Thursday, September 30, 2010

Enzo's Buttonhole

Training continues to go well, and I think my run is coming back to me, which is nice.  Now if I could find my swim I would be happy...swimming still escapes me.  I have to think that my training is going as well as it is because I have been consistent and my recovery has been great.  I have been refueling properly and rocking the Zensah compression sleeves and shorts on a daily basis (I know what you're thinking and I have more than one pair...and I wash the others).

I often get asked, "Doesn't your butt hurt when you're out riding your bike for hours on end?"  And the answer is  I have some exciting news for you though if your butt does get sore.  I've been using Enzo's Buttonhole Chamois Cream for the past few months and it really helps to keep you comfortable during your rides.  One of the nice things too is that it helps to prevent and treat saddle sores.  Since starting with Buttonhole, I haven't had a single problem, and I've been putting in some serious miles.  I put Enzo's to the test last weekend during my 105 mile ride and it performed like a dream.  One of my buddies tried it out last week for the first time and he liked it as well.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A long training day, the first of many

The final build for Arizona has begun, and yesterday was my longest training day out of any of my Ironman's.  I met with Andy and we headed out on a long ride.  The plan was to ride 100 and run off of the bike.  I had wanted to run 6 off of the bike, and wanted to run a certain pace, but would be satisfied with a little slower pace.

The ride: We left from my house at like 6:45 and did the new loop that we had discovered about a month ago.  I thought that the route was 50 miles, and it ended up being 52 and change.  The first loop went well and was without incident.  After a quick stop to refill bottles the second loop started.  I felt better early on into the second loop, until we hit about mile 80.  I could feel myself bonking, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I was doing my usual eating more sooner than expected hoping that things would come back.  I had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at a gas station and I went to my known bonk frosted donuts.  After the stop things were going better.  I think the problem was that I wasn't in a rhythm, I would hammer and then chill...hammer and then chill.  That's not how I need to ride, I need to get into the zone and stay there, when I'm in the zone I'm all good.  Something to learn for sure.  We ended up riding just over 105 miles.  I started thinking as the ride went on and I was more satisfied with it.  I felt strong again towards the end of the ride which was definitely nice for the confidence.

Off of the bike I was going to be happy to run 4 miles, not knowing how my legs would feel.  But I have a little secret that I used to help get me started and to help keep me dogs.  I knew that my dogs would set a nice pace right out of the gate and I really had no choice but to keep up with them.  So mile one was 6:30...far faster than I wanted to hold so I then figured that they burned off that initial excitement and I could slow them down so after that we settled in.  My goal was to run at a 7:00 pace, but I was going to be satisfied with a 7:15.  I went through the second mile under 7 minutes so I decided to keep things under control and try to get 6 miles in, as I got closer I said screw it I'm going 7, holding 7:00.  When things were all said and done I ended up running 7 miles at a 6:48 pace.  This was a great confidence boost.

Time for another week of training.  First a little recovery today with my Zensah compression tights.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Determination & Dedication

This weekend I was in San Diego for my cousins wedding.  We had a great time, hanging out with family, surfing all of that fun stuff.  It was really relaxing and I think we all had a great time.  I'll post some pictures in a little while from the weekend.

The final build has begun.  There are only 61 days until Ironman Arizona.  As I was running/riding/running last night I was thinking of some words that I would key in on for this final build.  What came to mind were determination and dedication.  I am determined to put together the best race that I can on November 21st, and that's all I can wish best race.  I know there will be high times, and low times during the race as there always are during Ironman. 

I know I am dedicated and always have been, now it's time to get the work done.  Last night was a run/bike/run session.  I wanted to make sure the dogs got some exercise so we ran 3 miles together (mile one was 6:13...think they were excited?) I rode for an hour on the rollers (I forgot how much focus that takes), and then ran another 2.5 with the dogs (they were a little more tired this time around).  It was a solid session, and good to know that my legs felt great the whole time.  An hour on the trainer this morning watching Bloodsport was a great way to start the day.  I still have a run planned, and have a feeling it might be a warm one, which is alright by me.  Oh yea, and have I said how awesome it is to bike commute?  I love my cross bike, and it's quite nice to not have a car at work, maybe the extra miles will help in November?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I have been running "unplugged" (no not from my i-pod) from my Garmin ever since Pigman, when I lost it.  I can honestly say that I hate not knowing how fast, or how far I have gone.  If I'm going for a "run" with a friend then fine I can be content with going easy for x amount of minutes.  But if I'm by myself I want to be able to know what I'm doing.  I picked up my Garmin from the post office on Monday and ended up running over 9 miles on Tuesday.  This is a "recovery" week and I know I shouldn't have run that much, but I wanted to make sure it was working properly.  Really it just gave me an excuse to go run.  If only I had something similar for swimming!

