Friday, July 31, 2009



This year on the swim I’ve been working hard on technique with a local swim coach, Kari Woodall, and also put in some good masters workouts over the winter and into the spring. I find that masters gives me a good boost in my fitness but also can lead to quite a bit of fatigue if I’m not careful with the intensity and swimming with swimmers a couple steps above my level. With the swim, I can usually tell how fatigued I am based on how I feel in the water. This is the first sport to go when I’m feeling beat down. My swim was definitely off in June and most of July but started to come around during race week.

On the bike I was strong. My power was up quite a bit from last year. I had some great workouts on the bike. On the downside I was a bit worried about my bike volume. We get a late start on the bike training here in WI and Placid was a bit early for me. I also had some issues with hot foot leading into the race and had some custom insoles made for me at Exclusive Cycles 2wks from race day. It turned out that this was never and issue.

My run was also in a good place. I had done somewhere around 5 runs that were 30km or more. I implemented a walk run strategy on these where I would run 2mi and walk 30s to get used to the Ironman strategy of walking every other aid station. Even with the short walk breaks I was averaging right around 7:30/mi on these runs. I was confident in my ability to run 8min/mile throughout the Ironman marathon. I think the biggest concern for me on the run was how my legs would hold up on the hills. However, compared to the hot foot concerns this was very minimal.

Overall, the preps for this race were decent. I felt like the half Ironman that I did in early June may have screwed things up a bit. I felt very tired for a long time after that race and never fully regained the form I had leading into the prep period for it. Leading into IMLP I was trying to do catch up recovery all the way into race week. I felt much better during race week.

I tried something new this race which was a relatively big breakfast for me race morning. I got up at 3am and drank a large smoothie with 510cals, a banana, and a bagel. I laid back down in bed and my stomach hurt! I got back up at 4:30 had my coffee and was ready to go. I had a gel and some water right before I started my swim warm-up.

SWIM--1:01:08 (30:15/30:54)

I lined up a bit wide of the buoy to start right behind a woman that said she would be hitting a 58 minute swim and wouldn’t be sprinting out. Perfect. The gun went off I promptly lost her in the typical swim start chaos but stuck to my plan of mod-hard swimming and no harder to start. I found some feet and tucked in waiting for faster swimmers to come by. It turned out that this never happened and we were passing swimmers on the way back from the first loop. I figured these were some good feet as every so often the feet would turn over as their owner did some backstroke but kept it moving really well. I tried remain with my feet were when I got out of the water but lost them on the entrance back into the lake. I promptly found some new feet and rode them all the way around the second loop. I was very happy with my effort which I would rate as easy to falling asleep and the resulting splits.

BIKE-- 5:36:14 (at 56mi 2:46:24)

Once out of the water I jogged over and got my wetsuit off and then jogged over to transition. I didn’t want to run all that distance from swim to bike and jack up my heart rate. When I got on my bike I noticed the heart rate was a touch high and just let it settle down the first few miles. The bike was rather uneventful. I had a bit of a down spot after the first out and back section but remembered that if I’m feeling down to eat more, so I did and that spot probably lasted only about 5-10min max. I took in a total of about 1800 or more calories on the bike leg, 3 electrolyte tabs/hr as my quads were a bit crampy in the beginning, and ridiculous amounts of water.

I was passed quite a bit on the bike on the hills and then would go by the people that passed me on the flats and the downhills. I was very much in my own game, as during race week I really tried to instill the mindset of a 10hr time trial, not a race against everyone else, me against the clock and everything else was distraction.

I can’t even explain how good I felt on the bike. I never got to the point of dying to get off the bike or hating my bike by the end of the ride. I enjoyed it throughout. It was my easiest long ride of the year by far. I thought this would set me up for a great run.

RUN--4:12:41 (1:45:42 half)

I got off the bike and went through T2 at a decent clip. I started to settle into my running pace but had some pretty serious lower back spasms going on. I got out of town and ran to the side of the road to do some brief stretching. That seemed to do the trick and I was out running again feeling smooth and very much in control. This continued throughout the run until the long downhill out of town where my quads started screaming at me. I was in unbelievable pain on that downhill and finally just had to go to a shuffle. The pain continued throughout the race but was ridiculous on the downhills. I just kept playing games where I would run for a certain number of minutes then walk a minute. It became a survival technique and racing was now done. I kept this going until I got to the uphill back into town where I just decided to try running up the hill. This didn’t hurt my quads and I went with it. By the time I got up the hill and to the turnaround I was less than a mile from the finish and just gutted it out to the line for a 10:59 finish.

