"I like you. I'll gladly sit down and have dinner with you after the race. But when the gun goes off, I pretty much hate you, and I want to stomp your guts out. That's racing." -J Rapp

"the best night of my life.....
...in the most beautiful place on earth"

"It's just one, long, tedious conversation with yourself" -Paula Newby Fraser

"Have faith- trust in the plan - the breakthrough will come. I promise. " Woo

"You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” -Mark Allen

“The only time you can be brave is when you’re afraid.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting the fire to burn....

So it's 5 days to Christmas, a little over 4 weeks since Ironman Arizona, and 291 days to Ironman Kona....hard to be motivated right now!  The table at work is covered with sweets, coffee is back, but at least the weight is staying off!  Not that I'm concentrating on my weight, but I'm sure I could gain 10 pounds in a week if I didn't watch it!  Yesterday was my biggest day of training since IM...75 mile "base" ride and 3500 yards in the pool, and I felt it (on the bike...).  I've been prepping for PF Changs Marathon here on January 16th, and I think the running is wearing my ligaments thin...I must be getting old!  I've added a lot of stretching and rolling into the mix over the past two weeks (including a couple trips to Physical Therapy for hip alignment issues); maybe some of this is post IM stuff, but I also haven't been taking my First Endurance Products as religiously as I should...duh!  I did a 12K race last weekend---didn't feel my best as I ran the night before and was not "fresh," but I managed to finish 5th overall (out of 1022), won my age group by 5 minutes...so I'll take it!  That in itself may be why I've been sore...duh again!

So it looks like we are ramping things back up on the training calendar...I've been running often, but not necessarily long (most runs are 45-60 minutes).  I think this next week we will see a big jump there as a final "prep" for the marathon on January 16th...although part of me wants to bow out and do the 1/2 marathon...we'll see.  I'll be busy in February with a 5 day training camp in Tucson (did this last year...awesome!), then following that up with the Ragnar Relay Ultra Race 4 days after...nonetheless a huge training block with no less than 300 miles on the bike and 50 miles running in 9 days...ouch!  I guess I'll get an idea of what kind of shape I'm in, and if I'm not, I will be after!

Looking forward on the calendar...I wonder how I will be with IM Hawaii then IM AZ 6 weeks later...I hope I'll be "fresh and loose" enough on November 20th.  I think the 6 weeks in between will be all about recovery, but how do you re-set to peak while in recovery?  They seem like opposites, but I'm sure I will find a way!    Maybe it will be a 6 week taper.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What I use for Nutrition Products...and my love For First Endurance!

I've had a few people ask me about the products I used for IM nutrition and how I used them, so I thought I'd get all fancy and take pics...the product line I use is by First Endurance...they are the nutrition suppliers for many pros and elite amateurs out there, and they are the supplement of TEAM BMC and TEAM HTC on the "BIG BIKE CIRCUIT", as well as triathlete pros I admire, two being Jordan Rapp and Michael Lovato...so they must be good.  Everything I have ever read about their products has always been praising, and I cannot argue one bit.  I actually think that without these types of products (I have tried others, but First Endurance hit a home run from the get-go for me), I would be on the couch, 20 lbs heavier, watching football all weekend depressed that I was a lazy oaf.

So here is what I use and when I use it...(click on the underlined text to link to the product @ www.firstendurance.com), I use them daily!

MultiV: think if it as a multivitamin complex made specifically for endurance athletes...for anything more specific, go to their website.  I take 3 tablets daily religiously.  As with most of these nutrition lines, they work together much better than they do alone---I wouldn't take a Centrum, then use the rest of these products .  It's patented and most significant ingredient is Carbogen, which is clinically proven to increase time to exhaustion by 43%, reduce lactate levels by 58% and improve carbohydrate utilization...it's good stuff, but this is only the first step...

Optygen HP:   I wonder what this product doesn't do when it comes to endurance training.  Everything I list next I believe is 100% true from my own use of Optygen HP...increases exercise capacity, muscular strength, increase the body's ability to adapt to high levels of physical stress, increase anaerobic threshold, reduce lactic acid, improve power output.   I take 4 capsules pretty much daily, sometimes taking a break from it when I am in a "off" period.

EFS Drink:  This is my "Gatorade"...but worlds better.  The picture on the right shows the comparison to other product lines.  The question is "how concentrated is too concentrated" when it comes to electrolyte replacement.  For me, I have a high sweat rate..combine that with the dryness and heat of Arizona, and I am losing TONS of electrolytes when I work out (and in the summer...yikes!!!)  I use this product exclusively (no salt tabs) for my "fluid with calories"...otherwise I just drink water.  I never cramp, and I used to always cramp!  I use 2 scoops (200 cals) per 20 oz bottle, and that concentration seems to work great "for me."  Some people I know go with a more concentrated mixture, and others do the opposite...it's just a personal preference.  This is in my bottle poolside, on rides, and in my fuel belt...and I'll use it any time I am "loading hydration" for a long day...just drinking water ends up "rinsing out" your electrolytes, so avoid hyponatremia and use an electrolyte drink before long training days (especially in AZ, and especially if you have a high sweat rate).  EFS also has Malic Acid and Amino Acids as well...all good stuff for endurance!

Ultragen:  For every one of these products, I want to write "this is the highlight of their product line."  I really think that is true!  They all work so well, and the Ultragen was the first product I used from First Endurance...so I obviously love it if guided me toward the rest of the product line.  I use this for recovery...the "within 30 minutes of exercise" is the time this should be used, just mixed with water and ice, and I have to say they are pretty tasty!  Well, the Cappuccino and the Creamsicle are, the Fruit Punch is simply awful.  So after rides and runs of higher intensity or longer length, or after every workout in a tough build block, this is what I use EVERY TIME.  I could do a tough run in the morning, then have a shake, and jump on the bike in the afternoon and feel full of energy---it's crazy how well these products work for me.  One serving has 60g of carbs (dextrose) and 20g of protein (whey).  It also has a ton of amino acids, glutamine, and other good stuff (techincal term).

So those are my most used products...I use EFS Liquid Shot as my gel...100 cals per swig, and used as my "fuel" on long rides (a 5 oz flask holds 400 cals/100g carbs)  I don't use it all the time, but when I got close to IM, I use it exclusively on the bike to get my stomach on board with race day nutrition...focusing on 300 cals an hour (through trial and error, this amount works for me at race pace).  I count on Liquid Shot and EFS for my calories exclusively on the bike in races, nothing else.  I stay comfortable, fueled, energized, and feel I have total control over my nutrition with these products.  Whenever I take in Liquid Shot, I wash it down with water only, and when I use it on longer runs, I dilute it with water (it mixes very well!) so I can get it down easy when running.  They just came out with a Berry Flavor which I haven't tried, but the Vanilla is still great (I probably will try the Berry, but the Vanilla agrees with me!).  It has tons of electrolytes and amino acids, all of which keep you well fueled through workouts and racing.

Pre Race:  This is the "Spark"...I'll use it before a tough workout as a "pick me up" and to keep my body used to it.  It's in my "pre race" water bottle, mixed with a serving of EFS.  I also used it in IM AZ off the bike.  Once I settled into the run, I had this in a fuel belt flask, again mixed with a bit of EFS more for taste, and it kept me focused, energized, and feeling strong throughout the marathon.  I had another dose in my special needs, but I didn't use it.  Think of it as caffeine, but without the side effects (GI emptying, diuretic...).  It's main ingredients include  Quercetin (the same stuff that is in FRS), Taurine (the stuff in some energy drinks), Malic Acid, and a "neurostimulant blend".  All of this increases mental acuity and focus...especially after 6 hours in an Ironman, I never wavered from what I was focused on..

I almost feel like I should put a disclaimer on here that I have nothing to gain by writing this...I write it for friends that have asked and want more information, and I feel I provide an unbiased opinion on anything I recommennd, and I use it because I have researched it, it's competitors, and have chosen the product because it is the best... TEAM FIRST ENDURANCE BLOG is a great resource...there's  a forum full of useful  information---successes and failures, how to use,...join it if you want more information, and with a motto that states  "Our goal is to have 100% of our members complete ultra endurance races with no bonk, no cramps, and no gastric distress,"  what more could you want??  I would only add the benefits of fast recovery (Ultragen and Optygen HP) and mental focus (Pre Race)...now, really, what MORE could you want??

