"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.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ironman Kona 2011: Training 2 Weeks out, and Nathan's Olympic Tri Race Report

I'm giving it a go to pack "a week in review," a race report, the trials and tribulations of the week, and adjusting to life with Andrew...into one post; wish me luck.  If you are reading this, that means I accomplished the feat, but also means you may need to devote a few more minutes to this one, so if you have to pee, pee; hear your stomach growling, grab some cookies; have hot water almost to a boil, pour your cup of tea; or have chocolate chip cookies in the oven, get em out while they are still just slightly undercooked and gooey. Simply, "take care of business";-}  So much to fit into a blog post that has no limits in word count, so beware!

Can you tell which one is my daughter?  She melts me with looks
like that...
Nicest couple, the reason ONE is what it is...the DEANS!

As I start writing this, the countdown says 12 days, 11 hours, and 58 minutes to the canon...yikes it is coming fast...I still feel calm, ready, prepared, focused, but not fresh.  If I can just  wake up from this stupor like I did for Ironman Arizona, I think I am in for one heck of a fun day...that is a big "if," and if I had to guess, Chris will pull it out of me on October 7th and I'll wake up Saturday, October 8 feeling like I did on November 21st, 2010.

Me, Anthony Admire, and Dan Cadriel post Nathans Olympic in front
of the Team Trailer

With the "hard" work behind me, all in all I thought last week would be a breeze...throw in Andrew's birth last Sunday morning, and I couldn't have been more wrong.  Sleep has been stolen from my and especially Jenny's life!  Andrew is the mellowest little guy, giving little "peeps" when he is hungry or wants something, and Jenny has been the "all world" mother that I have always seen her as, scooping him up and calming every need of his--all 7 pounds of him.  Yesterday he passed one week old---it's soo amazing how fast they develop...he's looking around, moving his hands, hearing your voice....ugh, gonna miss 10 days of his early life, and I hope I don't come back and he's saying "mama" already.  Not to mention Sophia, who is really blossoming into this little girl--I notice changes every other day, and it will be hard to not be able to kiss them all every morning, read stories every night, and genuinely enjoy each others company no matter how short I make it due to all this training.  If you are reading this and "thinking" about getting serious about Ironman, make sure the decision is a family one---I got lucky and have an extremely understanding family, otherwise, I would be fed to the dogs or not be racing, it is that simple.  I've even thought about being an IM consultant (jokingly)...helping people in the ways that coaches don't...like communicating with your non-racing spouse, getting family time in, how to do your laundry before it stinks up your closet..you get the idea.  While I still have IMAZ in November, I feel like this journey is coming somewhat to an end---today I actually had the day off from training, and had a sit down dinner with the fam for the first time in forever, did some yard cleanup, searched for my travel bags...it was nice, and of course the entire time I was still thinking about "why am I not training??"  Well, I didn't think that during dinner, because it was just ultra relaxing to just sit with Jenny, Sophia, and Andrew and enjoy a meal, sitting down no less.  Jenny said I look sexy doing yard work, and she never says that when I am training or racing, so I can take a hint.  I'm sure many people I know look at me and think I'm a decent athlete---the REAL reason is I work harder than most, and Jenny supports my drive to "see what I can be."  Without her, I would be single and fast, but with her, I am happily married, loved, have a feeling of completeness, the happiest I have ever been, and fast ;-}  Love you babe, and I'll miss you while I'm gone...the race will be hard, but being away from you guys will be the toughest challenge.

