"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, April 25, 2011

Road Trip with Dan to Carmichael Training Systems in Tucson....and more...

That Orange is Me!
Pat's Run
ASU Stadium Finish
Last friday was the most important day of this year (so far!) for me when it comes to Triathlon...Blood Lactate Threshold Testing (LT) at CTS in Tucson.   Dan Cadriel (aka Ponch, the Mayor of Triathlon in Phoenix...) is now coached by CTS, and luck would have it, he was needing some testing as well...road trip!  We met up in Ahwatukee can made the journey to Tucson chatting about all sorts of things---Dan is an amazing guy and a stud of an athlete, and I cherish his friendship.  He is gearing up for IM Coeur d'Alene on June 26th, and HE WILL be making the trip to Kona with me---positive thoughts!  It would be so cool to share my first trip to Kona with him, and I can already see Dan, Carlos Mendoza, and I working through the pain together out on the marathon course over there...no pressure Dan!

When it comes to testing, I am more nervous than on any race day morning---testing is scientific, and the numbers never lie.  Last LT was done in September...and we had to pretty much throw out the results because I was overtrained--I couldn't get my heart rate over 135!  Obviously the overtraining worked (right after that testing I rode 400 miles in 3 days from SF to Santa Barbara---OVER over trained!), but now there are no excuses as we are in pre season, Chris has a firm idea on where I am, and it is up to me to execute the workouts
correctly (which sometimes I obviously don't).  So if these results were not successful, I would be writing and entirely different entry here about how stupid I am and how I am just wasting time training harder not smarter (well, I hope I am training harder AND smarter!).  These races like Pat's Run were worrying me, because I throw them in without much thought, and when the workout for the day is really a 2 hour ride with a 90 minute run to follow, I am obviously shooting off course, not knowing what the fallout will be (but I had to do it...the girls at work entered and I really enjoyed seeing them on my second lap on the course!).

Raw Data
Okay, so on to the testing.  How this works is I ride a stationary bike (in this case called a Velotron--see pic on the left!).  After a 10 minute warmup, we increase the power/wattage 25W every 3 minutes (side note: Chris likes every 4, but I didn't want to rock the boat...but will next time!).  The goal of the test is to see how Lactate builds up in my blood as the wattage increases, and this is checked with a prick of my finger near the end of every 3 minute interval (no rest in between, the W simply goes up at a defined time)..they also record Heart Rate at this time to have a HR reference to the wattage.  There is too much data from this test to write here (think Krebs Cycle), but here are the basics: at what wattage & heart rate do I reach Lactate Threshold?  With this data, we can precisely set my heart rate zones (the 220 - your age thing DOES NOT apply!).   So, as you can tell from above, the testing went well (I even got a text from Chris "great numbers!").  Lactate Threshold is simply the point at which you start to accumulate Lactate as your body now cannot keep up with removing "the poison."  Looking at the graph, I can now push anything less than 275W and be in a somewhat "comfortable" effort---if you don't know, that's is PLENTY of power ;-)

So what does "great numbers" mean?  Here is the science behind it:

"Z2" 175-225w l 110-120HR//run 120-127HR  (previously: 180W was Z2; HR is lower)
"Z3" 225-260w l 120-130HR//run 127-135HR  (previously: 200W was Z3; HR is lower)
"Z4" 260-290w l 130-160HR//run 135+  (previously: 220W "ish")

Carmichael Zones
Data Graphed...
The basics of this mean that at the same heart rate, I am able to produce more power (stronger...) on the bike, and with the run zones coming down a bit, I am also more efficient.  What the numbers don't show: I can also work more efficiently at lower heart rates, so if I was running a 7 min/mi pace before at 135, I am now running a 7 min/mi at 127.  The "ah-ha" on that is, before I was running 7:00 in zone 3, and now I am in zone 2 at the same pace (zone 2 obviously being easier than zone 3).  Don't read into the CTS zones as I follow Chris's philosophy as I know it works for me and everyone else he coaches.