I do eat regular food, and lots of it...maybe that will be next!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2 Weeks Post Op

So I am 2 weeks removed from the IM AZ course...it seems like it was a month ago.  I've managed to squeak in a workout here and there, suffered a bit with a cold (runny nose!), and eaten A TON!  I can't go in the kitchen anymore...I have an eating problem.  Add in the time of year, and I've been up to no good---lots of stuff I haven't eaten all year.  So tomorrow starts the comeback...and it starts with my diet!  No more ice cream, pizza, hamburgers (last night was the BEST....Roaring Forks Big Ass Burger!), candy...you get the idea.  I've been off my First Endurance products since the race, and I can honestly say I can't move forward without them.  After running two days in a row, my quads ache, my calves are tight, and I had zero soreness through the heavy training blocks setting up for IM...they simply are amazing products that allow me to constantly push my envelope without suffering from the "old" effects of heavy volume...they are my drug!!  The good news is I haven't gained a pound...I think Ironman Arizona is perfect for the holidays...next time I'm going to eat to my hearts content and see what happens, although I don't think I can eat any more than I have the past two weeks!  I tried to curb the hunger today by making sweet potato chips, but because I was in the kitchen, the pantry and fridge were calling me, and they won.  Here's my sweet potato chips---not too appetizing, but food is for nutrition, right?  Well, I did put honey and cinnamon on them.

I'm a little concerned on how I will get back into it...Sunday I rode for 40 miles, and felt like I rode around the block--hardly a workout.  It is the "offseason," but I wanna GO!   Chris has always led me right, so I'll follow his lead.  Chris has put my workouts in for the next 2 weeks: 11.5 hours this week and 13.5 next week...all focused on building for PF CHangs Marathon on January 16th, but it is definitely going to be cross training with swimming and biking to break it up.  The sound of "just" running just doesn't sound appetizing at all, so we will see how it goes!  I'm going to do a 12K this Saturday, and Chris okayed it reluctantly, saying "if you blow a hammie I'll be pissed"...I can't let him down!!!  So if my time is less than fast...I have a built in excuse.  After PF Changs, I have Ragnar Relay--a 202 Mile running relay.  Our team has 6 runners, basically doing 3 half marathons over the course of 2 days, uninterrupted...gonna be psychologically challenging living out of a van in constant motion keeping up with the race...but should be a great team experience in a sport that is otherwise solo.  Our team is basically 5 guys who just did Arizona Ironman, and "fleet footed" Ben, who has run close to 15 marathons this year...FAST!!!  Last year a high school participant was killed when he was hit by a car, so we are running in support of his endowment fund...it's really great to have a cause to run for.  The week after Ragnar, I head to Tucson for training camp...where I feel it all started last year.  I came into that camp not knowing where I was...how I would "rank", "compete", or even "can I keep up?"  I left there energized, feeling like I was shot out of the canon.  Then March 31st came (crash = broken clavicle), then April 15 (surgery), and then July 15 (starting from scratch with training).  So this year, I'm going to skip the drama....and race pretty consistently, all focused on October 8th (Kona) and November 20 (Arizona).  I have 3-4 Olympic Races set, and 3 Half Ironmans as well.  We will be busy!!


January 16: PF Changs Marathon
Feb 17-22: Tucson Training Camp
Feb 24-25: Ragnar Relay (3 half marathons over the 202 mile relay)
April 10: Marquee 1/2 Ironman
May 7: Rio Salado Olympic
May15: Tempe International Olympic
June 4 Deuceman 1/2 Ironman
July 17 Mountain Man 1/2 Ironman
Sept 25: Nathans Olympic
October 8: IM Kona
Nov 20: IM AZ

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Starting Line...

The end of one journey is definitely the beginning of a new and exciting one for me!  I am a week out from qualifying for Kona at Ironman Arizona, and I am full steam ahead for 2011.  See the "links" tab for my blog that takes me through Ironman Arizona..."Broken Clavicle Chronicles."  It's time to start a new chapter...shoulder issue behind me, Ironman Arizona behind me, and a exciting future in the sport I lived for back in the 90's...I couldn't be more excited!   I'm looking forward to the long hard hours where I doubt myself, my desire, but pull through to get to the finish line....I know I will have those days when I feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and just going home to a life less challenging.  Nothing comes easy, but the rewards become more overwhelming the more blood, sweat, and tears I pour into something....

Because it's "off season"  (even though there is no such thing....I have convinced myself!), I'm gonna post some random stuff on things that are a part of my training.  First off is my "Pain Cave"...back in SF Chris has a "Pain Cave" of his own that he holds twice a week for his athletes out there..everyone's hooked up to a Computrainer (similar to mine, but a little "old school" in technology compared to mine).  The beauty for me is that I don't have Chris in my face telling me to push harder (I think I push hard enough...but then again, there are those days...;-)

First off, this is a "work room" with air conditioning (won't be used...ever!).  Fridge is stocked with Gatorade (Perform during IM prep!), water, and that's about it (well, Costco orders back up into this fridge too, and right now there's a pizza as well...offseason rules!).  It's a 46" LCD LED TV hooked up to a PC...running the TACX Virtual Reality Trainer Program that uses Google Earth to set up routes virtually anywhere on the planet...it is awesome, but like most technology, I am using it to only about 25% of what it can do. I can ride by Heart Rate, Power, Distance, Cadence, Time...it is amazing for inside workouts during the work week!  I can program in intervals and ride away....then have a movie on, watch tv, and some day soon use Hulu and Netflix to keep me entertained.  And, yes, I do see my family all the time and no I do not live in this room!  You can see the trainer on the floor that is hooked up to the pc, and it also has steering control if I want to actually control the bike (that's pushing it for me though).  The kicker is....the trainer actually returns power to our grid, so I can lower our power bill by riding...crazy!!!
Ironman Arizona Course is on the screen...

TV with riding stats on the bottom of the screen with a movie playing over the top of the screen...perfect!
Blu Ray player, cable box, and...vice grip...don't ask, don't tell!

Fan (needed!), trainer with power control on the back, along with power return unit in the lower right corner.

"Stuff"...all my bike tools, gear, supplies, and some nostalgic pieces...my first bike helmet (the silver one...covered with chiquita banana stickers), first bike frame (Steve Larson's TT bike (he passed away last year :(( that I bought for $300 in college---650 front, 700 rear....thinking of making it into a fixed gear bike), and a poster frame with pics, numbers and a poster from Wildflower...ancient!)
So that's the Pain Cave!  A local bike shop has this same setup, allowing you to pre-ride any course on the planet...I am grateful to have this awesome setup with the help of the guys at Airpark Bikes.  With the recent touch ups I've made in this room, I think I better focus on the work versus play with the gadgets.  Most sessions will be just the trainer and me...no TV, just the data---at least I hope!!  Regardless, the point of this room is so I can have my family time first, then ride after dark, safely, without ever using a light or wearing layer upon layer of winter gear only to ride at sporadic pace and accomplish half of what I can with this setup...lucky me for sure, and if you live here and want to ride a certain course, let me know!

Cheers for now, the pizza is calling my name...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We made it!

I remember this day a year ago well...the day after Ironman Arizona 2009.  It was the start of a journey that reached it's destination yesterday at Ironman Arizona 2010.  I remember heading down to Tempe to register for yesterdays race...nervous, excited, and really happy to be getting back into a sport I loved and lived for in the 90's.  I also remember glancing over at the tables where the Kona Qualifiers were writing their checks for the Ironman World Championships for the race this past October.   Since that day, IM AZ was marking in red on the calendar, and my plan was simple---pour everything I had into preparing myself as best I could to learn how to race long course.  Chris Hauth, whom I met back in the 90's,  almost instantly became my coach...AIMP Coaching...he lives in my home town, and is well known for his Ironman Coaching in the SF Bay Area---and has a tremendous reputation for training athletes for Ironman Distance Racing.   Simply put, I would have been lost without him, and at every step of the journey, he has been spot on and every workout was genius.  Throw the shoulder mishap including surgery to repair my clavicle (thanks Dr Amit Sahasrabudeh and the crew at Endurance Rehab--especially Brandon!!) that went down in late March, and I had my work cut out for me!  So on to the race!  But first, a reminder of what my clavicle looked like 4/28/2010 after surgery (you can see the anchor in my scapula):

First I have to apologize for this "book" you are about to read...it is meant for friends and family to take in my day of racing, but also includes notes for me to remember how I felt, what I can work on, and mistakes I made (those notes are in { } brackets!).  So I apologize again for the attention to detail that is really meant for selfish old me!