So, of course, back to training (only because that is why you are reading this!).  This past week the hours logged dropped, but the effort/intensity made up for the decrease...every workout was tough and required more than just a "get through it" mentality.  There was "race effort" or harder everywhere in there.  The swims were long, and all free--no more drills, kick sets.  I had a 5200 yd swim, two hour run, a solid trainer session with Z3/Z4 work on tuesday with a run @ faster than aerobic pace, a 4 hour 20 minute ride with 20 minutes of every hour in Z3, and finished the week off with Nathan's Olympic (basically a sprint for 2 hours and a few minutes) ...I'm smiling knowing I survived the week, but some things happened that are going to stick with me through race day (I'll get back to that in a few...).  While I've approached the training as I would a "job," I have to say that this job has been the toughest I have ever had...no joke.  I don't miss days at work, and all the same, no missed workouts.  I'm in that Ironman haze, and I am ready to "wake up" race day and feel good for once already!  I have last weeks workouts on the bottom of the post...if interested!

So, getting back to what is going to stick with me----please pray for Sue Meno.  I can't help but feel like I had something to do with her crash this past saturday as I was on the other side of the road, Carlos was slowing, and it was just a freak accident---both went to the ground, and somehow Sues arm took it the hardest.  Both are dong Kona (hopefully), have been working as hard as I have been.  Sue's wound on her right forearm makes war wounds look like slight abrasions---she needs every minute of every day to heal, so please send her your healing vibes.  Carlos was a little banged up as well, hip issues from what it sounds like, and I am hoping the "3 days" required after anything traumatic treats him well and he starts feeling better today.  Ugh, I grab my forearm hourly just wishing to take the pain away from Sue, and, more importantly, heal that wound so she is great to go on the 8th...so traithlon Gods, if you are reading...MAKE THEM WELL!  If she makes it into the water at 7am, October 8th, she will be the definition of an Ironman.

Super Sue and I before Rio Salado Olympic Tri in the Spring
With that happening on Saturday, I lost the joy to ride on my way home from New River.  I had a few intervals to get in, but I was simply in shock and unable to push past a moderate effort.  I remember almost feeling like I wanted to quit riding a bike after that...Carlos and I were in shock riding back to his car, and I couldn't get what that crash could potentially mean for Sue...add a sore pelvis for Carlos, and my heart sank, and is still there.  Going into the weekend, I had plans to do Nathan's Olympic Triathlon on Sunday, but I basically decided on the ride home to abandon that plan...the Pre-Ironman Injury Ghost was haunting me.  After gathering myself post ride though, I decided I wasn't going to let the Ghost win, and wanted to race to work some of the anger out of me...but I was dead tired.  At 3 pm on Saturday, the race became a "GO" again, and lead to me ingesting "a hippos" amount of food for a late lunch.  My legs were achy sore...but I was determined to race...so here comes the race report (I warned you this was going to be long...pee break time!).

Nathan's Race Report!
2:06:47 (winning time 2:02:08)
1st in 35-39 by 1 Minute
7th Overall

Up at 4am on Sunday, the legs were actually feeling decent...it must have been the 5,000+ calories, that I actually stretched the night before, or simply, that I wanted to get a good feeling going....either way, I was mostly feeling okay about racing, although I was tired!   I slept well, and treated the day as any other "normal" Sunday.  I stepped on the scale, and new I was in good shape...167...I have found that by checking my weight daily and comparing that with how I feel in my workouts gives me great feedback on what weight I feel strong at, and 167 has been that number over the past month.  Any lower, and I run out of steam, and anything higher, well, I have a hard time keeping that weight on right now.   Normal breakfast of 2 servings of steel cut oats, scoop of Ultragen, ground flax seed, almond milk was put down, drove to Tempe, and was in transition decently early tending to my analness revolving around my bike.  I tried (and it worked like a charm) the rubber band technique for the cycling shoes on the bike---I will never sway from that technique.  Minimalistic everywhere else...helmet/Liquid Shot for the bike...shoes with Speedlaces (new orange Nike Lunarracers ;-)/race belt with 2 Powergels pinned to it/sunglasses/watch...that's it.  Probably didn't need the Powergels, but I wanted to get used to them as they are on the IM run courses coming up...ugh.
Mrs Swet in action and happy to be out of
water I think!
Dan and John obviously having some fun

