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Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 14-20

Feeling a little under the weather today. I came down with a sore throat last night which somehow as robbed me of nearly all my energy. I stayed home today, working from the home office and front and back porches. That I love ... the run at lunch, not so much. But that's for next week's blog. I'm supposed to be summarizing last week.

The goal after last week was to start adding on some volume while keeping the intensity pretty high. Goal achieved!

Run: 1hr 23 min with 20 x 30 second strides on 30 second jog.

Bike: 1hr steady
Swim: 40 min with my favorite main set (400, 4 x 100 desc, 300, 3 x 100 desc, 200, 2 x 100 desc, 100, 2 x 50 desc).
Run: 30 min hills

Bike: 1 hr w/8 x 4min intervals:
Run: 55 min w/8 x 400m intervals:

Run: 30 min recovery

Bike: 1 hr w/ 6 x 5-7 min intervals:
Run: 1 hr 16min easy but with the usual 2 mile time trial. Both J-Flo and I made big strides (pun intended) over last week. I shaved like 25 seconds off. My splits were 5:40 and then 5:46 for a total time of 11:26. No negative split tho (J-Flo was 6:01/6:00):
Swim: 30 min technique focus.

Bike: Usual CX dirt/asphalt mix ride. Rode pretty hard:

Bike: 30 min easy spin

Summary: Swim: 1 hr 10 min, Bike: 4.5 hrs, Run: 4.5 hrs, Total: 10 hrs 10 min

This week is Thanksgiving so we'll just have to wait and see if I can continue building volume back up.

Saturday was also a big play day for me and the girls. My son was spending the night with grandparents and Jennifer was at her dance practice. So first I took them to a birthday party at the skating rink / indoor putt-putt place (which was FUN) and then we came home and found some new toys had been delivered. Of course we played on them all afternoon - which was even funner! :p

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov 7th - 13th

This week was a pretty light with the need ease myself back into training following last Saturday’s half marathon. The last thing I want to do is push too hard and sideline myself while I’m just getting started! I think the biggest hindrance to performance right now is my weight. I’m a good 10 lbs over my prime race weight of 150 lbs. I need to get more disciplined with my diet (layoff the snickers) to kick start shedding some pounds.

Bike: 1hr w/ 5 x 7min @ +-92% FTP Intervals:
Run: 50 min w/ 8 x 30 sec strides:

Run: 35 min recovery

Bike: 1 hr w/ 3 x 12 min intervals at 90-92% FTP:
Run: 10k trail run on my trails

Swim: 30 min
Run: 35 min recovery

Bike: 1hr progressive ride building to 125% FTP (358 watts)
Swim: 30 min
Run: 1hr 10 min w/ 2 mile TT: I was a few seconds faster than 2 weeks ago with a 5:52 first mile and 5:57 second mile for an 11:51 for a modest improvement. J-Flo had a great improvement from 2 weeks ago by dropping 10 seconds for a 12:20 (6:04, 6:16).

Bike: CX ride in the countryside! Once again the Garmin failed me (my own fault) by running out of juice 1.5 miles before the end of the ride:

Here are some pictures from the ride …

A sea of cotton. It’s time to pull it in; many of the fields have already been harvested.

One of the fastest stretches of dirt in Lexington County

Heading out

Sunday: Off! I could’ve ridden a hard 90 min trainer session (which was my plan) but I opted for a 90 min ride on the John Deere instead :)

So it was another low volume week with plenty of rest coming off a race, but still had some good quality sessions.

Swim: 1hr; Bike: 4 hrs; Run: 4 hrs; Total: 9hrs. Hopefully building back in some volume this week and keeping the intensity high.

Today (Monday) is our 13th wedding anniversary! Counting the 3 years of shacking up, that’s 16 years together! Wow, how we changed since those early days. Many adventures lay ahead to experience together with the love of my life! For her gift she got horse riding lessons at the stable across the road from the house (Poole Training Center: The thing is that she has to keep it secret from our youngest, Hannah. She’s already jealous because her sister Abby takes lesson and if she finds out Mom is also riding, we might just have a full blown 5 yr old meltdown on our hands!

For our anniversary date night we ended up at Home Depot after dinner since Tractor Supply was closed. What have we become??

In other news Caleb was selected along with 3 other students to read a letter to veterans on Veteran’s Day at his school. When I read his letter it literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m having trouble uploading the YouTube video from my phone so I’ll have to settle for this picture. Can’t you sense the excitement??