Dan Thomas and I at the Pre-Race Swim Session---awesome wetsuits!!

Talking a little more about Chris, the days going into the race (the taper, or "absorption of training phase"), were lined up down to the "T."  The race is just one day, but the time leading up to race day , as I'm sure you know, can be full of trepidation that you are not doing the right things.  From workouts and intensity, to rest, to diet, to getting my body ready for the early start to the IM day, it all went exactly as Chris said, and being able to trust his expertise was relaxing on the mind knowing that he has prepared 100's of athletes for peak performance successfully time and time again.  I had zero reason to think that the Taper was not going to get me to the starting line in great form...."feeling good any other day but race day is a waste" Chris has told me, and I was feeling it--fresh and loose (a Rink-ism!), not nervous, just ready to rock n roll.

Race morning was fairly uneventful for a race morning.  I was up at 4 after a decent night of sleep, and not really feeling the nerves...I dunno, I just never was nervous about this race, even while trying to tread water waiting for the gun to go off.  I had about 700 calories consisting of Coaches Oats with Ultragen, a bagel with Nut Butter, and a bottle of Perform...the "sponge" was set!!  Jenny, my mom and I headed down to Tempe Town Lake at 5, only to get a camera radar ticket on Shea---great way to start off!   Parking was easy in the garage behind Monti's, and I then was running all over the place getting bags in place, tires pumped, while negotiating the huge crowd in the dark...uneventful at least.  I had "Lose Yourself" by Eminem on my iphone basically on repeat...the most amazing song to listen to pre-race, as the line "you only have one shot" was my mantra for the day and I basically sang it every time things got tough, or I needed to focus more.  The weather was setting up to be a huge factor in the race, as the reports were saying: up to 24 mph winds from the south with rain expected.  I thought 'yeah right," that would set us up to have the worst weather we've had in months (except maybe for a monsoon or two and some walnut sized hail).  My "jedi mind trick" on the weather was: it's the same for everyone.  Wetsuit on, I hooked up with some buds (James, Dan, and Buddy) before the plunge...the water was perfect (61 was called COLD, but for swimming in a wetsuit, I think it was perfect).  After getting some advice from fellow AIMP'er Monica Moreno, I headed to my "ultra-secret" starting position.  The lead up to the start was both amazing and daunting...it was so crowded that treading water was a chore just to find room for you legs to churn, but we survived!  I was with Dan Thomas, a tri-buddy, and happened to be with my brother in law, Scott--it was crazy that we were there together, as there were 2000+ other swimmers with caps, wetsuits, and goggles on---a freak occurrence, but very welcomed with the stress of the start line.  Dan told me to look up, and the scene of the bridge above was inspiring; adding the loaded South bank of TT Lake--we are at an Ironman for sure.   Now imagine being on the line, waiting for the gun to go, then hearing Black Sabbath's "Ironman" (go to itunes and download it, turn your speakers up--you'll understand)...truly a surreal moment to the start of the day---amazing. If there wasn't enough electricity in the water...we were fully charged now.

SWIM:  59:00  1:31 per 100 meters
Overall: 122nd  Division Place: 15th
Garmin Data:  Ironman Arizona Bike
5..4..3..2..1..canon fires, and it's every one for themselves.  Great news right off the bat: it was literally like the crowd I was dealing with at the line had disappeared...some went left, some went right, but very few went straight!  After 200 yards in, I was basically alone, and I wasn't going to try to find someone to draft off of as I felt my line was straight, comfortable, and hassle free.  There were a few bumps here and there, but by the time I was almost to the far bridge, things were spread out to the point that a bump was from just trying to get into better position and catching a draft in my pack of maybe 8 to 10 swimmers.  I swam comfortable but hard, followed another tip from the man, myth, and legend Marc Rubin, and survived the boredom of swimming for an hour---well, 59 minutes on the dot.  {next time...push harder like Chris had told me!  Post race, Chris immediately said we can improve that swim time---as a first timer, this was a learning experience all day long!}.

T1:   4:31
Into T1, I struggled a bit with my wetsuit as I didn't want to sit down, but after seeing video, now I know the drill.  I took my time in transition as Chris said "if you are needing to take seconds off your time this is where you can look, but in an Ironman, make sure you are ready to move on--forgetting something in transition can ruin your day."  So that was my motto..sit down, check and double check, then go!

BIKE: 5:01:20  22.3 MPH
Overall:  60th Division Place: 6th
Through transition, grabbed the bike, jumped on, and away we go!  While the swim is somewhat arbitrary, the bike is the opposite---how would I feel?  I had so many "tough" rides through training...as everyone says, it's those tough workouts that you draw from on race day to get you through it.  I was hoping the ride would not be one of those "tough" days, and thankfully it wasn't.  It probably didn't hurt that the wind was blowing up the Bee Line, as I was flying out of transition.  The plan was as follows:  Lap 1: let my heart rate come down gradually...give it time, and settle into the 127BPM range.  Up the Bee Line I go, passing a bunch of fast swimmers/slower bikers on the way, and pausing before those riding a bit stronger to make the pass permanent.  One young guy (24 y.o.) passed me obviously pushing too hard (the head bobbing side to side gave it away), but otherwise I was getting into a great groove and as the first lap progressed, it was getting rather lonely...lonely is good! (I would see this 24 y.o. again later in the ride, going the way of a burned up rider) Watching the pros wizz by in the opposite direction was surreal, as four of my favorites were here racing:  Chris Lieto, Matty Reid, Rasmus Henning and Chrissie of course.  It is crazy to participate in a sport where you are on the same "field" as the pros.  So I hit the first turnaround half way through the first loop, and was happy to see a good friend and co-worker Kirsten there jumping up and down with excitement (great to see you too Steve!  glad you are well!).  On the turnaround though, we were all presented with the biggest challenge to adapt to on the day...the head wind.  I was thinking I would get my "recovery" in on the way back down, but not on this day.  Because of this, my heart rate was 5 beats higher than I wanted for the first lap, and without previous experiences to draw on, I was hoping that the extra bit of heart rate I was putting into the bike was not going to affect me on the run or even later on the bike.  "EVERY BEAT COUNTS" Chris has said to me.  So I put my head down and push cadence 80-85 back to town.  The end of the laps were awesome...I was alone this first time, and it was very cool to hear my family cheering, friends yelling, and the cowbells going knowing that they were cheering just for me on at that moment...after the turn it was almost like being shot out of a canon back up to the Bee Line because of all the amazing support!

Finishing Lap 1

The plan for lap 2 was to settle in to 133ish BPM, and I was right there, feeling very comfortable.  I knew I was aerobic because the word for this and the final lap was "LEFT!" as I passed people who were now a lap down.  I was flying again back up the Bee LIne....and hit the turnaround in under 2:27 half way through the bike at mile 56!  I was feeling as fresh as when I got on the bike.  This next time back to town was tougher...riding through a 10 minute hail storm in the process. The first odd thing occurred here:  a bald eagle flew right in front of me...where was I?   I stopped and picked up my 2 bottles of EFS and another liquid shot (more on my nutrition later), and headed back out (kudos to the Special Needs Volunteers...I had yelled out on my way up "871" so when I got back down to them, they had my bag in hand and was stopped for less than 15 seconds--THANKS!!).  So I continued my "weave" through the crowd back to town, then back out to the Bee Line for my final lap.  Final lap plan:  maintain 133 BPM...will be harder than lap 2 to maintain, but push hard and keep moving (reason: glycogen storage has been depleted...now it's all on my intake to keep me fueled).  Riding a rear disc and flying again, "I was Chris Lieto!"  That was my imagination at least.  The noise off the disc is exciting in itself--not to mention FAST!! So the final trip to the Shea turnaround was vicious...the wind was now much  more of a factor, and I was 90+ miles into the ride...time to focus, get aero, and push back to transition.   Just then, I ran over a piece of duct tape...it would not come off!  I rode for 5 miles sounding like a little kid with a card in his spokes until I just couldn't take it anymore, so I stopped and removed it in haste. On the final stretch in.  I let 3 guys (2 in my division) pass without a chase as I wanted to conserve a bit, thinking that my slightly higher heart rate during the ride may make me pay for it on the run, so I relaxed a bit (and against the plan) and hung with one of the women pros, Csomor, who obviously knows what she is doing at this point {hindsight: I should have pushed hard like the plan said...I was feeling great and gave up 2 spots in my division as a result of backing off---I was supposed to be hurting, so make it hurt a bit dammit!!} I ended up leaving Csomor as my heart rate was now in the 120's (the dip in my heart rate on the Garmin Data at 4:40).  So into transition, I felt great...I stayed aero 99% of the time, my shoulder was a non-factor, I felt fully fueled and hydrated...
Turning for Lap 3 and doing the "weave"

