Friday, December 31, 2010

Last post and...

...out with some more of my cash! The last post of 2010. It will be short and sweet! Some quick updates from the world of workout and the 2011 racing schedule.

I literally JUST signed up for Ironman Racine 70.3 like 2 minutes ago, this way I beat the IM fee increase which takes place at 00:00:01 hrs on 01/01/2011. IM is expensive enough, and the WTC crew makes enough off us without having to pay their higher fees. So, BAM! Another race on the calendar.

And there shall be no New Year countdown here, no sir, not that. Only race day countdowns, sir, no more!

To the IM Racine 70.3 timer:
Racine-it's only 7.5 months away!

and on to IM Wisconsin:
IMoo countdown-Whoop Whoop!
Training will begin on 1/03/11, at roughly 5:30am on that cold, dark Wisconsin winter morning. Man-that got here fast! Yep, Masters swim class starts in 2 days, and runs for 8 weeks every Monday from 5:30-7am. The "Butt Kicking" is set to commence-but I'm ready for this and will welcome it with open arms-I really mean this. I am looking forward in having a coach help improve my technique, work on drills, and having more pool time in general! Recently, I exchanged my leaky swim goggles for some brand spanking new ones, though these have no tint (I kind of like the clear lens in the pool instead of the tint) but we'll see how they work for OWS and in bright sunshine!

I will be mounting the E7 on the trainer in a few days, for the start of some short, easy spins. I will also be taking a ride up to Performance Running Outfitters for new running shoes (my current pair have 475+ miles and are shot). I got some new compression gear and running socks for Christmas too.

On the down side-I'm still fighting some sort of illness, it must be some late 2010 bug that just doesn't want to give up and go away with the end of the year! I have had some joint pain, sore quads and a really bad back ache going and add to this, bad congestion since Tuesday. BTW- I still went for a swim Tue and did a respectable 2,000 yards. My 1K yard time was better than my last few swims, but I faded after 20 laps, I just felt fatigued and had some trouble breathing properly. I still don't know if this was a good idea, but I never had a fever, so I figured it could help. Maybe not so much...

I think there was some type of virus the family spread about, so 3 of the 4 of us in the house were sick at the same time. Thursday-I spent the entire day in bed. I'm still not even 75%, but am hoping to be better by Monday. The low back is stiff yet tonight-since having back surgery, this is where I'm most sore when I get really sick. I guess it hits you where you're most weak, and plus I'm getting old!!

So, the detailed training schedule has been printed, all the reference materials have been placed in a three ring binder. I did a bit of research on calculating HR maximums and effective ranges for the season-this too has been printed and is ready. I even made small copies, small enough to cover in plastic or tape and secure to my Garmin GPS band or my TT bike handlebars, for easy reference!

My training journal-a hand written one which I bought just for the 2011 season-has been started and so far has about 8 pages of reflections, pondering of things and ramblings on in it. I figured with the many long, long, long training hours and long work days ahead in this new year, a written log would be easier to carry with and actually get the info entered right away. There are brick workouts coming up soon, some will be split with one before work, and another after work. A detailed training record-just hand writing my times, distances, how I felt, HR/speed/cadence data, weather, food and nutrition notes, well-you get the idea. I can then transfer over my training data to online files sooner or later-or when I get the time!

I'm still working on shifting around the workouts to fit my work schedule; it will be a bit of a challenge to get it to work as it stands, with my working rotating weekends. But, having the days off during the week and having the kids in school will have huge benefits-this will give me about 6-7 hours each of those two days off to fit in longer training days during the week, so there is more upside than down. This will amount to less time taken away from family time, dinner time, homework time and fewer 4am wake ups to squeeze in one more swim, run or bike ride. Sleep is still a good thing you know!

I still need to look at the specific training periods as they approach my particular races, and how these "training races" (such as the Racine 1/2 Marathon) will fit in to the overall training schedule. One other area that I need to look at is the taper period, and how long out to begin the taper for IMoo. More on this later. I also need to pick up a few nutrition items-mainly Hammer gels for pre swim fuel-this weekend.

Thats all for now-off to bed and more rest. I will report back as to how bad I get my butt kicked all over the pool on Monday AM. Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Race Plans. Or...Racing Dreams?