The girls have gotten really good at flying their kites:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oct 31 - Nov 6 Rock N Roll Savannah

The focus this week has been getting in some good all-around tri training before heading back home to Savannah for a visit with the family and to run Rock and Roll ½ marathon as part of the Lowcounty Down's Syndrome Society team. This year we had 21 runners and next year we hope to have 100! If you want to help support LDSS financially, please donate here:

The Garmin has been a real challenge this week so I'm missing data for some of the training sessions the Tuesday big gear ride which had to have had an average cadence in the range of 50-60 RPM!!

With the impending 1/2 marathon on the weekend, the volume was a little low this week ...


Bike: 1hr, intervals

Run: 8 x 200m with Ole Tender Nip along with some easy running


Swim: 30 minutes with the highlight being 50 meter repeats holding best average. Let me just say that I have a looooong way to go to back to where I need to be in the water!

Bike: 90 min ride smashfest with J-Flo and Scott in the Northwest (Peak loop). This was a BRO (big ring only) ride with the bro’s with me doing my best to ride them off my wheel and drop them on climbs while mashing the biggest gear possible. I was able to manage most of the route in 53 x 11 gear, which utterly shredded my quads. I had doubts about my ability to make it up the Mike Stuck climb in my big ring, but in the end I pulled it off (with the help of my 28 rear cog). The Garmin crapped out so no data for this one unfortunately. I'm thinking cadence would have been in the 50-60 range.

Run: 1hr, hill repeats on Carl loop

Swim: 30 min longer intervals
Run: 30 min easy with hills

Bike: 30 min easy spin
Travel day!

Run: Rock N Roll Savannah 1/2 Marathon, 1:25:00. I'll have to say that this race was a lot of fun! Running down Liberty Street with crowd's lining the course screaming and then hanging with friends and family in Forsyth Park afterwards was just awesome!

Mini race report:For some crazy reason I started in the 2nd corral instead of the 1st one where I was assigned. This made the first 2 miles a little slow as I navigated through the crowd. Also interesting to note is that my Garmin measured the distance at 13.2 instead of 13.1. I believe this is because I was unable to run tangents through most of the corners because of number of runners on the course. Evidently there were 14,000 running the 1/2 and another 5,000 running the full. I ended up 50th overal, 8th in M35-39. I had the time I expected but obviously would have like to have gone faster! You can't rush fitness though. It is one it's way though and patience is the key (and losing a few lbs). With any luck I'll be able to run this time off the bike at the Charleston 1/2 ironman in April. We shall see ...

finish line before it got really crowded

Me, my son and sis after the race

Post race in the park

Race spectating really wears the kids out!

cousins Ethan and Abby playing


Bike: 1hr. Easy cruise from parents house down to River Street where I was able to ride some cobbles and then back home with a short detour through Ardsley Park to ride by some old stomping grounds. Here are some pictures from the ride:

Riding through town

Trump Square

Broughton Street


River Street

Along the water

more cobbles

one of many squares

Totals: Bike: 4 hrs; Swim: 1hr; Run: 4 hrs = 9 hrs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Something Different

Tink basking in the sunlight on the front porch.

I’m going to try something new with the old bloggy, not just use it for race reports. At some point in the whirlwind of the summer of 2011 I stopped logging my training online, which has left me with a lack of hindsight. We all know hindsight is 20/20 ... so you either have a perfect picture or no picture at all. Right now I have nothing, which is not that big of deal since I did next to nothing as far as training is concerned during that time. Up until this summer I had systematically logged every workout since 2007. A bit OCD? Yes. But that’s me … all or nothing!

My logging tool was, which seemed appropriate since in 2007 I was a beginner triathlete. I appreciate this tool as it offers many fine features at a price that can’t be beaten (free). There is also a social aspect to the website that I rarely leveraged, but which seems popular for those seeking answers to common questions and those looking to provide answers to common questions :p So instead of logging each training session online, I’m going to use this blog to summarize the week’s work and share the data from a few key sessions each week. For in-depth analysis I’ll use my own tools. But the weekly discipline of summarizing the training will also give me a chance to document some highlights of family life for posterity. Now all that’s left to do is to do it ... week in, week out, just like the training!


This week is really the second consistently solid week of all-around triathlon training in many months. It’s been like sitting in a really hot bathtub. At first it stings really bad but as you ease in deeper it gets more tolerable … until the water gets to that one spot … ouch that burns!!

