Friday, April 30, 2010 DONE

Not my most voluminous month, due to the taper and recovery from New Orleans, but I did increase my bike volume by 1 mile over last month!

Swim: 18,300 yards
Bike: 393 miles
Run: 59 miles

These numbers mean WHAT this time around? I am worried that the low swim yardage and run miles might hurt me long term, but more importantly how scheduling your races can affect volume between races during the season.

With a two week taper, race, and one week recovery, that is three weeks of lowering the volume for one, high intense day of racing. Is it worth it? I think so if you have a good day of racing!

I think tapering for two weeks was a bit much for a half ironman this time around FOR ME. I tapered for two weeks for Timberman last August, and I felt like I needed it. This time, since last time worked so well, I figured two weeks would work again. It did!, but I felt like I could have done the race a week earlier. I PR'ed (by a LOT) in a 4 mile run race exactly one week out from New Orleans and I had a great 36 mile ride the day before that 4 mile race. That one week was enough time out to let my body recover. I secretly had wished that I did the race that weekend, which means I was worried that I peaked a week too early. Maybe I did? I will never know, but that is all part of the learning process!

So for Mooseman in June, I will be tapering for at least a week, but definately NOT a full 2 weeks.

Now for post race recovery, barring any freak injuries such as blisters or sunburns, I wish I had gotten into the pool at least twice following New Orleans, even if it was for 500 yards each time to maintain my "feel" for the water. I was only able to run once (4 miles), but that was mostly due to blisters and a sore right leg. Biking: Same as swimming. Just do something, not hard or long, but at least something 2x during the week following the race. Even the trainer would be an option!

I am a big believer in active recovery. When I am not doing anything, I go flat and I become grumpy ;)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Its Like Biking on a Pirate Ship...

Went out for my first ride on the Zipp 808's tonight. The consensus is: WOW! But I have some reservations already....

First, it doesn't take much wind to make the bike handling TWITCHY!!! My first thought was that I was driving a sail boat, or rather a pirate ship to be exact.

Why a pirate ship? Well, these wheels just looooove to steal speed. I was hitting numbers such as 23, 24, 25, and 26 on the flats! (disclaimer! I may or may not have had a tailwind....)

Regardless, these wheels are stiff and you can tell they go fast. They also dampen the ride a bit and make for a more smoother and comfy feel. Takes a bit to get up to speed, but once you are going, you are like a juggernaut! There is noooooo stopping these babies quickly!

Back to handling: I am glad I am testing these out NOW and not during the first 10 miles of a half ironman course. There is a learning curve to riding these! My confidence in my riding ability was about shattered when the first gust of wind hit me. I thought I was going to lose it a few times!

But I stuck with it and had to muscle the bike a few times so I didn't go flying sans bike. I figured out how to handle it with the wind and I am now a LOT more comfy riding these wheels. However! One ride isn't going to cut it! I have about 3 more rides left on these before I send them bike and I sure want to be comfy on them by then before I rent again for a race.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Muahahahaha!!! My MOJO is back, BABY!!! Bike pjorn inside....

Today was a triple whammy of biking bliss. First, my TT bike is all shiny and clean and tuned up. I picked it up @ lunch today from the shop. They even wiped clean the tires!

Then, my new rented toys showed up. Jeff, you had the closest guess. Pair of Zipp 808's from

Jeff guessed a 404 front, 808 rear from the correct place. How did you know?!?!

THEN! My bike shop just so happened to host a Cervelo eRide after work.

In other words, they showed up with their trailer filled with nothing but CANDY for us Cervelo enthusiasts. I was able to test ride the P3 Time Trial bike and the R3SL. I was bummed they had no P4's. Dare I say the P3 is a much softer ride than the P2 and handled like a dream.

Yes, the P3 is in fact a better bike than the P2, but I am not going to let that get to me. I love my P2!!!.....even though this P3 had a 1080 in the rear and a 404 up front.......quick! somebody call the Waaaaaambulance! hehe ;)

The R3SL, despite being a mere feather weight, was not too impressive. It was light and smooth going over bumps, but it AIN'T as stiff as my S2!! HA! They had an S3 there, but I didn't want to ruin myself!
After I got back from riding a Bugatti and a Lamborgini, I jacked up my S2 and P2 with the 808's.
Oh, Baby!

So why rent a pair of 808's now when my next triathlon is in 4 weeks? I want to see what the deal is with these "aero" wheels and see if they really do in fact offer a huge advantage over using basic wheels. Is the cost worth it? Is it worth spending X dollars to go only 30 seconds faster? Or is it worth it to spent X dollars to go minutes faster? I don't know! But I can test to see if it is plausible.