Looking back at the race I was very happy with how I paced the swim and bike. I got lots of calories and water in on the bike and was always thinking about what my body needed next or what I needed to do to make sure I could run well.

The run was a bit of a disaster. I’ve had those same quad issues once before but it was in a half marathon that was quite hilly and I hadn’t done much road work prior to the run. I think I blew it in the preps and didn’t get in enough, or any, long downhill runs. Overall, I’m not completely disappointed. My first goal was to finish and that I did. My second goal was to execute and I followed the plan on the swim and bike as well as the run. The final goal was a sub 3:30 marathon and I came up very short on that one but I have a good idea why.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ironman Lake Placid Thoughts



MANTRAS for the day.

  • Execute below my capabilities
  • If I’m not thinking about forward propulsion then let the thought go.


  2. ride the bike w/in my power targets and execute the plan.
  3. HOLD sub 8min/mi on run from mile 6 on and execute the plan.
  • Breakfast 4am- 2 ensure or naked smoothie approx. 400-500cals


  • Be conservative at the swim start
  • Just f’ing steady.
  • Sit on feet and do not work.


  • 0-30mi 200w cap on flats to start (180-200w)
  • Then go to 190-210w rest of race w/corresponding HR of 130-140 w/145bpm cap
  • 220-240w on hills erring on low side especially on first loop. VERY Limited time above 250w.
  • VI of 1.05 or less w/NP of 210ish.
  • Nutrition: 350kcal/hr of infinit 2x 700cal bottles on bike/pickup water at aid stations
    3rd bottle of 700cals at special needs.


  • 0-6mi SLOW 8:20/mi jog
  • 6-26.2 7:50-8min/mi goal
  • Walk 30s every other aid station
  • Run Nutrition:
    200cals/hr of gels and coke.


Monday, July 20, 2009

One Week to Race Day

In the last few weeks leading to race day my mood tends to be based upon key workouts leading into race day. Let's just say I've been up and down...

Tuesday I had a very good swim which was a sign things were coming around. Typically, my swim pace falls off if I'm a bit tired. My run on Tuesday was also pretty good with heart rate, perceived exertion, and pace all lining up.

Wednesday was a progressive run starting easy at 8min/mile pace and dropping to 7min/mi pace. This workout was a bit goofy with the heat and my heart rate, perceived exertion and pace all out of whack. Let's just say I was a bit out of sorts after this run.

A big day was in order for Thursday. I started off with a 3000yd swim which similar to Tuesday went really well. I had a great bike workout with 3x10min hill repeats where I found it very easy to hit my target power and then a short 6 mile run where my heart rate was a touch high but pace came very easy.

Friday was a 6 mile run day and man were my legs sluggish. My HR was also super sluggish for the day so it all lined up and I just went out very easy and came back with five short pickups at about 5k pace.

Saturday was a recovery day with just a short open water swim with a few 6min pickups and a recovery bike for 80min with a few 30s strength repeats.

Sunday was my last big day. I started on the bike and rode for an hour super easy. Super easy is relative here in Madison as the flats and downhills can be easy but you still have plenty of ups. I think the only way for me to do recovery rides is on the trainer. Then I hit 3x20min at my low tempo power, 220w-240w, which is just a step above my steady of 180-220w. It was harder to get my power up into the zone this workout as compared to Wednesday and my heart rates were on the low side. I also find that pushing a tempo power on the rollers is a lot harder than pushing it on an uphill. So, another sluggish day.

After the ride I hit a 6 mile run at my starting Ironman pace of 8:20/mi. Then for the final mile I picked it up to target pace for miles 6-26.2. For Placid I'd like to be sitting in the 7:50-8:00 range/mile on the marathon. For me to do that I will give myself 6mi of jogging at 8:20-8:30/mi. Then at mile 6 I will just try to sit on the 7:50-8:00/mi as long as possible. If there is anything left at mile 20 then I will use it up at that point, not before. So, that run was super easy and felt good even though I was still a bit sluggish.

I really feel that this is a good goal and for my long runs of 18mi+ I've been able to run right around a 7:30/mi pace (with my walking breaks) so I think its doable. I've been practicing is walking for 30s every 2mi so that my body gets used to walking a bit and taking on calories at aid stations.