Swim:  23:28   
1st in 35-39 by 2 minutes
10th overall...fastest was 21:05 (Cam Hill of course)
Non-wetsuit swim, used the Torque Pro (courtesy of Chris' connetction with TYR---thanks Chris!).  The eventfulness of the swim was the Wave in front of us---I've been lucky since getting back into the sport to not having had to deal with it with the waves have been set up, but today was not the case.  No pre-race jitters, and actually feeling a bit tired even though I was on the start line--I wondered if I had the energy for this one.   I started on Chris McClurg's heals (great swimmer!), and after hitting his feet 8 times, I knew a hand-breaking kick was going to be deserved, so I separated from him and took a more "inward" line (and not the line I wanted)....mistake number one.  I was doing a slalom course through the yellow caps, every so often peaking over at Chris who was wide right and in the clear on the dowhill course.  The "weave" continued till I hit the steps, gashed my shin, and exited the water feeling good about it, but the "all out" swim I wanted to do was not in play with this one---too scared to wasted what energy I did have I guess. 

T1:  0:56.9
Speed suit off, helmet on (those LG helmets with built-in visors are SAWEET!  I have the SL, but that Vorttice---I have my eye on one of those...).  Flying mount onto the bike, feet right into the shoes, and I was on my way...probably my best planned T1 in a while...finally getting those kinks worked out.

Bike:  1:02:18
6th in 35-39
24th Overall (I gave up almost 6 minutes to the eventual winner and fastest bike split owner..oh well)
I actually felt good on the bike, and may have gone out a little too fast considering my "feeling" of being tired.  About half way through I got the feeling (again!) that running was going to be a total chore and felt I would be lucky to hold anything close to 7 min/mile pace.  I made sure I got my 500 cals of Liquid Shot in, along with a full bottle of water (needed more, but no on course aid on the bike....).  My mouth was bone dry probably from Saturdays long workout and not being able to rehydrate completely--shoulda carried 2 bottles on the bike (minor mistake, #2, and the last one of the day at least).  Otherwise uneventful, taking the corners and passing "gently" to avoid the Ghost.  All in all I was feeling good at this point, and after checking my splits from Rio Salado Olympic, which was the same exact course, and wetsuits were allowed, I was faster on the swim by 15 seconds, and 19 seconds faster here as well---untapered, generally in the dumps energy wise, but 34 seconds faster (Bad-Bad-Good!). 
Off the bike and into T2

T2:  0:43.8
I don't try to have the fastest transitions, but this effort was second fastest of the day---keeping it simple has its benefits!  Flying dismount, shoes were left on the pedals, helmet was off while running to my spot, shoes on, grab number belt, glasses, and watch, and let's see what kind of energy I have left for running...and it doesn't take long to see what that means.

Run:  39:19
1st in 35-39
8th Overall (fastest was 35:14, who came in 2nd overall)
Kevin, Lewis, and Josef on the PRO Podium
So the results kind of show how the run went---I was happy!  I quickly settled into my pace, held it, and just stayed there.  With all of the long distance running lately, 6 miles felt like a breeze..thank the IM training for that!   I hadn't seen anyone in my division all race, but knew they were close--expecting Russ Brandt to pull up next to at any moment.  I took in my Powergel at about mile 2, switched off water and Perform at every aid station (it was hot!), ended up catching Craig McClurg half way through the second lap, and hit the finish chute high fiving my team support crew.  I couldn't have been happier with the run--I felt in control, comfortable, and had "just a bit" left should someone appear on my shoulder, but not more than a 100 yard sprint...at the most.  (Russ, BTW you are not 40, yet!  And then you get to deal with Chris and Bryan ;-)
This works better if we had a corkscrew

Skinny Guy in Middle ;-)
ONE Podium-ers!!!
KEY THINGS TO WORK ON:  well, kind of funny, but those Powergels...I ripped them off the race belt (pinned on), and they leaked in the rear pocket.  Jump in the car, drive home, clean the car out, jump back into the car the next day to go to work and there you go...Powergel all over the work shirt!  Otherwise, I felt great about the way the race went...tired and all, I love racing and my legs held up---I think it is going to take an Ironman to make my leg muscles ache at all this point!  Onwards and upwards!!