How can I do it? Well, since I train with power, I can tell watt for watt how much of an energy savings these wheels can give me. Using less energy while going even faster is the name of the game in this sport! The rear 808 that I have rented has a PowerTap hub in it. My training DT-Swiss wheel has a PowerTap hub in it. I happen to have a fairly flat 8 mile TT course that I can use to get consistent results. Score!

Remember my road bike vs time trial bike test I did about 6 weeks ago? I got really great (and consistent!) results that day that proved that a time trial bike (when riding in the aero position) does in fact allow you to ride faster while using the same or less wattage....on a flat(ish) course.

I hope to do the same this weekend by swapping out wheels and building up some nice data to analyze. Nerds unite!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cya Funk! "Back" @ it

Meant to run 6 miles yesterday, but "The Funk" AND the weather won. It poured all day yesterday, but! I was in Central Park cheering on a friend at the More Half Marathon. Cheering on 13.1 miles in the pouring rain counts, right? ;)

So today is the start of the build towards Mooseman. No more flat. No more extreme heat. No more temperate water! Time for hills, cool(er) weather, and COLD water! Those cold water baths that I have been taking? Yeah, I'll be full body immersed in temperatures not much warmer than that! Think 58-62 degrees. That will wake you up!!!

I hopped back into the pool today for my first swim since the race and put in 2700 yards. I felt great for the first 300 or so, and then my body started to tire and it was a slow death grind until about the 2000 yard range. Then suddenly I got my second wind and I felt more "normal" in the water again. My times were slow, like a 5:20 for a 300 yard set. Its ok though, I'm just going for volume this week to get back into the groove. Plenty of time left to go fast in the water.

Netflix has come to the Wii. Oh thank goodness! No more lugging my laptop around and setting it up in front of the trainer. Now I can use the Wii to stream movies right to the TV. About to hop onto the trainer for an hour or so to spin the legs out....

In other news, the 2010 season is definately heating up. A bunch of my fellow bloggers had super successful weekends out on the battlefield this past weekend. Some notables are as follows:

Regina @ Chiu On This won her age group at the Bronx Biathlon. She raced in some NASTY conditions, and still kicked butt!

Aneta @ Confessions of a Rambunctious Runner busted out her fastest 10K and is set to start training for her first multi-sport race, a duathlon in June.

Jeff @ Dangle the Carrot's Olympic Distance Tri was turned into a Duathlon, but he managed a SUPER strong bike and run performance despite some high winds and hot temps.

Julie @ Julie's Running Blog, my big blogging sister, knocked out of the park a new 10K PR! Way to go Julie!

Maria @ 2010 Brings Racine set a new Half Marathon PR by almost 10 mins! 10 mins? WOW!! Maria is set to do her first Half Ironman this season while seeking her PHD. Talk about inspiration!

If I missed you, feel free to chastise me via a comment and I'll add you. I won't forget you next time! I promise!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Funk

Have you ever been in "The Funk"? You know, that period of training where motivation is zero and it usually occurs after a race?

We Got the Funk

I am deep into "The Funk" right now. The build up to New Orleans was a nice, slow and steady 4 month build culminating with a loud POP!.......and then fizzle.

I see it as almost the loss of a goal. Not in that you didn't meet your goal, but that the goal is now gone. That thing you have been building towards for so long and the thing that you were looking forward to is no longer there. Its done! Its finished! You met it!

So now what else is there to work towards? I have another two races in the next 6-7 weeks, but its the starting over factor that just buuuurrrrrrrns.

Dont't take pity on me as I am looking for none. I am just looking for motivation!

Well, motivation is coming this Tuesday in the form of two square boxes via fedex containing two round objects. Some new toys (rented!) are always a recipe for getting the head back into the game.

Tomorrow I finish my post New Orleans rest week and come Monday, its time to start rebuilding.

May the Funkiness be with you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Orleans 70.3, the full race report. UPDATED! With HI-RES pictures!

(including updated HI RES images! I am VERY happy with the race photography @ this race!)

I will be comparing this race a lot to Timberman last August because these are the only two Half Ironman Races that I have done. I hope to spell out the mistakes I made at Timberman and how I fixed them for this race, which led me to a much faster and more positive result.

Timberman '09: 5:55:47
New Orleans: 5:32:22
Time difference: 0:23:25

PreRace: Nerves got the better of me a few days ago. Today, I was calm. No dreading the 3:30AM alarm clock this morning. Food went down well. I even drank a beer last night with dinner! Went downstairs and was the last one on the 5AM bus and off we went. Tons of time to prepare which makes the nerves calm way down.

The pro men went off first and I later learned that my triathlon idol, Andy Potts, arrived for this race! He is an ex college almost olympian swimmer turned olympian triathlete and 2007 70.3 World Champion and the winner of Timberman last summer. So guess who KILLED everyone on the swim? Yeah, that would be Mr. Andy Potts. So I staked out a nice spot and watched Andy and Macca all run up the swim shoot to T1. There is your inspiration to get the day started!