{Side note: nutrition plan was as follows:  on the :15 and :45 I took in 100 cals of EFS Liquid Shot with Water, and on the :30 and :00 I took in a 1/4 bottle of EFS (50 cals per 1/4 bottle).  This gave me an average of 300 cals/hr.  I didn't stick to that plan for the second half as I didn't need the cals I guess due to my pre-race meals...I finished with a full bottle of EFS and no additional "goodie" calories...so my total calorie intake on the bike ended up being 600 cals of EFS, 1000 cals of Liquid Shot---320 cals/hour..right on!  BUT, next time push harder and take in 350+cals/hour}.

Shoes off, time to run...

T2: 2:52
The moment of truth: jumping off the bike...if you have done an Ironman, I think you would agree this is the most nerve-racking part of the race once the swim has ended.  Back stiff? no...Legs dead? no...Stomach upset? NO!!!   Into the changing tent I go...again, those volunteers are AMAZING!  My bag was ready and waiting at the entrance to the bag area...AMAZING!   Just like T1, I took my time---and I had transition to myself.   A ONE athlete, Neal Gelb, instantly was in front of me helping out along with another volunteer--I was a bit dazed as I had just spent the last 5 hours completely alone, so it took me a bit to start being human again.  He filled my fuelbelt bottles with cold water to mix with my hydration powders...Bike helmet off, Zoot sleeves off, CEP calf compression sleeves on, socks on, shoes on, visor on, double check, and then off I go...no need for sunscreen for me today!  Not a fast transition again, but I wanted to use them as "mini-breaks" to get me ready for the next leg...almost to a fault, but they worked perfectly.

Run:  3:20:49  7:39/mile
Overall Place:  52nd   Division Place:  9th
Garmin Data:  Ironman Arizona Run
Finishing Lap 1
Out of transition, it was great to see the Tri Scottsdale and Endurance Rehab group right away...and I couldn't miss Marc Rubin's yellow jacket (note to anyone spectating:  wear yellow!!).  I was now back on the planet again...and I felt great, but first a pit stop as I had to pee the entire bike but not bad enough to pee my pants....thankfully!  Again I was all alone, passing one guy in the first mile (he was not looking too good...).  As I hit the bridge at the West end of the course, a gust whipped up, throwing a small object of some sort straight down my throat into my lungs---the people at the bridge must have thought I was going to die!  Between the duct tape on the bike and now this on the run...someone was trying to slow me down!  I never did get it back up, and blocked it out by the time I hit the other side of the bridge.  The first Aid Station on the run was AMAZING as well.  They were lined up, and as I came through, one guy ran with me asking me what I needed...sponges, water, and Powergel...all right there with options in flavors..again, AMAZING!  I was now in MACCA mode: Spongebob Squarepants with sponges on my jersey, trying to emulate him in Kona this past October.  A quick glance at my watch, and I was in the 6:40/mile range and feeling great.  I was coming up on a guy walking on the desolate return stretch from the bridge on the north side of the lake...he had a guy on a bike next to him...odd, but I was happy to be the one passing versus the alternative.  I glanced at him, he at me, and then realized who HE was...Chris Lieto!  I was just finished "being him on the bike" (and I am a FAN of Chris Lieto!).  Awestruck, I just kept going without a word,...a surreal experience to say the least.  I had "unlapped" myself from Chris, and would almost catch him at the finish (he had a bad day, and I ended up finishing ahead of him in time).  At this point there was no one on the race course...I felt like I had it to myself...always a good sign!  Hearing the cheers from transition made me want to get back to it for some excitement!   I crossed the bridge back to the transition area, and it was electric as it had been all day.  I headed under the bridge and finally got to see my mom, Jenny, and her sister Sarah...it put the biggest smile on my face to see them and to be where I was...but there was no time to waste.  At this point I had no idea where I was placed...and for the majority of the run I had no idea other than I knew there were more than the 2 guys that passed me on the bike in my division.  I went on to complete the second part of the first loop just waiting for the "free miles" to end.  The run Aid stations continued to amaze me, seeing many friends along the way to keep me smiling, motivated, and not lonely.  Something in my mind must have gone off as I finished lap 1, as, looking at my data, my heart rate dropped...but I was still had that "free miles" feeling---maybe I eased up as I had not seen anyone on the course at all, and wanted to make sure I was avoiding a potential breakdown later in the run??---I was happy with where I was and pushing harder didn't seem like a wise decision as I couldn't see a gain in front of me. {next time, keep the intensity up....I know Chris will tell me anyways!}  On lap 2 I was now with runners who were just starting their first lap as well, so it wasn't as desolate out there (I did like the desolation for what it stood for ;).  Lap 2 was uneventful as I just cruised along waiting for lap 3 and the pain I was expecting to start at some point.  I had a very nice moment at the end of lap 2 as Jenny was taking video out of the crush of transition...she was smiling ear to ear cheering me on...THERE'S MY TEAM!!!  So onto Lap 3 I go, still feeling good, and so happy to be passing that sign that said "finish line" with an arrow for the last time (what a cruel sign to pass at the beginning of every lap!!).  On my way back under the bridge for the second half of the third loop, the place was a zoo...lots of people on the course now, with the sidelines packed with amazing supporters, including my ONE buddies!!!!  It was at this moment that Chris says "push harder, you're just out of the top 5"...it then got VERY REAL at this point.
 I had less than a 10K to go, still felt great, and now knew that I was having a great day.  I reeled in 2 guys on this section (Kenny Steil was one of them, a local triathlete who had the fastest amateur bike split (and the third guy that passed me on that final stretch of the bike).  I was still holding back a bit out of fear of "hitting the wall,"  but I never hit it.  Avid spectators I did not know were saying "you're running to Kona" and I had to focus to keep the tears back..."YOU ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT" (Eminem)...I wanted to pick up the pace, but also wanted to enjoy the experience, so I kept it steady on the way in.  I passed Chris one last time with 1/4 mile to go (I  had no idea of my time at this point), "leave it all out here, push it and you'll be sub 9:30!"  CRAZY!  My goal was sub 10, and I thought THAT was a pipe dream.  I picked it up a bit, then realized there were 2 guys just ahead of me and I was gaining fast (I couldn't pick em out until we entered the final "Finish Line"-with-an-arrow shoot because the run course was loaded at this point.  I thought about a full on sprint, but felt it would have been a bit tacky to do so, so I enjoyed the shoot...giving high fives while Mike Reilly gave me more than I could ask for.... "Erik Svans, number 871, competing in his first Ironman, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!"  He threw in the "tooth doctor from Scottsdale" as well...what a guy!  Mike is the voice of Ironman Friends in the finishing shoot, family waiting nearby, Ironman done...a moment I will never forget. (Mike Reilly's Story) Thank you Steve and Jodi for your help at the finish...my "on" switch went "off" about a minute later, and I was a hurting unit!  My mom came over and gave me a huge hug with the biggest smile on her face, Jenny and  Sophia were next; Sophia had just gotten to the race, and gave both her and Jenny a kiss and a hug---we made it!!!  Those moments right after the race meeting up with family were beyond words...one of the highlights of my life!    I was so happy to share this with my family...it has been a team effort from day one, and I felt like I was racing with a team behind me because of their undying support over the past year.  Papa's coming home!