So what is next?  Looking at the graph, the goal is to get the Orange Line to move to the right (getting LT to occur at a higher wattage), and to get the portion of the curve that starts the upward trend before the Orange Line to flatten out a bit (we want a steeper curve, but a longer flat section before the line).  Essentially what that means is that I want to not build those small increases of Lactate up before I hit LT as that disturbs my ability to work below LT.

So there you have a very simplistic interpretation of what the LT Test is for---OVER simplified!  I could go into detail on what your body is doing before and after LT (think Krebs Cycle, ATP, Pyruvate, Lactic Acid AND Lactate (HUGE difference!)...)

Knowing now where my zones are, it's time to focus and nail the workouts!  Saturday was a 4 Hour Bike/75 minute Run Brick with intervals on the bike (3 x 30' in Zone 3)...all was great!  If I can just 1) stay healthy/injury free 2) avoid burnout 3) avoid over-trainng 4) keep home life great 5) keep work busy....I am good to go!  It sounds too easy!  Next stop, Rio Salado Olympic Tri on May 7th...

I will follow this entry with some photos and video from the testing itself in the next few days...stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just Keep Moving... (Dory from "Finding Nemo")

Finishing at Marquee
Marquee Bike
So I am somewhere in between races...all healed up from Marquee and feeling good again--and have Rio Salado Olympic Triathlon coming up on May 7---we'll see what kind of speed I'll have.  This past weekend I ended up racing at "Pat's Run" which benefitted the Pat Tillman Foundation...a simple enough 4.2 mile sprint through Tempe.  Some of the girls at work decided to do the race, so we were there to do this event together, but I couldn't  break the competitive spirit and toe the line for time.  Because of my last minute entry, I was in corral 11, but used my "veteran" abilities to sneak into corral 1 (the trick:  jog out on the race course and jog back to the starting line to enter the corral---works every time!).  I had no plans, no prep...I was in it for the fun of it!  The horn goes (via Jake Plummer), and the sprint was on.  I literally ran as fast as my legs permitted--sprinting!  It's runs like these that make me think I have a lot of work to do on my form---how the heck does Lewis run so fast?!!  I ended up running 5:44/mi pace average, finishing 37th out of 22,000+, so I guess I should be happy, and I am ;-)

Otherwise, training is going great...I'm off to Tucson with Dan Cadriel on Friday for testing at the Carmichael Training Center for Blood Lactate Testing.  Testing always is a scary thing for me for some reason---it's where we find out the results of the training, OR, if I have been following the plan correctly.  It's been so long since my last test (Sept 2010), and that test result basically showed that I was well overtrained to the point that Craig Upton wanted me to take a week off...completely off, so my heart rate would become reactive and I would be fully recovered.  Well, I ended up riding 400 miles over the 3 days after that test...so I think you can see my concern!  And therefore, we ended up throwing out those results.  The only tests that have been encouraging have been road tests, so lets hope this friday we see some good numbers, which means tight heart rates/power zones that are scientifically correct, improved from previous tests, and are setting me up for the big build to come for Kona.  To be honest, so far this year all of my workouts on the bike and run have been more or less guesses on which HR I should be at, and I am not educated enough to know how to interpret any of my training numbers.  It will be so nice to look at my log and see:  5 hours, zone 2, and know that  I will be riding at 125 BPM...I like to just plug in the number and go!

Plans for Kona are moving along---by the end of the week my Dad, Jeanette, Vito, Beth, and Christopher should all have their flights booked, joining my Mom, Inta, John and Cyndi Dean.  Every so often the thought of racing Kona pops into my mind, and I am sure these occurrences will be coming more and more often.  This is going to be a long year of training for sure...but having dreamed of this race for 15 years, it's easy to re-set the motivation and keep firing away...lets hope it stays that way when it's 110 out, there's 8 weeks to race day, and I can barely pull myself out of bed sunday morning, staring a 20 mile run square in the face, having ridden 200+ miles and running 15+ between friday and saturday. That's when the insanity is in full swing!