A fun weekend awaits, my cousin is getting married in San Diego.  It's always fun to hang out with the family, and I've never been to San Diego so I'm really looking forward to the trip.  I have my running shoes and Garmin packed, if I use them great, if not no big deal.  The "hibernation" begins on Monday so I want to enjoy the last couple days of freedom before I start to hit it hard on the training front.  Can't wait for the big bike/run bricks!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preparation / Hibernation

I raced Saturday, ran semi-long on Sunday and am going to use the rest of the week to be sort of a "recovery" week.  I'm going to do this for a few reasons.  It's the time when you rest that you make true gains right?  I'll be in San Diego this weekend, so I'm not bringing a bike with me, I'll be able to swim and run, but want to spend some down time before a big final build to Ironman Arizona.

I watched IMWI on Sunday which was motivating for me, not to just finish, but I saw people who I have been racing with this year do extremely well.  That was awesome to see!  It helped to boost my confidence knowing that I'm a similar caliber athlete to these guys and I know I can do well.  Yes I need to put the work in, and after a little physical/mental break this week I'm going to enter "Hibernation" mode.

For me this is going to mean some big time training, with some long distances and high volume.  This is the final push up to IMAZ and I don't want to have any regrets.  I have some pretty big goals for rides/runs that I'm going to be doing.  I have 6 weeks of hard training after this weekend before a couple weeks to taper.  Sunday's are going to be dedicated to some serious riding/running.  So if you're not doing anything on a Sunday and want to meet me somewhere to exchange water bottles please let me know.

The opening to this song is something I'm going to have to have running through my head for the weeks to come:

Monday, September 13, 2010

That was a First...

This weekend I went up and raced a half ironman up in Lake Geneva.  I really didn't want to race, but I had told Wanner a while back that I would race with him, and being his first half ironman I felt I really needed to be there.  I'm glad he was there, and he had an incredible race!  I had warned Wanner that this race was going to be a complete cluster and not to expect any bit of organization.  Well the organization part wasn't as big of an issue as I had anticipated (I'm not saying it was good by any means though...more on that later).

A Special Thank You / Race Day: Started with a 3:30 a.m. wake up call.  Ouch!  I have to give an award out right now though...SPECTATHLETE of the YEAR = My MOM.  She was up with me at 3:30 a.m. made breakfast, took the dogs out, and was ready to head up to the race with me knowing that odds are it was going to rain.  We were on the road at 4 with the two of us, my bike, a spare set of wheels...I know I'm crazy, and two dogs.  Yep a little packed.  So why is my Mom freakin awesome you ask?  Because she had my two insane dogs with her the whole day in the pouring rain while she was freezing in the 55 degree weather just so I could go out and do something I love to do.  Mom I can't thank you enough!!!  We arrived up in Lake Geneva at the race at about 5:45 and luckily for me Wanner had saved me a spot in transition.  That's when it started...the down pour.  Yep setting up transition in the dark and rain isn't fun, and I knew it was going to make for a long day. 

Our race started with a "mass start" at 6:30 a.m.  It wasn't completely light yet but they sent us off.  My swim was nothing spectacular, I had a great start for about the first 1500 meters, and then things slowed down, maybe because we swam up on the slow olympic distance swimmers which started after us and swam on the same course...yep same course, oh yea and there was a sprint on the same course...and I must have forgotten to mention the super sprint on the same course as well.  Like I said earlier this would be a cluster!!!  My swim was in the 36 minute range and I was ok with that because I really never swam hard and knew the people I swam up on were slowing me down...and with this race who knows if the distance was right or not?

T1 was uneventful.  I headed out onto my bike and was almost immediately scared.  They had a bike lane blocked off with cones for us for the first quarter mile.  Ok fine I can handle that, but then we had to take a left with NO ONE blocking traffic as we turned left.  Luckily I didn't get hit...but one poor person did.  That is just soooo wrong on behalf of the race!!  Well that was just the start.  So I'm riding and within the first 10 miles I have a volunteer tell me I'm in 2nd place.  I had no idea where the leader was and figured it was some fast guy that I wouldn't see the rest of the day.  Well I stayed positive and kept telling myself I was a strong rider, to ride within myself and to get ready for a show down on the run because it was going to be on.  Well somewhere between mile 15-20 I caught the leader and took the lead over.  After passing him I was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to match my speed, or come back to catch me.  I was just wondering how much time I could put into him on the bike for the next 35ish miles.  So here I am riding behind the lead van, well that didn't last long because he pull off to the side and I never saw him again.  I was out riding just following arrows hoping I was going the right way.  About 3 miles from T2 some guy comes riding out off of a different street who was in the race.  I asked him which race he was in and he claimed the half ironman.  What?  I've been cruising for 35-40 miles and people are on a different course?  So now I'm ticked, dropped the hammer and decided to run the first loop as a recon mission to see the damage...basically how many other people rode a different course than I did?  I had no idea and started moving through the run pretty well.  It was super hilly, hillier than Galena's run if you can believe that.  I got to an aid station which had to be at mile 4 or so to overhear some guy claiming that he's winning the half ironman.  Huh?  I was a little ticked at that point and turned on the gas for a few miles to prove to this guy that he had cheated somewhere on the course.  So to the guy who claimed that he rode a 2:05 bike split on crappy roads in the pouring rain...what the heck are you thinking?  And who do you think you're fooling?  A 40 minute swim and a 1:56 really think you can ride 2:05?  What you did was the olympic bike course...not the half ironman one, you rode 25 miles instead of 56, but do what you need to in order to sleep at night pal.  I came through the turn around where my Mom told me she thought I was winning.  On my way back out I wanted to see the damage that I had caused to this was substantial!  When I went past him on the road (heading back out) I think he realized that he shouldn't have ticked me off.  I set things on cruise control after that point and just cheered everyone on that was out on the course.  People dealt with a crappy day and it's amazing to see them get the job done and finish!