That's all for now. Getting excited for Placid.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catching Up


After a solid effort on Wednesday I backed it up on Thurs. with close to a 2hr ride w/some 30s big gear efforts in the 300w range. My legs were a bit heavy inititally but that was to be expected and the 30s intervals woke them up. After my ride I hit a short swim and called it a day.


I met up with my buddy and old coach Tim this morning. Tim coached me when I was preparing for the Great Floridian Triathlon. I placed 5th on the day and won my age group with a solidly executed race. In the offseason after that race, I lost my job, my Grandfather passed away, and soon after I was relocating to Madison, WI. I popped out of triathlon for a bit just to get my life which is typically easy and light, back to a good place without the additional stress of preparing for races. I ended up with a new job, a new house, a new girlfriend, a new dog and felt like the Talking Heads Song for awhile where I was thinking how the heck did I get here? But, it is all good and well, I have an Ironman in a couple of weeks.

So, I was really looking forward to this run as I learn so much everytime I talk with Tim. It was an easy run out S. Boulder Trail but today wasn't about physical fitness as it was about mental fitness. By the time I was done with the run I was in a great place and felt very good about my upcoming Ironman.

I added a swim onto the day and practiced my rocket ship arms with Andy Caplan.


This was supposed to be a long day but after the high heart rates on Wed. and a little bit of lingering fatigue I thought it would be better to back this off a bit. Better safe than sorry.

I met up with my first friend from Boulder, Jeff Keil and his super fit and fast wife Jenni and hit a bit of a swim prior to our bike. My swim was very simple, 4x800m as 2x swim, where I definitely felt the altitude. Then I tossed on a bouy and hit another 800 and then a final 800 w/some nice big paddles.

From there (after a bit of a coffee break) we got on our bikes, did a bit of a spin then I hit 45min around my IM power. I didn't want to push too hard as my heart rate was already a touch high from the altitude and I wasn't feeling super peppy. Then a bit of an easy spin, a stop to refuel, and back to a 20min effort at IM power then a 20min climb at IM climbing power and a spin home. Jeff and Jenni just tagged along and played Iron Sherpa which was so freakin cool of them. Jeff and I talked all about Ironman, his training, my training, my upcoming race and similar to my time with Tim I felt very much at peace with my upcoming Ironman. I really miss my friends out in Boulder

To end the day Le Jeff and I went for a short run to top off the day where I definitely felt the effects of a day of training at altitude. It was a good day.


On Sunday I just hit a short easy spin and a 4mi run, just to keep the wheels rolling and then took Monday off other than an hour of technique work in the pool with Kari.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Long Run

Today was another Long Run in the arboretum. Each loop is about 10k and I try to pick it up just a bit each 10k. Today instead of running based on HR, Alan asked me to do the run by perceived effort and not worry about the heart rate. I typically run about 7:20-7:30/mi for the 30k effort and today when I wasn't looking at heart rate that is exactly where it fell. I ended up at 2:18 for a touch less than 30k. My perceived effort felt very much like a steady to moderate effort. Even the last couple miles were not necessarily hard. Last week the last couple of miles were HARD and I was pretty much toasted afterwards.

The only issue, other than peeing right in the middle of a heard of mosquitos, is my HR was rather high today for the effort that I have seen in the past by about 6-10 bpm. So, I'm not sure why that is but I can't get too caught up in it at this point in the game. All I can do is train, rest well, and repeat.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More Recovery

Friday through today has been super easy. My longest ride of the weekend was 1:40 with a little bit of steady. My longest run has been about 45mins. I am confident that I will bounce back for Wed's long run and the weekend sessions. I'm really craving some workouts after taking a full day off of training. I hate taking full days off!!

Looking forward to a short swim and a short run tomorrow.

Less than 3wks now til Placid. It's all about execution.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So far this week...

Monday--Day off
A full day of work and a big weekend of training.

Swim--3250yds as sprints (10x50 hard/25ez and 2000 pull/pads)
Run--ez 4.7mi
a bit tired after being in ATL in the morning, then Detroit and finally in Madison

Bike-2hrs as 2x40 steady
not feeling it today.

Run-20mi picking it up each loop (10k)
probably my slowest long run of the year.

I think its pretty obvious, ez is in order until the body recovers a bit. Last week was hard and if you add in the heat stress of the mid week ride and run then it all makes sense. Thanks Coach AC for the pep talk and Blake B. for some good recovery ideas.