Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Staying Consistent

I don't think you will find someone out there in the multisport world who will disagree with the fact that staying consistent with your training works.  That's not just consistent for a few days, it means stringing together months and even years of consistent training to reach your goals.  In my previous 3 Ironman build phases I cannot say that I was as consistent as I should have been.  There would be chunks of time where I didn't swim, or didn't run much. (I did always ride my bike though)  For about the last year or so I don't think I've had that "chunk" of time when I missed out on training.  I'm not going to say that my training has been perfect, because it hasn't...but it has been consistent.  I don't think there has been more than 2 or 3 days in a row without training my swim/bike/run.  I really feel that this has been key to my build up for Coeur d' Alene.  In the past I've dealt with some plantar fascitis issues which has put a damper on my running.  This year, thanks to my new Zoot shoes, I haven't had to deal with that at all, and I've run more than I ever have!

Because I've been consistent I look forward to swimming and running which have been problematic in the past.  I do think that I do have more potential than I'm showing right now, and have to be patient with my training.  We all have goals, and I've been kicking around a particular goal lately.  I'm not sure whether the attempt will be made in 2012 or 2013, but I do think it's attainable with more consistent training.  First things first though, I need to train hard for another 3 weeks with some big bike mileage, some smart running, and a lot of swimming at race pace and faster.

Remember everyone, stay consistent and you can do whatever you put your mind to!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Galena Triathlon Race Report

The Galena Triathon was this past Saturday.  My second race of the year, and second race in two weeks.  I wasn't sure how the race would go seeing as I just raced a half ironman last week, but I figured I'd see what was left in the tank.  Chad, Matt and I left on Friday for the race as it's a solid 2.5 hours to get there, and the logisitics of this race aren't the easiest.  So after packing up all of our gear we were on the road and got to Galena at about 1.  As is the tradition for us we went out for a quick 10 mile ride on the course...and I always forget how incredibly HILLY this course is!  This year we even took a swim around the course when we were done biking.  We typically say we're going to do this, however never have...so this year we stuck to the plan I put on my Zoot Prophet wetsuit and swam the course plus a little more.  The water was not bad at all, and I kind of wanted to keep swimming...what's wrong with me??  We were lucky once again and stayed at Chad's in-laws house in Iowa.  It's always hard to leave that house, and I really appreciate being able to stay there!  Amy made some awesome lasagne on Friday night and after dinner it was just about time for bed.

I was able to sleep pretty well and was definitely ready to race.  After getting transition set up which was pretty painless it was almost time to go!

Swim - 9:33 (10 seconds faster than last year)
Pretty uneventful, I felt good the entire time.  I was pushing the pace, but lost contact with the first group of about 150 meters in.  I could see the lead kayak for most of the swim (it was only 660 yards) but I couldn't kick it up any faster to try to catch up.  I figured I'd try to do damage on the bike and run.  I swam until my arms hit the sand, then started the run to T1.  This is a relatively long run, and once you hit transition you have to run on these little pebbles which hurt like crazy!

T1 - 1:11 (7 seconds faster than last year)
This would have been better if I didn't forget to buckle my helmet...it's a good thing I noticed before I mounted my bike!  I felt like a huge rookie at that point...oh well can't remember everything right?

Bike - 43:04 (1:35 faster than last year)
I had a nice kid tell me that I was 6th once I got out onto the bike course.  I was happy with this, but knew there were fast guys in the waves behind me and that I'd need to really push the pace the whole time.  The problem is that I never felt that good on the bike...well I should say not until about mile 12-13 or so.  I passed the three guys that I saw immediately in front of me, so I rode up into 3rd place in my wave.  But I could never catch the two others in front of me.  They ended up being Ryan Guiliano (eventual winner) and Mike Lavery (2nd place overall).  Those guys were hammering off of the front, and I ended up riding pretty much alone for the entire bike.  I just now checked last years time and am happy that I was that much faster than last year, surprised for sure though!

T2 - 1:05 (1 second slower than last year)
Not sure why I was slower the Zoot Speeds are SOOOOOO easy to put on.  Goal for next year = less than 1 minute T2!