Equipment Tidbit:  I recently switched back to Nike's as they tend to fit my narrow foot better than most (KSwiss are still in circulation though...).  Here are my racing shoes...5.5 ounces!!  The typical running shoe weighs twice as much!!!  The support and cushion is not lacking either...you would think the shoe would have no sole, but the Lunaron foam is amazing stuff, giving this ultra light shoe comfort---two things that used to not go together!  (The KSwiss Blades are very similar, I think these Nike's have a bit more support AND cushion).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marquee Triathlon Race Report: Expectations???

ONE rocked the course yesterday!  Everywhere I turned I saw orange and gray!  Signs, casual clothing, race gear, banners, tents, and on the podium...AWESOME!  It was great to see my teammates sprawled all over the course---smiling and suffering at the same time, giving high fives, low fives, hard fives (sorry Carlos!  I think my ring got you!), cheers, shouts, and hugs!  You all made the race one of the most fun race experiences I have had and hope you all and even more will be at IM AZ where I will REALLY need your help this year!  Throughout my 40+ races in triathlon over the years, I have always been blessed to have my family there cheering me on, and while the club can't hold a candle to having Jenny there yesterday to yell in support on a tough day, the ONE crew was my new family of 40+ yesterday.  From running the first 5K with the ever steady Joey Gregan at my side to Carlos Mendoza pushing me (and me losing to him ;-) in the last 5K, and Ben Gherardi trying to slow down for the final 1/2 mile on his way to the relay victory, you all kept my spirits and drive intact.  I don't show much emotion race day (or any other training day for that matter), but the high fives and yells of support and even screaming "GO SVANS!!!" (thanks Dan Thomas at T2!!!) fired me up every time and gave me the boost I so needed.  Even if you think I didn't see you, I did...I was just barely keeping it together to keep moving forward, especially on the second lap of the half marathon.

So this is supposed to be a race report, so here it goes, stats first....  Marquee Race Results

total time:            4:22:35  10th Overall, 4th in 35-39 division
splits:                   5K:  17:56  5:56/mi pace  (leg:6th overal)
                              t1:    1:24 (had to take those tights off!)
                             57.22 mile bike ;-)   2:30:14    23 mph pace  (leg:17th overall)
                              t2:  0:51 (passed more people in this transition than I did all day...again ;-)
                             13.1 run:  1:32:08  6:59/mi pace  (leg:14th overall)

When they switched this to a Duathlon the morning before---something in my head lost a fair amount of interest----I'm not a Duathlon kind of guy---I can swim!  I felt like I was losing one of my advantages as I've always been a front 1/3 swimmer, and I have really been focusing on my swimming through the past 3 months, enough so that I was going to "attack" the swim and hopefully stay on the heels of the front group of swimmers, if there was one.  The news bounced around Facebook immediately, and almost in the same hour, Jenny and I decided to make saturday a date night as Sophia was off with her cousins for a sleepover....we had a great time, but it was not my typical pre -race prep, but I didn't really care and enjoyed our alone time at ipic watching THE worst movie I think I have ever seen---Your Highness.  I'm not a movie critic, but it has to be pretty bad for me to not like it, and it was just awful!  We still enjoyed the "Gold Cub" treatment with dinner--I had a salad and"flatbread" which was basically pizza---NOT my typical pre race dinner as well (I did have a huge serving of pasta beforehand at least).  At least I stayed away from the beer!

Going into this race, Chris (www.aimpcoaching.com) was telling me not to expect much, but what did I know...I just finished these 3 weeks of 18+ hours each; I should be prepped, right???  Well, I couldn't be more wrong on that issue as Chris has since told me in our post race discussion  (more on that below).

I woke up Sunday at 4:40am, had my typical workout meal:  Oats with a scoop of Ultragen (160cals x 2), a banana (60 cals at most), a Nutrigrain bar (I think 120 cals), my Multi V  and Optygen HP from First Endurance and plenty of water.   540 cals and I was out the door.  Out the door I went at a little after 5am. Driving down, I still wasn't feeling much like it was race day---I downed a gatorade (100 cals) and next was my water bottle of PreRace and EFS (100 cals, First Endurance again), and sipped on it all the way through to start time.  Between the two dinners and all of this, I was feeling well fueled, and not full...just how I like it (the 5pm dinner seems to be key for me).   www.firstendurance.com

Finally, halfway to Tempe, the switch flipped, and I felt ready to race...I dunno what it was that triggered it (maybe a song on the radio??), but before this moment, I wasn't feeling it.  I did taper for this race, but without any massage to help "refresh" from the heavy training I had completed over the 3 weeks prior to the week of the race (was soo key for IM AZ!)...and as always, the only day you want to feel fresh on is race day.