I was emailing with a race bud last night, continuing into today, talking about training plans (which, FYI, start in earnest around Feb 1, 2011). We were also talking about possible races we'd do as a group next year. I was just updating some race ideas last night, while watching Sherlock Holmes on HBO (funny, I saw a friend on FB say they were watching, so I turned it on too). Here is what I'm tossing about now, we'll call it Draft #1-2011 Season:

April 9-Racine-Mt Pleasant WI 1/2 Marathon
May 7-Wisconsin 1/2 Marathon
June 11-Elkhart Lake Sprint Triathlon
June 26-Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon
July 17- IM Racine 70.3 Triathlon
Sept 11- IM Wisconsin

As draft #1 stands right now, my race buds will be racing 5 of these 6 races. The only one they are not racing for 100% certain is IM Racine, as they will be up in Door County WI racing a 70.3 the same day! They complained the Lake Michigan water was too cold in Racine, I told them "NEWS FLASH", the Door Co. race had some colder water temps than Racine's the past few seasons! Well, actually my race bud Johnny will be doing IM Racine by my side, so it will still be a blast. I'm hoping it won't be 93 degrees and humid like last year, so the kids can come down and see their old man.

All of these races are pretty close to home; the longest drive will be Elkhart Lake, which is about a 75 minute ride from home. The closest? IM Racine, about 2 miles from door to the beach start. BTW, 214 days left till IM Racine (the Iron App on FB just let me know that, pretty cool app IMO).

I just checked the temp, it is 15 deg F outside right now. I was debating an outside short run, but forget it, IT'S TOO DAMN COLD. I did jam out a nice easy 5k treadmill run after work last night. I followed up with a killer ab workout (decline sit ups), kettles bell swings, 20 lb heavy ball squat and toss and bench press/pull downs on the Universal, all 3X12 sets each. The abs were feeling it last night, as I sipped some English tea and watched Robert Downey Jr. I tried to sit up to grab my fleece while sitting in my leather "Dad chair", and whooaaaa!

Today, I feel like 6 bucks and change, ready for another workout. The weight lifting and core strengthening in the off season is a new training approach for me, and I must say I feel like it is working, even after only 4 weeks. Another 6 weeks to go, along with a few new training tools starting January 3rd, 2011. More on this in a later post-I'm excited about a few of them!

And the dreams part. I did not dream about racing last night, not even close. I actually had a dream we had sold our house and moved, and we had said goodbye to the neighbors. I can still even picture the "new" house's basement, as I was planning to remodel it. Weird.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend workout update.

I wish the off season would get over with already! This is the time of year when I usually lack motivation, or as I refer to it, the "Demotivation" demons which haunt us all come calling. Not so far this off season. Maybe it can be attributed to the great weather we've enjoyed here in Wisconsin.

Or, maybe it could be I'm really looking forward to the 2011 race season, and the new year in general! (Note to all-PLEASE, remind me of this post when it gets to be, say, late June and I'm feeling a bit burned out from the bricks, the 6 day per week workouts and the early AM swims/runs, thanks in advance!).

Just a quick update on workouts from yesterday and today:

Friday-trainer spin on the TT bike (bike position tweaked)
60min at 85cad, easy spin in the 39 ring
716 kcals (per the Polar F6, too high, more like 500 or so).
HR avg/max 131/142

Sat-swim at JMBA (1st swim in over a month!)
1,500 yards, easy pace (with plenty of rest stops!)
100 yd cool down crawl/free

Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer, and the entire family will be hitting the pool at JMBA. So, I will swim another 1K-1,500 yds or so, and maybe  get a short run in. I need to get acclimated to the swim again; overall I felt good post swim, just a bit tired. I'm looking for some much better times as I get back into the pool on a regular basis again. I just looked back on my swim notes from the summer; I swam 1,500 yd in 39:39 on August 19, so I'm like 10 min off my pace from 3 months ago. Glad I keep good workout notes!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day spin and some wine.

So Happy Turkey Day blogging world. I've got some extra time tonight, the kids are in bed after a big dinner during the day at my in-laws. We came home, full and tired, but we managed to watch Jungle Book without falling asleep! My wife is still at work (pulling a 12 hour holiday shift, this really sucks) and I am tired of watching the Man vs. Food marathon on Travel Channel.