Swim: 40:50
I was the very last wave to go, which I didn't really think much of since the water was so calm for the Pro wave to off. Yeah, that changed! The wind kept picking up and I was sorta cold standing on the beach waiting. When my wave lined up, we looked out and the water was NOT calm anymore. There were frigging 5-6 foot swells out there!

A relay swimmer who had finished earlier plopped down by our wave, exhausted and said, "I have done over 200 triathlon events and this was a slow swim for me by 6 mins for this distance."

GULP! Well, at least I knew what to we go. We basically ran halfway out to the first buoy. When we did get swimming, the chop and the swells put the brakes on our momentum. At the first turn buoy the 5-6 foot swells had me down, and another guy waaay up above me. Then I was way up, and he was way down. It was crazy and you just can't swim through that! Mostly I treaded water until there was clear water to go forward.

After turning and going parallel with the beach, the swim got better and I relaxed. I went into autopilot mode until the turnaround point. That's when things started to suuuuck. The swells were now to my left and coming at us. I couldn't see the buoys and my navigation ceased to exist. I started to swim towards the wrong buoy! A kayak had to stop me and tell me where to point. I thought I was onto the right buoy but I went for another wrong one! I was starting to get pissed and wanted outa the water. Fortunately the last turn buoy came and the swells brought me back to shore.

Haven't found my sea legs yet. Look at that chop!!!

Not a great was 4 mins slower than Timberman. Not a great start...

T1: 3:24
Wetsuit strippers are awesome! Putting sunblock over your body is not. But I learned from Timberman that a severe sunburn all over your shoulders and back is NOT fun. So I took the extra time and applied it liberally. Still missed a few spots I later learned...

My time was a little lengthy, but I did have to run to the opposite corner of transition and I think I ran almost 1/4 of a mile with "stupid" legs :)

Bike: 2:47:53 / 20MPH avg

The mantra went as this: TAKE IT EASY(er) ON THE BIKE! Yeah, I put up a nice first time bike split @ Timberman, but I ate it on the run. As long as I stayed in the 150-180 wattage range, I was going to make it back for the run with fresh(er) legs.

By mile 6, the Pro men were at mile 50. So cool to see Andy Potts KILLING it on the bike with Macca (Chris McCormack and 2007 World IM Champ) chasing. I still had 50 more miles to go so that inspiration lasted not long.

Getting into the zone

I was stayed in autopilot mode until about 1:15 into the bike when my sit bones started to ache. So at one of the numerous turnarounds I would stand and stretch out my back. Then my right glute muscle started to cramp up. OUCHY OUCHY OUCHY! I was able to mentally relax the muscle just enough to get comfy.

So between a sore back, sore butt, and a cramped glute muscle, I just basically sucked it up and went. Hey, this is better than hitting mile 28 @ Timberman and not being able to ride in the aero position for the rest of the ride due to a REALLY sore back.

Stretching the back out...

Which brings me to my next point. The bicycle itself. I am probably going to catch a lot of flack for this, but I will write it anyways:

For anything shorter than a HIM, I think you can get away with modifying a road bike frame to be a TT bike. But when you are out there for almost 3 hours, being comfy and doing it right on a specific TT frame makes such a HUUUUUUUGE difference! Yeah, I was achy, but man I was so much more comfy than my road frame built to be a TT bike.

Which brings me to my next next point. Being in that more correct position on the specific TT frame does in fact save your legs for the run. My hamstrings were pretty shot and sore by the end of the bike and I was really wondering how the run was going to go down. By the start of the run, my legs were fine! It was kinda eerie actually. But I will take it!

BEST race photo! Getting this one framed!

Back to the bike. The course was great. The out and backs got a bit annoying, but the road surface quality was 95% perfect pavement. It was flat time trial heaven out there!

Then there was the wind. This is what made the ride difficult. On the way out, especially the first 10 miles or so, I was only going 16.6mph and pushing almost 200 watts, which was way too high. Not good. On the other hand when you did hit the tailwind, pushing 23 mph for a consistent stretch was INCREDIBLE! I averaged exactly 20 MPH, which was my goal.

Like most races I am passing everyone on the bike and was only passed a few times. Its always great passing people running disc wheels :) That is why I am still on the fence with aero wheels. If I am going to run aero wheels, I want to make sure that they are in fact going to give me an upper hand and will be a considerable investment that pays off. I still think tuning up the engine (i.e. legs) will ALWAYS be the way to get faster (duh!).

