Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ready Or Not...

March 25, 2010 -

Today I leave for Oceanside, CA to compete this Saturday in the Rhoto Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. This will be my fifth 70.3 distance race. To date, I have gotten faster with each race and we will see if I can do it again. I have trained for only six weeks for this race do to some injury, but am as ready as I can be. What I'm lacking physically, I can more than make up for with mental dominance.

After last Thursday's 12 mile run, I took off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This wasn't my intention, but just how things worked out. I wouldn't say it was totally off however. I mowed the yard, did more remodel working the kitchen, had a garage sale and a general house overhaul. All this includes lots of pushing, pulling and hauling. I broke a few sweats.

Monday I hit the pool for a 2500 yard swim. I did a 500 warm-up with mixed swim, kick, pull followed by a 1 x 2000. This swim went really well and I hit 2000 yards somewhere in between 31 and 32 minutes.

Tuesday I went out for one last long bike, which ended up being a great confidence booster for several reasons. I got a flat 30 minutes into the ride (rear tire), which I changed no problem. There were wicked winds, which I managed, and I dominated the hills that gave me problems the last time I did this ride. For the icing on the cake, it was sunny and 60! I finished with 52 miles at 18.2 mph avg in a time of 2:51.

Wednesday I did a short 30 minute run at tempo and then headed to the pool to kick out and easy 1000 yard...but I forgot my jammers...bah.

Finished up race prep with a nice buzz cut, silky smooth leg shave and a thorough bike and chain clean. All packed up and ready to go.

What's done is done now...and ready or I race!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Soon...A Baker's Dozen

March 17, 2010 -

Hard to believe in just over a week I will be running a cool baker's dozen to polish off another 70.3 and the start to my 2010 tri season. But for today, I ran out a clean dozen. 12 miles in the wind and rain to top out my running before next week's race. I plan for one more big bike tomorrow and then slowly taper down and hope that what I did over the last five-and-a-half weeks was enough to tough it out and have a respectable finish.

Usually training plans are 20 weeks...but five to six works too...right?

It's a little sad though, I have gotten progressively faster in every race to this point and had high expectations for a dramatic new PR in this race. I guess setbacks are all just a part of training and racing. I imagine it must be similar to last year when I was peaking and running like a fine tuned, well-oiled machine and my dad was out with a meniscus tear. I guess everyone takes their turn with injury.

Regardless, I'm happy with where I was able to get in this short time and am definitely getting that excitement that comes with race time! I'm ready to go out there and shred it until I either finish or fall over.

Yesterday was one of those Nike days where you have to "just do it". The weather was pretty blah and I was pretty indifferent on my workout, but I did know I had to crank out one more long run before the race.

I set out in about 45 degrees and wind and rain. After about four miles however, the rain let up and it was kind of calm and balmy until the last two miles when the rain came back....pretty decent over all. With my big frame I'll take cooler weather any day over the heat.

The run was solid. In trying to get my pace back to about 7:45 for a long run I was setting out too fast and then dying half way though so I decided today for the interest of a good run and for my knee to set out at a nice easy jog and see how it goes.....and it worked. After my usual three mile warm-up/barrier I was able to get in the zone and just run it out.

I ran with one powergel and one water bottle of Gatorade Endurance. I stopped at mile six to pee, drink and pound the gel. From there, I just kept cranking and enjoying the run with no problems. The last mile was a little tough, but I guess not so tough I couldn't get my fastest mile of the entire 12.

I ended up with 12 miles at 1:40:55 for an average pace of 8:24. Here are my mile splits: 8:35, 8:29, 8:31, 8:18, 8:17, 8:16, 8:35, 8:31, 8:25, 8:14, 8:24, 8:13.

I felt solid after the run and wasn't really sore, so that lets me know I'm on point.

With that in the bag, I'm going to take advantage of beautiful sunny weather and hit my last long bike tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


March 16, 2010 -

Well training continues to come along as I rapidly approach race week. Last week in Vegas I managed to get up early the first day for a 60 minute interval bike. The second day I made it down too, but only ended up with 10 minutes on the bike before getting called to a meeting so I added in a couple rounds of push-up and sit-ups and called it good. But that's what you get for waking up in Vegas:)

I took off Thursday to get caught back up at work and then hit a nice 1550 swim/45 min bike brick on Friday. The swim was a speed swim with every other 50 yards all was major tiring. The bike was also at the gym on med and hard intervals. Good workout.

Saturday I headed out for an eight mile run, which outside of a sore knee, went really well. It was the first time I have ran recently where I was finally able to get into the zone. I hit eight miles in 1:04:50 for an average pace of 8:06 per mile. Here are my mile times: 7:50, 8:05, 8:04, 8:38, 8:03, 7:54, 7:42, 8:28. (Can you tell, which two miles were all uphill?)

I would like to say I took Sunday off, but after helping a friend move (probably the heaviest stuff I have ever lifted) followed by an all day kitchen remodel/painting project...I was pooped.