Warm and cuddly!  Now a happy camper!

 My digestive system was instantly a mess---but it was calm when it counted.  Add the cold weather, and I was a very cold mess!  I grabbed a pizza from the volunteers, but couldn't take a bite (Sophia dug in though!).  It took about 30 minutes and a warm set of dry clothes for me to start feeling better...then I felt great!  It was time to relax for the first time in months and cheer on friends and family, take a very memorable photo with Jenny and Sophia, and just take it all in.  I have teared up many times just thinking about finishing this race, but the excitement overrid (not a word, but who cares) the tears...I think Kona will bring that out...now, time to retire this "broken clavicle chronicles" blog and move on...next up "the road to Kona!!!"

Overall Time:   9:28:20
Overall Place:    51st
Overall Amateur:  16th

Notes for next time:

  • Push the swim a bit more (goal for IM AZ 2011: 55:00 or better)
  • Transitions: speed em up!  (lose 2 minutes there)
  • Bike:  keep pushing over the last third---it should hurt a bit!  (shoot for low 4:50ish)
  • Run:  keep the intensity up--it should hurt a bit too! Also, remember what you put in your Fuelbelt flasks, but maybe go without it---I used the nutrition plan switching off at every aid station:  Gel and water/Perform---amount taken in according to how I felt. Oranges were awesome.  No desire for more EFS Liquid Shot.  Pre-race worked great. Coke over the last 5K also worked very well.  (shoot for 3:10)
  • Goal for IM AZ 2011:  sub 9

Here are some tibdits about the race if you care for more information!

Ironman.com Article about the Race
The amazing Chrissie Wellington's New World Record

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 days...getting into race mode

So I'm up at 4 am by choice..crazy.  Trying to get the body used to race day.  I spent yesterday running around a bit more than I wanted, but the result was I got just about everything done...registered, race wheels in hand, workouts done, ate, muscle "flush", and lots of water ingested.  Still no real nerves to speak of..almost an eery calmness!

It seems like forever since I've been able to come home at the end of a day and just simply relax with Jenny and  Sophia, and I really enjoyed our night of dinner outside with Country music blaring as Sophia played and Jenny and I hung out.  Dinner was spaghetti and a Spinach salad...basic good food!  We then watched Alice in Wonderland---seen it maybe 30 times now, but watching a movie with Sophia is always a great experience to hear her oohs and aaahs no matter how many times we've watched it.  I started putting my gear together, and Sophia joined right in...she loves swim caps and aero helmets!

Then it was bed time, and I still feel unworthy of sleep I guess!  I'm taking half a Tylenol PM to help out, and it seemed to help last night..yay!  I think by todays early wakeup, I should be good to go tonight..I hope!  I have an hour EZ ride today followed by a 15 minute transition EZ run....EZ!  Yesterday was a 2200yd swim followed by an hour run...legs are fully charged and ready to go...I was running 7:30's low in zone 2 with the brakes constantly on in my mind.  I have this delusion that if I get off the bike feeling fresh, I can hold 7:00-7:20 min/miles..we will see about that!  It will all come down to that point where the day is getting long and when it truly becomes a battle to become Iron..."if it was easy, everyone would dod it."   Hopefully that point happens after 16 miles in to the run, but I'm sure it will come more around mile 10, if not earlier.

So I'm heading out for the workouts early, and then off to pick mom up at the airport, otherwise, the legs will be kicked up and relaxing..maybe a few movies in store for us today!  Apple TV here I come!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4 Days Out....Yeeehaw!

The days are ticking away....slowly!  My Facebook countdown I think is helping, but tomorrow, being my last day of work for the week (well, working 7 to 10 am...tough day!!), I will start to feel the excitement for race day start to pick up.  I am vey excited to share this day with those who have been behind me......From day one in this sport (back to 1993!), my mom has always been there cheering and supporting (Love Ya Mom!)(AND, my sister, who can't make it out for the race too), and now I have Jenny, Sophia, Jenny's family, my brother in law Scott who is also competing, new friends (Dan, James, Buddy, Michael, Darci, Tracy, Nicky...) who are competing, and God knows how many friends that will be out there on Sunday cheering.  You all have a very important role in the day---you are on MY TEAM!  This has been a very selfish thing for me to do, especially when it comes to Jenny and Sophia, and a day does not go by that I don't appreciate their understanding and support...they've gotten used to "papa" not being home, or "papa" gone all day.  I'm sure so many times during the course of the day I'll feel like crap, want to slow down, even stop, heck, even quit, but having you there to support me will help me keep one foot in front of the other, and at the finish we can celebrate in many different ways!  THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!  As the saying goes, "if it was easy, everyone would do it."  The day is about a personal challenge---a challenge I've wanted to take on for close to 15 years.

On to the selfish me and how I am feeling (I'm kidding, kind of), I am going through the psychology of tapering....trying not to eat as much (not fasting, just fueling my body correctly and not gaining extra "baggage"), trying to still feel energized, and trying to rest.  The eating is keeping my weight stable, so I am good there--but man, it is tough.  I feel like I am not eating at all, yet I'm still taking in 3000 calories a day---every calorie has been all about nutrients...I can't waste a taste!  Trying to stay energized has always been a battle going through a taper for me...I feel lazy because I don't have the tough workouts---I guess it's nice when a 3000 yd swim, an hour run, or a 2 hour bike feels like nothing at least.  The rest part of the taper has been the hardest.  Sleeping has been difficult for the same reasons...I am not beating myself to a pulp everyday to wipe me out, so I don't hit the pillow as I close my eyes this week.  My mind isn't going crazy about the race, I'm just not tired!!  I may have to put a half a Benadryl in tonight through friday night just to get a great night of sleep!   So otherwise, my taper is going as planned!  The legs are getting pretty "fresh and loose" as I found tonight on my 2.5 hour trainer session..so all points to good!

After finishing up my workouts, I am feeling pretty decent about where I am at....my swim is strong, efficient and better than it has ever been.  I plan to get out of the water right around 60 minutes after the gun  The bike is what I am most worried about, as my quads have been sore since an ill-advised deep tissue treatment last friday, but they are coming around and should be fine (especially after tonights session...but they still have a little way to go).  I think I will know 10 miles into the bike how my day will go--if I'm struggling to get power into the pedals, then my bike leg will be slower than I am planning.  If things are perfect, the bike will take me a few minutes over 5 hours, if not, 5 1/2 hours is what will happen.  If it's worse than that, I am having a bad day (really bad day!).  So the most varying in time will be the bike.  The run will always be full of stress; gauging pace, nutrition,  and the mental part of starting a marathon after 6 hours of fairly high intensity work!  My overall goal time: I have no idea!  All in all I feel strong at all 3 disciplines, but it is the mental and nutrition side that really determines how well you do at this length...let's hope the First Endurance products and my mental status are right on!

Chris gave me the "race plan" today, so I am feeling very well prepared not only for the race but for everything from today forward (sleeping, when to eat, what to eat, what to drink,...).   I can't prepare for the loneliness of the race...yes, there will be 2500 other people racing and countless people cheering, but  I have no one to talk to, no one to chit chat with...what the heck am I gonna do with my brain?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where has the time gone! 13 days to Arizona Ironman!

It's been a little bit since I posted last, but not that I haven't thought about posting at least!  There is just not enough time in the day or week sometimes to organize my mind and write something, anything!  Even as  I write this I am wondering what will come out on my blog...I guess it's the story of life sometime!

So on with the show...I am wrapping up my training for the race this week...the day is almost here!  Lately I've had a bit of struggle keeping focused, and I knew this would happen.  I've put my time in on all of the disciplines, I worked on my nutrition plan, finalized my gear, and have the feeling that so many people have told me---that the race is anticlimactic.  When it's over,  IT is over...the heavy training,  the 5000 calories a day diet (hopefully I can cut back to 3000/day??), the anticipation...the list goes on.