I do love watching Adam Richman eat, he is so hungry, so passionate about what he does. I wonder if he ever gets sick of eating like a pig? And, I'd like to see if he has a workout program and personal trainer. Take a look at some of the older episodes sometime-you can call me crazy, but I swear if you see him at different times in the show's history, he looks like his weight fluctuates. Of course, it's tough to tell what show is what in the timeline. OK, I just looked him up on Travel Channel, he has a Master's from Yale University in Drama and still works in theater productions. Cool. But I'm still wondering how he can eat like that and not blow up like a freakin' Macy's Parade ballon? This show has been on since 2008, FYI.

I kind of answered my own question, to a certain degree-you've got to love the interweb. I checked on Adam's Bio on a website for his show. He is about 3 years younger than myself, so his metabolism is probably still a bit faster. It says he exercises daily-if time allows-and his Dr's check his blood levels for all the usual suspects regularly. It does not say if he has a trainer or what type of exercise he likes to do (or he is forced to do). I posted a comment on the site, telling him I love the show, and asking what type of fitness plan or personal trainer he has to get him on by. I will post up if they (or he) responds.

Back to Turkey Day. I managed to get in a 40 minute trainer spin this AM, before heading to feast. I was busy getting a bunch of house stuff done (you know, dishes, breakfast for the kids, clean up, typical Ironman stuff), so I didn't realize I had not eaten a thing all morning (2 cups of Alterra coffee don't count IMO). I was getting ready to jump on the trainer, so I slugged down one of these:
And the spin commenced. I felt better today than the other day I rode. The legs felt like they had a bit more power, I spun at about 90 rpm and a bit faster speed was maintained. The HR was kept low, I only hit about 135 bpm according to the Polar. A nice easy spin, no hammer time (pun intended). My shoulders are a bit sore tonight. I still need to tweak the TT positioning, move the aero bars lower, position the seat forward a few CMs, maybe raise the seat a very small bit. This tweaking is necessary because I loaned my TT bike to a race bud for our group ride, and he installed his saddle (an ISM Adamo) instead of using my Fizik Tri Arione. I kind of tossed my saddle back on, and had not given it much thought since.

Speaking of Hammer products and nutrition, I have been completely satisfied with all of the Hammer brand nutrition I have used in 2010 for training and racing. And I've used a bunch to get me by, including:

Hammer gels (a bunch of flavors)
Hammer Heed Sport Drink (powder)
Hammer Perpetuem (powder only, so far)
Hammer Endurolyte caps
Hammer bars
Hammer Recoverite powder

I have never had any gastrointestinal issues with the Hammer supps and fuel. Not once, never. And, the online guide and quantified research/data they provide makes planning my nutrition a bit easier, especially for longer events and in challenging conditions, like summer heat. I'm looking forward to getting to the 2011 season and into some of the longer runs and rides, so I can further test, tweak and adjust my nutrition for IMoo, and even for IM Racine. These are going to be my A Races for 2011, so I need to make sure I get nutrition nailed down 100% before then. This will remove one more variable in my IM equation, and hopefully will help me enjoy both of the races a little.

I cannot wait to try the Perp solids that Hammer released late this year-this will make the on bike nutrition much easier. Instead of mixing up 8 scoops of powder Perp in a bike bottle, and having to slug it down (I didn't say it all tasted great after 3+ hours of racing, I just said it didn't make me sick), I will be able to carry the solids and eat those instead. This should help in two ways: one, there will be less weight to carry on the bike, as I don't have to mix a large 24 ounce bottle for fuel. Two, the solid should be easier to consume. This will have to be marked "TBD" until I test my theory out in the spring. Once training begins in earnest, I plan on logging my ride and run nutrition, and I will post it up as well, as I begin to figure out what to use over 12+ hours of racing.

And finally, on to today's wine. A little disclaimer-I am by no means a wine expert and I do not know a great deal about wine. That said, I like wine and have been trying different brands and different types of wine. So my advice is this-TIFWIW! 

We uncorked a few bottles of wine and tasted some solid, budget priced offerings. The first we had was a bottle of Malbec my father-in-law had opened prior to my arrival. I didn't even get the name of it, but it was good, not as dry as some of the Malbecs I've had. It was an Argentinian Malbec, I believe. 