To my ONE teammates...you make this Individual sport into a team sport, and I love that about our Team...I had to stop saying hi to all of you because there were so many of us out there!  It was so easy to get distracted looking at everyone on the other side of the road.  Because of the innate competitive nature, you all push me to be the fastest I can be through our training together and our camaraderie...I hope I help you to strive to be the fastest and "most fit" that you can be as well.  This sport is all about seeing what I can do with what I was given, and triathlons is one of those rare ways that we can challenge ourselves.  Keep pushing even through the off-season, build off of this year, and break those limits and set new PR's in 2012!  SOMA's next for y'all, and I plan to come armed with a video camera---you've been warned---it will be a ONE Multisport youtube video...bring your smiles, but don't slow down!  Go fast, have a blast!

I'm leaving on a jet plane this thursday---my excitement is there, but really not feeling nervous.  I'm sure once I ride out onto the Queen K, swim in the ocean, and run in the humidity I will be feeling a bit apprehensive and start to doubt myself, but all systems are GO and I will conquer that beast.  The training is on target, and I am looking forward to this day of breaking the barriers on what I can do with the body I have been given...tons of posts will roll out once I get to Kona...I'll have a GoPro Camera with me, so the video and photo collections will be aplenty for everyone back home to get to enjoy "the experience" I am about to go through---wish me luck!

Sep 19
34.0 mi
aerobic trainer
Sep 20
5200.0 yd
Nice long set! Pushed for 6x 100's on 1:30...first time through was EZ, end time through it was a bit tougher! Otherwise, endurance/keeping form is GREAT!
Sep 21
61.0 mi
these two workouts were tough! made me feel like I was out of shape...used 240W and 280W for the intervals.
8.8 mi
tough after that bike workout....found the legs easily. Maybe just a bit tired with all the family stuff this week ;-)
Sep 22
15.0 mi
I don't know if it was the week catching up to me, or by design after yesterday, but I struggled on this one...not with endurance, but just with feeling athletic. Pace was slower than previous long runs...average HR was up a little from the last long one too (123 today versus 121)
Sep 23
4000.0 yd
Sep 24
84.0 mi
see email...
2.6 mi
kept it EZ...it was a hot one here. Didn't have the mojo...lost that on the ride mishap...
Sep 25
1500.0 m
sent you an email about the race
24.6 mi
6.2 mi
LOG Totals
TypeDistanceDurationAvg Pace#Time in Zones
Bike203.6 mi09:2221.7 mph4
Run32.6 mi04:0007:22/mi4
Swim10840.4 yd03:0801:44/100yd3
Total Duration:16:3011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life's Treasures...and 3 More Weeks to Ironman Kona 2011!

Wrapping up last week is a little late, but the pictures below should explain why....

Needless to say, life is amazing sometimes.  Andrew is such a little blessing...Sophia has been the bestest big sister, and Jenny is just amazing.  I don't know if things could have gone any better---I told Jenny last week that Sunday would be the perfect day for him to come, and she delivered ;-)  We were back home in no time, and the feeling of having our little family of 4 is so gratifying!  I don't think life will ever get "old" from this point on...driving home from work or workouts is just the happiest time for me...such a simple thing, but I will never take that for granted!  I don't know how I will be away from them for 10 days...that will be the hardest part of the trip for sure.  I've said it 1,00 times already, but not having them there sucks...they've put up with all my "sheit" for over a year now, and the reward for them is that I leave for 10 days?