Last bridge to climb. I posed for this one :)

In terms of nutrition, @ Timberman, it was eat when I felt either obligated to or when I felt hungry. In this ride, I ate every 30 mins like I practiced alternating between Gu and bars. I sipped on my 50% Gatorade and 50% water fluid every 10 mins, sometimes 5 if I felt extra thirsty. I did run out of fluids with only 15-20 mins left, which was fine, since I had some Gatorade at transition to hold me over until I hit the aid stations on the run.

The Speedfil? AWESOME! No getting outa the aero position to drink. I HIGHLY recommend getting one, especially if you are on a flat course where you want to minimize the amount of getting out of the aero position.

I felt like I executed the bike portion perfectly, even if I felt that my bike fitness could have been better.

T2: 4:11

Again, I took the time to apply lotion. Its funny, this transition "felt" faster, but it surely wasn't!

Run: 1:56:06 / 8:51 pace

Mile 1: 7:54
Mile 2: 8:35
Mile 3: 9:10
Mile 4: 8:35
Mile 5: 9:24
Mile 6: 8:47
Mile 7: 9:09
Mile 8: 8:57
Mile 9: 9:01
Mile 10: 8:56
Mile 11: 8:33
Mile 12: 9:15
Mile 13: 8:54

Wow, what a turn of events for me! Overall, I placed the best with my run. That NEVER happens! Its usually my bike is always my best leg, followed by my swim, then the run is waaaaay off. Instead, I placed 431/1649 participants. Wanna know how that happened? Well, when you train the hardest at something, guess what the result will be? Probably an improvement! haha!

And an improvement it was! I went from a 2:23:xx run @ Timberman to a 27 min-ish faster run. I feel like this was a complete race because of this.

My legs felt surprisingly good starting the run. There was none of that "throbbing,"why did I get myself into this feeling in the legs." I was hurting, but it was different, and I liked it. I kept telling myself to "reset" my brain and think of this as just a training run, which means go slow. I credit the position on the bike for saving the quad muscles for the run.

Immediately coming out of the run out shoot, there was no shade and I felt the heat and humidity, which I couldn't feel on the bike due to the winds and speed. I knew that I had to suck-it-up-upcake and deal with it. The first mile wasn't bad. It was actually quick, but I think that was because it was actually short. NO way I can run the first mile that fast. Maybe they did that to make you feel fast?

We were meandering through these neighborhoods and you basically ran until you saw a patch of shade and you aimed for that. The difference between the sun and shade was like entering a freezer! Another big difference maker was wearing the visor. It keeps your face from frying but just keeping that feeling of the sun off of your face does so more more than UV protection. It literally makes you "feel" cooler in temp.

Unfortunately I felt some nasty rubbing above my knees in my inner thighs by the end of mile 1. Ouch! That went away after a few miles, but when it was rubbing.....MAN....OUCH!

Between miles 1 and 2. Still hadn't found my legs yet...

Miles 2 and 3 just went. I stopped at all of the aid stations and took sips of gatorade and water and dumped water over my head and down my back. Dumping the water helped sooooo much! It rejuvenated me! If they had ice, I chomped on a few pieces and dumped the rest on my head.

At mile 4 is when the lady with the thick southern accent suggested I take the ice and "stick it where the sun don't shine." Thanks for the tip lady, but I think that might HURT?!?!? I passed...

Around mile 5 we started the enter the park. This is no Central Park. This park is big, grassy and offers not too much shade. The humidity offered alot of atmospheric perspective to the landscape. THATS how muggy it had gotten! The parts that did have shade were great, but heading out to the 10K timing mat / split you ran on this wide open desolate section that was definately the hardest part of the run in terms of direct heat melting you down.

Hot out there!

My legs felt good at this point, enough to try to speed up slightly. I was in autopilot mode at this point. Miles 7 -10 just went. Funny how I passed a guy who I blew past at mile 2 who was walking. He was now near mile 10, walking. Yeeaaahhhh, um, nice job cutting the course buddy! I was having a good race and I didn't let that put me down. He blew off the 10K timing mat marker. Guess whats coming towards you! DQ! No, not a sundae, but a YOU CHEATED! Have fun living with yourself!

Anyways....actually that bit of anger made me feel better and sped me up a bit....

At mile 10 is when we hit Esplanade, which was 5K from the finish. This is the make or break part of the run. I knew I had less than 30 mins until the finish and that this was the final main road and that this entire section was SHADED! Unfortunately the road condition on this stretch was less than ideal and really beat up my feet.

At mile 11, my right lung felt like it was getting a side stitch. Yeah, that was painful! Thoughts of walking starting to enter my head. I got those demons out pretty quickly, but this stitch wouldn't go away! I had to slow the pace down a bit and it did eventually disappear. It was strange though. I have had side stitches before, but never near my right lung. Weird....

Almost there!