But the real winning selection was the 2 bottles my mom and I brought.  Both were from Chateau Ste. Michelle, a Washington state vineyard (and one of my favorite brands to date!) with excellent priced wines.

The first was a 2009 Columbia Valley Chardonnnay, on sale for $7.99. One of my "go to" wines when bringing a bottle to a friend's or just to keep on hand, it has a clean, smooth taste, slightly fruity but not sweet. Highly recommended!

Next, a bottle of 2009 bottle of Chateau Gewurtztraminer was opened, this was the first time I've tried this grape. And, this wine was rated 88 points (on the 2008 vintage) by Wine Spectator, BTW. Again, a sub $10 bottle.  Cheap-right in my poor azz, post IM race fee paying price range. This was similar to a Riesling, quite sweet, some citrusy flavor, with a bit more of an aftertaste. Pleasant and drinkable, yes, but a bit too sweet for myself. I have had Rieslings that were not so sweet, which I enjoyed more than this one. One glass was OK, but I would not drink 2 or 3 glasses in one sitting. That's all I got for ya, that is about as sophisticated of wine review you will get from me.

And, last thing. I kept the eating in check. Two cups of coffee, one Hammer gel, one plate of food. OK, I admit I had a piece of pumpkin and chocolate pie, and some wine. Not too bad, it was no Man Vs. Food blowout. I give myself a B- overall.

Happy Thanksgiving bloggers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This is my favorite tee shirt. A simple design. Clean, short and to the point. It reminds me of what it takes, personally and professionally, to succeed. This will be repeated in my mind often in this upcoming season.

Yesterday, I booked the hotel in Madison for next September. I was shooting emails back and forth with one of my race buds, who has done several IM races. I told him, I'm thankful they have been there before, to help work out all the details, the logistics, the training plans. And little (no, BIG) details, like not forgetting to book the hotel early, as they fill up very fast!

We are already talking about setting up our rides for next spring/summer, when we will journey out to central Wisconsin and ride the IM course. We're starting to talk about nutrition on the those long rides, how much fuel to carry, how much water or sport drink. I'm looking forward to the 2011 season now!

The temps here in SE WI were near 60 degrees yesterday, and some severe storms moved through the area early in the evening. One, possibly two, tornados touched down west of me, about 15-20 miles away, causing some damage. We had to hunker down in the basement for a short time, as the storm track went right over and near Wind Point. But, fortunately, the storm blew itself out before reaching us. It rained hard for 10 minutes, then the skies cleared up.

I did lift yesterday, only at home. I also got out yesterday before the bad weather for a 4+ mile run, it was almost too warm. Before the run, I did a short, super easy 45 minute trainer ride on the TT bike. It was warm enough to ride outside, but it was raining on and off, and the roads were wet most of the day. I did not feel like riding in the rain, or having to clean the bike and drivetrain. It will take some time in the saddle to get used to the aero position again, I was squirming around trying to get comfy for the 1st ten minutes. After that, I could ride for short stretches in aero. It will come back quickly, with some more saddle time. Not a bad workout day, for the off season!

Today, it was 24 degrees with a wind chill of 17 deg. What a temp swing! The high today will get to maybe 33 deg. So I'm going to get used to seeing this again:
The E7 will be sitting upstairs (or the basement) most of the time, for those trainer rides. Along with this:

And, I had some non-IM related stuff to do-good thing I'm on vacation this week. I have to replace the drain valve on the hot water heater. I was draining some water from it and checking the pressure relief valve the other day. The drain valve would not drain properly, so I unscrewed it and it flew clear off, spraying me and the mechanical room with about 10 gallons of hot water. No burns, but I did get surprised and soaked! After shutting off the water, I found the inner rubber seal was twisted or crimped, and had caused the valve to stick shut. So I called the company (Rheem) and they are overnighting the part to me, as it is under warranty-no charge. Great customer service, no questions or grief, a real person answered too.

We had the furnace checked out last week, just an annual cleaning and inspection. Of course, the plastic drain inside the furnace started leaking, so the tech had to return to silicon it to prevent the moisture from shorting out the circuit board. Lucky me, the extra trip was only $37 (it could have been like $275).