While I am going with the flow, I am in what  I call "anti-peak mode" which means trying not to feel to fast, too rested, and too excited about race day.  If I'm fast, rested, and excited today, I won't be as fast, rested, and excited in 2 weeks---I just can't hold that level of "good" for that long.  The good news is Chris has been helping me "stay down"...while I am in "taper" right now (the bike rides are 4 hours instead of 6)---the intensity is up, riding at higher heart rates and bigger gears.

The run on the other hand is getting worked---the past 3 weeks I've had at least two 2 hour runs a week.  The highlight of those has been every one of them actually...my only 2 hour 30 minute run was 20 miles (I'll take that any day), and yesterday I completed 16 miles in under 2 hours; zone 2 heart rate, comfortable pace...averaging 7:26min/mi...the run is ready.

The swim has been uneventful, other than a new wetsuit I put into play this past saturday, and I LOVE it!  Chris is involved with Sailfish wetsuits, so he sent me one.  I decided to jump into Tempe Town Lake (yes it is full, yes the water feels fresh and clean, and yes to everything else good about the lake....it is the perfect Ironman swim venue), the event was part of the DCB Open Water Swim Series (I completed in one back in September just to get a feel for 4000m up at Saguaro Lake).   I approached this 4000 meter race more as a workout than anything else (I had a 3 hour ride after)...my goal was to find my pace (did that), swim straight (I think I did), draft (no drafting today...no one swam straight enough!), and get out of the water feeling good and not winded (did that!).  My time was 1:02, so I was happy, but of course now my goal for the IM swim is sub 1 hour (the IM swim is 3800m)...the thing I can't control is the other 2400+ people on the swim course at the same time trying to not let me swim my race as I plan...I have a secret plan for that, but it's a SECRET!!  This swim was also a 4 lap 1000m course, so I had to weave through traffic for the second 2 laps, so that was good prep for IM AZ!

So that's it for now...I'm just cruising along keeping the excitement low.  I'm feeling good about all of the disciplines!  At this point I'm nervous about a few things, all of which I can't control:  the swim craziness (the first 400-500 meters will be tough!), the wind on the bike (but everyone has to deal with it), bad luck on the bike (mechanicals, flats),  nutrition ( I can control it and will have a plan, but will my stomach agree??  First Endurance says it will!), and how will I feel when I hit the wall on the marathon ( mile 13? mile 20? or worse, mile 10? mile 1??)...I think I will be able to handle the pain--I know it will be present all day long!  For those of you that will be there, if I'm not saying much, it is the pain that I am fighting---pain does not like it when you smile, and a lot of pain makes it impossible to smile, let along high five, but I'll do my best and will give plenty of hugs when it is over ;-}


Monday, October 18, 2010

Here's the lake as of this past saturday!

T Minus 5 Weeks!

Time for another check in on here!  Things have been going well, and the body is becoming an "engine."  This past week was 22+ hours of training, and rather than go through every day, I'll just review the highlights!  Totals:  8250 yards in the pool (2 workouts), 296 miles on the bike, 29.9 miles running.  Totals for September were: swim: 44875 yards,  bike: 1002 miles, run: 83.8 miles.

So the highlights of last week---swimming:  I had a great workout on tuesday, with a total of 4600 yards:
800 choice
4x100 - 50 drill/50 swim
800 pull
4x100 fast 50, ez 50
600 swim
4x100 kick 15 sec rest
400 pull
4x100 FAST!! with 30 sec rest - VERY fast with all this rest
400 stretch out

I gauge a swim workout by how I feel at the end, and after this one, I felt strong!  My stroke stayed consistent and strong throughout, and I was able to push those 100's without feeling worn out and "sloppy."  I'm feeling like I just need to bring this fitness level into the race and I'll be fine....but I'll keep pushing for more so I can get out of the water 10 seconds faster than if the race was today (yes, that's sarcasm).

The biking highlight of the week may seem odd, but it was one of survival!  Saturday's ride was 6 hours with some intervals built in (an early hour in Zone 3 HR, and 2 late reps of 20 minutes each).  Seemed easy enough, but Chris warned me it would be tougher than I thought...mostly because the two days before I was running and biking both days, with really tough trainer intervals for the bike on thursday (followed by an EZ 45 minute run) and 6 reps of 5 minute hill repeats on friday afternoon (with 90 minutes of EZ spinning on the bike).  So back to saturdays ride....I started with my "ONE Multisport" buddies just up the street.....always a hammer fest!  So after a 20 minute warm up, I went off with my new buddy Joel Gerber---AKA king of the hammerheads (going slow is a "waste of time" according to Joel!).  So I rode my early hour at Zone 3 +++.  After about 2 hours with the ONE guys, I headed off on my "only the lonely" ride...4 more hours totally alone (but with tunes at least).  Side note: my playlist of 100 songs is driving me crazy!!  So I headed down 9 mile, through Fountain Hills, down the IM course, and to the lake...which looks close to full...yay!!!!  Backing up to the IM Course section, I fought the mind battle to keep going versus going home at the 3 hour point...I was losing interest and was pretty wiped out from the cumulation of the weeks workouts, but these are the days that I can pull from during the IM bike to get me through.  I'm not always going to feel fresh, strong, or even wanting to be on my bike, but knowing I mentally won the "go home early" battle will help me keep moving forward.  That is why this ride was the highlight!   So, you can imagine, the two 20 minute reps late in the ride were TOUGH---and I learned that the early Z3+++ hour made me pay dearly.  I made it through just fine, but keeping the focus going was too hard...I was searching for a "short" way home in my mind all the way home, but I made it!  120 miles exactly in just over 6 hours---not my best effort, but I'll take it!!

So for the run highlight, I'm going with two good ones:  a 90 minute run including 6 hill repeats (Z3++ HR) of 5 minutes each...I always feel the instant gratification of these---they are soo hard and the EZ cool down run after is like flying because I'm running on the flats or even downhill.  Also, there's always a good burn in the legs, and I feel exhausted but energized from the high intensity!  The other run of note this week was sundays run: 90 minutes with two 30 minute sections at IM pace minus 10%---another one that sounds easy, but really isn't.  These will become a staple of my training over the next month (versus running slow and long).  For this one, I used 8 min/mile as the "IM" pace just to see where I'm at, which meant my goal pace was 7:12.   The first rep was at 7:08 and the second at 7:10 (average HR for both was 142...2 beats above Z3), so I'm on schedule!  I felt like I could have gone faster, but this was a good start and I'm feeling good about my run!  It WILL be all mental on race day! 

So there you have the long version of my good workouts of the week...let's see what I have to write about in 7 days!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Race Report: Prospector Olympic Triathlon October 9, 2010

Having a race on the same day as the "big dance" (Kona Ironman: the world championship) was great!  If it was just another training day for me, I would have felt like I was missing out on the live broadcast, but the race kept me busy!  Here's my summary:

 I was happy with my swim---coming out of the water 3rd overall in 19:15. In prep for IM AZ, I figured my swim today would be decent as I am swimming more than almost anyone out here, and that always helps for swimming.  The course was obviously shorter than 1.5K..there was plenty of chop from the winds across the lake!  The 5 minute run up to transition wasn't too bad, but wasn't good for letting the HR settle in before the bike.

The bike course did not have any flats whatsoever, but I held my own considering my IM bike training has been at lower intensity and mostly on flat ground due to the IM course elevation---a few overall places shuffled around on the bike, and I finished the 4 loop bike course in 4th (I was in 2nd until the 4th lap; I was trying to conserve a bit on that fourth lap when two guys slipped by...just a "little bit" though).  I tried to be my own bike mechanic last night due to a front derailleur issue and dropped my chain 3 times because of it, but never had to stop to fix it at least.  I'll keep the bike shops in business!  So overall I was happy here as well, but was in a HR zone I do not work on at all right now (10+ beats higher than my intervals!)--the challenges of the short race during IM training!   Normally I ride at a HR below 133, but I started the bike in the mid 150's and settled into the mid 140's as the ride progressed.   Getting off the bike I made a HUGE error---I had half a bottle of EFS hydration left, and drank it all a bit too close to transition (about 1 minute before getting off the bik)---the run report below will point out the effects of this ;)  I think I made the error because I really didn't have a plan going into this race, and all of the sudden decided to implement this hydration strategy, but didn't realize transition was right around the corner---OH WELL!!!  Next time, I'll actually take more than 5 minutes to decide how I should hydrate and eat---I probably didn't need the fluids at all---BUMMER!   Prospector Tri Bike Leg by esvans at Garmin Connect - Details  This is the data---gotta love the HR decrease---maybe a bit too hard on the swim????  Well, no one passed me until mile 18 at least!