Run - 24:57 (3:48 faster than last year)
The run course this year was slightly different than last year, which I'm sure partly explains the faster time.  But I also ran this a little differently.  There is a huge downhill out of transition, and my plan was to just run down it as hard as I could.  When I reached the bottom I realized that my average pace (at the time) was 5:04.  I now had to climb about .75 miles to get to the top of the hill.  I stayed positive and just drove my arms up the hill.  My heart rate never got all that high (at least it didn't feel that way) and when I got to the top of the hill I took a look back...no one in sight.  I tried to look forward and there too was no one in sight.  Again I knew there were fast guys behind me so I needed to stay on the gas.  I was able to get into a nice little flow and just rolled with it.  It was cool to see David and the Endure It crew at the first aid station and Jenny was nice enough to give me something else to think about..."drop your arms and run like hell"  So I did just that, dropped my arms, relaxed my upper body and ran like hell.  I felt good while I was running, and a hell of a lot better than last year!  I am guessing my run training has improved this year!

Finish - 1:19:49 4th Place Overall & 1st Place M25-29 (5:39 faster than last year)
I'm happy with the overall finish and age group win.  This was a competitive field, and it helps to reaffirm the training I have been doing.  It was fun to see all of the people out on the course, Chad did great and ran so much better than he has in the past!  Matt had a huge improvement as well, although he doesn't know for sure because he lost his chip in the swim.

Sara continues to dominate and won the W45-49 age group by 8 minutes, improving her bike time by 6 minutes and her run time by 6 minutes as well...simply ridiculous!  The Endure It crew ended up winning 4 age groups, not too bad for having 15 people racing!!!

Another special thanks to Jake and the crew at Zoot!  I saw far more Zoot's out on the course than I have ever seen before.  Also thanks to Endure It, GU, Ridley, Zipp, Garmin, Lululemon and Kyle Zake.

Ironman Couer d' Alene is about a month away.  I still have two races to use as tune ups and have a huge weekend of training on tap coming up for Memorial day.  Hoping to get some good long riding in, as I haven't done quite as much as I would like yet.  I do think I'll be ready for CDA though, can't wait to get out there and race!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Sun, I want the Sun!!!

I am tired of the clouds, we have had less rain lately, which is nice.  But I want the sun!  I'm fine with the temperature being a little cooler if we have the sun.  Isn't it nice to wake up and have a sunny morning? 

Other than wanting the sun to come out everything else has been going well.  I'm not sure if I'm fully recovered from racing this past weekend, but I better be because I have to race again on Saturday.  The race in Galena is always painful...it's funny how you forget about the hills...until you're on the race course riding them.  This is something that's kind of weird, I'm looking forward to the swim.  Not sure why, but I'm excited about it.  I'm excited to run too...well I say this now, that might be a different story when the run actually starts.  Those hills are brutal!

I think most of all I'm looking forward to racing again.  It's funny how you go for months without racing and then once it hits you're completely hooked again.  Bird and I went out on a quick ride last night and I was able to use my new Garmin Edge 500 on the ride, let me tell you that thing is sweet!  It was also an awesome night to ride!

So there was not much flow to this post...I realize that, but right now there isn't much flow going on in my brain.  Can you tell that Ironman training is in full swing?  My legs are tired most of the time, I hit numbers in workouts, but it takes a lot to do that.  My run pace is solid in training, but takes a while to warm up.  Yep I think I've gained some fitness this off-season and am looking forward to testing it soon.  Only about a month to go!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Taylorsville Half Ironman Race Report

Saturday I was lucky enough to kick my 2011 race season off with a half ironman in Taylorsville, Kentucky.  This race fit well into my schedule for leading up to Ironman CDA and I thought that the terrain would be similar.

Pre-Race: I left Friday at around noon to head down to Louisville, after a quick run and spin on my bike to make sure everything was in working order.  The drive was easy and I ended up getting down to the hotel at around 6 (they are an hour earlier than us).  After checking in and a quick 10 minute shake out run it was time for dinner.  My typical pre-race lasagne some salad and it was time for bed.  I slept well until about 3 a.m. or so which is pretty typical for me the night before a race.