It's hard to even remember what I did last week training wise, but I've been flying high...it doesn't matter how hard, how long the workouts these days.  The "destination" is so close and I feel very prepared for race day...I feel like I'm in a holding pattern at this point with 16 days to go.  Swim is great, bike is pretty solid, and run is there as well---I'm not going to ask for much more---I'll take where i'm at and work with it come race day.  I imagine at some point I'll suffer from Divine Discontent, but for now, nothing can take away the feeling of becoming a dad again.  I feel like I could "trot" to something in the low 10 hour range, work hard to go sub 10, and if all goes well, go as low as 9:30ish.  Yeah, lower is a pipe dream, weather dependent, and probably out of my wheel house this first time, but I like to shoot for the stars, so we'll have to just see what happens, because I honestly don't have a clue as to how hard the day will be, but I know it will be the toughest day of my life (physically and mentally at least!  what else is there?).  I really noticed improvement in my running endurance on my longest prep run of the year that happened on thursday---I was in a great groove the entire back half of this run, and could have "marathoned" it easily, and it was all uphill!  Winning!  My ride on saturday almost felt like a waste...my rear derailleur crapped out (Di2 wiring issue---junction box issue---Jay's on it!!), so I rode the rear in the 16 ring, and only had the front 53 or 39 rings as options---for 5 hours!!!!  It simply led to too much recovery time during downhill sections....spinning out at 23-24 mph at a 110 cadence became the norm ;-{  it led to a super fast transition run (7 min/mi pace), but it felt like the ride was a waste of time...pray for no mechanicals in Kona for me please!!

Onwards and Upwards!!

Sep 12
2750.0 yd
Sep 13
50.0 mi
trainer session done...feeling good!
7.8 mi
endurance feeling right on, kept it comfortable, and legs felt great off the bike...never better!
Sep 14
3900.0 yd
crushed it ;-)
Sep 15
3000.0 yd
2nd swim of my life starting at 5 am...NOT HAPPY ;-) kidding...all was well, shoulders needed some time to loosen up after last nights swim, and was a bit sluggish in the water...go figure ;-}
20.1 mi
Felt really good on this! Actually the best I have felt in the last miles...I picked up the pace for a few 5 minute sections in the final 5 miles, and my body reacted very well! Feeling very confident after this one... Average HR: 121
Sep 16
46.0 mi
I had to cut this one short due to lots of things to prep for with the baby due any day....achilles was tight on the L, and it never loosened up so maybe a good call...roller today, and massage tomorrow after the workouts will nurse it better (flush only!)
Sep 17
95.0 mi
Sent u email about this one
6.0 mi
Awesome run off the bike...settled in to 7:00 pace...wanted to go faster, but followed the plan ;-)
Sep 18
Perfectly scheduled rest day...Jenny had our baby at 9:48am ;-). Perfect!
LOG Totals
TypeDistanceDurationAvg Pace#Time in Zones
Bike191.0 mi09:3020.1 mph3
Run33.9 mi04:1207:26/mi3
Swim9650.0 yd02:4501:42/100yd3
Total Duration:16:2710

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Review of SaltStick Electrolyte Salt Capsules - 100 Capsules

Originally submitted at REI

Take SaltStick Electrolyte salt capsules while you run, bike, swim and play sports to help minimize muscle cramping, heat stress, and fatigue due to unbalanced electrolyte levels.

Amazing Product! IM Proven!

By IM Dentist from Scottsdale, AZ on 9/19/2011


5out of 5

Pros: Produces Results, Easy Dosing, Acts Quickly

Best Uses: Electrolyte Replacement, Training in the Heat

Describe Yourself: Health Conscious, Medical Professional, Regular User

I can't say enough about this product...training for Ironman Kona in 2011, this product turned my high heat (110 degrees!) training around, allowing me to complete even the toughest and longest workouts without losing the electrolyte/hydration imbalance that I suffered from prior to using this product. Simply took 1 capsule/hour, and I noticed a huge improvement in my ability to produce sustained power on 100+ mile rides and 2+ hour runs.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ironman Kona: 2 Weeks till Departure! Pre-Race Strategizing Part 1