Last week I swung the old leg back over the bike again and did an FTP test. It came back as 273. After spending some time getting my bottomside reacclimated to riding my time trial bike, I tested again this week and came back with 288, which puts me just above the magical 4 watts/kg level ... woohoo! Wait, why is 4 watts per kg important again???. I think more than any fitness gain, the hike in FTP shows the resiliency of hard earned fitness. It may drift away when you take a break, but it comes back much faster than it took to get there in the first place! Raising the FTP is bittersweet though … sure it gives you a confidence boost, ensures the training you are doing is making you stronger, gets you daydreaming of being able to go X for your bike split in your next race, yada yada yada, but it also means that your bike workouts are about to get that much harder!!

Swimming is coming back the slowest. I'm only swimming short sessions twice a week and keeping the intensity really high. I hope my times start coming back down soon or I may have to reconsider this minimal volume / maximum intensity approach.


Run: 50 min with J-Flo, I mean "Ole Tender Nip", including 6 x 0:30 strides (+- 5min/mile pace):
Bike: 1 Hour Ride. FTP Test which reset my FTP from 273 to 288:

Bike: 30 min spin for recovery
Swim: 30 min: short intervals
Run: moderate with hills:

Bike: 1 hr. Ironman pace (IF: .77):
Run: include 4 x .5 mile at 5:40/mile pace on .5 mile easy: + a cool down run with my wife to measure her run loop. Jennifer rode her bike with me during the warm up and intervals and filmed this little video on one of the intervals. If you've never seen my crazy left foot, here it is:

Bike: Hour of Power ... ouch:
Swim: 30 min short intervals
Run: 30 min recovery

Run: 1hr 10min with the Flowmaster (I mean "Ole Tender Nip"). Easy run 9.3 mile run. Well, except for the 2 mile time trial part in the middle and the huge hill at the end. I negative split theTT with a 5:58 1st mile and 5:55 2nd mile for a total time of 11:53. I'll be looking for 11 even before the season begins!

Bike: Dirt/Road mix ride on CX bike: Fun ride on a beautiful but windy day. I put some short videos from the ride on FaceBook and some pictures below

Bike: 1hr30min on the trainer. Easy ride of varying efforts, annoyingly easy at times. NP 200w, avg HR 123. I would never ride this easy on my own, but I followed the program and did it.
Run: quick transition run off the bike

Totals: Bike: 6.5 hrs + Run: 4.5 hrs + Swim: 1hr = 12 hrs. Nothing impressive but glad to have a solid week of work under my belt.

Until next week ...

Some pictures from bike ride Saturday:

Fall Colors are here:

It's that time of year:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SC Sprint Race Report and Update

Return on Investment

Result: 3rd place, splits not worth noting :p

I jumped back into triathlon racing last weekend with a little sprint race in Greenwood. The goal was to knock out a race as part of an effort to reach 5 setup series races (needed 3 more races) so I could qualify for series awards and hopefully win some money and get a new pair of cycling sock and technical tee. I knew I wasn’t fit to race, which is very evident if you look up my splits!

After the usual warm-up swim (and taking some crap for racing the sprint instead of the half from my friends) we were off. I’ve swam approximately 1800 meters in the last 2 months so I got out of this part of the race exactly what I invested, not much! I ranked 3rd in the swim but I’m not misleading myself into believing that it was anything more than what it was … an abysmal performance. For the bike I’d put in roughly 4 hours of training in September so it was no surprise that I couldn’t hang with my competitor on the hills. I ranked 5th on the bike … not good for me in a small race like this one. As disappointing and the first two disciplines were, then run took the cake. Over 20 minutes for a 5k!!! What else can I say … other than I ran a faster pace on the same course for the 10k run at FoF Olympic with a broken rib, torqued calf and knee and road rash all over in much hotter temps back in June!! It’s a sad state of affairs as far as fitness is concerned. Thankfully other parts of life are so totally awesome or I might be down in the dumps!!!

What I’ve learned is that I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to triathlon and to really enjoy the sport I have to be fit and fast. And if I’m not fit and fast I’m just wasting time and money by racing. While racing provides a good hard training session, I’d be better served to work on the high priority personal projects, obligations and obstacles that are keeping me from getting the necessary training done to be fit and fast and enjoy racing! If I didn’t have to pay entry fees it would make more sense to race regardless of fitness (if for nothing else than the training benefit). But since racing requires a monetary and mental commitment and time away from family and projects, I need to be prepared to race when I race … and right now I’m not.

