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Monday, March 30, 2009

March 23-29

Total: 17 hrs
Swim: 12km
Bike: 8 hrs 30 min
Run: 4 hrs 28 min
Strength: 1 hr

Last week started off pretty strong on Monday with 90 minutes on the bike and then a double run totaling 2 hours of running for the day. I was getting all my work done and feeling fairly strong through Thursday and then Friday the wheels started to come off. After my swim on Friday I was totally spent - no energy, starving and my lower legs were t-rashed. Thankfully I only had some light work on the bike and 1 hour of running left for the weekend. So apart from that little bit of training I laid very low with the family and slept and ate whenever I had the opportunity. Well that's not totally true ... I did finish up the big flower bed I've been working on in the back yard by laying in the border / edging material. But I also got lots of little naps and snacks. Our friends Kelley and Greg had us over for dinner last night and could probably tell that I was extra mellow, even more than my usual laid-backness. Our kids love to play together their new house has a nice big back yard and dedicated play room where the kids can wear themselves out.

For the lower legs, luckily I had an appointment on the schedule for this morning with Dr. Renick for my ART treatment. Also the heater in the pool is still broken today so it's a bit like taking an ice bath ... great for recovery! Additionally last week I ordered a pair of the very stylish compression sleeves for my calves. Hopefully these things will help make running a little more enjoyable this week.

This week has another pretty big run block and even a Team TBB Special swim workout. It sounds cool but I have a feeling that lifting myself out of the pool afterwards will be a challenge.

I'll be tuned into IM Live on Sunday as coach is racing IM Australia.

Train well!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Downtown Columbia Triathlon Race Report

This was my first triathlon of the 2009 season and it was a bit more rough around the edges than I anticipated it would have been. However, the overall result was better than I had hoped or expected. I ended up finishing in 4th place after a series of unfortunate debacles.

The Swim
I was seeded to start with Daniel Moss (the overall winner) in the 4th set of two. My plan was just to fall in line on his feet and let him pull me through the course. Well when we started the pace felt really easy and I thought, "I'm not slowing down!". We reached the end of the lane at 50 meters and I did my flip turn and I was way too close to the wall which made for a very awkward turn and by the time I came up in the other lane I was in oxygen debt. I tried to hold the pace for a while then I thought, "I'm slowing down!". From here it was a hypoxic state for the next couple of lanes and until I started to feel my chip coming off my ankle. What was going on? This swim was not going according to plan!! I reached back and pulled off the chip and thought for a minute about swimming with it. It was impossible to swim with my hand in a fist so I just let it go. In hindsight I should have stuffed it in my shirt or shorts. After that I was able to find a good rhythm but Daniel was gone and I was getting caught by Parker Roth and one of the female athletes. Great ... losing time already! Out from the pool and run to transition I told anyone who looked official that I had lost my chip and my number was 7. Looking at where I ended up in the field after the swim and based on Cam's Scott bike next time mine in the below picture (he started 10 seconds behind me) and his swim time of 8:05, I would guess my swim with the run to T1 was around 8:00 +-.

Getting to my bike my lane mate was on his way out. Great, didn't lose too much time afterall. Getting onto the bike was my next mishap. As you can see above my shoes are clipped in. When I did the old flying mount and went to strap my right shoes on my foot my left one somehow hit the ground and popped off. Crap!!!! I had to turn around and go back and get it. Thankfully I came to a stop and a volunteer tossed it to me. I then had to lean my bike against my body and put on both shoes and then do another flying mount (this time with shoes on) and get going. This cost me some MAJOR time and during this debacle Cameron came past me.