Onto the run, I felt pretty good considering the HR zone I worked at on the bike.  I was on the heels (about 10 feet and gaining) on the 3rd place runner (who was the eventual winner---go figure) when I hit the turnaround on the first lap---POW!!!  My stomach was turning inside out...I literally had to stop and deal with it, but it didn't end there.  That half bottle projected out like a hose on full power.  I almost immediately felt better, but the damage was done, I lost about 5 minutes and 4 places in the standings.  Luckily I was close to an aid station, took in some water, and got back to running in a minute or so. I hit the end of the first lap and could see where I was at in the race...basically out of luck!  The gap to gain a spot was over 90 seconds, so I just held pace and finished up uneventfully in 7th overall. Prospector Tri Run Leg by esvans at Garmin Connect - Details...from 7 minutes in to 10 minutes in you can see my abrupt deviation!  My HRM stops when I stop, so the evidence of the vomit is not recorded

HUGE lesson learned today.  I honestly think I could have taken the race, considering I was about to pass the eventual winner at a fairly easy pace and how I was feeling other than that 5 minute stent---I'm glad I battled back and got back into the race---which will serve as a great mental piece for IM AZ in 6 weeks.    I was glad to keep Sullivan behind me through the debacle--I only lost places during this failure!  No excuses though---my competition was fierce and I will be there another day to attack and not give them that "easy" spot I lost to them.  I now have a war to settle with myself at IM AZ---no mistakes and I'm going to plan like it's a Board Exam.

My head is down because my coach Chris is going to tell me I know better than that (because I do), but all in all, being my first competitive race in 9 years, I am happy to get back out and get the juices flowing!

Final Splits:
Swim  3rd overall in 19:15
Bike: 7th overall in 1:15:32 did I say it was hilly!!!
Run: 21st overall in 46:51....considering my running background---UNBELIEVABLE!!!  5 minutes standing still will do that, and losing by 4 minutes to the overall leader is not sitting well right now  ;(((  Until next time....

Friday, October 8, 2010

8 Weeks to the Big Day...I'm running behind!!

So today is Thursday, October 7, and I haven't posted for last week yet!  With lots going on in all facets of my life, I honestly am running out of time in the day to get everything done.  Unfortunately, the blog suffers as it doesn't pay the bills, count as time with my family, as training, as eating, and as sleeping.  Those things are the necessities of life!  Last week I saw a cutback in my workout load, most notably on the run...totals were: 11,400 yds swimming, 213.4 miles cycling, and 25 miles running.  I would say the slight drop was necessary due to the new intensity I am pushing in all the disciplines!  Rather than over bore you with the specifics of every workout, I thought going through a few of the key ones would be "cooler."

After a true rest day on monday, tuesdays workout was one I have been looking forward to ever since the Coast Ride, and the testing that preceded it.  To review for a second, my testing showed that I was "fried/fatigued/overtrained a bit"  So off I went on the 380 mile, 3 day ride!  The goal after the ride was to actively recover so my heart rate would become more reactive to my exertion level---tuesdays workout was to see how I was doing with my recovery.  The focus of the workout was a 20 minute all out effort on an incline on the bike.  I headed to the bottom of nine mile and gave it my best effort!  The conclusion of the workout was that my highest HR during the 20 minutes was 144...and I was panting the entire time!  You are probably saying that is low---it is....too low!!  But, that is me (I must have a very powerful blood pump!).  The conclusions from this workout were going to determine not only my recovery, but my zones for future workouts.  Chris had my zones set low since the Coast Ride to keep me from higher intensity workouts, but that was also what the blood lactate testing showed.  My zones changed as follows:  zone 2 (aerobic riding) went from a high of 108 to a high of 122; zone 3 went from 115 to 133...these were huge changes, as once I had recovered somewhat, I couldn't ride more than 14 mph at a HR under 110---and I can't ride at 14 mph for a 5+ hour ride and feel like I was accomplishing anything.  So this was great!!!!

So aside from this testing, my other key workouts were a 10 x 400 swim set that felt great, and a 120 mile 6 hour ride in zone 2 mostly that included the IM AZ course...I realized that the bike course is the easiest riding around town---FAST!!

The rest of the week was normal, and my overall impression right now is that I just need to stay with it....the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and I am realizing that as we get into the final weeks, that I will be doing a lot of workouts in the dark; swimming is not a big deal, biking will end up on the trainer (I love the trainer anyways), and running will be fine as well...the psychology of losing daylight is going to be a battle, but the ability to work at higher intensity because of the cooler temps will be welcomed too!

By the way, Tempe Town Lake is being filled!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9 Weeks to Ironman Arizona

So there hasn't been an update about the lake in a while, but we just keep on truckin'!

Monday, September 20:
Chris gave me the day off, but I jumped on the trainer anyways for two hours, with some intervals to start waking the legs up coming out of a recovery week...my body is eager for more building!

Tuesday, September 21:
1) 75 minutes running....
We are adding run intervals back into my program!  But instead of track workouts, we are doing hill repeats (fun!  track workouts on a hill basically!).  I have the perfect hill for these over in McDowell Mountain Ranch...3 reps of 5 minutes each in Zone 4 HR (right around 140 BPM for me).Hill Repeats on Garmin...Chris has been telling me to think like a Diesel rather than a Ferrari, so I am trying to keep my pace/HR down, but my body wants to take off...gotta stick to the plan!  I ended up running between 7:30-8:00 pace...not fast...DIESEL!!!  I am now really focused on training right...I don't care how fast I am through my workout---Chris says it's not about beating yourself to a pulp, it's about conditioning your body...and he knows best!

2) I followed the run up with 90 minutes easy on the trainer to "shake the legs out" 150 watts which had my HR at 115...DIESEL!!  this was a recovery spin...

Wednesday, September 22:
1) I started my afternoon workout with a swim as follows:  3700 IM Prep - 400 wup, 300 free with middle 100 FAST (3rd 100) - 800 Free steady, 50 ez, 600, steady, 50 ez, 2x400 faster than 800 was, 50 ez, 2x300 faster than the 600, warm down.  My swimming is really coming along well as of late...speed is increasing, endurance in the water is where it needs to be, and I am feeling pretty comfortable!  I have a Swim Analysis with a local coach here (Frank Sole) tomorrow..I can't wait to see what I look like from every angle and get some valuable feedback to make me more efficient!
2) 90 minutes of Intervals on the Bike Trainer: just like above, I have a lot in reserve at the current zones, and in this workout my wattage varied from 170 to 240---not tough at all, but I know that is the goal---IM bike is not about pushing high wattage, it's about keeping a constant wattage/Hr throughout that allows the body to maintain its endurance throughout---NO LACTIC ACID BUILDUP!

Thursday, September 23: aka my 38th Birthday!
very easy "training day", basically all I had was a "recovery swim" which turned out to be my swim analysis videoing with Frank...nothing else really to say other than I am excited for the video...I'll post it on here when I get it!

Friday, September 24: bike, run, but I wanted more: started with open water swim!
1) I headed up to Bartlett Lake for an Open Water Swim with the group, but didn't get the memo that meeting time was 5:30 am....I headed up by myself (as planned anyways), threw on my wetsuit, caught up with the 8 or so people out there, swam my two laps around the buoys, and headed back in, jumped in the car, and sped home...no messing around on days like these! I swam about 3000 yds...I think!
2) After the drive home, I prepped and jumped on the bike for a 3 hourZ2 ride with 20' at Z3 HR (IM pace) built in. I headed down to Shea, out to the Beeline, down the top half of the IM AZ course, back up to Fountain Hills, then through RIo Verde, up 9 mile, and then home:  64 miles in just over 3 hours 20 minutes HR average was 116, temp was pretty hot at 96 average, and averaged just under 19 MPH...followed the new motto--DIESEL!!
3) Straight into a brick run for 75 minutes with the following description: "medium run with the last 15 minutes on feel and fast"
Sometimes I just have to figure out what things like that mean...HR zones are easy to follow, but medium run to me means a pretty good level of exertion, so that's what I shot for during the first 60 minutes.  My self-designed cues for the run were as follows: run at 7:30 pace unless my HR was creeping to 140 or above.  Some spots were 7:00 pace (slight downhills), while others were 8:00 pace (slight uphills)...so I ran according to what my HR would let me.  I felt great off the bike--almost like I didn't even ride (actually, sometimes I feel better running off the bike than running cold).  For the final 15 minutes, I went all out on a slight incline, getting my HR to 152 in 104 degree heat average pace: 7:15.  My body said " this is not right" when I hit 152, so I coasted home from there for recovery.  totals were: average pace 7:30, Distance: 9.61 miles, average Hr: 135.

