, and an Ironman.

But first! Here is how my year has played out so far:

I started out the year worried to death that my Fall 2011 knee injury would reappear. So how to do confirm that it won't reappear? You race a 10K, the Joe Kleinerman 10K around Central Park.

The race set a theme that I have kept true to so far this season: PR-ing.

I set a 1:33 PR and dropped my 10K time down to a 43:21. Not bad considering I was barely post injury and totally untrained for this distance and intensity.

Later in January was my first bid to go sub 1:45 in the 13.1 distance. Unfortunately the only snowstorm we got all season landed that day, most severely on Central Park, turning this race into a 2.5 hour/16.5 mile fun run with some of my favorite people followed by bagels and the hottest and best shower I have ever taken in my life!


February brought out some speed in me I never imagined I ever had, dropping not only my first sub 7 min pace in a race, but a 6:17 average pace and first sub 20 min 5K at the Gridiron Classic 4 miler around Central Park. I recall wanting to die at mile 2 during that race, which is how I should have felt!

The only other race I did in February was with my MOST favorite person, where we got wet and did the Sweetheart Tri. Let's just say I was the slow one in this race!


March was only one race, but a race I had my eyes set on to KILL a long standing PR for the 13.1 distance, especially after the non race in January. At the National Half I dropped 13 mins off my time and came in for a 1:32 and change for one of the most satisfying PR's of my life!



April was another one race month, with another stab at the 10K distance, The Scotland Run around Central Park. Was trying for a sub 40, but it wasn't my day. Still PR'ed again though! Lopping another 1:47 off for a 41:34. Getting closer to that sub 40!

Unfortunately my luck ran out, with a stupid slip in the shower, and resulting in bruised ribs. Ouch! After muscle spasms and being barely able to breath, I was wondering if my season was either over or going to need to be paired down.

After three weeks of very frustrating training and a blister from hell, my first triathlon of the season, the MonticelloMan Half, was just around the corner. My goal for this race was just to finish and do my best and see what happens.

Well, SOMETHING happened, because I snuck just under 5 hours for the first time for a 70.3 and had an otherwise great day finishing 2nd in my age group!



The following weekend it was back to racing again, this time as the biker on a relay team, Tom Selleck's Mustache, at the Kinetic Half. I said I was going to go a 2:30, and I did just that!



Rounding out May, I did a 2 mile OWS in some warm conditions sans a safety blanket wetsuit. It was a terrible time for me, but still an 8 sec PR!



June brought what I call "My Northern Series" of races, since everything else was down south.

First up was Rev3 Quassy Olympic, my first Olympic in almost 3 years. After killing the swim and about to kill the bike in the hunt for a very good placing, two flats ended my day on a cold and wet course. Bummer, but I had revenge in my mind!

Which brings me to the Pat Griskus Olympic, at the same venue as Rev3. This time my swim was not very good, but I made up for it on the bike and run and placed 6th/32 and well enough to qualify for USAT Olympic Nationals. While I am not doing that race, it was a nice confirmation of A) Finishing a damn race! and B) Holding my own against some good competition.

Finally, I rounded out June with my A- race of the year, Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3. Despite a botched run, I had the swim and bike of my life, riding into T2 in 12th place!!! A new personal best for me. Note to self: Remember to eat on the run!!!

Actual time: 4:54:42. A 5 min PR!!!


But! Last but not least, with hot weather hitting the last weekend of June and massive storms knocking out power in the mid Atlantic region, I headed back up 87 to Lake Placid for the beginning of Ironman specific training. In case you were worried, yes Lake Placid still has hills, and yes, a headwind through the gorge on 86 still fucking sucks!

It was a humbling two days of training, but it was an awesome time!




Ironman Mont Tremblant will be here before I know it!