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Friday, December 11, 2009

Wandering thoughts

Sitting here getting ready for my mid-morning green tea I had the impulse to post something on the blog so I'm going with it ...

First let me make that tea and gather my thoughts a bit.

Okay, I'm back. This probably seems very scatterbrained and I guess it is.

I was both inspired and saddened when reading the latest installment of Riding the Wind . It is inspiring to read about the pleasure that running to the top of a Colorado mountain in -10 degrees Fahrenheit brings the author. It saddens me though as I'm forced to reflect on my own training venues of late ... indoor pool, indoor trainer, treadmill, and gym. Depressing and disappointing! But that is the beginning of inspiration.

It's not that indoor training doesn't have it place; it certainly does. It brings a level of structure and control which are key when training for specific goals using specific metrics. The reduction of variables introduced my nature, weather, terrain brings a certain clarity, sterility and efficiency to the training and analysis thereof. A necessary evil I suppose.

In case you can't tell I'm again feeling that internal struggle between freedom and structure, faith and will, nature and civilization, real and artificial. If you read this blog you probably know that I much prefer the left side of those antonyms.

But ultimately to be happy I need to know I'm performing at my best. And to do that I need implement a specific structure to bring me to peak fitness at a certain point in time. Which leads me back to controlled training. I've recently revised my running "philosophy" into a formal method which implements 5 types of running (defined by pace range) and takes in two input variables (yes, I develop software for a living), and prescribes 6 runs per week with the option for more. It conforms to the basic guidelines defined by the running gurus but is specific to triathlon, and specifically a season with the priority races of the long course variety. Not that I don't expect to be faster than ever on the short course races, but perhaps not as fast as I could be if I focused entirely on short course racing.

I'm trying it out on myself and an athlete that I coach (brave soul). We'll see how we respond.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Awesomeness For Sale

The 2009 triathlon season has ended for as of last weekend and it’s time for me to sell the Scott Plasma that I’ve been using for the last two seasons. I’ve had this bike as part of a sponsorship deal with Harrell’s Bicycle World here in Columbia, SC and it is a well maintained 2008 Scott Plasma Pro and has been a really awesome bike.

Before my fall races I had a complete overhaul done with cables replaced, the headset replaced and all the bearings replaced with new ceramic bearings in the bottom bracket and Zipp hubs.

I’m posting this in hopes of finding a buyer for this bike without having to list it on Craig’s List, Slowtwitch Classifieds, or eBay. If you know someone who may be interested please send along this information.

Specs and Pictures:

Size: Medium (54cm)
Grouppo: Shimano Ultegra 6600
Saddle: Fizik Arione Tri II
Aero Bars: Profile Design T2+ Cobra
Base Bar: Profile Design T2
Brake Levers: Profile Design QS2
Pedals: N/A
Wheels: Zipp 606 (tubular) w/ titanium skewers, Mavic Cosmic Elite (clincher)
Tires: Zipp 404: Conti GP 4000, Zipp 808: Conti Sprinter, Mavics: Conti GatorSkin

Price w/ Zipps: $3500
Price w/o Zipps: $2000

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championship et al

Hey guys. It's been a long time since I updated the blog so I'll try to put together a quality post that summarizes the lead-up to 70.3 Champs, the race, and the vacation in Clearwater.

Post Augusta, training block, and taper

I definitely made some mistakes in this period that I'd like to mention so perhaps I won't repeat them in the future. First I'll document what I did and felt and then take a look at what worked and what didn't.

  • The first week after Augusta was a "recovery week"
  • After the recovery week, the intention was to build volume over the next 4 weeks while also bringing up intensity in last two weeks. But in reality I was totally spent after 3 weeks of building volume and couldn't build for the final week. My mind and body were done.
  • The final week of the 4 week build period was lower in volume but also contained my longest run of 15 miles which included some hard tempo running.
  • 3 weeks of taper with the final week having no running and no core or flexibility work.

Even though the week after Augusta was supposed to be a recovery week, I can see in my logs that all I really did was take Monday and Tuesday off running and cycling. From there I ran the next 5 days straight building intensity throughout. For the bike that week I also did too much, too hard, too soon, by heading out with JB for a 46 mile ride at 21.5 mph average with 2300 ft climbing. By Sunday of this "recovery week" I was doing a progressive run with the final two miles below 6:50 per mile pace. Looking back I think my decisions for this week sabotaged my 4 week build block. A proper recovery would have allowed me to have the 4 week build block with a 2 week taper instead of 3 week build with a 3 week taper.


We drove down from Lexington to Clearwater on Thursday. We left just in time to hit 5 o'clock traffic in Tampa, just minutes from our destination. Once there we checked into the hotel (Fairfield Inn), and headed down to the race site to pickup our friends, the Olson's, to go out for Mexican and beer.

Friday we woke up to breezy and cool weather. We had a great free breakfast at the hotel and then drove back down to the race site to meet back up with Chris and Laura. Chris and I went for quick swim in the Gulf, which was extremely rough but soooo much fun!! On the walk out of the water I decided that I should take some Dramamine that night, but then we noticed that the corrals on the beach were being dismantled which meant that the swim was going to be moved from the beach to the calm waters of the harbor. Bummer.

After the swim was the athlete check-in and then an awesome lunch at Crabby Bill's. And then it was back to the hotel to prep the bike and bags and then back down to the race site for a quick spin with Chris and then bike and bag check-in. While we were doing all that serious pre-race triathlon stuff the girls rented a miniature green convertible three wheeled car-like-thing and drove it around laughing and honking its little horn at game-faced triathletes. They created quite a stir at the race site. After that escapade we met up at Carrabba's for some pre-race pasta and wine.

On to the race (4:19:28)

We overslept slightly on race morning and quickly were off to the race site. It was a calm morning with a perfectly clear sky. Chris and Laura had given us a key and parking pass for their race-site hotel parking lot which is where we parked. From there we had a short walk to transition to pump tires and put drinks on the bike. Then we went for a little warm up run and walked to the swim start. Chris and I split up at that point with me joining my swim wave in the corral and Chris heading off for a warm-up swim.

Swim (28:08)

The line moved very quickly and soon enough I was jumping off the dock and swimming. The water was cool at first but quickly became comfortable. Immediately I knew my borrowed wetsuit wasn't zipped up correctly as I could feel a scrape on the back of my neck with every breath. I knew I would have a nasty raw spot by the end of the swim (which I did).

With the swim being moved to the harbor we were now swimming due east into the morning sun. It didn't take long for my goggles to fog since I didn't wipe the insides with spit while in line. The combination of glaring sun and foggy goggles made visibility very, very poor. The only time I could see buoys was when I was almost next to them. Luckily I was swimming straight without sighting.

Every minute or so (it seemed) I would run into feet or find myself halfway on top of another swimmer. It seemed like they were sitting still in the water. I remember telling myself not to think that I was going fast because these people were probably going very slowly. Also my RPE level was pretty low for most of the swim. I should have put a good bit more effort into it.