If you’re reading this and don’t really know me very well you may be asking yourself why am I not prepared … in short, because I’m not putting in the time training right now. After breaking my rib in the bike crash at the Festival of Flowers race in June I was forced to take some time off to heal. Once healed we were finally able to purchase our new home which we’d be arduously pursuing for nearly 2 years (long, long story - it was a short sale). With it came the enormously taxing task of moving a family of 5 and settling in. The house is newer (built in 2005) and very well constructed both inside and out, but not being lived in for about 3 years and having 15 acres of property, it needed substantial work to bring it back to life. Triathlon, being a hobby and passion of mine, is important to me but it is not at the top of my priority list and therefore it had to be put on the back burner (and will have to remain there for several more weeks) while we work through the process of getting settled.

In the meantime I have a little marathon down in Savannah in 4 weeks that I’m well under prepared for. However I’m already chomping at the bit to immerse myself in the daily ritual of getting the work done to make myself fit and fast for 2012. I hope to have my best season of short course racing ever in the first part of next year and culminate that fast racing with a super strong showing at the Charleston Half ironman in May, and then follow that up with a sub 2 hr Olympic at FoF in June. Then I’ll shut it down for the summer while it crazy hot and perhaps build back up for a late season ironman campaign.

Hope all is well with all my friends out there in cyber land. Best of luck to my friends Chris Olson and Scott Woodbury racing the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii this weekend!!! Make it worth the investment!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Festival of Flowers Triathlon Race Report

Wow, what a race ... crazy!! The misfortune continues. First the heat stroke/dehydration induced DNF at IMSG, then a bike crash on a training ride two weeks later, and now a second bike crash during this race. I'm lucky Jennifer hasn't pulled the plug completely on this whole triathlon thing! I'm well overdo for some boring old training and racing with no drama.

The result of this one was a 6th place finish in a time of 2:03:14 after taking a hard fall on the bike. Here are the results:

Today I'm still sore especially my ribs which I think may have some cracks and my upper calf and knee which are preventing me from running (just tried it - hope it's nothing serious). I was able to get back on the bike this morning (Tuesday) and hope to get back in the water tomorrow. The road rash is annoying but managable.

j-flo and me before the start

So the swim went well I felt. I haven't felt fast in the water lately and swim training has been the least consistent for various reason so I was doubtful for a very good swim.
I was relaxed the whole time (as is usually the case when I swim no wetsuit) and found a good set of feet in the front bunch and stayed on them until the last few hundred meters. Came out of the water in 22:30 or so in 6th place and with the run to T1 the official time was 22:49 just at the back of the lead group.

T1 was pretty smooth and I managed to get out before Peter Kotland who came out of the water ahead of me, moving me up to 5th place.

The bike started well I passed one guy within the first 2 miles and moved into 4th position.
I was playing cat and mouse with Peter who I was looking forward to battling on the run and we swapped places for 4th and 5th a few times. I should have figured it was going to be an strange ride when I hit and killed a squirrel at about mile 7 or so. Lucky I didn't go down then. About 26 minutes into the ride a dog came out at me and in trying to avoid him I got onto a rumble strip on the white line and went down hard (it looks like I need to work on my bike handling skills!!). My bike ended up on the other side of the road and I got more road rash (road rash on top of the road rash from 2 weeks ago) on my legs, arms, back, shoulders, etc and got the breath knocked out of me. Also I did something bad to my upper gastroc just below the knee, not sure if I twisted my knee or what. We (Peter and I) were being followed by a draft marshall and police officer and the officer stopped to help me (I was lying on the side of the road near my bike). He asked if I needed to be picked up. Initially I said yes but after laying there for awhile I got my breath back and told him I wanted to continue the race. He offered to follow me and told me I could pull over anytime and he'd radio for help if I needed it. Only one person came past me in those few minutes on the side of the road. I determined the whole incident took a little over 2.5 minutes by taking the official bike slit chip time and subtracting my Garmin time (the garmin was is set to auto-pause so it stops recording when the bike isn't moving). The rest of the ride was uneventful except for pain from road rash on aerobar pads. Ride time was 57:12, official time was 59:56. Ranked 11th on bike which I'm okay with given the circumstances.

Bike data:

Onto the run the calf/knee was bothersome but I wanted to at least try to get back the spot I lost and put up a respectable run.
I started out fairly conservatively and then picked it up in the last few miles. I almost took back 5th place but came up 12 seconds short. I felt very controlled and probably should have pushed harder out of the gate. The result was 39:04. Looking at the Garmin file it is a dead accurate 10k (when does that ever happen in triathlon!?). Ranked 6th on the run.

Run data:

In the end I'm pleased with the 6th place result and 2:03:14 finish time given the difficulties of the crash. I'm proud of the fact that I pushed-on despite the pain and I look forward to getting back out there. Gotta take care of these injuries first ...