And the overhead garage door needed servicing. The door has been not closing in the cold but it opens just fine (under 30 degrees). So today, the service guy was out and said it would need new rollers, more supports/bolts added and a new bottom door seal. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.

I started keeping a running total of what the IM WI race will cost. I started telling my wife what we were up to so far, with entry fees, my USAT membership, the hotel-she stopped me and said, "No, don't. Not today". So I think I will just keep an Excel sheet for my own curiosity, and after it is all said and done, I will let her know. That is, if she wants to know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Racing to 2011.

Well, my race season got A LOT more defined on Monday, when I received that email I mentioned in the previous post (sorry no post last night, got home from work late...again).

So, what will the 2011 season be looking like for me??? It's going to look rather long...


Originally, it was a very, very long shot that I could get in to IM Wisconsin (IMoo, all my race buds and those IM racers out there call it). You need to be a volunteer, and then stay the night after the race. They open slots for volunteers first here in Wisconsin-you pay right away the Monday after IM, and you are guaranteed to race the next year.

Well, I didn't volunteer this year, but still had a chance back a few months ago, actually. The servers were all jacked up when IMoo registration originally opened. The servers actually crashed, and everyone had to wait a few weeks to attempt to register again. IMoo is a very popular race, it seems, and it sells out in minutes every year.

So my race buds Bob and Kim, they were sitting at home on 3 computers that re-reg day, and were both able to get entries into IMoo. I was unfortunately at work, and over lunch, I attempted to get on to register, when it opened at noon that fateful day. The server was running slow (as usual), and I had to click, re click, close that window, open this new one, click click click, resend-finally! I got through and entered all my info, next screen, answer the IM questions, next, enter credit card info. Click to submit. Nothing. Wait, here is a new screen. Uh oh, it says "Sorry, you will need to resubmit your entry". I try to resend, and see ALL the regular entries had sold out. In like 8 minutes. Sorry, try again next year, you fool.

Another race bud, John, was also not able to get his entry accepted in time. So he registered for IM Racine 70.3 shortly after. And, I'm still racing this one too-now, more for training and distance than just finishing it. We were bummed, we had hoped our little race team could all do IMoo one time together, especially seeing Bob and I will be racing the 40+ (really the 40-45 yoa) cat this year. If I enter road racing crits, I can now race as a Master! Holy crap, I'm getting OLD!

Well, back to how I was able to get into IMoo. My race bud Kim emailed me last month, telling me that IM WI was going to accept applications from service members (police, fire, military) for a few slots at 2011 IMoo, as the race happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

So, long story made a bit shorter. I submit my application, telling them how miserable of a swimmer I am, but how I've been a good boy and how I'm working hard on pulling my old butt through the water a bit better, and how I will train really, really hard, and will forego those cold beers and ice cream treats with the kiddies at Dairy Queen (well, most of the time I will...). And I tell them my races and rides I've done to date, some work history and why I want to race IMoo on 9/11/11. 

A committee from Madison Police Department WI (where the race is actually held) reviewed all the applications, and I was one of the lucky ones! (not sure of the exact # of selections made, I saw 25 other names for sure who were also picked). I still had to pay the race entry fee-it would've been super nice for WTC to kick in the entry fees, hey? Maybe in the next life, Jack (thanks, Midnight Run). 

But, I clicked and clicked some more last night, albeit there was no rush this time, as I had a password and special entry site, and here we go!

So my wallet is a little (OK-ALOT) lighter this morning. But, I'm OK with that. I was tossing around ideas for the rest of the race season, which will mainly be triathlon (I've got to finish one, eventually, right?)

Here is my early, very preliminary race calendar for 2011:

     1) Wisconsin Marathon (running the 1/2 only)-Sat May 7th.

     2) Elkhart Lake Sprint TRI-June 11th OR
         High Cliff State Park Sprint-June 18th (TBD at this early time, I might race both if I can).

     3) Pleasant Prairie Olympic Tri-Sun June 26th.

     4) IM Racine 70.3-Sun July 17th.

     5) Chicago Tri-Sun Aug 28th.
     (probably the Sprint distance, if I go to Chi town-I know, I know, it's only 2 weeks before IM).

     6) IM Wisconsin-Sun Sept 11th.