The Bike
The bike course on this one was a bit hectic. It was 3 x 3.something mile loops with 7 right hand 90 degree turns and 2 left hand 90 degree turns ... so 27 corners! I felt strong on the bike but at start of the second loop I wondered why I hadn't dry heaved yet and if I should be going harder. Not long after I got to the climb and the heaving started. Yep, I'm going hard enough! The second lap also brought on a steady stream of other athletes which made the course a bit crowded. There were a few issues with cars but overall I made it though the course . My Garmin said I rode it in 24 minutes so about 23.5 mph. Not great for a time trial but not too bad for a "crit style" course like this I suppose. I'll have to say that I like having multiple loops on the bike course as it was a easy way to mentally break up the ride. I never saw or caught anyone from Open division nor was I caught by anyone.

The next debacle happened as I was coming back into transition for T2. i was coming in a little fast and the lanes going in and out of transition were very narrow and the volunteers were yelling at me to make a hard left and I jammed up the brakes and flat spotted my rear tire (again!!!). I'm sure the boys at the shop will get a kick out of this one! With bike handling skills like these I don't deserve (nor can afford) to ride GP 4000s - I'm going back to Sprinters.

The Run
The course was just about as crazy as the bike course. I never really knew where I was going until I got Mark Woody in sight and could follow him. Before then every time I got to a volunteer I would just open my arms up and ask, "Where am I going?" and they would point me down a sidewalk, around a corner, over a pedestrian bridge, or up a set of stairs (yes, stairs). Nearing the turn around I was able to get an assessment of where I was in the field. I saw Daniel out in front with Parker really moving fast behind him and then Cameron not too far behind Parker. Then closer to me was Mark. So my goal was just to reel him in as much as I could (I knew I wouldn't catch him) and by the last bit of the run I had brought myself to within a block of him. The run actually felt really easy and was probably the least intense part of the race. Based on Mark's time of 17:21 I would guess mine is somewhere in that ball park which would have been a HUGE PR for me had I had an official split.

In the end Mark had me by 1 minute on the swim, then I gained about that much back on the bike, and then we ran similar 5ks but my overall time happened to beat his by 3 seconds giving me 4th place even though he crossed the line 4th (because he was the 1st to swim - 30 seconds before my swim start). My total time was 51:34 which was 1:50 seconds behind 3rd place. Even without the shoe incident I don't think would have closed that gap. Next time maybe!

My two oldest kids came out with Jennifer to enjoy the race and were super proud of dad!

I had to include this video from the race Saturday that shows Mark Woody getting caught and passed by a female Open division athlete. If you look closely you can see me at several points. Just look for the yellow jersey or the one armed windmill:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Response to the Windmill

Since I shared the video of the one armed windmill I figured I should share the response from coach:

"for the swim.... ABSOLUTLY no concern about the straigh arm, you have a good rythme in you, and that is key. Your swimming is actually very nice from outside the water. The weakness might be in the catch phase and power/strengh related but i do beleive if we work really hard at paddle work and specific fitness, we can get you to a solid ironman swim

my goal with you is to make a good ironman swim out of you.... not get you to the olympic in swimming. So, i need to work with some limitation. To make a swimmer out of you is impossible as you are too old and your partern as set in you. We cant change them. What we can work on is finding rythme in your swimming...having a style that is dynamic....and making you strong... with this, we can hope to get you to a 50min ironman swim on a long term project. That is plenty for you to win most races...But to take on the challenge to change you to be a swimmer would be so complicated and would required so much swimming. you dont need to be a swimmer to get out in 50min....

Now, realise that a 50min ironman swim is acheivable for a non swimmer as it s simply not fast.... a real swimmer, Thorpe, phelps, etc..could do that 2.4miles in 40min..... but for us.... a bit slower will jsut do so we have to work with what we have.

from what i see in the video, there is no reason that we cant acheive good triathlete stardards at ironman level. I will check the video some more to see if i can see a bit more of what is happening under water but so far, i m happy with what i see....lets get you strong, fit, and keep the rythme.... ( we have a few swimmer with exactly the same arms straigh recovery as you and they do swim very fast!)"

The part I like best, "we can hope to get you to a 50min ironman swim on a long term project. That is plenty for you to win most races..."