**** Follow-up ****

After trying to swim unsuccessfully I had this x-ray taken showing the broken rib. There's not much you can do for it, it just takes time to heal (6 weeks +-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

IMSG Race Report

Yesterday, in talking through the race with my friend, advisor, supporter and sponsor, Paul Harrell (of Harrell’s Bicycle World), he encouraged me to write an honest assessment of the race including my race-day nutrition so that we can analyze the experience and make necessary changes moving forward. So here goes …

If I had to describe the experience of racing Ironman St. George is in 3 words, I would say, “epic learning adventure”. I did not achieve the outcome I’d hoped for, but also wasn’t surprised with the way things turned out. I knew it was a hard race and I went into it with a specific goal, both from a time and placing perspective, and I raced toward that goal as wisely as I knew how, until I could not physically continue. The result was my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish). The goal was to qualify for the Ironman World Championships racing in the M35-39 division. Last year’s division winner’s time was 10:04:12 and so my goal was 10 hours +- a few minutes (preferably minus!). Here’s how I planned to achieve the 10 hour time goal:

  • Swim between 55min and 1hour at a steady effort level

  • Ride 5 hours 30 minutes holding a heart rate around 140 BPM, which is a “steady” aerobic zone, about 75% of my max HR.

  • Run 3 hours 30 minutes maintaining a heart rate between 140 bmp and 150 BPM

Here’s are some of the attributes of the race, climate, and conditions

  • Considered the most difficult Ironman branded ironman, primarily due to the difficulty of the bike and marathon courses.

  • I recorded nearly 7000 ft of elevation gain on the bike using my Garmin with Elevation Corrections enabled (for those familiar with the Garmin). Here’s the data:

  • I recorded nearly 2400 ft of climbing on the run before my collapse at mile 22.5 of the marathon:

  • The climate is extremely dry with no shade on the entire course. None!

  • It was hot with the temperature reaching 94 degrees at the time of my collapse around 4:30 PM in the afternoon

  • This area of southwestern Utah is fantastically beautiful

  • The residents of St. George are some of the nicest people we’ve ever encountered across the board. They make our supposed “southern hospitality” seem like utter rudeness.

  • The city is very clean, well manicured, and very easily navigated.

Pre-Race: Jennifer and I arrived in St. George Utah on Wednesday afternoon. With the race taking place on Saturday, this gave us plenty of time to get settled, perform all mandatory the check-in procedures, and preview / train on the course.

Sand Hollow Reservior where the swim is held

Pre-race training (Thursday)

  • AM: Run 2 x 5k (1st with Jennifer at her pace, 2nd by myself at steady pace)

  • PM: Swim +- 1300 meters / 18 min followed by

  • Bike: 27 min / 10.5 miles on race course

Pre-race training (Friday)

  • Swim 10 min / 700 meters. Did not feel comfortable in the water, very anxious, short of breath. I swam with friend and fellow M35-39 competitor Chris Olson.

  • Bike: 29 min / 10.4 miles with Chris

  • Run: 15 minute trail run, again with Chris, easy pace / talking the whole way.

Pre-race training

Following the workout Chris and I drove the bike course. Jennifer and I relaxed the rest of the afternoon / evening and then went out to dinner. I had soup, salad and 2 slices of chicken alfredo pizza from Olive Garden. Before bed I had an electrolyte/sports drink and decaf hot tea. We got to bed around 10:00 PM and I fell asleep around midnight and awoke at 4:00 AM race morning.

Race morning nutrition

  • Nutrigrain bar

  • Kashi mini-wheat type cereal w/ Almond Milk

  • ½ Bagel w/ cream cheese

  • 1 bananna

  • Another Nutrigrain bar

  • Electrolyte / sports drink (Powerbar lemonaide)

  • Water (24 oz)

  • 3 cups of coffee

Swim: The course is rectangular in shape with all turns being to the left. This suits me perfectly as I breathe to my left side. I entered the water as soon as we were allowed, which was about 10 minutes before the start. I don’t know why but I didn’t do any warm up swimming. I just floated there, putting my head under the water occasionally to acclimate to the 62 degree water temperature. I lined up on the right side of the start line with the intention of spotting and merging left into a fast group and drafting on that group for the rest of the swim. I believe I was too far right as it left me an addition 100 or so meters to merge left before the first turn buoy. That alone cost me up to 90 seconds. The biggest problem that I encountered in the swim was a panic attack at about 250 meters into the swim. I found myself unable to get a deep breath and having very negative thoughts. I stopped and pulled the neck of my wetsuit to let a little cool water inside and calmed myself. I’m not sure how long I was stopped … maybe 30 seconds. Once I continued the swim I was able to find a decent rhythm and began steadily passing other swimmers. Eventually things got sorted out and I found myself swimming with 1 or 2 other guys and a girl. We stayed with each other for the rest of the swim.