9/11 Memorial on the Green (aka IMAZ transition area)
For those of you that have read my posts this year, you may remember my "pre-race strategy: for Mountain Man 70.3, and if you were paying close attention, you noticed the actual race was completely the opposite...the bike placed me perfect (I thought it would be my weakest link), and the run failed me (I thought it would be my weapon).  With that in the "folders" in my brain, and Kona being the "show time/"A" of all "A" races, all the marbles...I am gonna put together a plan less haphazard than the one for Mountain Man, which I thought up in about the amount of time it took me to write it down (meaning: I made it up as I wrote it...).  I started this blog mostly to keep track of where I have been, what things have felt like, report to friends and family about how things are going, and sometimes just to keep me in check, focused, and keeping the proverbial one foot in front of the other.  Ideally I would have wanted to write this closer to race time, but the next week I have a feeling is going to be life changing, and I wanted to get some things down in here before I head out of town on the 29th.

Here's the data so far for this year:

Swim  351,000 yards
Bike:  6450 miles
Run:  1062 miles

Totals by Week
WeekBeginRacesWeek TypeBikeRunSwimRestTotal Time
01Jan 01 *45.0 mi2:0014.2 mi1:45 3:45
02Jan 03128.0 mi5:4836.5 mi5:206800.0 yd2:20 13:28
03Jan 1057.1 mi3:0242.0 mi5:353750.0 yd1:10 9:47
04Jan 17170.0 mi8:2411.0 mi1:196250.0 yd1:45 11:28
05Jan 24160.7 mi7:2326.6 mi3:2211300.0 yd3:45 14:30
06Jan 31189.0 mi8:5034.0 mi4:186700.0 yd3:30 16:38
07Feb 07123.0 mi5:4015.7 mi1:5910500.0 yd2:45 10:24
08Feb 14195.1 mi11:2821.4 mi2:5010650.0 yd3:10 17:28
09Feb 2151.0 mi3:3028.6 mi3:106200.0 yd2:20 9:00
10Feb 2892.7 mi4:306.1 mi3:159700.0 yd1:55 9:40
11Mar 07196.0 mi10:0224.4 mi3:0013100.0 yd3:55 16:57
12Mar 14212.8 mi10:4233.6 mi4:2210200.0 yd3:15 18:19
13Mar 21267.2 mi12:5129.3 mi3:437000.0 yd2:10 18:44
14Mar 28242.6 mi10:0827.4 mi3:3211500.0 yd4:00 17:40
15Apr 04164.0 mi5:0021.2 mi1:214112.0 yd0:45 7:06
16Apr 11138.0 mi6:2438.6 mi4:5810100.0 yd2:30 13:52
17Apr 18194.4 mi8:1727.9 mi3:2711200.0 yd3:35 15:19
18Apr 25208.5 mi9:0030.3 mi3:4910750.0 yd3:25 16:14
19May 02184.4 mi8:3332.6 mi3:5513440.4 yd4:13 16:41
20May 09157.8 mi7:3433.7 mi4:0710400.0 yd3:20 15:01
21May 16223.5 mi9:4534.9 mi6:214400.0 yd2:00 18:06
22May 23165.0 mi7:5524.5 mi2:5411100.0 yd3:20 14:09
23May 30156.3 mi7:3126.1 mi3:079290.0 yd2:23 13:01
24Jun 06120.0 mi6:0025.4 mi3:237800.0 yd2:25 11:48
25Jun 13192.4 mi9:3119.0 mi2:2811500.0 yd3:35 15:34
26Jun 20179.8 mi8:4121.6 mi2:4510200.0 yd3:10 14:36
27Jun 27235.0 mi11:3125.1 mi3:3611200.0 yd3:30 18:37
28Jul 04105.0 mi5:1226.7 mi3:1911800.0 yd3:35 12:06
29Jul 11203.2 mi9:4634.6 mi4:218950.0 yd2:45 16:52
30Jul 18194.1 mi9:4638.9 mi5:2212200.0 yd3:45 18:53
31Jul 25165.0 mi7:3021.8 mi2:4311150.0 yd3:30 13:43
32Aug 01184.0 mi7:5338.3 mi4:5811150.0 yd3:45 16:36
33Aug 08141.0 mi6:2724.2 mi3:004112.0 yd1:15 10:42
34Aug 15169.0 mi8:4527.0 mi3:306350.0 yd1:50 14:05
35Aug 22214.0 mi11:0037.8 mi4:589100.0 yd3:20 19:18
36Aug 29246.0 mi12:3534.8 mi4:1610400.0 yd3:00 19:51
37Sep 05266.0 mi14:0239.9 mi5:0313250.0 yd4:05 23:10