T1 (3:17)

There was a lot of ground to cover in T1.

Bike (2:11:20)

This bike course is fast. Maybe it's one of the fastest in North America?? Before getting into the details of the ride I feel like I need to offer some sort of evidence that I did not draft. It's unfortunate that I feel this way for several reasons. 1) I don't draft and I've never incurred a penalty. Not one ... ever ... for anything. 2) This is a world championship race and one would like to feel like it's an honorable thing to race here. But with the current climate in the sport there is a lot of skepticism for fast bike splits at races that take place in the state of Florida (and Arizona). And rightfully so ... we've all seen the videos and read the forum threads.

I've received a lot of comments about my bike split. Not accusatory or with innuendo, but some with a tinge of curiosity. So I decided to compare my bike splits from Augusta and Clearwater to someone's who also raced Augusta and Clearwater. I chose professional triathlete, and fellow blogger, Andrew Hodges because 1) he's one of the few that I know that raced both races 2) our splits were similar at both races 3) I know he didn't draft at Clearwater because he says so explicitly in his race report (and I believe him) and the pros start ahead of the age groups and have drastically fewer athletes on the road to form packs 4) he won the SC Half in 2008 in under 4 hours (I just think that's cool).

Andrew's bike split at Augusta: 2:25:45
My bike split at Augusta: 2:27:48

Andrew's bike split at Clearwater: 2:10:35
My bike split at Clearwater: 2:11:20

And my bike split wasn't all that fast! It may seem fast compared to racing in the rolling terrain and chip seal roads of South Carolina, but it was pretty standard for this race. Actually I feel like I left a good bit out there and could've ridden harder and faster. Next year I hope to.

It's a cryin' shame that I felt the need to justify my ride! It just seems that the feeling about racing in Florida is that if you have a "fast" bike time then you drafted to get it. That sucks, plain and simple, especially at this race.

There are no lottery spots, there is no general entry, and there is no community fund entry. Everyone there qualified for it, and it's a fast course. That's why I can't understand why there is drafting. It's just pride and greed I suppose because the simple fact of the matter is that there was drafting, and even more blocking. And Drafting + blocking = peloton. I respect and understand Gordo's view on the matter of finger pointing, but it was my simple observation that the majority (not all) of the drafting and blocking culprits (peloton members) that I witnessed had names on their bibs that indicated a foreign nationality.

Rant over. On to the ride ...

From the beginning I felt really strong on the ride. In that regard I think the taper was a success for my cycling. The ride started out fairly typical. I passed a lot of people in the first 6 miles and wasn't passed by anyone. That's until the peloton came past me. The rest of the ride was comprised of either sitting 10 meters off the back of the pack, surging past the pack and riding hard to "get away", or sitting up to allow the pack to pass me as quickly as possible once they caught me. There was a little yelling involved and some smiling and cheering when the Draft Marshalls came by and issued penalties to pack members.

The only other notable event on the ride was losing my Garmin 305 while trying to move it from the bike mount to the wrist strap while descending the final bridge into transition. Major bummer!!!

T2 (2:10)

I put on socks for the run.

Run (1:34:33)

I had really high hopes for this run that just didn't pan out. My preparation over the last 10 weeks or so has been just awesome ... nearly perfect. My suspicion is that not running the final taper week was my undoing. Also the lack of core and flexibility work in the taper didn't help either.

By the time we were out on the run it was really heating up. I'm not sure the temperature but it felt very, very hot and the sun was much more powerful than back home. In contrast to the bike course, this run course is HARD. There is a bridge over a river that is long and steep (12% grade) that must be crossed 4 times.

The first 6.5 mile out and back went well and I was right on a 6:50 pace for the sub 1:30 run that I was targeting. But things started to go south quickly on the second lap. Firstly my IT band tightened up a lot causing me to have to shorten my stride, eliminate heel lift and increase turnover. It was sort of a shuffle run and caused me to drop my pace into the 7:15 per mile range. But the heat was also starting to get to me. I had to begin walking the aid stations to make sure I took in a full cup of water and to put cold sponges on the head and neck. This walking of the aid stations was costing me another 15 - 20 seconds per mile. In between the aid stations I would eventually start feeling the cold chills which is my indication that overheating is just around the corner. It was a real mental struggle ... it had me closing my eyes, blocking everything out, and just praying several times. The third time across that bridge was the most difficult. It felt sort of like a death march up that thing! But once I traversed that bridge for the 4th and final time I picked up the pace and started gaining back positions I had lost by walking the aid stations as other competitors were succumbing heat and distance. I finished strong.

Post Race

After crossing the line and making my way out of the finish area to my wife I learned what happened to Chris. While my race didn't go exactly to plan, his race totally derailed after we split up.

When I went to get in the corral to start my race, he went for a swim warm-up and when he jumped in the water feet first he landed on a clam or oyster shell which left a gash in his foot. He decided to race anyway and finished the swim in 27 minutes even. After getting on the bike and making his way past a peloton to some open road, he put his head down and began hammering away only to look up and see a traffic cone pushed out into his course of travel. He hit the cone and went over the bars traveling around 28 MPH. He got up and couldn't bend his arm and was in severe pain. He lay down in the grass on the side of the road and was spotted by a police officer and volunteer. An ambulance arrived shortly and took him to the hospital where he was treated for road rash and had stitches put in his foot.

The WTC called Laura who was eating breakfast with my wife to let her know and then sent a car to take her to the hospital. They then sent another car to bring them back to the hotel after Chris was released.

In the meantime while waiting on them to get back from the hospital I hobbled down to the ocean to stand in the cool water to try to get the inflammation out of my IT Band. It felt good but didn't really help. We then went to get a bite to eat and gather my race gear. Once we finished that we hooked back up with the Olson's. Chris and I had a few beers while the girls went to get his prescription filled. When they got back we loaded Chris up in a wheelchair and went to check out the sunset from Pier 60 and then back to Crabby Bill's for more seafood and a few more beers :p. I really admire Chris' ability to keep things in such a good perspective even while dealing with pain and disappointment.

Racing here was a great way to end the season and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The area is beautiful and the energy and atmosphere was fun. I would recommend the race to anyone and I plan to come back next year to see if I can go under 4:10.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Augusta 70.3 Race Report

Finish time: 4:28:28

Going to the mandatory pre-race meeting, picking up my packet, getting parking passes for me and the family, and dropping off my bike was a huge hassle/ordeal. What I estimated as a 90 minute process ended up taking around 4 hours and involved several miles of walking and a lot of standing. Not ideal the day before the race. By the time we were done (my son was with me) I was SO ready to get out of there! Not a good first impression.

Race Morning
I woke up around 4:30 AM at my family's lake house about 30 minutes outside Augusta. My dad and stepmom also got up and made me a nice breakfast. I was out of the house by 5:30 AM and at the race site around 6:00 AM. They would come to the race later with my son and my wife and two girls would be driving in from Lexington later in the morning.