After tidying up the bike from the overnight stay, catching up with my ONE buddies, and telling Kevin Taddonio (we are always next to each other due to Red Rock going by alphabet) to go slow (he of course laughed), the Pre Race (First Endurance) was in full effect.

So Dan sings an awesome anthem, gun goes off, and we are moving.  I felt fresh enough after the initial 1/2 mile, and just kept the pace I was holding, at which I was running side by side with Joey Gregan.  I felt the pace was comfortable, and I must be where I should be if I was running with Joey. Joey must have been tired after Oceanside last weekend, and is also a better runner than me.  That was telling me I was going at it correctly as he is coached by Mark Allen, is a stud, and probably doesn't make many mistakes.  5 of us cruised into T1 more or less separated by 20 seconds with K Tad 1 minute in front.  I ran in full tights, but those were off in T1; then helmet on, fuel into pockets, and I was outta there.  T1 was a bit crazy (yeah Michael I heard you yelling at me!!), so I had no idea who was where, but knew the Folts brothers were ahead riding their tandem (more on this later).  Two other guys I didn't know were ahead as well, so I was sitting 5th or 6th out of transition.  We had a pretty decent gap on the rest of our wave and I think Joey took some time in T1 as I didn't see him anywhere.  If I didn't have the issue taking the tights off, I probably could have come out of T1 in 3rd or 4th, but I felt the 20 seconds extra were not an issue versus my comfort.

Before I reached the 1 mile mark,  I realized I wasn't gonna have an "A" day...I'm not a duathlete, so I don't know what it should feel like getting on the bike, but regardless, my legs didn't feel like fresh pistons ready to pound the pedals to the Beeline.  I went with what my legs were giving me, and as I passed the dump, some guy was flying up from behind me---Kevin Taddonio had been given bad directions out of T1 and ended up riding out to Priest before realizing it was wrong...at least an extra 1.5 miles!  The stud that he is, he was flying and was soon out of sight---the guy can simply ride AND run!  As I approached the turnaround, two guys "riding a tandem" (figure of speech...their bikes were so close they looked like one) were heading back down the Beeline---the Folts brothers.  I'll leave it at that, but one of them ended up with 12 minutes of penalty time, but as far as I'm concerned, they both are guilty of cheating in a sport that has zero tolerance. 12 minutes, really?  DQ more like it.   Finishing lap 1, I heard Jenny screaming at me in support--thanks babe!!! I also passed one of the guys in front of me out of T1, otherwise I was passed by 4 or 5 guys who were definitely stronger bikers than myself throughout the bike (I did pass a few guys who went out too hard on the bike as well ;-)  I tried to eat on the first lap, but failed because I was too cold to gain hunger---which was fatal flaw number one, as cold weather burns more calories.  By the end of the ride I had managed to only get one bottle of water down and only 480 calories...I dug myself a huge hole that showed obvious in the half marathon (my goal number is 300 cals/hr, or 750 total on the bike).  This race is all about the half marathon and being ready to run off the bike---I was running on empty, and there's no catching up.

Beginning of lap 2 brought Troy Jacobson up next to me, then past me, as well as me joining a "pace line" (meaning: legal drafting with 3+ bike lengths between us) on the way back to transition (4 of us). With all of the races going on, there were about 10 people heading into T2 (BTW...the new LG helmets with faceshield---AWESOME!  Thanks LG!).  By the end of the ride I had managed to only get one bottle of water down and only 480 calories...I dug myself a huge hole that showed obvious in the half marathon (my goal number is 300 cals/hr, or 750 total on the bike).  This race is all about the half marathon and being ready to run off the bike---I was running on empty, and there's no catching up.