So, currently, I feel ready to GO!  I am prepared. I am healthy (well, physically a chronic right hip issue is always there, but we have it under control---mentally, throw in some abnormal psych disorders here, and I possess most the characteristics).   A lot of what I add below is more to prepare my mental game, so bear with me on the self talk ;-}

The site of 14,000+ laps swum so far this year....

The Swim:
Chris has me swimming the best I ever have, both in pace and endurance...compared to IMAZ, I am flying.  I guess a solid year of building towards this race has it's benefits----I haven't missed a swim workout in that time (well, maybe one, I think).  Turning those 351,000 yards into the fastest possible 4,000 on race day will be pure glory...."you can't win and Ironman in the swim, but you can lose it" has always been a quote in my database, and you can lose it not by just swimming slower, but also by swimming less efficient---more drag = more work needed to move our non water dynamic bodies through water.  I want to save all my candles for the end of the bike and the run.  While my positioning and swim plan is yet to take shape,  I know I have some of the best in the business to help me through this part...I imagine I will be in the water with a group of 5+ people I know and trust who have done this race before and swim at or slightly above my level..we will protect our turf!  I have a lot to learn about the swim, and there's really nothing I can work on here until I get to Kona (and so will be part of blog entry "Strategy Part 2"...).  Mountain Man 70.3 has me in the mindset that I am a good swimmer and belong near the front, so I plan to not back down on my positioning...whether I line up left or right or middle, we will see.  Right now my goal swim time is simple...keep it under an hour (IMAZ was 59:00...).  The Kona swim is characteristically 3-4 minutes slower than "wetsuit legal" IM swims, but I am a much better swimmer now.  Add in the ability of "seeing" the person in front of you, and I imagine I can set up with a pack versus going solo as I did at IMAZ.

One Long Ride...
...after another

The Bike: 

So I keep referencing Mountain Man 70.3 (I guess it is because it is my last "measuring stick")...not to sway from that line of thought, I biked well there; not great, but not bad either.  Everyone says to try to avoid the excitement of the race in the early trip around town and conserve---I say, whatever.  I'll look at my Powercontrol, focus on the planned wattage, and push right to that number.  My biking has really improved since Mountain Man---I think my body and legs needed some time to catch up to the increased mileage as it was 110 here in AZ, and it was not easy and consequently led to me digging a deep hole that took weeks to dig out of---the vomiting, the bonking, the complete loss of being able to even pedal on the flats in the big ring are long gone, and I feel like I can ride forever at 20 mph on a decently rolling bike route.  The X factor is always the winds---but I can handle the heat, and actually I secretly pray for a hot day...heat yes, wind no.  I'll keep the pail out of the well, and may tap into the well a bit more than I did at IMAZ, but Chris' motto is " the "M" in IRONMAN stands for MARATHON," and I will stick to that 100%.  Bike to be able to run, that's what I say.  I hope to push the uphill to Hawi, that I know, but otherwise the bike course right now is a bit of an unknown to me other than what I have "read" from other, maybe not-correct, bike course outlines.  Chris again will give me The Bible on this, but it will revolve around a simple number on the Powercontrol---hold it at all costs!  Pain is not a measurable thing...it is a perception, and in this deal, it is what slows you down if you give in, and, like Mark Allen has said...