The result...I got my first overall win at a triathlon.  Yea I know it's not the most organized, but a win is a win and I'll take it.  I ended up beating that cheater by 16 minutes and 3rd place (which really should have been 2nd) was 33 minutes behind me.  The people at the finish line didn't even realize that I was the winner of the half ironman race.  Oh well, I had a 36ish minute swim, 2:21ish bike (in the pouring rain with crappy roads and a lot of turns which weren't protected by race volunteers) and a 1:31ish run, which there were only 3 miles or so that I ran hard.  4:33 on a day like that is something I can live with.

Congrats to Wanner, and another thanks to my Mom and to Aunt Lou for cheering me on too!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Breaking Down

"The world breaks everyone and afterword many are stronger at the broken places."
           - Ernest Hemmingway, A Farewell to Arms

Quotes seem to motivate me, and really make me think.  I came across the quote above and it hit home considering how I'm feeling because Ironman training has come into full swing.  I'm just hoping that all of those broken places are stronger come November 21st.  So the next two months are about "breaking to become stronger." 

The body will need to adapt to the higher training volume, as I transition from the half ironman distance races to the ironman distance.  I have known this for a while but I really have no high end speed and that was pretty evident in my ride this morning.  I can ride tempo for quite a while, however, when it comes to going super hard for a short time that just doesn't happen.  I think it's important to get out of your comfort zone, so this morning I wrote a bike workout which I knew I would struggle with.  Typically I would write a workout that would be tempo types of effort for longer periods of time.  Instead today this is what I did:

3 times through the following:
5 x 30 seconds
- 20 seconds max (470-520 watts)
- 10 seconds rest
4 minutes rest

15 minutes @ 80% (250-270 watts)

The first rep in each set was well over 500 watts...the rest was painful...very painful.  One thing that did feel good was the 80%, I was feeling a lot better as things went on and was finding that I had to hold back towards the end.

Day 3 of the running come back will have to happen tonight, and I think taking the dogs with me should help as they like to set a blistering pace right from the start and then taper off.  I was able to get a quick 2300 yard swim in and held under a 1:30 pace for any set that I did, so that's a positive, especially given the fatigue.  2 months of hard work left, and it's time to get after it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Running is a funny thing...

So my new running streak is now at 2 days.  It was an awesome day to run, besides the fact that there were 20+ mph wind gusts on the way out.  Which just meant I had them at my back on the way back.  Since I lost my Garmin at Pigman it's been tougher to get out the door to run. I shouldn't be that dependent on the GPS, but you get used to it.  The good news is that the new one is on its way, let's hope it gets here sooner rather than later though.

So needless to say I have been running with no idea of how fast or really how far.  I've been using at times to see an approximate distance and then can figure out my pace, but haven't worried about it prior to today.  The first quarter mile or so today felt great, then it sucked for a while, then I picked up the dogs and they helped to set a good pace, eventually their pace fell off and I was back to pace setting, dropped them off at home and had the wind at my back.  I was hoping that my pace was under a 7 minute mile, and was really going to be happy with 6:40's.  I checked map my run and as it turns out I ended up running 8.6 miles in 55 minutes for an average pace of 6:23.  It's wierd because I never felt that great, but I'm satisfied with that pace.  Hopefully with 2 months of consistent hard training prior to tapering for Ironman I will be where I want to be.  Today was a good start though!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Today...I got put in my place!