At mile 12, I knew the end was near. I knew we had to make a right turn onto Decatur, but I couldn't see where that turn was. Finally I saw the sign for Bourbon street. I was in the Quarter! Made the turn onto Decatur and the finish line was waaaaay down there. There is nothing worse than being able to see the finish line almost 1/2 mile away. The crowds were pretty thick at this point and everyone could see the pain on your face. It helped me speed up, but my legs were so shot at this point. I had just enough gas left to get across the finish line and I was COOKED!

The clock was my time plus ~1:20:00 and happy to be finished!

I have regrets about the swim only. I executed the bike perfectly and the run perfectly. During that swim, despite its rough conditions, I could have sighted better, even though it was tough. You can always just follow the pack! Chances are the pack won't get lost.

Maybe I could have gone faster during the transitions? I am happy that I took the time to apply extra lotion. The few spots that I missed did burn me with some nasty, but small, red marks. So, no regrets about the extra time taken.

HOWEVER! We are all endurance athletes here and have dealt with some uber strange chafing, right? The strangest one was the bottom of the zipper of my tri suit rubbing up against the outside of my belly button. OWE!!!! lemme repeat....OWE!!!! hahahahaha! gotta remember that spot for next time....

Yeah, you never really know where you got rubbed or burned the worst until you get into the shower. The water always tells you where it hurts :)

7 weeks till the next one! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ironman New Orleans 70.3: VICTORY!

First I want to thank all of YOU, my awesome fellow blogger buddies for the well wishes and for reading my lead up to New Orleans. It is because of your peer support (and pressure of performing for you!) that I get up at the crack of stupid every morning and put in ridiculous hours of training. I can't write about it and not deliver!!!

Second, here is a super short recap of today's events. There is a lot in my head right now and I haven't full comprehended the race yet, so I will do a more detailed race report at a later date when it has all settled in :)

Total Time: 5:32:22
Swim: 40:50 (yeah, gonna explain that one! the swells were......HUGE...not my best swim)
T1: No idea...
Bike: 2:47:53 (solid and I am happy with it and I followed my plan and it WORKED!)
T2: No idea...
Run: 1:56:06 (yeeeeeaaaaah, BABY! soooooo happy with that one!)

Main goal of today's race was to #1: Go faster than Timberman, which was a 5:55:XX. CHECK! and #2: Redeem myself from Timberman's run of 2:23:xx. CHECK!

~23 mins faster than Timberman overall and ~27 mins faster on the run than the Timberman run. Bike pacing lead up to the solid run and I TOTALLY surprised myself with that run performance.

Ok, going into too many details. I'm hungry. They had cheese grits post race and guess where I am going for dinner? A place that makes cheese grits. YUM!

I'll leave you with a few photos.

I was legs were not....

The palms of my hands administered lots of lotion over the day, but it never made on the TOPS of my hands.....ouch!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pre Race New Orleans

I have arrived in New Orleans! The good news! Its not hotter than Hades! Its warm, but there is a nice breeze that is keeping things on the comfortable side.

Woke up early and went to the first race briefing to get the day started early. Not much new they could tell us. On the way out I passed Chris McCormack, the 2007 World Champion. Packet pickup was a breeze.

My race number is 2142. My wave is the DEAD last wave @ 8:20 AM. The pro's go off at by the time I am done with the swim, they will be over halfway done with the bike!!!

The race expo was pretty decent. The IronMan brand store was there with lotsa goodies.

I got an awesome visor for tomorrow's run and I have been chugging water all day

So today we noodled around the French Quarter and acted like tourists before we hit up Mena's Place for lunch and had some Po'Boy sandwiches.

After lunch we went up to transition to check my bike in and figure out the race site.

This is just a small part of the transition area. Its a rather large transition area for 3000 athletes!

My bike spot is not far from the bike in and out point, which is good because that means I don't have to run as far in my bike shoes! I am also pretty close to the Run out. Unfortunately I am as far from the swim exit as possible. Gonna be about a 1/4 mile run from the water to my bike. Hopefully that will wake my legs up for the bike!

Gonna be a tight squeeze out this small bike in/out.

Approaching the swim

The start of the swim. The rest of the swim goes waaaaaaay far to the left. The water was pretty calm this afternoon. I hope it stays this way because folks were saying it was ROUGH yesterday.

I am as ready as I will ever be. My legs feel 100% rested and I am hydrated as of this moment. The race briefing guy recommended that we not pick any fights with Jack Daniels tonight. For some reason he thinks that's not a great way to Carbo load? ;)

I'll try to post some quick results tomorrow night. Good luck to anyone else who is racing this weekend!

Friday, April 16, 2010

From below sea level to the high mountains: Mooseman bike course changes AGAIN

Gonna skip past New Orleans already and start talking about Mooseman coming up on June 6th. The bike course has been a hot topic over the past few weeks with an ever changing bike course. For the half Ironman distance, how you perform on the bike is gonna determine how well of a run you are going to have. i.e. Go too hard = have a lovely (shit) run.