I drove straight to transition and was able to park within a half mile. I loaded up a backpack and hauled the rest of my gear to transition and set it up. Then I drove to the parking lot and walked to the swim start where I picked up my chip and got in line with the rest of my swim wave.

Pretty hectic morning!

Swim 22:35
The water was 69 degrees and felt a little cool at first. There was a lot of debris in the water from the recent rains and the current was moving fast. I seeded myself in the front right by my friend Chris Olson (who placed 3rd in our AG) and tried to stay on his feet as long as I could. I think he must have gotten annoyed with me tapping his feet because he made a few zig zags and was gone :-) . Without a swim warm up it took me a few hundred meters to find my rhythm and get my breathing steady. By the halfway mark I was all up in the M30-34 wave that went off 4 minutes ahead of us. The swim flew by ... before I knew it we were at the boat ramp. When I looked down and saw 22 minutes I was a little shocked.

T1 2:57
Wow, my lack of racing recently (since June) really showed here. I thought I was at my bike and started stripping my wetsuit only to realize that I was on the wrong row. Lost some time here for sure

Bike 2:27:48
The bike course was very nice with a mix of all kinds of terrain except really steep climbs. It was fast going out with a nice tailwind and produced a 25+ average speed over the first 20 miles. Once we hit the rollers the pace started to slow a little. I stayed with a few M30-34s for pretty much the entire ride. Unfortunately once we started heading back to Augusta the wind was in our face and although it was mostly flat and downhill, the average held steady. I rode this ride very conservatively ... sort of between ironman and half ironman pace. The nutrition worked very very well ... just Gatorade + maltodextrin (Cytocarb) and electrolyte tablets. My average HR for the ride was only 151 and the average speed was just under 23 mph. Had I known how far up front I was in the AG I would have ridden more aggressively for sure!

T2 1:31
Again, it took me a little while to find my spot ... what's up with that?

Run 1:33:37
Coming out of T1 the legs felt good and ready to run. The first couple of miles were just under a 7 minute pace as I waited on my body to adjust to running and find my rhythm. I ran by HR keeping it just at or below 160. On miles where I would walk a little in aid station to get fluids my mile spits would be slightly higher. The run felt smooth and easy through 9 miles and then it took a more focus to finish it strong. The crowd support was amazing and I was able to see my family several times during the the run. My nutrition of gel + water worked very well also. I was able to meet my goal of negative splitting the run ...

RUN SPLIT 1: 7 mi 7 mi (3:46:29) 7:22/mi
RUN SPLIT 2: 13.1 mi 6.1 mi (4:28:28) 6:52/mi
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi. (1:33:37) 7:08/mile

My average HR for the run was right on target (160) with a max of only 169 which was during mile 13 as I was bringing it home. The cheerleader squad along the finishing chute doing the cheer as I came through was an awesome touch!!

I ended up finishing 6th in my age group of 531 athletes. I'm sure I could have taken 5th with just a little more effort on the bike as he was only 38 seconds in front of me.

There were 5 spots for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and I was able to get the first roll down which changes my plans for the rest of the season. Instead of racing the B2B iron distance race I'll be heading to Clearwater to race the 70.3 world champs. Fun stuff ...

In the end I'm very pleased with how this race turned out as I achieved all my goals (although some of which are now moot with the change of race plans). So now I will focus on building some speed over the 70.3 distance and see if I can PR in Clearwater and get that run in the 1:20s.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Augusta 70.3 Race Plan

Well, it’s not really a formal “plan” like this-is-what-I’m-going-to-eat-at-4:36-AM-after-2-minutes-and-34-seconds-of-light-hamstring-stretching-while-using-the-bathroom-for-the-second-time type plan. More of a general outline really.

The overarching goals of this race are:

  • Pacing, pacing, pacing. No sustained riding above 160 beats per minute and no running above 160 for first half of the run.
  • Test Nutrition. Nutrition needs to be tested for the ironman. I have a new strategy for long course racing this year and I need to make sure it works in a race scenario. The problem here is that a half ironman is raced at a higher intensity level than a full ironman. But if I can digest it during a half, I pretty sure it will also go down for the full.
  • Run well off the bike and finish strong.
  • Gather heart rate data for a well executed half ironman. Use this to tweak my ironman target HR zones
  • Leave some in the tank. I need to pick back up with ironman training right after this race without missing a beat. I’m not willing to spend a week to recover.

Swim: Start controlled; find a rhythm and hopefully some feet at the sharp end of the pack. Swim fast and exit the water at the front of my wave.

Bike: Ride “within myself”. Start out easy and let the perceived exertion increase steadily throughout the ride. Try to average above 23 mph if the course, effort and HR allow it. Manage nutrition well. Practice peeing on the bike and maintaining speed should the opportunity arise. Here’s a picture of how I have the bike setup for this race.

  • The position is the same as it will be for the ironman race … very conservative compared to the position I use for short course racing. The effective seat angle has been slackened back to about 77 degrees and the bars have been raised by 2 cm.
  • Spare tubular tire mounted behind the seat
  • Blue bottle on seat tube hold 2 C02 cartridges, 1 C02 valve, 1 tire lever, and one can of Vittoria Pitt Stop along with a poker to tamp the valve stem through the valve extender.
  • The clear bottle on the down tube will have 250 calories of Gatorade + maltodextrin
  • The Aero Drink bottle will also hold 250 calories of Gatorade + maltodextrin.
  • The Profile Design “bento box” attached to the steerer and top tube hold Endurolyte tablets and a gel packet.

Run: Negative split the half marathon. I want those last 6.55 miles of the run to be faster than the first 6.55 miles. I also need to make sure gel and water still works well for me during the run. And I want to finish strong but also feel like I still have some in the tank.

So that’s the plan. I didn't explicitly set any time goals as the course is totally unknown to me, but I know that if I do these things I've outline I'll put up a good number. I’ll write a report shortly after the race and analyze how well this plan was actually executed.

For now I still have some running to get done this afternoon before I bring the volume and intensity down to attempt to get somewhat fresh for the race.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hummingbird, vacation and surfing

Yep ... it's been a long time since my last update. I'm not sure why it's so hard to get around to this !??? It seems to be a common dilemma in the blog world, so it's not just me!! I find it much easier and more convenient to just tweet instead (see above). So moving forward I think I will only plan to update the blog once and month along with race reports, unless I have something important to say that can't be said in 140 characters or less.

So here's the low-down with my happenings ...

A hummingbird flew into our screened porch and got trapped. I had to help it out. It was cool getting to see one up close

Some people are constantly buying shoes or switching cars or things like this. For me, it's bikes. Here's my new beach cruiser

In action. I love the simplicity of single speed!

It's a popular mode of transportation at the beach. Some are even rigged to carry surf boards and skim boards.

Speaking of the beach ... we just got back from a week's vacation in the Outer Banks. It's a unique place and very different from the other beaches I've lived on/near (Hilton Head Is., Tybee Is., Folly Beach). I was able to do some surfing but it's not like surfing at those beaches ... there are barrels and the waves are way over head.