Saturday, September 25:  6 Hour Ride Zone 2
Well, I rode in the Tour de Scottsdale "pre-ride" to start...and that obviously means I was not in zone 2 through that ride.  I kind of wanted to test the zones a bit too, so I let it go through the ride until I reached the Gas Station at the top of 9 mile.  Once I reached Shea, I was on my own, having averaged a little over 21 MPH to that point---not a DIESEL!  I was feeling really strong even after fridays workload---great!  I then headed out the Beeline up to Bush HIghway, then took that down into Mesa, back over the the Beeline, then up to Shea, and back home.  Had some mechanical issues, including a shredded rear tire, but that only failed as I literally pulled into the driveway---super lucky!!  The tallies for the day were: 115 miles, just under a 20 mph average (took it easy on the Beeline and Bush Highways---sight seeing as I was bored riding by myself!), HR average: 116, elevation: 4300.  I learned on this ride that I really need to start focusing on nutrition and hydration!  It is still hot out (average temp was 93.5), but I get lazy when it comes to following a "plan" for hydration and nutrition---BAD Erik!!!

Sunday, September 26: 90 minute Z2 super steady, especially the second half!
I ended up running on the canal with the ONE group at 5:30 am...my goal today was to get a good feel for a decent, sustainable pace and to follow the rules!.  I ran a total of 100 minutes (1:41:34),basically to get in a half marathon.  Average HR was 127, pace was 7:45. I kept it super steady, never really tired significantly...AWESOME!!  My best long run since I have been back---it couldn't get much better than this (okay, other than pace!)  I could have gone faster, but, DIESEL!!!  7:45 pace for a marathon is a 3:20...I'll take that on November 21 all day long!!  Easier said than done, I imagine.

So the week is done... and I feel great and ready for more!  Totals:  Swim 9500 yards, Bike 279 miles, Run 32 Miles.

Until next week!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

10 Weeks to Ironman

So I am going to start logging my daily workouts from here on out so anyone can see what I am doing during the "Home Stretch!"  I have a buddy (Dan Thomas) who is also doing IM AZ (his first IM as well) who is doing the same thing in a blog, so see my list of Blogs I Follow.

Sunday: September 12, 2010
After the Coast Ride from Mill Valley to Santa Barbara (380 miles in 3 days), I luckily got to spend a day with my family in San Rafael---thanks to my sister throwing a BBQ!  Food and company was awesome, but very short-lived.  I also had the day off from training!  I flew back to Jenny and Sophia sunday night---I missed them tons!

Monday: September 13, 2010
Believe it or not, 2 days in a row of no training!  This all stems from my testing last wednesday (blood lactate testing).  The results of the testing showed that my zones are lower than we thought, but also that I was "fried" as Chris told me.  Craig (who administered the test) told that I need a break--but heck, I was there to ride the Coast! So for the Coast Ride I didn't press my HR---I was out to enjoy the ride at a decent pace without worsening my "fried" condition.  I monitor my resting HR and weight every morning...normal is 42 BPM, and lately I've weighed in at 175ish.  From saturday to yesterday, my resting HR was around 50, so that only backed up the need for rest!  My weight also went up to 179, which is expected with the muscle gains along with the immense number of calories I took in to help me recover every day.  So, I got to enjoy the day catching up on things around the house and spending time with Jenny and Sophia!

Tuesday: Back into the workout routine!  Chris gave me a non-descript swim workout today of 3500 yds, with a focus on low exertion, long stroke, and plenty of rest between reps (= active recovery swim)...I ended up doing 400 warm up, 3 x 400, 200 kick, 3 x 500, 200 warm down...easy!  Swimming is going well, and seems arbitrary at this point!  The 2nd workout of the day was 90 minutes on the trainer at sub zone 2 HR (below 108)...so I sat in the aero bars watching Planet of the Apes spinning at 85 RPM and 140w..."shaking the legs out"...no biggie here either---it's a recovery week; the first one since we started the IM prep 6 weeks ago.

Wednesday:  Just one workout today, and it was another 90 minute spin on the trainer with some zone 3 work thrown in at my discretion, but with a focus on spinning still as I continue to "absorb" the Coast Ride workload.  the zone 3 work is there to "wake up" my legs, and they are feeling fairly well recovered.  I basically did some mile repeats stepping the wattage up and down from 140w to 220w every mile for the middle 2/3's of the workout.   With the lower targets for my zones, I have a feeling my workouts are not going to feel to difficult.  I am hoping this makes me much more efficient at the same pacing as before in the very near future...with the zones switching downward in exertion levels, I am worried that my goal pacing for IM will be lower than I care to go (I was going off of my previous target numbers for IM)...over time the answer to this mystery will be answered!

Thursday:  Working all day and then having a Continuing Education Dinner don't bode well for todays planned workouts:  90 minutes of intervals on the bike trainer and a 45 minute run...so I moved them to later this week and took a rest day.  I think after being in the cool weather of the coast, my body is taking its time recovering and is going to need some time to get heat acclimated again.

Friday:  The first of 3 big swim days: today is the shortest at 3500 yds: main set 10 x 200 with 20 second rest.  No big deal there!  I jumped on my bike before dinner and rode easy for an hour trying to keep to my new zone 2 (aerobic) Heart Rate:  I had to keep telling my legs to knock it off!  They wanted to fly, but I kept the HR below 115 as much as possible (supposed to be below 108, but we think the testing done under a sluggish HR may have made the HR zones lower than they are now that I have recovered a bit from the "fried" me.  I also had a 45 minute run in there--EZ.  I felt great and had to tell my legs (again) to stop trying to go faster than my HR was supposed to.  All in all it was a great first run in a while, Average Heart Rate was 125 and pace was 7:42...not fast, but at 125, that's about as fast as I can get!

Saturday:  The first "somewhat big" test for Ironman and more importantly, my shoulder in a wetsuit for the first time.  4000m Open Water Race with DCB Adventures was held at the alternate swim site for IM AZ, so I had to go "test the waters!"  My goal was to take it easy and see how it felt...i haven't swam this distance in open water since about 1997 (Waikiki Rough Water Swim).  4 laps of a 1000m course was psychologically tough!  Overall, the 1st and 4th laps were easy, but the two middle ones were draining and boring, again, more psychologically than anything.  I gave myself a "C" because I lost my focus at least 10 times and switched to a quick rep of breast stroke or backstroke even, and I didn't breathe bilaterally, so those two things took me down...this time.  I have 2 more of these before IM, so I will get them worked out by then!  My time was 1 hour 11 minutes...better than I thought it would be, but I am glad I have things to work on to get it down hopefullly to somewhere in the 1 hour range for IM (IM swim is about 3800m, so my adjusted time for IM on this race was about 1:06ish.  I see lots of room for improvement, which is better than swimming my best and getting that time.

Sunday:  Another longer swim 3900 yds: main set 8 x 100 on 15 sec rest, 16 x 50 on 10 sec rest, 20 x 25 on 10 sec rest.  The lats are tired!  I also had an EZ trail run in for today, but with the heat and being lazy and sleeping in, I ran in the 108 degree afternoon heat, and ended up making it a jog/walk to keep it in my new zone 2.  The goals was to reintroduce the legs to running again, and that's exactly what seemed to happen!

I have a feeling next week is going to see my workout load double....I was only out there for just under 10 hours this week, but I have been averaging over 20 for the weeks prior (23 hours 40 minutes last week!)--it was a much needed recovery week!