The part I like least, "you are too old"


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The one armed windmill

It has been recently pointed out to me by friends who haven't seen me swim in awhile that I have developed a change in my form. After discussing it with my coach he was interested to see it, so here it is. Rumor has it that having a straight arm isn't deemed such a bad thing by some folks in the triathlon world.

I should tell you that a friend of mine who's husband shot this video and who is a former compatriot of yours and former member of your national Olympic swim squad (1980 - the one that boycotted the Olympics), and future swim coach of my son (when he joins the Drew Sharks) emphatically does not like the flying arm. She thinks I will hurt my shoulder. However, my shoulder does NOT currently hurt during or between workouts.

This video was shot during the back half of a 2 x 1500 meter set in a z2 effort. I swimming fairly easy at a 1:28 per 100 meter pace.

Behold the one armed windmill:

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 9th – 15th

Total: 17 hours +
Swim: 11,700 meters
Bike: 7 hrs 20 min.
Run: 4 hrs 51 min.
Strength: 1hr 55 min

It was a bit of a crazy week, but gladly I made it through. The illness that I blogged about in the last entry turned pretty nasty over the weekend and I ended up with laryngitis, which is a first for me. I wondered if it would take me out of training or not, but thankfully I felt well enough to finish my work for the week which was 90 minutes on the bike Saturday and a 90 minute run Sunday. Coach had me limit my HR for these sessions to 130 as to not drain my body of the resources it needs to fight this thing off for good. Today I’m feeling much better and have returned to work despite not being 100% (I’m a hypocrite I know).

It was a rainy weekend so all my training was done indoors. We also had my son’s 7th birthday party on Saturday which was a lot of fun. It was a science experiment themed party so the kids got to make exploding, bubbling, and otherwise messy concoctions in my garage. After the experiments were done, the fun and colorful messiness continued when they were able to devise there own color of icing and decorate their cup cakes. This worked out perfectly with the weather and I’ve never seen so many 6 and 7 years maintain their attention like that! The funniest part was probably when it was time for my son to open up his presents, the kids were like bees around a hive … he hardly had room to pull the paper off for all the little people gathered around him. And apparently the recession hasn't hit Lexington as these parents were doling out big money for the boy. I think he walk away with like $100 in cash and gift cards besides all the toys. The party was a lot of fun and we receive many compliments from kids and parents. Jennifer does a great job orchestrating these kinds of things!

Wow, thanks for all the comments regarding my last post … lots of wisdom in there! Some highlights that really stuck with me:

If you are already training to your maximum workload, and you line up on race day and give 100%, then it's up to you to feel fulfilled by that or not. I am at my maximum workload (at least for this time of year) and I will undoubtedly give 100%. I truly believe I’m as well prepared as possible (for the early season) given my current level of athletic experience, fitness, available training and recovery time. Yes, I could probably be a little leaner (2-5 lbs), but I’m sort of saving that for June (first peak) because I know how not enjoyable it is to maintain that level. So I think I’ll be okay with the result whether it’s top 5 or top 20 … but really hoping for a top 8 at these short course races.

What motivates you to keep doing that which you love? A couple of things … I LOVE the sport and have a burning passion for it! Beyond that though I believe the Lord is doing something in me and through me and using triathlon has His artisan’s tool. If you could have only seen me some years ago … had someone told me what I would be doing today I would have dismissed it as nonsense. Given that, I am VERY interested in the outcome of this “work”. I believe it will be beautiful and I hope it has a lasting impact on me, my family, and beyond. It’s an interesting sub plot in the story of my life (and lives of my family) and I am eager for it to unfold, but also very much enjoying the journey.

Do you want to be the big fish in the small pond or the small fish in the big pond? - I like the open water … I just don’t want to get eaten!

The only way for you to get better is to race with people better than you. Agreed! Also, training with those better than you can do wonders to improve your performance. I need a training partner who can take me to the mat every now and then!!!!

Life is too short to go through it wondering what if. Yes, this brings to mind something my coach wrote on ST … (paraphrasing) Better to have remorse than regret.