Try to find the surfers in the next two images

The kids love playing at the beach but the water was too rough for them to swim. My son was able to body board on the shore break though

Caleb finds a big conch shell

If you ever get the chance to go to Corova Beach I would HIGHLY recommend it. It's where the wild mustangs roam and the only way to get there is with a 4x4 as you have to drive on the beach and through the dunes.

I did manage to squeeze in a little training everyday :-)

As far as triathlon goes things are moving along according to plan. I had a good 4 week block where I rebuilt my running coming off an injury before the vacation week which I used as a recovery week. I'm such a creature of habit ... as fun as the vacation was, I'm happy to be back to my 3 hours of training per weekday schedule. Not so much for the corporate job though!!!

My bike fitness is coming around nicely and my speed in the water reached an all time high and is holding steady. Running is also shaping up really well as I'm getting my volume up in preparation for the ironman. I've found that running nearly every day suits me best.

My next race which is the Augusta 70.3 is about 10 days from now and I'm getting really excited to get back to racing . This isn't an "A" race for me since I'm using it as preparation for the ironman which happens six weeks later. I can't afford a proper taper for Augusta nor can I afford much recovery time as the weeks following are critical to my ironman buildup (4 weeks build + 2 weeks taper). So I will have to take this into account during the race and not get too exuberant. I'm still expecting to go well below 5 hours nonetheless. I'll most likely publish a formal plan before the race to compare with my actual execution.

Life is awesome. We are blessed beyond what we deserve!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

weakness = strength

When I'm quiet on the blog and twitter there are only three possibilities.

1) I'm out of town
2) I'm too tired from training to think or write
3) I'm injured

Unfortunately it's number 3 that has me quiet lately. Like a recurring nightmare the IT band has gone again, almost exactly 1 year from the last time. Last year it took me until December to get past it and I raced an ironman "through it" (which was not pleasant to say the least).

But now I know the things that need to be addressed to get through it. There are a few possible causes and I'm trying to address each one as quickly and methodically as possible. The frustrating thing about IT band injuries is that once the IT band "goes" it takes some time to get it under control so that it doesn't flare up when running. This involves a lot of rehab, testing, rehab while waiting a few days, then testing again and so on. And once running begins again it is a slow process to get back to longer sustained runs.

So what does this mean for the rest of the triathlon season? Well, Nationals is out. Augusta 70.3 is iffy but I'm holding out hope that I'll get back to form in time to race it. If I am able to race it I will train straight through it with only a few light days leading up to the race. For the ironman ... if I can race Augusta and then back it up with a 2+ hour run then I'll go for it and still expect a sub 10 hr outcome. I told Jennifer that I wouldn't race it injured as I've done that once already with the goal of completing the distance and don't care to do it that way again. If I'm on the start line this year it is to see how close to 9:30 I can come.

In other news ... I'm no longer being formally coached. This was a decision I made based on finances and the needs of the family. I improved as an athlete and learned a lot working with Jonathan and hope to work with him again in the future. In the meantime, there are higher priorities that must be addressed. The lessons I learned I will continue to carry with me and believe my best days of racing lay ahead.

From working with Jonathan I now understand how I need to train to hold my own in Open / Elite. It's pretty simple really ... get in as close to 20 hours of training per week as possible. Train a minimum of 3 hrs a day, 6 days per week, and have one day with light training. Swim at least 4 times per week and get in at least 10,000 meters with some arm and lung searing intensity. Run 4 or 5 times and try to get more than 30 miles in distance. Ride at least 7 hours, but 10 or more is preferable. And most importantly, get to know your body (I'm still in the very early stages of learning my body). Take care of the details (must get better at this!!). Have a lower volume week (12 - 14 hrs) every 4th or 5th week. Have fun.

We'll see how it works out over the next few years ...

I'll leave you with this awesome verse that keeps me moving forward with a smile:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reprimand and Advice

After explaining to Jonny that I had been doing some running drills (butt kicks, high knees) just before I felt the tendon strain, here's what he had to say (with some advice from Brett Sutton):

nick......grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr dont do anything that hurt the tendon...give them a rest...dont push it...your fitness wont go away....

and drills...are not a good investement in your energy...running is the best drill there is...

here s a little peice of wisdom from one of the greatest coach of the history of this sport.,..

brett sutton
yes we do a lot of running drills .

we first put the shoes on make sure in this drill we dont tie the laces too tight
2nd we make sure we stretch before leaving the house ,this drill is done by pushing the door open and walk down the steps carefully .
3rd drill is we jog easy to the corner , as to help warming up
4th we run , and this is the magic run drill , we do lots of it .
we run past many people in parks doing run drills , we find that , we dont have a lot of time to waste , so we like forrest gump , just run and keep running .
conclusion ,
we dont do drills , we find them counter productive , and injury intense .
we do howevr try when we run for some to keep the heel low on the recovery ,
no arse kicking drills for us
errr except on race day , then we go out and kick every body elses arse , who spent too much time thinking of how a drill is going to give them free speed .
my tip
run forrest run .

Monday, August 3, 2009

July 27 - Aug 2

Hey guys,

Just a quick note to let everyone know how things are going. The past 6 weeks of training have been very good with 4 weeks of build then a recovery week. The recovery week had less than 13 hrs training and left me feeling very fresh and fast. Last week I was back at it with 18 hours of training but unfortunately I ended the week on Sunday with a bit of a running injury which will require me to scale back the run training somewhat this week to recover. It's nothing serious, just a tendon / muscle strain on the backside of the knee. There's not much on the Internet about this one so I don't think it's common.

I'm very excited to have finalized the race plans for the rest of the season:

- Nationals in Tuscaloosa on Aug 22 (Olympic distance)
- Augusta 70.3 in late September
- Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 on Nov. 7th

Good times ahead! I'm also REALLY looking forward to a week in the Outer Banks hanging out with the kids and family and seeing how well I remember how to surf. It's always a scary thing when I go on vacation (especially to the beach) because I come back ready to sell the house, rid myself of the corporate job, and get back to a more relaxed and natural way of living.

Train well and have fun!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lake Placid roll down

I was looking through the results of Ironman Lake Placid and noticed something very strange. In the M30-34 division Kona slots rolled all the way down to 46th and 161st finisher in the division!!!! So either the recession hit the young 30s pretty hard or there are a lot of guys kicking themselves today for not going to roll down to claim their entry!

26 09:48:56 M30-34 3/210
35 09:53:43 M30-34 4/210
40 09:57:34 M30-34 6/210
250 11:08:48 M30-34 46/210
1336 13:47:25 M30-34 161/210

In my division (M35-39) it was another story ...