So basically the Mooseman race director has always wanted to turn the bike course (previously 2 loops of 28 miles) into a big one loop course. Thats cool with me, whatever. He did get approval for a 1 loop course, and it includes a huge 3.5 mile, 900 foot elevation climb at mile 6. Mile 6, whatever. EXCEPT for the fact that with water temps of 60 degrees or colder, your legs are still gonna be ice cold FROZEN by mile 6 when you hit this hill. On the back side of the course you then hit what the locals call "Heartbreak Hill" which is a long slow death kind of climb. Not steep, just a steady death. Then finally you hit the short ups and downs of the bottom of the course.

Fine. I accepted it. The course is harder. I'll train for it. I am heading up to preview it in May.


...and it got even HARDER!

Here is the progression of courses via elevation:

Course #1 (2 loops)
Looks like a lot of climbing, but its only a 400 foot elevation change from min to max

Course #2
1 loop course. Look at that beast of a climb! Makes the other hills look small even though they aren't, including heartbreak hill. Min elevation: 459 Max Elevation: 1581

Course #3 - Current Bike Course
Oh Mother of God, have mercy on my soul (and legs)

So why write a huge long drawn out post about this? Well, for changes this signifigant, it changes how I will train on the bike between April 18th and June 6th. Hills have always been my friends. Now hills are REALLY going to be my friends. And its not the climbing that worries me. Its the climbing on the TT bike that worries me. My Cervelo P2 is an awesome bike, but climbing on that thing suuuuuuuuuuucks. That bike is made to go fast on the flats and rollers, not up mountains!

Well if there is anything positive about this experience, it will be that this will be a taste of Lake Placid.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

All of the World's problems solved with rubber bands and electrical tape

I am a big proponent of practicality and following the K.I.S.S. rule (keep it simple stupid).

I realized tonight that I need to carry at least 3 Gu's out on the run this weekend. With only a single tiny pocket in my tri suit, I would be stuck holding Gu's in my hand for 13.1 miles. No thanks!!! My race belt only has the bungee straps to hold the race number and nothing else. So how do you attach three Gu's to the race belt?

Simple! Rubber bands!

And whats even better is that the Gu's are so lightweight that they don't make the belt swing up and down. (yes, I know they sell belts that are specifically made to hold gels, but I kinda ran outa time to find this belt is good luck!)

Another triathlon trick that I am a HUGE fan of is electrical tape.

You can practically put your bike back together with it. Ok, not really, but at least it holds your race numbers in place! I can't tell you how painful it is to have a race number come loose on the top tube of your bike and constantly whack the inside of your bare thigh causing some really nasty chaffing. Electrical tape fixed that!

Have you ever had one of your race number pin holes tear? Reinforce it with electrical tape before you stick it. Had that happen once. The race number constantly hit my leg because it was drooping from my race belt.

How about your bar tape suddenly comes loose at the ends on the inside of your handle bars? Yep, more electrical tape is your answer.

I'll post an image of it on my bike's race number this weekend. That race number is going where? NO WHERE!

(....other than a hopeful constant speed of 20 mph over a 56 mile course.....)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh, the Smell of Neoprene.....and an unlikely Recovery method

Have you soaked your wetsuit in the tub yet? Well, that totally depends on when your first tri of the year is. If your wetsuit has been sitting in the closet for 6 months, its going to contract and be a real pain in the butt to get on for the first time of the season. So get it out within the week of your first race and soak it in the tub to rehydrate it. Makes getting on a LOT easier.

For me, smell invokes memories, either good, bad or stressful. The smell of neoprene brings back memories of my first triathlon (i have video of me finishing! its hilarious!....and I'm 20 pounds heavier....). I had a great time during that race, but the swim totally stressed me out. All I remember of that swim was the smell of neoprene and entering into a washing machine. Before ANY triathlon, my heart is always going nuts when I smell neoprene. So neoprene = anxiety.

As soon as I pulled my wetsuit out of its mesh bag tonight, I got a whiff of the neoprene. Oh man its getting even MORE real. I heard Lake Pontchartrain's water temp is already @ 70 degrees. That is calming :) Gators anyone? haha! Unless they like to swim in brackish water, I should be gator free.

So after yesterday's efforts, my legs got a bit sore today and continued to get even more sore as the day dragged on. Fortunately they did not get as sore as after the half marathons, but I was feeling it. My recovery method this time?

Go hard.

After the other weekend of riding the 99 miles and no running, I went out and did a pretty good effort on my time trial bike on the following Monday. I noticed at the beginning of the ride that my legs were pretty sore, and by the end of the ride, my legs were nice and loose. I loosened up because I did some hard efforts that opened up the capillaries and forced the blood into the legs. I had no idea if it was a fluke because I didn't run that weekend.