So there it is. The big one. The big cahoona. The big deal. I've already downloaded a pdf of an IM training plan from, where I am registered but rarely go. Now, I might go there a little bit more. The training starts about 20 weeks out from race day, and is really nothing earth shattering or hugely different than what I did this year. Oh, except the sheer volume. It starts at about 8 hours a week, and shoots up to 15-20 hours, then the taper. That will be a big adjustment again, training 6 days a week, 3 swims per week. I'm still training now, but I'm doing mostly weights, Crossfit, core strength and running/no bike, with a swim tossed in once every few weeks or so, just for fun.

And yes, our race group is doing several open water swims next year. We are road tripping to Madison and swimming in Lake Monona, where the IM course is set. We will also ride the entire IM WI bike course once or twice, as it is fairly hilly. I'm lucky to have friends who swim better (much, much better) than I do. My bud Bob did the IM Louisville swim in about 1hr 2x ish. He's also done IM Kansas 70.3 twice, and he did the swims in about 40 min there. Plus, he's done Redman Long Tri, and finished. I plan on making the swim my "best friend", and I will actually enjoy the swims this year. It will be done, with a little help from my friends (Thanks, Joe. Thanks John, Ringo, Paul and George too. But I got to tell ya, I like Joe's version better).

So, there you go. My motivation and goals are in place, the bar has been set very high. But, it is going to be a very cool, very memorable journey, which is much of the joy in getting to the destination!

Friday, Oct 19th:

OH, one more thing as I edit this post from yesterday. I noticed this was my 100th post! Happy 100th! Woo Hoo! Again, I'm not superstitious or anything, but hey, when it comes to IM, I will take all the good karma, good luck, good wishes, good numbers, whatever-that I can get!

Monday, November 15, 2010

BIG news week!

So, I got a bunch of email today in my work inbox. Nothing newsworthy about this-we all get email at work all day, everyday, right? A lot of it is crap, some might be mid level stuff, some might actually be important. Well, as I was off and at home, I figured I would check the work email quickly at home before heading out to shop with the wifey. I had sent some important training info and PowerPoints via email on my last day at work, and was just looking for responses from the bosses, and what would be coming up later this month as a result.
Wait, one email was from an unfamiliar address. Hmmm, wait. That address looks a bit like one I had sent an email to in the middle of last month. It is flagged "high importance". What the heck...wait a minute. GULP! I remember exactly what this is about,  I swallow hard, my stomach begins to twist and do flip-flops, a definite case of the butterflies! All from an email?! Do I dare open it?? My mind races, my pulse quickens and my blood pressure-well, I think my blood pressure stayed about the same. I think of everything this one email could (or could not) affect in my life, both personally and professionally. One email can do that?

Yep. What's it all about? Well, sometimes the god(s) we pray to, or the funny little ritualistic behaviors we tend to do (maybe a kind of obsessive/compulsive kind of thing, or salt over your shoulder, or whatever), these things seem funny, or almost ridiculous when you think back on why you do such things. At least, to me it can be funny. I can be amused, and sometimes laugh at myself.

And then sometimes, you realize that all the stars in the heavens above, all those little twists of lady luck and lust simply MUST line up, and she winks at you. And you get that one wish, that one miracle.

You have to understand something; I am very much a realist. In both my personal and professional life. I do not expect to pray, or do some funny "good luck" ritual, and expect a miracle from this. I don't pray and expect I will run a sub 7 minute mile. I do not think I will win the lottery by playing some obscure set of #s intertwined in my life, with birthdays, lock combinations, addresses.

Do miracles happen? Yeah, I am almost certain they do in this world. But I also believe this-in order to run a 7 minute mile, I need to train my ass off and work hard, dedicate myself. To win the lottery, well, I don't know what to do, I can never seem to win it.

Sorry, back to the email. What is it all about? What what what what what what what???
What already?
Sorry, you're going to have to wait until Wednesday, when it will be "official", even if only in my mind.

And no, I did not win the lottery. Well, in a odd sort of way I guess I did, but it's not the lottery you are thinking of. And, it really wasn't a lottery, even though I entered a "lottery". Awww, its kind of complicated.

Check back Wed. night. I will post it on up.