I've always been a fast T2 guy, and I gained a chunk on this one, coming out about 10 seconds behind Troy, ahead of all of the Pace Line I was with, and actually caught another one of the 5 guys that were ahead of me out of T1 as I came out of T2.  I settled in with him (super nice guy from Albuquerque) and was feeling great, enjoying the "free miles" that usually come from getting off the bike.  Chris' direction for the day was, word for word " bike HARD, and blowing up on the run," I think I failed a bit on the biking hard due to the cold, and then the lack of calories further doomed that plan--and was steering me straight into the Blow Up. Pace was in the 6:20-6:30 range, and I knew this was a bit fast, but I was in a pack of 3 with Troy running next to me.  Knowing him as a 2:58 marathoner at IM AZ, I knew I was going too fast, so I hung for about 10 minutes, but had to let go, staying with the guy I caught out of T2.  I then had to let him go as I was not feeling it on this day (probably because I was not training specifically for this race...).  Did I say that ONE was everywhere? Well, they were!  After the quick out and back about 2/3's into the run loop, ONE was all lined up...within 200 yards I had Joey, Carlos, Dan, and Ben coming at me---it was high five time!  I was still at a 6:30ish pace as I headed back to finish loop #1.  Jenny again was there cheering away to lift my spirits, but literally 2 steps into lap 2, I hit the proverbial wall.  I had to pee the entire race, and I hit the port o let at the first aid station by the Arts Center--I needed an excuse to take a break (same port o let I hit at IM AZ!!!).  I didn't lose a place at least, and I felt better as I started back up (it was a long pee!).  I usually hit 2 out of 3 aid stations alternating a gel with water and perform drink, and continued that as I begged my body to not stop---BEGGED!  I was not prepared to "go to the well" on this day...but I should have known that the lack of calories was setting this all up quite nicely for a Blow Up.  I was passing mile marker 8---5.1 to go.  I went with my nickname and inflicted some pain, all of which I knew I could overcome, but man, it hurt, A LOT!!  Quitting popped into my head, the thought of an IM seemed insane, retiring from the sport altogether even got in there, but I won that battle, crossed the bridge, hit the little out and back, saw the same clan I saw on lap 1 (Carlos was closing in, and Ben of course was flying---damn relay runner ;-)  At this point I knew I couldn't hold Ben off, but the question was now Carlos catching me(did you know I am competitive???  You do now).  He looked as fresh as if he just started running!   I have fought off the demons and we feeling good again, but I used up the tank to get back to running well, and I had very little to draw from except for that I knew the finish was straight ahead of me. I begged Ben to slow, only to let him go as we made the final turn into the finish chute. My calves and hamstrings did not have anything left...nothing!  They were siezing as I ran the slight uphill to the finish, and of course Jenny was right there 50 yards from the finish, right where I needed to see her face.  She encouraged me to finish strong...DONE!

All and all I should be happy with the result--it's early in the season and this race was more of a test to see where I am at...now i know, and as I have been saying lately, let the insanity begin...26 or so weeks to Kona.  Post race was like a social club with all of the ONE clan to check in with, as well as race winner K Tad by 9 minutes and Kenny Stiel, who will also be hitting the Kona course with me---awesome guys----I wish I had their talent (and youth!).

After talking with Chris, he said the reason I should be happy with the result is due to my lack of work at higher intensities (of course true!)...the big build I finished was all about base pace, and NONE of this race was at that pace. I did almost no training at T2/intervals, and if I was to expect a better result, more of that type of work is needed.  Another Chris quote:  " this type of race is ZERO your engine right now."  It is April, my key races are in October and November...I have a LONG journey ahead of me and peaking for this race was not anywhere on my road map.  Still, I race to test my limits, no matter where I am in my training.  We will test more in future 70.3's as we build in that intensity I was soo missing for this race, so I have a chance to bounce back.  Aside from this, the lack of calories doomed my run...the run is always the key workout in any triathlon/duathlon...my marathon caved "because I ran out of energy (calories), not will or fitness..."  (quoted from Chris).  Maybe he now knows I AM THE PAIN MAKER  ;-}   I should have a few jars for sale after this one.