I have a weakness...besides swimming, and no it's not the bike, or's RUNNING!  I have been slacking on my run training and today it was evident.  I went out for a long ride with Chad and Dan, we ended up riding almost 80 miles which was solid, and I felt great riding.  I was strong into the headwind, it was easy to hold over 300 watts for long stretches of road, riding 22+ mph into a brutal wind, I pretty much nailed the ride...and then came the transition run after.  We decided that we were going to go about 3 miles.  So the three of us set out and were running just under a 7 minute pace down Chad's street.  That's when he said alright see you guys...and that's when the pain/reality set in.  Dan can run...Dan can ride...Dan can swim...but at this time it was the run that he was using to inflict pain on me.  Neither of us had a Garmin on, so we didn't know how fast we were going, but Chad let us know when we were at mile 1...6:17...are you kidding me after riding almost 80 miles, that's just stupid.  I have no right trying to run that fast, and that definitely caught up to me the next 14 minutes.  We turned around after running for 10 minutes, I was hoping just to wait there for Chad and then run back easy to his house.  Well as it turns out Chad had already turned around...probably at mile 1.5 which we should have done if we had a Dan told me I had a mile and a half to catch Chad.  So we took off, and darn it he wasn't coming back as fast as I wanted to.  Running with Dan wasn't helping either since he is just effortless and I'm breathing as if I had one lung and I was on the top of a mountain.  I hung on with Dan for a little longer before he pulled away.  Ended up finishing in around 20 minutes or so, but it was painful!

At least I know where I stand on the running front...and that I need to do more of it, so from here on out I suppose I need a little challenge.  Daily runs of 20 minutes or more...let's hope for the more, but I need something to jumpstart my running again.  I cruised through a half ironman in July, and I need to get that feeling back.  Part of me is thinking that was just a fluke.  Time to get to work I have a solid 2 months to regain that running form.  Which I think can happen.  My bike is there, my swim...well I won't's time to put it all together.  Thanks guys for kicking my butt today!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Details...

So the blog posts have been short, I've been busy.  I don't feel like going back to see what I had said in those recent posts so I'll try to fill things in about the past couple of weeks.

About two weeks ago Chad and I raced at the Pigman Half Ironman in Palo, Iowa.  I had wanted to do this race, and I'm glad Chad decided to do it as well because that was more motivation for me to actually sign up.  It was kind of a fast trip for me as I didn't leave for Iowa until around 3 on Saturday afternoon, raced Sunday morning and was home about 7:30 p.m. Sunday night.

The race - To start we were delayed because of fog.  We were actually delayed for about an hour or so which was not all that exciting.  I had eaten breakfast before we left the hotel, and delaying the race for an hour left me a little hungry at the start.  I had taken my GU Roctane 15 minutes before I thought I would start...dumb move on my part!  Oh well, something to learn from.

Swim - This was a time trial start where someone started every 3 seconds.  I had never done a time trial start before, so this was kind of interesting.  It was nice to start passing people right from the start and I had a decent swim.  I was 2 minutes faster than a month ago, and I don't think I stayed on course all that well.  I still need to work on the swim.

Bike - I ended up with a PR bike split of 2:15...that's the good news.  I am wondering how I did that though considering within the first 5 miles I lost one of my GU Brew bottles and my Garmin.  So I was on my own in terms of pace for the remainder of the race and all I had was one bottle of GU Brew...from there on out it was water because what they had on the course was nasty!!!  I just rode by feel and things felt good so I went with it.  I was riding well, and within myself, and it was nice to keep passing people.  I ended up riding myself through the waves until I rode into the first wave (I was wave 6).

Run - This was just survival!  It was hot...and I mean HOT!!!  So I ran from aid station to aid station and just tried to stay within myself.  It worked out well, and I know that I have some work to do on the running front, and that has already started!

Overall I was 9th place and I won my age group.  Solid day for sure.

This past weekend Dan, Noah and I did the Chicago Triathlon as a relay.  Dan swam and killed it coming out of the water faster than last year and in 3rd position.  I'm guessing that he passed 2nd in the run to transition because I had only seen one person come in before him.  That guy was way ahead, and as it turns out he's the 2nd best distance high school swimmer in the state.  So I knew I had some work to do to catch up.  As soon as I took the chip I was off.  My goal was to completely bury myself on the bike to see what I could do.  I had no idea how fast I was going because I didn't have a computer, so I just pushed harder and harder.  The funny thing is that as time went on I started to settle in.  The first 6 miles or so I was hurting.  It would have helped to warm up on my bike...but I'm not sure how that was going to happen since I had to check it in at 5:30 a.m. and didn't get on it to ride until 10ish.  I had a race official on a motorcycle trying to clear things out for me, but there were times that he got in my way so I had to slow down.  My bike felt great and I ended up passing everyone I needed to and gave Noah a lead on the run.  We ended up winning the relay by 2 minutes.

It's been a great couple of weeks, and now the training starts to pick up in volume...can't wait!!!