Anyways, today was a pretty good day. I ran a 5 miler at a good pace, and felt great. I could have gone on running and running, one of those days when I didn't want to stop. And since I was feeling ambitious, I did 3 sets of 20 crunches right afterwards, with an 8 lb medicine ball in hand. Yeah, the abs are feeling it. Then shopping and a light lunch with my wife-we got sub sandwiches from Lee's Deli, a little ma and pa locally owned one-of-a-kind place that has been around for as long as I can remember. Good stuff!! And we did shop-we picked out a chest freezer for the basement, bought some odds and ends, picked up the little turkey's Daisy uniform for her scouting ceremony tomorrow afternoon.

Here is today's run, not a super fast pace, but a great feeling was had:
What a great run!
But overall, I've been feeling pretty darn good. I did not have the "post race season blues, eat everything in sight", like I did the past two years. I'm thinking change might be just what I need.

I've been hitting the weight room at work in the past few weeks. Lifting, core work and trying to incorporate some Crossfit exercises-man, these are some hard ass workouts! For one workout, I did 3-sets of bench press on the olympic, dumbell curls and tri extensions, kettle bell clean and jerks, decline sit-ups, and heavy medicine ball toss to the wall (up high, over the head), followed by a sub 8 min. split 1 mile treadmill blast. My HR did not go below 154 during exercise time, and rest sessions were short. Good and hard, and quick-done in 40 minutes. Most of the Crossfit is really interval based training, and not a thing to take lightly, or if you're just getting a start to working out. Check out the Crossfit site, there are tons of workouts, complete with video demos, all for free!

I'm going to keep up with the weights/Crossfit this winter, making it my interval training days, but still doing longer, slower distance workouts on the TT bike and outdoor runs. I need to find a new pool, so I can work in the swim sessions, right after the first of the year. I hope it all will pay off in spades for the next triathlon race season. As matter of fact, it had better pay off in a royal flush type thing.

Like I said, you'll see what I mean and why I'm acting a bit weird. Sorry to leave ya hanging, but check back Wed night. I'm going to need more crossfit...and some more cowbell too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's Next For Contador? |

What's Next For Contador? |

A little extra blog material today. Since we're in the midst of the racing off-season, I think I will try something different this winter; Instead of just talking about my training and whatever, I will add a little something different, and will post on some things of interest in the Pro cycling and in the Triathlete world on occasion. No politics, no work related stuff. Those are my only no-no's.

My 2 cents on the doping issues which continue to plague pro sports; My first observation is this. The subject seems to garner a much higher level of scrutiny and becomes a much more public issue, via the press, in European countries. In the US, it seems almost as an afterthought if the headlines reach Pro level sporting, such as football, baseball (read, Barry Bonds and the Balco investigation). Maybe this is just the US culture on this subject in general, I don't know. But, the issues of doping and performance enhancement appears to be much higher profile across the pond. Here is a Nov. 2007 quote from Bob Stapleton, former GM/Manager of T Mobile, now with HTC, “The visibility these issues have in Germany is enormous,” said Bob Stapleton, a former telecommunications executive from California who took over as general manager and owner of the team late last year. “This is 50 times Barry Bonds.”
 The other issue for Pro cycling, for the UCI in particular and WADA is this: The problems with doping implications and bad press have been reaching the top levels of Pro cycling for years, and while it seems to have diminished in quantity (in my opinion, I could be wrong here. Maybe it is still well hidden), the quality of doping cases has been worse than ever. For example, Floyd Landis in the 2006 Tour de France. A Superman like performance on stage 17 to Morzine-Avoriaz, Landis looked like he was on fire! I remember thinking he had lost the Tour, for sure, on the previous day, when he blew up and lost tons of time. He looked mere mortal, like one of us mere mortals on a group training ride where we blow the lid and go too hard for too long. 