Swim Time: 1hour 38 seconds. Not too far off my goal, but in an ideal world, with better start line placing and no panic attack I believe I had the potential to swim 58 minutes at my steady pace.

There is no doubt that my swim times are a bit off this year. Time to get to work in the pool and open water!

T1: Nothing notable here. Time: 2min 56sec

Bike: I was surprised at the pace and the way some of the guys were riding on the bike. Many guys would regularly power up climbs, standing, etc and then coast / recover down the other side where I would catch a pass them again. So there was a lot of yo-yo-ing going on. I use Perceived Exertion and HR to pace myself on the bike with the goal of not going over an HR cap of 160 while climbing and maintaining my effort on descents … almost exactly as others use power meters, just a lot cheaper! I was surprised at the number of guys who passed me on the bike, but I stuck to my pacing and nutrition plan nonetheless.

Bike Ride data:

  • Average HR 140 (exactly on target)

  • Max HR 155 (@ mile 90 at the top of “the wall” climb)

  • Avg Cadence: 85

Bike Nutrition / Hydration:

  • Approx 300 calories per hour of EFS liquid shot. Taken as squirt from bike bottle every 20 minutes. Approx 1600 calories total

  • 4 x Honey Stinger waffles (120 cals each) taken at min 30, hr 1.5, hr 3, and hr 4.5. 480 calories total.

  • Occasional GU Chomp (4 pieces total). 90 calories total

  • Total Calories: 2170. Too much??

  • 4 Allieve + 2 ibuprofin to address low back pain from swim and to prepare for punishing terrain on run. Don’t think I’ll ever take NSAIDs during a race again … wondering if this caused the bloody diarrhea later that night.

  • Fresh water at every aid station (every .5 hr / 10 miles). Whatever was left from the old bottle was poured on
    my head, neck, chest, back, shorts

  • Peed at mile 30, 40, 70 and in T2. Felt well hydrated.

Coming in on the bike

Bike Time: 5:29:13. Right on target. I’m wondering if I can run well off a 112 mile bike ride paced at 145 or 150 BPM?? I’ll need to experiment with this in training as that could potentially allow me to ride a good bit faster.

T2: Nothing notable here except 1 mistake which was not getting out of my shoes on the bike and therefore having to run to the change tent in bike shoes. T2 was a little slow b/c of the pee break also. Time: 1min 55 sec

Run: Getting to the run I believe I had set myself up really well to achieve my 10hr goal. Now I just need to run my planned 3:30 marathon to make it happen. Starting out the run my legs felt surprisingly well. My main concern was a lot of belching in the first mile along with some side stitches. You start running uphill so there’s really not a chance to just cruise for awhile. Soon those were gone and I was ticking along passing quite a few guys in my division …

First lap of run

Run Nutrition:

  • 2 endurolyte capsules every few miles

  • A shot of gel from a hand held flask every few miles

  • Water at every aid station

  • Coke and Perform every once in awhile.

Run spits:

  • Mile 1: 7:22/mile @ 147 BPM

  • Mile 2: 7:48/mile @ 149 BPM

  • Mile 3: 8:39/mile @ 152 BPM (has a long steep climb to the Redhills Parkway)

  • Mile 4: 8:00/mile @ 148 BPM

  • Mile 5: 6:46/mile @ 150 BPM

  • Mile 6: 7:16/mile @ 152 BPM (HR is rising a bit now)

  • … more here:

Starting the 2nd lap of the run

When I crossed the timing mat the ½ marathon turn around my Garmin read 1 hr 40 minutes leaving me 1 hr 50 minutes to do it again to reach the 3:30 goal. It was getting REALLY hot and I was starting to get tired. I knew the final ½ marathon was going to come down to a physical and mental battle so I was prepared for it and ready to take it on. With a 10 minutes buffer for this 1/2 of the marathon, I began slowing the pace a little and taking more time in the aid stations to get cool with ice and sponges and drink as much as possible. Soon though, I couldn’t stand the thought of anymore gel, water, coke, sports drink or anything going into my stomach and I started walking up the steeper hills. By mile 20 I things began to really come unraveled. Math was hard to do in my head and I was having a hard time walking straight. By mile 21 I was having a hard time walking. I could only go a few steps and then I would stop and hunch over with my hands on my knees. I finally neared the end of the Red Hills Parkway and staggered to the aid station at mile 22.5. I stood beside the Porto John contemplating stepping inside to purge myself. I had the thought that it was hot inside and I might pass out and I didn’t want to be found passed out in a toilet. So as I stood there with my hands on my knees hunched over a volunteer came over and led me to a pop-up camper and laid me down on a bed. The brought me some oranges and asked if I wanted to go to medical. I told them I thought I needed to and went sort of in and out of consciousness lying in the camper with a slice of orange in my hand. When they go me up to drive me to medical there were a few more athletes crammed in the camper. I borrowed a phone from one of the volunteers and called my wife and told her that I was being brought down to the medical tent. Race over.