Started fresh on Monday with a beautiful day in Kirkland...68 degrees and sunny! I hit a bike/run brick. The bike was a 26 mile ride around Lake Sammamish at a 19.8 mph average followed by a five mile run, where I slowed down a little as the knee was feeling a little bothered. Probably averaged 8:30 pace? All in all....great brick.

Today I decided to really ramp up in the pool for a two-mile swim. The last time I went that distance was Ironman CDA last June! That's right, I'm back to two miles in the pool. That's 3500 yards, 70 laps, 140 lengths. I cranked out a 500 warm-up followed by 3 x 1000. The warm-up was a no brainer, but the first 1,000 was a struggle and a bit of a mental battle thinking about how much was left to swim. After that though, the last 2000 yards went great. I found my groove and cranked it out.

I have to say that as soon as I was done....I was starving!!! I've been finally getting back into that mode where food intake is a critical part of training. After that swim, I ate everything in sight and I'm sure I will sleep well tonight.

As for the rest of the week I would like to get in one more long run (12 miles) and one more long bike (50 miles). From there I will taper next week maintaining swimming and short bike's and runs. I'll take Thursday off and then probably do 10 minutes in each sport on Friday....then....race Saturday!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Still On My Grind

March 9, 2010 -

Since last week, I piled on a few more great days of training further launching me toward my half-Ironman race, which is rapidly approaching on March 27. On Friday, prior to making the trek with the family over to northern Idaho, I cranked out a 60 minute bike / 30 minute run brick.

I did medium and medium-hard intervals for an hour on the stationary bike before moving to the dreadmill for a 30 minute run. This was more like a nice easy jog after killing that six miles last Wednesday at a 7:36 pace.

On Saturday I had the chance to get out on the Bill Chipman Palouse trail in Moscow Idaho. This trail connects Moscow (University of Idaho Vandals…alma matter) to Washington State University (Cougars). I love getting out on this trail when we go back to visit because it is where I trained for my first ever marathon….the Chicago marathon…about 11 years ago.

It was a gorgeous day at 44 degrees and sunny clear blue skies. I went for 90 minutes and ended up hitting 11 miles at an 8:27 pace. This was the longest run I have tackled probably since August and it proved to test my limits. I finished fine but definitely struggled with the mental battle as I fumbled the entire time to get into a zone, which eluded me.

I found myself making the run dreadful by constantly checking my time and miles, which if you run, you know makes it miserable. The good thing is that I did finish at a reasonable time and didn’t experience any soreness the next day. Also, the knee, although sore and achy is holding up strong….good to go….woop woop.

Yesterday I was to fly to Vegas for work and knew that I needed to get in a good workout or all might be lost. These training days being so important as I’m coming from behind on a race that is rapidly approaching made me opt to make the smart decision….I pushed my flight back a few hours and hit the gym.

This was a great call. I got up, had a great breakfast, kissed the fam goodbye and went to Golds. I cranked out a 1400 swim and a 90 minute bike brick. The swim was a 250 warm-up, a 10 x 100 EBEH (easy, build, easy, hard), and a 150 cool down. It was a great swim and felt good to get back to those 10 all-out lengths.

Immediately following, I moved to the stationary bike for 90 minutes of interval training at a medium and medium-hard interval. I imagine that the resistance I choose is harder than the actual output than on my bike so I consider it as good as if I was able to get out on my bike.

I’m in Vegas now and hope to get two short days of training in so I can stay on par with my goals….we’ll see….stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If You Could Know

March 8, 2010 -

If you could know you can do an Ironman…would you? If you decided you could and tried…would you keep going? When the training sucks and gets hard and you doubt if you can do it…can you push through? When you finish your half-Ironman training race and think there is no way you can double that in time for the big day…will you still keep going? When the biggest training day you have ever had is seven or eight hours and you plan your Ironman to take 12 to 14 hours…do you have the confidence to tackle it anyway?

The answer is yes! Ironman is not given away. The misconception is that this race is one of physical challenge when the real battle is that of mental dominance. I think how you really earn an Ironman is not by completing the physical challenge of that day…but by controlling your mind and learning to dominate the mental challenge of the entire six months of training leading up to your day.

I was inspired to write this blog by a conversation with my dad who is training for the St. George IM on May 1. This should prove to be one of the more challenging Ironman races as the mountain/hilly bike course is already gaining notoriety around the Ironman community for being one of the most challenging…and no one have even raced it yet.

He is going through the natural progression of first time Ironman self-doubt based on the daily challenges you face in training for an event like this. Stuff that I went through when I was training for my first Ironman. What I realize now is that the training gets you to where you need to be to finish this race. That is what it’s designed for…and if you can stick with your daily gauntlet of training, nutrition and dedication…you will finish Ironman.

But the mental battle…that’s all you. That part isn’t written into the training plan or taught or coached. Beating the mental battles that challenge you each day is the part of the accomplishment that you control and you have to own. Defeating these challenges on a daily basis all the way up until you finish your Ironman is what makes you an Ironman….and this will forever change the way you view and tackle obstacles and challenges for the rest of your life after you cross that finish line.