So I tried it again tonight. It worked! The first 10 miles of going easy hurt. The first three 30 second efforts at 350+ watts hurt. But 5 mins later my legs felt AWESOME.

Got in 18.5 miles. Only one more ride left before Sunday!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another 2 PR's to finish off the week: Run as One 4 mile race report

I had no expectations coming into this morning's 4 miler in Central Park. I am a week out from a Half Ironman and the debate on whether to hold back or to get in a final speed workout was heavy on my mind. I decided to just do what my legs wanted to do, and that was go fast. I made sure to NOT push it into "Go See 'The Elbow' territory," but I wanted to make the legs turnover quicker and keep the breathing under control.

It worked. 29:08 for 4 miles / 7:17 pace.

So lets run some numbers! New 4 mile PR by 1:56 AND! a new 5K PR (22:07) by 33 seconds.

Today's splits:

Today's race also busted up my last fastest average pace in a race by 22 seconds, formerly 7:39, and that was for a stand along 5K over a year ago. I feel like I have entered into a new personal running arena. I wasn't pushing it all out today!

So what does this mean for me?

Either I peaked a week too early, or *fingers crossed!* that I can carry this form for just one more week. I had a great 37 mile ride yesterday where I did two 5+ min efforts where I was pushing 25-26 mph on the road bike. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE body, HOLD onto "it"!

*Cue taper madness induced self doubt*

This is the mental crazy shit that I encountered leading up to Timberman last year: The back and forth of, "Oh I GOT this" to 5 seconds later "OH SHIT! I am gonna EAT it!!!"

*Cue rational reason*

I have done the work. I have put the miles up on the bike and the run and the yardage in the pool. I have PR'ed my half marathon 2X since January, 15K 2X, and the 4 mile and 5K distances all since January.

Its just a matter of doing it! Bring it New Orleans!

Finally, I would like to give a HUGE THANK YOU! to Regina @ Chiu On This for coming out this morning to cheer me on! Always great to have spectators and Regina, I have NO idea how I saw you just past 72nd. I just happened to look up at that very moment and you were there. Looking forward to Mooseman more and more!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bike is shipped!

The bike is on its way to New Orleans! Fedex is great. Should arrive by Wednesday to my hotel.

My rear tire was looking a bit worn and had a nice flat section down the middle, and was having an awesome deal on conti's, so I bought 2 new GP 4000 tires. A new tire went onto the back.

Here I will show you what it looks like to pack your bike up into a bike box for shipping.


The guts of the bike. Only had to remove the seat, bars, pedals, and rear derailleur. Made sure to mark where the seat height and handlebar angles/positions were!

Another layer of foam, and then the wheels. Skewers removed.


Of course wheeling that case which is 48" X 30" X 10" and 55 lbs always attracts attention when wheeling it down to the street to Fedex. I love this box. Its been to Europe twice and I swear you could drop it off of a cliff and the contents would be fine. Not gonna test that theory out....

I have a 30-ish miler on the bike on Saturday, then a final 4 mile race down in Central Park to tune up the legs with some speed, then its drop off the cliff till next weekned. I will be on a plane in a week heading towards the land of Gumbo and beignets!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the taper dreams have started. BLAH!!! its a wierd one....

I had my first New Orleans taper nightmare last night. Usually when I am stressed out about a race, these dreams occur. I am NOT stressed out about this race. This dream, on the ridiculous scale, was an 11 on a scale of 1-10.

It went from the swim being in the carribean out of someone's apartment where Chrissie Wellington (who is not competing in New Orleans) was killing everyone in the swim by swimming face up going in the feet first direction. Do you know how hard it is to swim that way? To suddenly being waaaay up in Michigan where the race director and then John Lithgow (WHY JOHN LITHGOW?!?!?) told us to first swim towards the direction of Germany! First the pros went, then it felt like HOURS before the age groupers started, starting with the men's 80-84 age group. They were all dressed in slacks and nice shirts, some with trenchcoats on, all about to run into the water.....I am NOT making this up btw.....

Meanwhile the dream would bounce back and forth between what I would forget, such as showing up to the swim in full wetsuit without the bike, or not racking the bike, or not having any liquid on the bike, or not having my race number, or somehow bringing ANOTHER race number from ANOTHER race!!!

It was a stressful dream and I hardly slept. Basically the simplest of things went wrong but multiplied by 20.

Oh and then the best part happened. I didn't do the race. Somehow I couldn't start it. I can't remember WHY, but I remember the afterpart and frustration of seeing everyone finish but me.

Finally, I kept seeing random people at the race that I know, and on one occasion, we were looking at a google satellite map of Ontario where Pixar was located. Uuuummmm, Pixar is located in San Francisco....