After a few IV bags in the medical tent I was able to walk around by myself and we went back to the hotel. My stomach started moving again and that when I had the first bloody diarrhea. It happened again through the night. The next day I drank a good bit of Smart Water and regular water and was able to eat and wasn’t having anymore issues. By Monday I was totally back to normal.

My opinion is that I got severely dehydrated because I was taking too much gel on the run and not getting enough water. The gel wasn’t getting diluted to the 7% ratio and therefore wasn’t being digested and blocked water from reaching my large intestine where it could be absorbed. I’m not a doctor so this is all laymen’s speculation. I think the blood came from irritated stomach lining from the NSAIDs.

Obviously I was very disappointed to be less than 4 miles from the finish and unable to even walk it in, but I take some solace in the fact that I didn’t really have a choice to make.

Lying in that pop-up camper feeling like I might die I swore off triathlon all together. By later that night I’d decided I would keep racing but no more ironman distance until our 3 kids are grown (ages 9,6,5 now). By Sunday I would give it at least 3 years until I raced an ironman again (that’s how long it had been since my only other ironman). On the plane ride back home on Monday we tentatively decided on IM Cozumel for 2012. Tuesday at work I made the executive decision that I’m not traveling to another ironman and going for a Kona spot without a proven approach and therefore I need to race a late season regional non-branded (cheaper) ironman to test the changes I’ll make as a result of what happened at IMSG. So now I just need to figure out what those changes will be.

So far I’m thinking:

  • I’ll go to an all liquid nutrition strategy on the run

  • Cut back on the solids on the bike, especially if I train to ride at an additional 5-10 BPM.

  • Do more specific swim sessions so I’m not stuck with low back pain from swimming with a wetsuit for an hour (never do this in training as I train almost exclusively in a pool)

  • Never take another Advil or Aleve unless I have an acute injury and need to reduce inflammation.

Opinions Welcome!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Downtown Columbia Triathlon - Belated Race Report

Disclaimer: Blinding hazard! You may want to wear your darkest sunglasses when reading this report. Due to the early-season nature of this race, there are pictures of severly untanned skin ahead:

The triathlon season kicked off for me last month with the Downtown Columbia Triathlon, which is a short and very popular (400 entries sold out) sprint race (500m, 10mile, 5k). I was the defending champ but didn't have a lot of confidence that I could come back with another win as I was just coming back from some run injuries and feelinig fairly slow with my training emphasis on preparing for ironman. Being a early season race, this is an indoor swim hosted in the USC Blatt PE Center’s 50 meter pool. The transition area is in the Blatt’s parking lot on Wheat St. and the bike course, which was changed from year’s past, was a 3 loop affair from Wheat St. to Main St. to Pendleton St. to Bull St. to Gervais St. to Harden St. to Blossom St. to Pickens St. then back onto Wheat St. There’s a bit of climbing (up Wheat St. and Main Street) but for the most part it is fast with a lot of turns, traffic, and pedestrians to navigate while at full gas in your aerobars! The run is just as complicated as the bike as it involves running on roads, sidewalks, multiple foot bridges, up flights of stairs and through narrow fenced construction areas. It’s really more triathlon’s version of an urban assault! This year the race was held at 1:30 in the afternoon (which added to the traffic problems) amid intermittent rain showers and temperatures in the high 40s (felt colder on the bike, wet from the swim).

The swim: It seems I may have made a stragic error here. I was seeded in the same lane as my friend Chris. Chris always out-swims me, usually by 1min in a ½ ironman and 20 or so seconds in a Sprint. But I’ve only ever raced him in open water events. I offered him the inside of the lane thinking that he would swim a slightly faster pace than me and I would draft him for a faster swim time. Well, I did draft off him the whole way but I was thinking, “Man, this feels too easy … should I pass? Na, save your energy, it just feels easy cause I’m drafting”. Well it turns out we weren’t going that fast. By the time we crossed the timing mat at T1 I was like 0:15 secs behind last year’s time where I didn’t draft. Talking with Chris after the race he mentioned that he felt like he couldn't get going in the water. But it didn't stop him from getting the win!!