Go Dad.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Full Steam

March 4, 2010,

Full steam ahead goes my triathlon train. Now that I'm well again and picking up training I can put aside being a drama queen and get back to business. I would say the sinus death cold is better and back to 98% and the knee is at about 75% so that combined puts me well over 100% to get things done over the next couple weeks.

Per the previous blog on Monday, I put in a 54 mile hilly ride for a time of 2:51 at 18.6 mph, which I was very happy about, but a little nervous of how I felt after. The next day I did an hour of a total body strength training workout followed by a 20 minute run. This was great and all but I found I got a little too sore from the pull-ups, swiss-ball pushups, dips, abs and kettle bell squats/thrusts to maximize my training the next day.

That is because the next day I headed out for what I wanted to be an eight mile run and only ended up being six. Two things affected this: 1. I was sore and fatigued from the bike and the kettle bells, 2. I tried to run too fast. I knew after three miles I needed to call it and turn around for a six miler. Although my swimming and biking seems to be coming along, I am worried about my running as I just haven't been able to get my miles up...mostly due to the knee. I'm not too worried about it though as running is my strong point.

The six mile run did turn out well however, I really had to push through it mentally because my body did not want to carry me through it. I finished six miles at a pace of 7:36. Breakdown per mile was this: 7:40, 7:27, 7:34, 7:35, 7:41, 7:35. I'm happy with the speed and pace consistency, but it was too much at this point, I should have tried to hit an 8 or 8:30 pace. Oh well, it had been a long time since I ran and opened up and sometimes, if you love to run, that's all you want to do no matter the outcome. I plan to try round two on the long run this weekend and see if I can hit a really slow 90 minute run...not for distance, just for the length of time.

On a side note, me left knee is still a little weird and achy, not sure what is going on here, or what move is going to set if off so I keep stretching, foam rolling, icing and hoping it stays in tact.

So today was a great workout. I hit up 3000 yards in the pool for a workout of 6 x 500. I was swimming between 8:00 minutes to 8:30 per 500. Not sure if that is good or average, but I felt good. My arms and lats were still sore from that strength training on Tuesday so I will cut that out for the next few weeks. The first 1,000 was strong, the middle 1,000 was a little more work on my breathing and form and the last 1,000 was "in the groove."

Coming up next week I'm planning another big bike with a small run bick. Another big swim, and hopefully a 12 mile run along with all the other little stuff. I may do something along those lines the next two weeks and then just maintain small stuff and big swimming during what should be the taper week.

We are driving to Idaho tomorrow through Sunday to celebrate my Daughters 6th birthday and my Wife's anniversary of her 29th :) birthday with family. I think I will be able to maintain my workout goals here....but....I get home Sunday and fly to Vegas early Monday morning through Wednesday night. I have learned from past experience that maintaining training in Vegas proves to be a challenge, but I have set my goals so we will see how it goes.

More to come...I think the more I complain the more my old man gets cocky with his Ironman training that is going great. I'm calling that he beats me in the swim, but I take him in the bike and run for victory by a narrow margin....stay tuned....race is March 27!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Respect The Race

March 1, 2010,

There is a certain element of cockiness you get after doing a full Ironman and rightfully is a feat of discipline and physical achievement. My cockiness comes in the form of not respecting the 70.3 apparently. Based on my recent rants you know I have a 70.3 coming up four weeks and I am severely under-trained due to some setbacks physically.

The mentality was this: "whatever, it's just a 70.3, I can gut it out...I am an Ironamn." I got a serious reality check today as I headed out on my longest bike ride since last August! I hit up a 54 mile hilly ride that b-slapped me across the face and told me to get real and respect the race because any endurance race is not something you just "wing it" have to be prepared. With that said, I have about three and a half more weeks to get myself in a place where I can "gut it out."

I do remain confident, but I had gooey jello legs today. It was overcast and 57 degrees; perfect for a nice long ride. My longest ride to date before this was 28 miles. I hit 54 miles in 2:51 at a pace of 18.6mph. I was happy with the time, but last 30 minutes of the ride was really a grind. I was definitely getting re-familiarized with the old neck and butt aches. The part where I took the reality check though, was when I got done and came to the realization that I couldn't go run 13.1 miles. My leggers were toast.

All in all though, great ride and I look forward to really building on it in the next three weeks so I can get to a place where I can cross the finish line without crying like a little girl :)

I had a few good workouts last week although they were shorter ones. I put in a 45 min run / 1200 yard swim brick. Then a 30 min bike / 45 min run brick and then a 2500 yard swim. All the workouts last week went great excpet for that whole sinus death thing I've been fighting. That thing just won't give up. I left a lot of goo in the pool that drained out of my face while I was swimming....sick I know.

I had some family in town this weekend for my daughter's 6th birthday so I took three more days off for that as well as to attempt to get all the way better. This cold feels like my eyes are bleeding and my teeth are being pushed out of my head...bah. Although I had enough snot-rockets to launch a full assault in the war, the bike, as I mentioned went well and I would say I'm back to about 90%.

All I have left to do now is man-up and train my heart out for the next three weeks.