Race morning started with some steal cut oats, strawberries and a bottle of GU Brew.  We packed up the car and were off to the race site.  The weather forcast called for rain off and on with some of it being pretty heavy.  We arrived at the race site with about an hour and fifteen mintues to spare, checked in, set up transition, and I was off for a quick warm up run.  At this point I realized that there was a serious hill that I would have to run up immediately out of transition (we'd have to ride it too...but I wasn't as worried about that).  So my warm up run consisted of running half way up the hill, back down the hill, to the porta-potty and around the parking lot a few times.  After some watermelon Gu Chomps I was ready to race.  The lake that we swam in was super high...so basically we swam into transition because the lake was flooded all the way up into the parking lot.  The race atmosphere was super chill...just what I needed for my first race of the season.  I put on my Zoot Prophet wetsuit and was ready to hit the course!

Swim - 33:55
I am satisfied with my swim, I thought that I should be in the 33 minute range based upon the times I've been swimming in the pool.  My siting was good considering the number of buoy's that were out on the course.  It was an out and back swim...which you had to do twice.  This really wasn't a problem, and I LOVE my Zoot Prophet wetsuit.  I felt extremely comfortable the entire swim, and the most important part is that I felt fresh coming out of the water.  So the time wasn't the fastest...I was ready to do some serious work where I knew that I could...the bike.

Uneventful, fast and I found out that I had come out of the water 9th.  I wasn't expecting to be that far behind but that's alright.

Bike - 2:17:21
I immediately saw 4 people in front of me.  So I looked to the furthest guy ahead and made him my target.  Within 2.5 miles I had passed all four, at which time I saw 2 more.  By mile 8 I had ridden myself up into 3rd place overall.  A few miles passed and I hadn't seen anyone up the road.  I made sure to stay calm and to remind myself that there was a lot of race left.  At about mile 13 I saw 2nd place up the road.  I tried not to hammer to bring him back all at once, and ended up passing him about a mile later.  As soon as I came up on him I could see the leader.  Again not trying to bring it back all at once I slowly closed the gap.  This was a bit more effort because at this point in the race there were dogs out on the road.  Yep dogs and bicycles don't mix...especially when you're going 20+ mph!  So I slowed down, and ended up making the pass about 16 miles in or so.  I'm not sure how quickly I rode him off of my wheel, but would get a better idea a little while later.  At mile 20 we turned in for an out and back section which was 8 miles total.  When I hit the turn around I glanced at my watch.  I figured that I had about a 2:30 lead at that point which was about the half way point on the bike.  I wanted that lead to grow to about 5-6 minutes so I decided I would ride a hard 10 minutes, followed by 5 at tempo, and then put one more 10 minute effort in before I backed it down to prepare for the run.  There were a few good climbs out on the bike course and I feel as if I rode them well.  I typcially don't go into the small chain ring, but I did just to spin up, and it turned out to be the right thing to do.  I ended up averaging 24 mph on the bike which I'm happy with.  The Ridley Dean was amazing, and my Zipp wheels helped me to the fastest bike split of the day by 10 minutes.

I took my time, through on my Zoot Ultra Race 3.0's and was on my way.

Run - 1:24:50
I do believe this is the fastest I have ever run in a half ironman.  The best part about it is that I didn't run hard.  Not that I ran easy, but I was comfortable the whole time.  The bike course overlapped with the run course so I could get an idea of how much of a lead I had.  I was running for about 5-6 minutes before I saw the first bike come back.  I came to find out after the race that I had an eight minute lead off of the bike.  The run course (after the huge hill) was an out and back three times.  I was able to get some time checks at each turn around...the first one I figured out I had a 1.2 mile lead.  Then 1.3, then 1.4, and after it moved up to 1.5 I started changing my focus to seeing if I could break 4:20. 

Overall - 4:17:56 - First Place & Course Record
I thought that the course record was 4:23:xx and as it turns out I was right.  I felt good all day, and know that I had more in the tank if I needed it.  I'm definitely happy with my result and with where my fitness is right now.  I know I still have some work to do, but I'm feeling good right now.