Fortunately I had a good 4 mile run this morning. It calmed my fears!

Have you had any weird prerace nightmares?

Monday, April 5, 2010

taper madness begins!

So its 2 weeks out till New Orleans, which means that its time to start drawing down the volume and increasing the intensity for a week before dropping everything off of a cliff for the 2nd week...not really, just going much shorter and harder with lots of rest for the 2nd week.

I finished off my large biking volume last week by putting up 131 miles on the bike, 99 of which were done on Friday and Saturday. After the hilly 42 miler on Friday, I did my 57 mile time trial route on Saturday, and I really wanted off of that bike by the end of it. My body was wrecked! And yet I still managed to do the ride 5 mins faster than last week.

Of course, I almost became road kill on that ride.

I was flying down a hill @ 30+ mph in the aero position (which is not as stable) and I was crossing over an overpass. Well, overpass = cross wind. Me and my bike = a sailboat.

In a split second it felt like my bike was lifted off of the ground, moved sideways, and dropped back down to earth. That really didn't happen, but its what it felt like as my bike suddenly jerked to the right. I thought I was going to eat it! My body was shaking from the adrenaline rush.

Never again do I want to experience that!!!! That would have been a season ender...


Even though New Orleans is 2 weeks out, its also time to start logistics planning. This will be my first race that I won't be driving to, so that means bike shipping. pulled out of the race at the last minute, leaving me with fedEx ground shipping. No big deal, I just have to pack the bike up. Fortunately I already have my super duty Trico bike case from my two summers of biking in southern France.

Yes, in case you were wondering or severely worried, you can in fact fit 5 bottles of wine in there along with the bike. ;)

Bike goes into the shop today for a quick gears tuneup, then its shipped either tomorrow or Wednesday down to the hotel. As soon as that bike is shipped, its gonna get REAL!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Harriman Hills

Ride #1 of this weekend is DONE. 42.44 miles of hilly terrain in the bag.

Its not so much the hills that made me hurt the worst, but rather the pavement of the roads in this park. Don't get me wrong, the routes here are AMAZING, its flying 30 MPH over speed bumps every 10 feet that will WRECK your body. Probably 1/3 of the roads have awesome new pavement, the other 2/3, not so much. My bike is really stiff which makes the acceleration and climbing fast, but man it does a terrible job at shock absorption.

I felt really strong going up every hill and I was able to stand up and hit the gas whenever I needed to, so my climbing legs are there, which is really surprising since I have done very few climbs this seasons so far. Not gonna argue; I'm gonna take it!

Today was absolutely gorgeous and the park is in really good shape after a rough winter. I actually stopped to take some photos with my camera along the way. It is so pretty here!

The last photo shows a road closure. I had just come up that hill and it was amazing being up able to climb up a great climb and not worry about ANY cars. No idea why the road was closed, its in perfect shape....I wish the entire park was car free!

Got home, went through the recovery process and I hope I am healed up enough for tomorrow's flatter, but longer ride. Gonna go take a nap....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fool's Day!

I am very happy that everyone "got" my last post. Of course I am NOT leaving the multisport lifestyle. However, I do still not like getting up early :)

Did you see my little subliminal message? Go back and look again if you didn't, I put it in bold this time. I got the idea from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's F-U memo that he wrote to the CA state assembly. No, I am NOT telling you F-U, but I thought the method was neat.

In fact, I love this sport very much and it has changed me a lot over the past 2 years. I went up a serious hill tonight on the bike that I dreaded going up in the past, and now I know why. The last time I went up it I was 20 lbs heavier. No wonder I flew up it this time!

I am still in my infancy in this sport. There are 4 huge races to accomplish this year, and another one that I am still pondering over next year. This means that there is a lot of S/B/R life in me still, and hopefully for a lifetime.

Happy April Fool's Day! (just saying it this time; the above is true)

Moving on from the multi sport lifestyle

As I hit the 2.5 mile marker on my usual thurs AM run, I
pondered what the heck I was doing out on a trail in near pitch black,
really dark conditions. Then it hit me. I felt like Forrest Grump, way out
in the desert where he suddenly stopped and said, "I'm Done." I don't
like getting up early. I never did! And enough is enough with it.

Finally I can start sleeping in. Don't get me wrong; triathlon as been a great
opportunity. I have gotten into the best shape of my life, but doing this stuff
over and over again takes its toll. I am mentally fried from it all. From
looking over my logs the past two years, I have racked up a ton of miles and
success in the SBR world, but the mental part has won. I am done for!

Just as I bought my last bike, I knew something was up. I wasn't feeling "it"
or the "joy" of the sport anymore. I hope that you all will stay with it and
keep putting those numbers up! This is a great sport and I hope that
everyone of you keeps hitting some new PR's! I will still be following you!