13 09:32:56 M35-39 1/312
23 09:46:29 M35-39 2/312
24 09:48:04 M35-39 3/312
31 09:51:40 M35-39 4/312
36 09:53:56 M35-39 8/312
46 09:59:20 M35-39 9/312
56 10:08:06 M35-39 10/312
58 10:08:44 M35-39 11/312

But back to the M30-34s, at CdA the slowest qualifier was 9:34:24 ... that's a completely different stratosphere from 13:47:25 or even 11:08:48. Pick your race wisely!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Wow, I know it's been a long time since my last post and I offer you my apologies for fading off the blog radar a bit. Unfortunately blogging is low enough on my totem pole of priorities that when time is scarce, very little trickles down that far. But I will make up for it with this MEGA POST!!!!! MEGA POST!!!!! MEGA POST!!!!! MEGA POST!!!!! MEGA POST!!!!!

Yep, it's been crazy here lately. Work has been really intense getting my projects ready for 4th quarter, our most busy time of year. The projects I've been working on are going to have a significant impact on the company's bottom line this year so I am dotting my i's and crossing my t's to make sure everything is in order. Being the único proveedor for mi familia, I have make sure that I capitalize on the opportunities presented me to bring home more tocino entreverado (yes, that was a strange tipping of the hat to Contador for his awesomeness yesterday). And since I have a very weak stomach for the ways of the corporate world, I rely on tangible results to further the old careerski.

But even moreso than work, THE TRAINING has been grinding me down to a limp blob of bone, muscle, soft tissue and brain matter bubbling on the hot Carolina asphalt like the urushiol on Toby's arm. Last week finished off a big 4 week block of training that, coupled with work and family, brought me to the edge of my capacity to keep moving forward. At the beginning of last week I could feel the grump trying to come out. Once I got over that, every workout was a internal argument with the whining little wimp that kept trying to talk me into cutting my workouts short, going easier than prescribed, or skipping sessions all together. But the better side of me held the course and finished strong. At end I had some questions for Jonathan that I thought I would share ...

Q: As you know I don't ride with power and haven't used heart rate monitoring in a long time. As a matter of fact, my Garmin is dead and I haven't wanted to spend the money to ship it off for a new battery, so I'm very low tech at the moment. Without numbers of any kind, everything has been totally on perceived exertion and time. I'm not too worried about just going on rpe for the half, but I'm a little nervous about relying solely on this for the ironman distance. Do you have any thoughts on that?

A: No hr no powermeter not problem! I will give you some hard set on the bike with hard time trial in the last hour of a 5h ride...and the goal is to kick ass at those... If you dont kick ass, you rode too hard in the first 4h... you will learn quick... Ironman is all about holding back on the swim and first 4h of the bike and get into it at the 5-6h mark.... so i will train you to be scare of riding hard! to be smart and hold back.... trainign will do this for you....

"I will train you the be scared of riding hard" hmmmm ... sounds, well, scary!! What's interesting is that, although I used a HR monitor last year for the ironman, this is the same strategy I employed. I capped my HR at 148 for the first 90 miles, the upped it to 151-152 for the last 22 miles. Doing that was enough to drop the pack a 4 guys that rode with me for the first 90 and put several minutes into them by T2. Of course with the IT band injury they made it up really quickly on the run ... but it was fun while it lasted!

Q: Also, I'm comfortable with the CHO strategy on the bike, but what about nutrition on the run since I will just have what's on the course (Hammer Heed, water, coke, gel etc.)? What do you use on the run? Do you get enough calories in on the bike to just hydrate on the run?

A: Nutrition: simple, you need calories but you dont know how your body will fell in the marathon. You might get sick of gels...or gatorade (hammer) or anything else so you will have to take what your body wants at that time... And we will make simple guide line... it s all just need to get some.. Coke for sure... on of the best thing at ironman...1 or 2 cup at each aid station If you need more, you take a gel with water.... every 30-45min.... we can work simple strategy like this but in your case... i think coke and gels every 30-45min with water only will be the way.... if you like can drink it but coke is more dense in calorie and low volume so you dont get bloated out of it...

Last year I used gel and water mostly on the run and it worked fairly well. This year I will be running at a higher intensity so we will see.

Q: Also curious about where you think I am in terms of my goals, if you are satisfied with our progress, and what's ahead in the training and build up the rest of the year.

A: for goals and your developpement. I cant ask much more. You add a bit of a injury and deal VERY well with it. You PR at most races in times or placing... you are improving and i cant ask for more. I m happy to see you progress and if you enjoy the process, that is the most important. For the ironman, it s going to be a great challenge and something new... the build up will be about 6-7 big week of training with a 3 weeks taper. The taper isnt a holiday... it s still some good work but you will be rested and fresh on race day. so..that is why we arent doing the build up right now.... if we do it too will burn out and i dont want that. You are getting fitter right now with some solid aerobic work and i could get you to do a ironman almost now with a few more rides and long runs.... but we will build properlky...keep it not too long and have a go at it. We will evalute after that we goal you want to set. The ironman will show you were you are at in longer distance but the training will give us a good idea of your final will know before the race ... After the race...we should go into a transition phase... unstructure...more rest...for 3 week...we can talk about that later but that is what i look like. How are you feeling right now? tired? ready for a bit of rest!!!

A: LOL ... you guess it, ready for rest.

So apparently we are not even in the build-up yet. On the flipside, I'm pretty close to being race-ready now. I can't wait to see how it feels to be truly fit to race this year.

On the home front things are well. Yesterday was National Ice Cream day (thanks President Reagan!!) so we celebrated by making our own waffle cones, which we filled with ice cream, and enjoyed with some neighbors and friends.

My little brother was recently married!!! We made the trip back home to Savannah Gee A to celebrate this most momentous occasion. I haven't seen the wedding photos yet, but I'll be sure and post them as soon as I can so y'all can check out my tux. In the meantime take a look at their engagement re-enactment photos - beware, it gets a little steamy at the end ;-) He and Allison make a great couple and have an awesome story as they have been dating on and off since high school!

Jennifer and kids are doing great and enjoying the summer. It took Caleb a few weeks to decompress from 9 months in school, but he's now back to himself. We really wonder if home school isn't the best approach!

They are growing so fast! Soon I will have two fashion chicks and a MMA bada$$ on my hands ..


Monday, June 29, 2009

Training update

Training goes well. I love the day-in, day-out training. Both last week and this week are transition weeks from the lower-volume racing weeks of late to the buildup for half and full iron distance races coming this fall.

Last week: 15 hrs 15 min

- 11,400 meters swimming
- 7 hrs 45 min on the bike
- 3 hours of running
- 1 hr 45 min strength

This week's plan: 16 hrs 50 min

- 12km swimming
- 8 hrs on the bike
- 4 hrs 50 min of running
- 1 hr strength

Also I've been trying to choose a race as a lead-in to the Augusta 70.3. I think I've landed on the USAT National Championship as my only option. Unfortunately it's like 6 hrs away in Tuscaloosa, AL. Originally I thought one of the Hartsville races would be an option but that conflicts with the much anticipated annual surf trip / family vacation to the Outer Banks.