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

The Run:
The Mountain Man run failure was probably the best thing that could have happened for Kona...I left Flagstaff a bit pissed, but also with a reality check.  My run needed work---I'm not blaming Hammer products, or any other outside variable.  It was me; my run was not where I thought it was.  So, I am sure Chris was well aware of this (always is), and so I entered a stage of "ramping up" the run, and what was different than before Mountain Man (where I didn't finish half of my runs due to the heat...), was that I know had a very strong, mentally tough, younger, superhuman training partner---enter Kenny Steil.  Kenny must have thought on first impression---"how the hell did this guy qualify???"  On 3 of our first 4 rides (which were pre-Mountain Man), I either had to call for a ride home, vomited (AND called for a ride home), or ended up in survival mode, shaking as I pedaled at sub 150W to slumber home...NOT a good place to be.  Kenny, the super biker, was literally riding circles around me---the sound of his freewheel while I'm pushing with all I have still rings in my head.  I was like nails on the chalkboard, almost worse!
Ok, a bit off topic there, so back to the run...Kenny and I have conquered more together than we both know we ever could have if we were not training the run together.  We "never" walked, we kept our pacing in check, and we finished strong.  We were in a "phase" of training where the run mileage was on the brink of our ability...multiple 2 hour runs in a week became the standard after Mountain Man.  Tonight is the "Last Long Run,"  2 hours and 30 minutes---20+ miles...I have that!  to get to where my run is...it's there, it's ready.  I always look at 2 things---endurance and pace...both are topped off on the run as well.   I could always use more speed (who couldn't!), but as the average high temp has now dipped to below 100, I am running fast, enjoying it finally, and flying along sub 7:30 in mid zone 2 HR (120 for me).  If I can get off the bike with a full well, hydrated and "nutritioned,"  I think I can throw down a sub 3:20 number (my IMAZ time)...I think I again, have the heat as my advantage.  

This is what I get to come home to...I am so spoiled!
So, in a nutshell, Chris has turned me into a machine---I feel like that at least.  Swim?  plug in the effort and arm turnover, and I'll go until I hit those steps...bike? plug in a wattage, and I'll push through the pain till I see the dock...run? Chris-ism: "find 'em, hold 'em, push 'em, survive 'em."   This is gonna be the toughest, deepest, darkest place I have taken myself---I just need to keep those demons out of my mind and focus on the above Mark Allen quote.  It puts a tear in my eye just to write this, but this may be my first and last trip to Kona to race...I leave in 14 days, I will become a father to a son between now and then, and I have put Sophia and Jenny on hold since I began this journey---they both are amazing, and have supported me 1000%, and to them I am forever grateful that they allowed me to chase a dream, the one and only item on my bucket list...and it kills me that they won't be there with me, and that feeling is getting worse as we get closer to Sept 29th when I leave them for 10 days...okay tears are flowing now.  In a way I feel that this experience has made my family better...Jenny and I have never been better, Sophia is a pure joy, and I can only think our son will be the same knowing the mother that Jenny has become.  Kona will also be a family reunion for me...all my siblings will be there, my parents (mom, dad, and Jeanette)---we have not been together in way too long, and getting to spend time and go through this challenge with them there will be a highlight of my life so far...but first, Jenny has an Ironman of her own to go through first ;-)   Add in John, Cyndi, the AIMP Kona Crew, the AZ Kona Crew...this is gone be fun!

I have it so easy...and honestly feel so blessed to have the friends and family I have---I'll keep saying it till you're sick of it, but thank you for all of your support to help me reach what I thought was unreachable.  I know you'll be proud of me regardless, but my plan is to leave it all out there (sorry Bryan, I gotta treat it as a once in a lifetime chance to see what I am made of!!), and if you want to see me have an "out of body" experience, just be near Alii Drive somewhere between 9 and 10 hours after the canon fires...look for number 1214!