Thanks to Jake and the crew at Zoot Sports, I was getting the "Go Zoot" cheers all day, and after the race I answered a ton of questions about Zoot gear.  Thanks to GU, nutrition on the bike was 5 GU Roctane (Blueberry Pomengranate), run was 2 Cherry Lime Roctanes, and GU brew to drink throughout the day.  Thanks Ridley and Zipp and Cycleops, fastest bike split by 10 minutes.  Thank you Garmin, I always knew where I stood on the course with distance and pace.  Endure It my bike was primed and ready to go.  Lululemon...need I really say any more about how comfortable pre and post race clothing can be?  And Kyle Zake for your continued support!

Also a huge congratulations to Sara for her first overall win!  She smoked the course in 5:10 and won the overall womans race by 16 minutes (better than the 13 I won by)!!  Can't wait to see her smoke Ironman CDA!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The First Race Week of 2011

When I woke up this morning I was amazed to look at the calendar and see May 9th.  Where has the start of May gone?  I also realized that race season is here.  I race on Saturday, it's a small half ironman just east of Louisville, KY.  I really don't know much about the race, other than I'll swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles...hopefully I'll do those things quickly too.  This will be the earliest in the season that I have raced this long, and I'm looking forward to it.  I was a little sick this past week...Friday and Saturday were off days as a result.  I am still feeling a bit congested but I was able to get a solid ride and run in yesterday, so I'm feeling better about things. 

Being the first race of the year, you often forget about everything that goes into preparing for a race.  I need to get my race wheels sorted out, packed, and a whole bunch of other stuff too all before I leave.  Also I need to make sure I'm getting enough rest, and try to get rid of this congestion.  I'm not all that worried though, things will get sorted out...they always do.  I'm excited to test out my fitness in a race.  Training has been going well, and I do feel prepared to race.  I'm ready to go into a world of hurt to see where I stand right now. 

The next month I will be racing quite a bit...Kentucky this weekend, Galena next weekend, Memorial Day Weeked Off, Leon's the following weekend, and then Kansas...of which after that I will taper for Ironman CDA.  Yep going to be busy, especially with some serious training that needs to happen throughout that time too.  So basically what some training is goign to look like is racing...followed up by more running after the race.  So this weekend after the race I hope to put in another 4-6 miles of running as a "cool down".  Luckily for me this week the race is on a Saturday, Galena...a Saturday.  Leon's is a Sunday, but I can ride long Saturday before, Kansas is a Sunday, but that's the last effort before my taper anyway.  Wow I'm excited to race...this season is going to be awesome!

Monday, May 2, 2011

An Epic Weekend

This weekend I set out to train a lot!  I have to say that I was successful with that.  Saturday I set out to ride 100 miles and then run off of the bike.  I had wanted to run 10 miles off of the bike, and I ended up settling for 7...not because I felt bad or because I couldn't do it but because my Garmin died.  I know lame excuse but as I was running I really needed to hold my pace back because my legs really wanted to go (crazy right?).  I thought it would be a better idea to stop at 7 miles than to over exert myself on the last three not knowing my pace.  Too dependent on technology, maybe but my confidence was really high knowing I could have continued to run Saturday.  My ride went great, I was solo the whole time, fought with the wind all day, and ended up averaging over 21 mph and had a normalized power (and average power) which were higher than last year on a similar type of training ride.  Training from the winter must be paying off!

My new Zoot Cycling Kit and Ridley Dean

Sunday I had wanted to put in a huge run.  My goal was to go out and run 23 miles at a 7:20 pace.  Miles one and two were not pretty, and the thought of turning around was definitely there.  I stayed with my plan though and after about 40 minutes felt much better.  Thanks to my Mom who rode next to me and gave me water I nailed my longest training run ever, which also finished up my longest run week ever.  I ran 63 miles last week, and ended up averaging 7:10 for the 23 yesterday.  I could have gone faster, farther...but thought it would be stupid.  Which it probably would have been.  Training seems to be going well.  Now I need to take this confidence into that race I have 8 weeks from now, and nail it!  Can't wait!!!