My brother-in-law may be coming over from San Jose to join us so he can show me how they do it out west. Sadly any surfing skills that I once had are long gone now that I live over 100 miles from the coast. So I fully expect to get schooled by the b-i-l as well as give the local obx-ers a good chuckle (at least I hope that's their reaction!!) It's all good ... I wouldn't have found triathlon if I hadn't moved inland (kinda strange?!). Anyway, I'll have a bike with me and there are tons of well paved, bike laned roads to ride. There aren't any hills, but the wind there is ridiculous (think Wright Bros) which should be plenty to make for some hard workouts. Swimming will be all open water in the ocean and I can't wait to run barefoot on the beach at sunrise!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tri the Midland Race Report

A little belated, but here’s a quick report from Tri the Midlands:

The swim was awesome (apart from the hot water). I swam in the Xterra Velocity speedsuit again … I LOVE that thing!!!! The Open division had ITU-style swim start where we lined up on the dock and had a dive start. That was a lot of fun, but I did take on a little water in the goggles. No biggie. Felt strong in the water, but never latched onto any feet. I think we were all pretty much strung out. My arms burned but my breathing was calm and steady. I was the 5th Open male out of the water (of 10), and ranked 8th overall among the men (255). Until I typed this I didn’t realize how much swim ability drops off outside of the Open div … I was top 3% overall, but only 50% in the Open division. Swim time (with run to transition) 7:40. Still so work left to do here …

Running into T1 I could see Woody and Mike Wendt at their bikes so I knew my swim was pretty good. Parker is one speedy dude all around. He came into transition after me and was out well before me. I think getting out of the Velocity cost a bit of time here. For reference, Parker was in and out in 44 seconds to my 1:03.

Before we made it out of the Lake Carolina community I had a school of fish in sight (Mike Wendt and Ryan Payne). I was gaining ground on them and watching the battle ahead. Soon enough Mike passed Ryan and was on his way down the road. I caught Ryan around mile 4 pushed past him pretty hard. This was right after the turn on Langford Road, which was the fastest and most fun part of the course. By the end of Langford I had almost bridged the gap to Mike. I made my move on him around mile 10 on Mickle Road. Mike hung with me for the final mile 4.5 miles which had a lot of turns, traffic circles, etc and he entered T2 behind me by 7 seconds. Bike time was 36:44, 3rd Open, 6th overall

Jerking my feet out of the bike shoes my calf locked up with a cramp. Not a good sign but what can you do? Time, 49 seconds.

Starting out the run I felt good. The calf cramp seemed to be totally gone. It was getting hot and I need to open the jersey a little to get some air to my core. The zipper on the Craft jersey is just like the Xterra Velocity in that it is a break-away zipper if the zipper is flipped up. Somehow in trying to open it up a bit the zipper broke away and all the sudden I was running with a wide open jersey. I tried to fiddle with it for a bit but gave up as I had to sacrifice some pace to mess with it. Oh well, who care how I look anyway … let’s just concentrate on this run. This is a brutal run course. It is very undulating until all the sudden it goes straight up to the turn around, and then straight back down, then undulating again. This year the course was changed such that we ran on the road on the way to the turn around and then on the bike path on the way back. Theoretically you are covering the same amount of elevation gain and loss, but the run this year seemed way harder than last year. I think running on the road isn’t as gradual of a climb and increases the grade in certain sections. Perhaps last year when I raced in the age group, having people up ahead to run down made it go by quickly?? Whatever the reason, this little 5k was one of the hardest runs I’ve endured. I knew there were fast runners coming for me and I could see that I was losing some ground to Woody and that long hill seemed to go on forever. I think the hardest part was hitting the undulating part the second time, after climbing the hill. I was tapped out. I gave it what I had (which wasn’t much) and ended up running a disappointing 20:45, 6th Open, 13th overall.

In the end it was 1:06:59 for 6th place overall.

Coincidently JB also put up a 1:06:59, but apparently his was some 10th or 100th of a second faster than mine, which gave him the 5th spot. Unfortunately since he’s not racing Open it didn’t come down to a sprint finish between us (which would have been AWESOME). Instead we have to let the clock sort it out and it is what it is. Oh well, next year he’s racing Open Masters so we’ll be going head to head. Fun stuff!

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 8 - 14

Back to the training grind I love so much ...

Total: 17 hrs 7 min
Swim: 10,000 meters
Bike: 8 hrs 33 min
Run: 3hr 28 min
Strength, etc: 2 hrs 15 min

Training last week was good after taking it pretty easy Monday and Tuesday to absorb the work from the race last Sunday. By Tuesday the legs were feeling good and ready to put in some harder efforts. As for swimming, I was totally spent by Wednesday after swimming 4 days straight with no lack of intensity. So Thursday was no swimming and then back in the pool on Friday for a great session with my friend Chip Edgar. For the main set, which was 2000m continuous negative splitting the second half, we worked on drafting with each of us pulling 500 meter segments. This was a great learning experience for me as I haven't been able to draft well in races (and had just about given up on trying). Now I can see the true amount of rest you get when being pulled and know what to feel for with my hands to know I'm in the right spot. Hopefully I'll get to try out my new found awareness this weekend.

Which brings us to the upcoming race on Saturday. I can't wait ... this is a really fun race just across town. It's a great little sprint race that was established last year, but this year there have been some changes made to the bike course to make it a little longer and avoid a busy intersection. So times won't really be comparable to last year. The downside of racing is that training volume for the week goes down (unless you're just "training through it" - which I am not). It's a local race so I want to do my best to represent my sponsors and supporters well.

I think the reason I'm looking forward to the race so much is that it is a kind of celebration of the culmination of the short-course season for me. After this race my focus will shift to preparing for the 70.3 race in Augusta and B2B iron distance race. I'm tossing around the idea of going to Tuscaloosa for the USAT Age Group National Championship race but haven't decided yet. Actually I'm a long way from deciding as I haven't yet mentioned it to Jennifer.

On the family side it was a big weekend of dance recitals. We had family come in town from Savannah to watch the kids and Jennifer do their thing on stage. They all did great! Hannah (3 yrs old) was hilarious ... at one point she covered her eyes (so no one could see her) and then laid face-down on the stage during the performance with the other "babies". It didn't help that the whole place was laughing at them, but it was just too cute and funny not to laugh! The next night she did much better with the stage fright, but did end up getting mad at one of the other 3 yr olds and chased her around the stage trying to whack her with her wand. That's my girl!!

Abby (almost 5) on the other hand was the consummate professional. She had here routine absolutely mastered and really was in another league from the other 4 and 5 year olds. Everyone was so impressed and we were EXTREMELY proud of her! I would say that she has a gift for ballet.

Have a great week and train well!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Festival of Flowers

I had two goals in mind for this race. 1) top 10 overall. 2) take 6 minutes off my time from last year which would be about 2:07:high.