Really pondering these thoughts has given me peace about racing Open. I’m just not used to the idea of being in the mid-back of the pack. Maybe this won’t be the case, but I have to prepare myself for it because it is a definite possibility. Regardless, as mentioned in the comments above, racing head to head with the best of the best is what I need to push my performance to its potential. And that’s the real goal … to race the fastest ironman I can and qualify for Kona in 2010. This will help me get there.

I should say that looking at Paris Island results, there is still a really high level of local competition in the 35 – 39 division from the likes of James Busby and Turner Boone, finishing 16th and 17th overall. I should have not implied that winning there would have been a given. It certainly would be a challenge!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quick Update

Here's a quick update of what's going ...

Fighting off a cold

This had left me a little (lot) low on energy this week but I'm continuing to train through it. I feel better during a workout but the low energy is affecting motivation to get out the door. I'm feeling it more on the mental side than the physical! Why oh why do office workers feel compelled to come to work sick???? For some it takes a fever and chills to get them to go home and admit that they have the flu, meanwhile infecting the rest of the department! It's like a daycare for adults but instead of a busy parent forcing their sick kid to go to daycare (infecting the rest of the kids) these people force themselves to go to work and then spread their germs to the rest of us. Can you tell I'm fed up with it? A hazard of an occupation in the corporate world I suppose ... stuck in a world of grey fabric, artificial lights, white noise, tiny cells, I mean cubes - with germs waiting to pounce. At least the pay is good! The thing is that my family and I are RARELY sick, but I've noticed that the general sedentary public are very often afflicted with something. And so in order to get life done, they do it sick. Okay mean and biased rant over ... I don't like having a cold!

Spent some time here this week

Owens Field Track

Still on the fence

I'm still going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth in my mind about racing in the Open division this year. Here some pros and cons that are driving my internal debate:

Pros of Open division:
- Start race in wave 1
- Best rack in transition
- Know where you stand amongst your competition
- Race against the best athletes
- Can leave race site earlier (probably won't need to hang around for awards)
- Some prestige to racing here
- Will be proud that I stepped up to the challenge

Cons of Open division:
- Potentially look like a fool
- Less t-shirts, beer mugs, bottles of wine from Age Group winnings
- When the kids ask if I won, I'll have to say "No" most likely.
- Race against the best athletes

Pros of Age Group:
- More t-shirts, beer mugs, bottles of wine from Age Group winnings
- Get picture taken on podium (my kids don't know or care that it's not the overall podium)
- When asked by family how I did I can say, "I won my age group"

Cons of Age Group
- Will know that I backed away from the challenge of the Open division
- Weed your way through lots of swimmers and cyclists on the course
- No idea where you competition is amongst the 150 people that started in your wave.

Feedback welcome!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

March 2-8

Total: 15 hours 25 min
Swim: 10 km
Bike: 7 hrs 30 min
Run: 3 hrs 30 min
Strength: 1 hr 40 min

Last week was pretty much identical to the previous two weeks in terms of volume and intensity. We are now entering a new training block and I'm told that the month ahead will be a challenging one with lots of threshold work. Looking at this week's plan, the running volume is back with 4 hrs 50 minutes planned as well some longer rides and more meters in the pool than the previous few weeks. With my first race falling right in the middle of this block I don't expect to be very fresh going in but this is okay since my primary focus is my racing in September and November.

Train well!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

2 days in the life

Well, it's been an interesting few days. I was able to get in some really good training with my friend Big John who's in his build-up for IM Coeur d'Alene. It's interesting how I met John. We met on the during the bike portion of Beach 2 Battleship last year. Out on the course he recognized my Harrell's jersey and we rode together for a while and chatted a bit. John is definitely an accomplished endurance athlete, having competed in triathlon for many years with multiple ironmans but also 24 hour races and adventure racing!!