T1 was slow. Getting bike shoes on was not smooth. I was trying to go too fast which made me clumsy. I blame it on not having raced a tri since last september.

Out on the bike it was cold but I was able to ride hard (but not hard enough) and stay out of trouble. This was the first year where I wasn’t almost hit by a car at this race (although I just about ran over a pedestrian that walked across the road into the course without looking). Unfortunately when I came onto Pendleton on my second lap I say a tt bike against a tree with and a few cars and ambulance tending to an athlete that had been hit by one of the cars. By the time the second lap had passed and I still hadn’t caught Woody (he started 15 seconds ahead on the swim), I knew I wasn’t in as good of a position as last year. Last year I passed him for the lead before the end of the first lap and never looked back. But once again the Scott treated me well delivering me to the 2nd fastest bike split of the day behind Chris, my lane mate from the swim. As I arrived at T2 Chris was leaving and Woody was also just arriving. Looking at my HR data from the race I can see that I didn't push hard enough for a sprint race; I must not have been in the right mindset to really suffer.

T2 was slow also. Having gotten out of my bike shoes before the dismount I slipped when me bare feet hit the wet timing mat and nearly wiped out badly. I got my balance back and proceed to get my run gear on. I had a hard time unfastening my helmet strap since my fingers were totally numb. The numb fingers also prevented me from fastening my bib number belt around my waist … I eventually just tucked the ends into the back of my shorts which worked fine.

Off on the run I had no feeling in my feet. I remember listening to the pat-pat-pat of my feet as they struck the ground but with no feeling with each thud … strange sensation. With no feedback on toe-off, foot strike, etc, I just concentrated on keeping my turnover quick and my aerobic effort high and closing the gap to Mark (he got out of transition way before me and put in about a 25-30 second gap). By the turnaround I’d closed the gap to Marc down to about 15 seconds, which put us dead even. Once Marc saw the gap at the turnaround he surged and opened it back up. At that point I was on the rivet so to speak and couldn’t respond to his surge.

Chris went on to win the race with Mark coming across the line next then me. One of the college team guys (Clemson I think) was able to beat both Mark and myself but due to the TT start neither of us had him on our radars during the race. It was a really fun local race and I look forward to getting back in short course shape next year after I live out some ironman dreams this year! Now with 5 local short course races (DT Cola, Lake Murray, Tri Midlands, Tom Hoskins, Dam Tri) I’ll have a goal of winning several of them in 2012. For this year they’ll just have to be hard training days with the ultimate goal of being long-course fast for Ironman St. George and Kona or Rev3 Anderson / Beach 2 Battleship if I don’t go to Kona.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's 2011

and I’m really overdue for a post …

There’s not a whole lot going on here at the moment. The holidays were super nice. Having 11 consecutive days with my family and not having to go to work was the absolute best. I think that was my favorite gift!

The 8 week winter training block (Nov 1 – Dec 26) that I wrote about in my last post went off without a hitch. Training was frequent and consistent with just enough volume to get back into the swing of things without needing a day off for rest or recovery. Each week was only about 12 hours’ worth of work with almost all the bike sessions done indoors on the trainer or rollers (much to my wife’s liking) because of the unseasonable cold weather we had in December. The only downside was the 5k race at the end of the training block didn’t go that well. I ran a disappointing 18:23, 15 seconds slower than last year at the same race. Conditions were worse this year (sleet/snow mix) but I still expected a sub 18 min result.

On the plus side, I’ve started to lose some of the off-season pounds and I’m on my way to getting nice and lean. Also, I’m pleased that my swim volume is building back up, although I’ve yet to see the benchmark paces to give me confidence for the early season short course races. Hopefully the speed will come back around during the next 8-10 weeks.

So now my focus shifts to specific preparations for the ironman in May and all that entails. I have 18 weeks until race day to get myself ready mentally and physically for the performance of a lifetime. Both Jennifer and I are excited about the trip and we’ve already started planning our flights and hotel. The kids aren’t hiding the fact that they want to go to Hawaii in October to see flowing lava and go snorkeling and they’re expecting me come home with a Kona slot (no pressure, eh?). I’m really looking forward to my “Big Fridays” every other week where I’ll do the specific work to simulate the conditions I expect to face in Utah (as much as SC weather and terrain allow me).

I’ll try to blog a little more regularly with updates, pictures and video from my journey to St. George as well as race reports for some of the smaller races along the way.

Peace out -