I was hoping for a non-wetsuit legal swim as to separate the sharks from the fish from the minnows, and I got my wish. Also I was anxious to try out the new Xterra Velocity speedsuit. The water felt great during the swim warm-up and I was more relaxed than I have been all year. The buoys were setup in a awkward jagged line going out to the first yellow turn buoy which could barely be seen for the fog. On shore Chris Olson and I plotted our line to yellow turn buoy on the left side of the orange buoys. Here I made my first mistake by picking a target of the canoe on the left of the first orange buoy (a moving target) since I breathe on the left side. The gun went off and the plan was to stay controlled and relaxed until the second orange buoy and then pick it up. Everything went according to plan and there was a little jockeying for position in the beginning. The canoe I was sighting on evidently drew further to the left close to the shore the closer I got to it which pulled me away from the pack and too far left. I had to make my way back to the right to make the left turn around the first yellow buoy. Once here I picked it up a bit and found a really good rhythm. Coming out of the water I looked at my watch and was shocked to see 24:16. Worst case scenario in my mind had me under 24 minutes, I guess I'm not a shark yet ... The upside is that it was 3+ minutes faster than last year.

Running up to transition Jeremey tells me I'm 6th. T1 wasn't that great, for some reason couldn't get the helmet strapped. Racing Open has the advantage of the best rack spots which mitigated this some. I opted not to clip the shoes on the pedals which further slowed down t1.

Off on the bike felt pretty good. I passed position 5 and 4 within the first few miles and could see 3 and 2 up the road. I was very slowly bringing them in some. About mile 10 I get passed by Dan Moss. I knew it was just a matter of time. Around mile 14, here comes Parker just absolutely smacking it!! Of course I can't ride with these guys so I just settled into my rhythm back in the 6th spot. I knew there were guys who would beat my time that started in waves behind mine, but to keep my head in the game I was pretending I was actually 6th. I changed my position around a little last week and had only ridden 12 miles on the changes which had and additional 1 cm of drop. Nearing the end of the ride I could feel my lower back a bit. I kept reeling in the two in front of me but never closed the gap fully and they entered T2 just ahead of me. Ride time was 58:48 for an average speed of 24.5. I was happy to have broken the 1 hr mark.

Mistake number 2 was forgetting to get out of my shoes on the bike. So the once advantageous rack spot was now a hindrance as I had to run the entire length of transition on cleats. I ran out of t2 just behind 5 and 4.

Setting out on the run I saw my family at the top of the first little rise coming out of transition. I slowed down a bit to high five my wife and kids and then proceeded to get about the business of finding a good rhythm. The guy in front of me, bib 139, was running what seemed to be a pretty good pace. I thought I would just run his pace until the mile marker and then reassess and see if I could attack on the first big hill on hwy 702. We hit the first mile marker and I looked at the watch ... not good ... 6:32. By the feel of things I was pretty sure we were running low 6s, but that just wasn't the case. Shortly after mile 1 we both passed position 4. About this time I noticed the audible slapping sound coming from my left foot with each foot strike which didn't do anything for the mood. Also 139 (David Hall) was either picking it up or I was slowing down. Not much going on after passing number 4 until just after mile 4 when some dude (Mark Render) with 44 on his calf comes flying past me and I watch him fly past 139 up the road. Geez, this run has gone from bad to worse! In the end it was a terrible run ... my goal was sub 40 and this wasn't even close (41:40). Still 2+ min faster than last year, but c'mon!!!! My running form just feels so awkward to me right now.

In the end it was 9th place in a time of 2:06:37. So my goals were accomplished and I took 7 minutes off last year's time and finished 10 positions higher. Sitting here today though I'm seething over that run! My suspicions are that my training after getting past the calf injury was just too little too late. 56 miles run in all of April due to the injury and then ramping it up in May but without any threshold work just didn't setup well for a good 10k. Maybe next year ...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Energy galore

I almost posted again yesterday but figured it would overload y'all with too much Nick so I delayed it until today (you're welcome). The recovery week has left me with more mental energy than usual ... hence the many posts and massive amount of code being written a work.

Physically I'm feeling pretty fresh also. My little tune up run went well this morning with my race pace intervals coming and going smoothly. In the pool today I did a 1500 meter distance set in 21:32, so feeling pretty sprightly there also. I'm not sure if this speed in the water will translate to open water, but if it does my sub 24 minute swim goal should be a given.

The downside of a recovery week before a race is that I'm left with too much and knock out tasks I've been meaning to get around to. Namely the task of making position changes on the bike based on the advice of my coach after seeing the pictures from Lake Murray. Reading Scott's latest post and talking with him about his bike-fit changes and viewing the video he sent over inspired me to give a go. This probably wasn't the wisest thing to do just days before a race. Hopefully I didn't sabotage myself!! I'll have to try to get some pictures up of the refined position. In short, it's lower in the front and my arms are now parallel to the ground instead of being slanted down. I achieved this by removing 1 cm risers from between my aerobar cuffs and the extension to which they attach.

peace out!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Expert Coaching

Being a recovery week I have some extra energy for posting, so here is another! On the flip side of that coin, it is the week of a race so naturally I have a sore throat and congestion :-(

In case you hadn't seen these, I thought I give you a glimpse into the expert coaching and mentoring I receive from JonnyO. Enjoy!

Tip of the Week #1:

Tip of the Week #2:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More on Health

Paul’s recent post on Health and Fitness got me thinking (as his posts often do). It was strange that we posted on the same topic within hours of each other. His post was a continuum of a set of posts with the common theme of Health, Wealth, and Happiness … these being the pillars of his long term goals and with each pillar being linked to each other. I believe this is a common set of fundamental goals for many of us in the “western” world. In his writings, Paul does a beautiful job of illustrating each pillar with a slant to make the topic relevant to the endurance athlete.

But specifically his post dealt with a dimension of Health that mine did not, which is the mental aspect of health. This brought me to ponder the importance of spiritual health since, in my opinion, the three (mental health, physical health, and spiritual health) are undoubtedly connected.

So the premise thus far is that spiritual health is a necessary ingredient for the larger pillar of Health, and the pillar of Health is directly connected to the pillars of Wealth and Happiness. But what is spiritual health? How is it related to physical health? How important is it? How can it be obtained and maintained? And what impact does it have on the other pillars?

What is spiritual health?

Instead of providing a definition from some internet source, I’ll write the attributes that I believe embody spiritual health.

- Hope
- Eternal assurance
- Absence of fear
- Maturity
- Selflessness
- Contentment

How is spiritual health related to physical health?

I grabbed this from (a “secular” website), which was the first result in the Google search “spiritual health”:

“No one really knows for sure how spirituality is related to health. However, it seems the body, mind and spirit are connected. The health of any one of these elements seems to affect the health of the others.

Some research shows that things such as positive beliefs, comfort and strength gained from religion, meditation and prayer can contribute to healing and a sense of well-being. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better, prevent some health problems and help you cope with illness, stress or death.”

And this is simply a confirmation that the medical community recognizes the importance and connection between spirituality and health. To me, the most intriguing part of this statement is the acknowledgement that spiritual health can “contribute to healing”.

How important is it?

Okay, so here’s where things begin to transcend …

Until now the premise has been that spiritual health is a vital component of Health, with the understanding that spiritual health contributes to physical and mental health. But, in truth, spiritual health not only affects the temporal (the mind and body as they exist now), but the eternal … specifically the spirit, which is not temporal. So in this regard, spiritual health transcends all other health since its implication reaches beyond the natural and into the supernatural.