I laid down some solid efforts on the bike because my plan called for time in z3 and z4, but also to see how his fitness is progressing since our last training session together. I'm happy to say that he held up quite well. I can see that he has been steadily raising his level of endurance and speed. Here's a picture of John after our climb to the top of Little Mountain (in the big ring for me I might add :p)

I would say that Little Mountain is really just steep hill. Maybe it's 3/4 of a mile to the top at about a 10-12% grade along a narrow little road. Climbs never looks as steep in pictures ...

When you get to the top of the hill you are rewarded with this beautiful view of a cellular tower

From here we rode a steady effort for a while and then went to ride good old Mike Stuck, which is a 15% grade I'm told but not as long as Little Mountain. Thankfully the Chow Mutt of Death (some of y'all know what I'm talking about) wasn't there to greet after getting through the climb.

After 2.5 hours on the bike we headed over the Harbison forest to run the outer loop. I thought this was 15k but turned out to be a little less than 9 miles. The outer loop is very curvy and undulating and hilly and rooty and is the staple weekend run of all the ultra trail runner nuts around here. I guess they do it twice though!

After this I had to wait for the pool to reopen after closing for a mid-afternoon 2 hour cleaning (every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!!!!) I was tired and encrusted in salt. Here I am before a short nap in the truck. Click on the picture if you want to see the gory details ...

After a mentally challenging (despite it's shortness) 2 km swim, it was time to switch focus to becoming Superdad. My wife went out of town for the weekend leaving me to take care of the three kiddies (scary, huh?) Thankfully my mom came over to help out which made it easier. Also the fact that it wasn't bath night and we went to eat at San Jose made for a pretty simple evening. The next morning after making pancakes for the crew we drove out to my mom's house in country with the hope of wearing the kids slap out!

Now I will have to tell you that my mom is the queen of the front porch. Dare I say no one does front porches like my mom does front porches. I don't even want to call them porches ... they are more like hybrid rooms that bridge the gap between the outdoors and the indoors. Her latest custom porch is larger than her house I think. It has at least 12 foot ceilings - if not 14 on the enclosed portion. There is Sony surround sound, a dining room table, rocking chairs, day bed, ancient Native American pottery and arrowheads, petrified wood, feather collection, various rocks, driftwood incense holders she made from when we lived on Hilton Head island, shells, huge rugs, candles, floor to ceiling drapes, antique chest of drawers, many stools, wicker this and wicker that. On the un-enclosed portions there's a wood burning fire place, rigging from ships holding hanging plants ... it's hard to describe. I love it though ... it reminds me of my childhood and my time with her. It was so relaxing to listen the Eagles latest album with the sound of the wind and the smell of incense that I fell asleep on the porch in the day bed. If there's one thing Mom knows how to do well it's RELAX!

Here's a picture of the house ... or rather, the porch with a little house in the background :-)

I'll leave you with this picture of the kids in a rare moment of unity strolling down the dirt road on the way back to Mom's house from our walk to the lake.

They are going to need me early in the morning ... better get to sleep. Later!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


To follow up on my post yesterday, I asked the questions as I mentioned. I thought I'd share the response as some of you may be curious ...


some VERY VERY good questions.

the good thing for me is, i m working with a very motivated athlete(you) The problem is, if i leave you on your own, you rush things and cramp up crazy session together because you want to get really good and really quickly. You get injured, miss a few weeks and end up losing fitness and progress....

The thing is, on a long term approche, you can reach levels you didnt suspect IF we can put consistancy over 1-2-3 years. You have that right now, than that will show in your racing this summer but it s only the beginning.

It s the same with all the driven athlete, we complain to brett that i should ride more,. get one more hill repeat on the bike.... get a extra run in the week.... blah blah blah!!!