Jenny, thank you so much for hanging in there, pregnant and all, to support me...it means everything to have you there!

ONE---you all rock!  John and Cyndi specifically, you two are a class act and put everyone in front of yourselves---I am honored to be a part of your club!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Early Season Build is Over.... (this is an entry from apr 3rd...posted to the old blog by mistake!)

So today I wrapped up my biggest build set of the year so far, which isn't saying much!  But, three weeks with 18+ hours a week of training I guess is enough...for now.  The first of the 3 weeks was a struggle...suffered a bit from overtraining, but as I made it into week 3, the workouts got easier, even as the intensity increased.  Back to back 4 hour ride/1 hour run days are now the norm...until IM build which will probably be 6 hour rides/90 minute runs.  I think this block started when I asked Chris "When can I start training more?" as I felt I wasn't doing enough---well, this was enough (he sensed me complaining at one point in the block and let me know, but I will NEVER complain, but will report how I feel (which could be taken as complaining, but I GOTTA report in ;-))

Some highlights of the workouts have been the Bartlett Lake Tri Clinic that ONE Multisport put on.  I was lucky enough to be able to go out and enjoy a nice swim versus "volunteer"...our club is full of great people who don't turn a shoulder when it comes to giving back--THEY ROCK!   It was great to see a bunch of newbies out there---the sport is a daunting one to find a way in--so many little intricacies with gear, training, racing, the "tricks"....they got a load of info in one half day...awesome!

My overall impression of where I'm at right now is the following:  Swim---feeling very strong, and could just use some more technique improvement after Marquee Triathlon (70.3) next weekend.  Bike---also feeling strong, but always hard to tell because I am never "fresh" through these big training blocks.  I remember riding the IM AZ course 2 weeks before the race and having about 60% power compared to how I felt race day (ask James Bruce...I couldn't hang with him!)...so I am used to feeling blasted on the bike, knowing that when I come out "the other side of the tunnel" that I'll have speed and endurance exactly as Chris has built in for me.  Run---always the toughest to tell, but I know my endurance is there, and it is all about how far I want to go into the pain cave.  Training runs are all going well, and I think the carryover from IM AZ, PF Changs Marathon, and Ragnar are keeping me moving forward---calf strains are gone completely (no compression needed at all now).  Last week I had a 4 hour ride followed by a 45 minute run including 8 x 1' fast---and I was in the 5:40/mi time, and then this week I had a 3 hour ride followed by an hour run with 8 x 1' hill repeats FAST---both went very well and I never felt like I was going to cave, so I'll say my run is in good shape too!  win win win!!!

My biggest issue right now is the heat...we hit 98 this past week, and it sucks the water right out of you.  I'm trying to drink as much water as I can, and I think it's time to kick the coffee habit unless it's an EZ or rest day---gotta do what I gotta do!  It's now an issue on the bike and run---needing to fill bottles mid workout versus riding 4 hours on 2 bottles.  Now I have to double it in order to get off the bike feeling like standing upright.  When this build block started, temps were in the lower 70's at the most...now we are in the 90's!  Just gotta love the AZ summer.  So all in all, with the temperature rising as the intensity rose, and feeling stronger week to week, I'd say this was a great build period with lots of gain both physically and mentally!

I guess the only other thing to add in this post (I promise they'll get more exciting once racing starts!) is the article in Scottsdale Health Magazine...a crazy thing to say the least!  I was approached by Bill Richman (owner of the magazine) as I have known him for a while due to our Dental Practice Ad we have in there.   The idea sounded awesome, and highlighting the ONE club while trying to promote the sport was what really got me excited.  There are 10+ people I know that could have just as easily been on that cover and had that awesome article written about them---I guess it's a little bit along the lines of "it's who you know" kind of deal!  So, here's the digital version of the article, and I plan to insert the individual photos into the blog here soon!

And yes, the caption on the right was changed---I couldn't handle the pressure of "Next Ironman Winner"  ;-} 

Up next:  my Marquee Triathlon Race Report!!!Scottsdale Health April 2011 Issue