If you are not of Judeo/Christian theology you may be saying to yourself, “this guy is Looney … I don’t believe that there is eternity … there is nothing that is not natural, everything is finite, including us, the world, and all of existence. We have no spirit; we are simply animals whose minds have evolved way beyond that of other animals”.

To that mindset I don’t really have a response. It’s like a blind man and a man who can see sitting on a bench in a park. The man who can see says, “Hey there’s a squirrel over there”. And the blind man says, “No there’s not. There is no such thing as squirrels.” The man who can see says, “Yes there is, I’m looking at one. It’s right over there.” And the blind man says, “Yeah right … you’re a fool. Like I said, there is no such thing as squirrels.” – A pointless debate that goes nowhere.

So, moving on …

How can spiritual health be obtained and maintained?

There is only one answer and it is the same for both obtaining and maintaining spiritual health. Christ … believing in Christ, receiving salvation and redemption through Christ, and being sanctified through Christ. Christ is the only way. Every other path is false and will never bring you to spiritual health.

And what impact does spiritual health have on the other pillars?

Well … unfortunately for our desire to be comfortable, Christ does not call us to a life of wealth and happiness. He puts a greater calling on our lives; He calls us to a life of sacrifice! The truly best part is that He promises that through this we will find something better than happiness … we will find contentment, which transcends both health and wealth.

This shouldn’t be a problem for endurance athletes like me since we are very accustomed to sacrificing comfort to gain fitness and performance. So I should do this more. I should sacrifice my wants and my needs for others. I should love my neighbor as myself. And I should do this as a willing sacrifice to the Lord.

Another wise man named Paul once wrote these (I think it is obvious that Paul was an athlete, perhaps a runner, and a fan of sports):

...train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. - 1 Timothy 4:7-8

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. - 1 Corinthians 9:22-27

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. - Galatians 5:6-8

...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. - Hebrews 12:1-3

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. - Romans 15:1-2

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. - 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Monday, June 1, 2009

Health and Fitness + Training Update

I haven't done much posting lately so I thought I would catch up in one massive post ... grab some coffee, cause here goes ...

Like many athletes I tend to let the two (health and fitness) blur together in my mind. The latest event to rattle this ignorance-is-bliss mindset for me was the death of a legend, Steve Larsen at just 39 years of age. This one really threw me for a loop because Steve was the picture of fitness ... a world champion poised to see how far he could take it, one more time. Even more so however was the fact that he left behind five small children which hits very close to home for me, having 3 little ones myself.

If you follow my blog you may remember that late last year I set a plan in place to have my body composition measured every quarter this season leading to the ironman in the late fall. My goal was to reach a high level of fitness in June for two races and then again in November. Well June is here and today was the day to check the numbers and let the chips fall where the may. The items that are in bold are the ones I'm concerned about most (from a fitness perspective).

Height (in)717171
Weight (lb)160159161
Waist (in)3029.529.7
Hip (in)36.53636.7
Waist/Hip Ratio.82.82.81
Blood Pressure121/74N/A118/82
Resting HR525248
Max HR186186186
Body Fat %
Fat Weight (lb)9.9212.8812.56
Lean Weight (lb)150.08146.12148.44

Things have made a very big shift since March in the right direction. My weight is up by 1 pound, but for very good reason as my fat weight is down nearly 3 pounds and my lean weight is up 4 pounds. This simply means that I've put on muscle and lost fat. I was very pleased to have reached my goal of 6% body fat for June.

I should say that I did not diet AT ALL to reach 6%. As a matter of fact most days include 2 breakfasts, mid morning snack, lunch, copious amounts of chocolate, more afternoon snacks (lots of fruit), and large dinners with multiple helpings and several pieces of bread, and of course desert. This leads me to believe that I can become even more lean for November by incorporating a smidgen of willpower when it comes to food.

So that is my fitness and I am pretty fit at the moment. But what about my health?

I afraid it is not such a positive note here ... I had an evaluation last week (blood pressure and blood analysis) and the results have come back. The areas for concern are my systolic blood pressure number (121) - which is at the bottom of the "High Normal" range, and my cholesterol numbers. My total cholesterol number was 218 mg/dl which puts me in the "Borderline high" range. The HDL ("good cholesterol") number was fine (50), but the LDL ("bad cholesterol") was in the "Borderline high" range with a 141.

Jennifer has made an appointment with my doctor so we can figure out the right approach for getting my blood pressure and cholesterol back into normal ranges. Hopefully this won't involve drugs!!!

Last week capped off a solid block of training leading into some races this month. I've been very consistent and hope it pays off in my performances. Here's a picture of training over the last few weeks. The first week shown there is the week following the Lake Murray triathlon and then the remaining weeks until now. This week will be much lighter as I'm hoping to realize the fitness gains from this block going into the upcoming races.

The basic structure has been 10-12km of swimming (4 sessions per week), around 8.5 hours on the bike, with the run building to just over 30 miles last two weeks, and as much core strength work as I can squeeze in. Had I not crashed at Mt. Mitchell the cycling time for 5/18 week would have been quite a bit higher. Unfortunately I won't get the boost I was hoping for from Mitchell, but other than that, it's gone off without a hitch.

I have some ambitious goals for Festival of Flowers. Last year I finished 19th overall with a poor swim (27:48) and terrible run (43:54). This year I'm hoping to shave at least 6 minutes off my time from last year (2:13:47) and place in the top 10. Last year a 2:07 would have put you in 10th place. Maybe I'm being optimistic but I'm seeing 6 minutes on the swim and run alone with just a steady effort. I think 24 minutes on the swim is very realistic and I will be very disappointed if I run over 40 minutes!! Last year I rode just over an hour (1:00:23) for a near 24 mph average ... so obviously I'm aiming to redeem myself by going under an hour! The one thing to watch out for here is the heat. This is the first race on the circuit where the heat starts to play a role and, in the past, it has caught me off guard (hence the dismal run last year).

I'll leave you with this picture from last Monday. Me a my girls, relaxing on the boat and lovin' it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Where's the sportsmanship?

I really wish triathletes were more like golfers ... especially this one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Been a slacker

with the blog (not with the training!!). I'm at the tail end of a 3 week block following lake murray tri before bringing it down a bit heading into Festival of Flowers and Tri the Midlands. The calf injury is healed and I'm back to 30+ mile run weeks. Not quite at the volume I was before the injury but building to it and so far the intensity has been very minimal but is building as well.

After the June races it will be time to begin building up for Augusta 70.3 and B2B. I have a hole in the calendar between late June and late September and need to fill it with some longer races. Perhaps Hartsville Oly, and maybe AG Nationals in AL, but I would really like to find a late summer half. I don't know of any off hand ...

I should have some video to post soon of my top secret training hideaway. Speaking of which, I need to plan a weekend mini-training camp getaway. The biggest problem is that it's so darn relaxing there that it's hard to "get the work done" as jonnyo would say.