It comes down to me looking at you, and seeing what your body can take without sacrifcing consistancy. Spectacular results come from very steady and uneventfull but consistant preparation.

so at this point, we are in march.... we are in the ''hurry slowly'' phase... i dont want to burn you out...I want you in peak form late in the, i m making you go along conistantly. Yes, after this week, we are building up again for a might not like me as much in 3 weeks :)

Finaly, you arent ready to handle the bigger training, right now, the main goal is preparing you to be able to handle the ironman build up that we will do at the end of the season... it s going to be hard... and i dont want your body to break down under that hard load so that s what we are doing right now, building the fondation for your body to take on higher and harder training.

At this moment, you are doing shorter work, steady and consistant...we will gain a bit in term of speed, but mainly a strong fondation for the build up as you focus on long distance.

it all comes down to patience... that hardest element with consistancy for very driven athlete like you!!


My favorite part "you can reach levels you didnt suspect" ... this hits on my "tipping of the scale" theory that I've mentioned before. I'm so intrigued!!! And anxious to solve the mystery ... but that is the thing, the mystery only gets solved with patience and consistency.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Feb 23 – March 1: Steady as she goes

Total: 15 hrs 40 min
Swim: 8700 meters
Bike: 7 hrs 12 min
Run: 3 hrs 50 min
Strength: 2 hrs 15 min

As mentioned last week, there wasn’t tremendous volume this week but I did have some welcomed variety. Swimming was very low with only 3 sessions (including one short recovery swim) because of travel and the other disciplines were par for the course. The highlights had to be 1) riding in the upstate and 2) double run day. The terrain, roads conditions, and scenery all add up to an unmatched experience for cyclist in South Carolina. I had a few invitations to come back and take on some of the legendary climbs and rides in the area and definitely plan on taking up the offers.

Next week will be another week of steady work. Nothing legendary in terms of volume … just getting the work done as the coach would say. Running seems to be exceptionally low for a week without a race (although there is another double run day), but I’ll trust Jonathan’s judgment and stick to the plan, however I curious so I’ll ask about it to get understanding. Swimming also seems low with 2 of the 4 sessions at only 2km … I’ll ask about this as well. As you probably notice, if left to my own devices I train too hard too fast and jeopardize consistency and sometimes end up nursing injuries. It’s hard to hold back as I feel fairly fit, strong and motivated at the moment!

I had my second quarter body comp this morning which kept the theme of “steady” going. Not much change going on here:

Height (in)71717171
Weight (lb)159161159160
Waist (in)29.529.73030.3
Hip (in)3636.73636.5
Waist/Hip Ratio.
Blood PressureN/A118/82126/82122/73
Resting HRN/A48-52
Max HRN/A186187187
Body Fat %
Fat Weight (lb)12.8812.5613.8314.24
Lean Weight (lb)146.12148.44145.17145.76

My lean weight has gone down (meaning I have lost some bulk muscle) as has my overall weight – both of which are good, however, my bf % has gone up slightly. There is a margin of error in these tests; however the trend doesn’t seem unreasonable. In all honesty my diet has been pretty bad lately. Not that I’m eating fried foods or things like this, but it is my weakness for chocolate that I believe has kept my bf % from dropping along with my weight and extra muscle mass. When I say I have a weakness for chocolate I don’t mean a piece or two a day I’m mean the equivalent of several candy bars per day (although I don’t *usually* eat the bar variety). So the time has come with the season fast approaching to go old school … one rule of thumb I have found … if you want to lean down you have to go to bed hungry. No more refined anything for a while!

In other exciting news I’ve begun making preparations for the upcoming season such as refining my position on the bike a little by narrowing and lowering my frontal area slightly. The other thing that I’ve had the pleasure of working on is the process of “toughening” my feet in preparation to race sockless. Look close to the swoosh and you can see what soaked through as a result of this morning’s 30 minute run …

Train well!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rainy cold fun ride

It was a great weekend in the mountains with the FCA-E group. We learned a lot and got to meet and reconnect with some awesome friends and athletes. Two other guys braved the elements with me for 2 hours on the bike on some of the best riding in the southeast. Here are a few pics from our ride ...

My partners for the ride Brock and Larry

Awesome roads with good pavement and plenty of climbing

A waterfall we came across