I remember watching this stage on Versus (then known as OLN) that summer of 2006. I was awe struck, it was one of those moments in sport that gives you (or at least myself) goose bumps, and you almost get misty eyed at that surreal thing you are watching unfold. This same feeling was had during the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, where the NY Rangers played Vancouver Canucks to a game 7 showdown. My buddy and I watched every game, and we watched game #7 in my crappy apartment, drinking beers and screaming at the TV most of the game. High fives and toasts for the NY hockey Rangers are something I will never forget the rest of my life. I remember that angry fist pump Landis gave as he crossed the finish line, and I couldn't help but be impressed, awe struck.
I will never forget this moment either, but for much different reasons. Landis denied doping, the Phonak team folds after being plagued by doping issues. Landis mounted a legal defense, filed appeals and went on a publicity circus-like crusade, appealing to everyone and anyone who would listen that he was really innocent. That is, until 2010. He suddenly admitted to systematically doping for years, and implicated US Postal and, of course, Lance Armstrong, in the same. More on LA in a later winter post, stay tuned, it will be worth it!
It's just LA's world.

Ivan Basso is another prime suspect; claimed by the now defunct Discovery Pro cycling team and Johan Bruyneel, and then suddenly sacked by Discovery for his ties to Operation Puerto. Discovery had to do this, to save face with the sponsor and to distance themselves with a suspected doper. Basso later claimed to have tried to dope, but he never did it. Really? Look at his performances prior to his involvement in the OP affair, and afterwards. He had become a ghost of his "former" racing self, even having difficulty riding mid peloton when he resumed racing after his doping ban. Yes, he has now recently begun the rise back up through the peloton to the front, even winning the 2010 Giro D'italia. Is he racing clean? I have a hard time believing it.
Basso on the dreaded Mont Zoncolon climb, 2010 Giro. Look at that face...

Alexander Vinokourov is another prime example, caught doping on the Pro cycling's biggest world stage. Vino denied everything, and still to this day does. Now, he returns to race with his Astana Pro cycling team, claiming he will give his 100% support to team leader Alberto Contador. Well, how about 60% support for AC, and a little of the left overs for Vino? Vino looks to attack his own teammate (again, remember back to T Mobile/Telekom with Jan Ulrich?) and wins a stage of the 2010 TdF. Oh, and lets not forget his winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège  earlier this year as well. Is Vino racing clean? Well, is he?

Vino-an innocent man?

This brings us full circle to Alberto Contador. He has been provisionally suspended pending the outcome of the doping investigation dating back to the 2010 TdF, where he tested positive for Clenbuterol (also, plasticizers were found in the tests. This material is supposedly a type of residue from plastic bags, like those used to store blood). AC claims to have eaten tainted meat from his home country, brought by one of the team employees at his request. Experts wage war, each side lodging their opinions on the matter. Scientific evidence for or against him, he's innocent, no he's guilty. To me, it sounds very much like another song and dance, a juke and twist, the same thing we've heard in the past, just another mouth speaking the words.

Time will tell, one way or another. I do believe one thing for sure-the sport of Pro cycling has got to do something to change this pattern of doping, or there will be no sponsorship left to support a great sport. The money will go away, the TV coverage will drop (its not great to begin with in the US). What to do to change it? Well, for starters, how about instituting stiffer penalties including a 4 year ban for first time offenders, and a lifetime ban for repeat offenders. Dope once=shame on you. Dope twice=shame on you again, no more. Also, hit the offenders with stiff fines. Take the financial incentive out of the picture, and make the chance of getting caught too steep to risk anymore. This has to be a cultural change, and yes, it will hut. There will be casualties, and some of our sporting "Heros" will fall, shattered. They are, after all, mere mortals, like we are.

Much more on the topic of doping and performance enhancing issues can be found here, a great website IMO, along with tons of other interesting and informative details on Pro cycling, including top 100 cyclists of the modern era. Its called The Virtual Musette: A Road Cycling Blog. 

Check it out here:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

End of a season.

Well, it sure feels like the end of the 2010 racing season. There is nothing left on my calendar for the year. The weather has turned colder, tomorrow we're expecting highs in the mid 40s with a stiff north wind (of course we are, we have an outdoor school field trip, and both kids have been sick). The last "official run" for me was Oct 30th, in the Milwaukee Discovery 5k. This is more of a fun run, no race pace or PR day, just tooling along with friends. We even dressed in our costumes this year-I was Phantom of the Opera-let me tell you, its not easy running with a plastic mask on half your face. This is a fun run, heck, they even serve tap beer at the last aid station. I stopped and waited for my friends, and had two beers. Oh, and for pics with the cute M&M and Incredibles girls who had also stopped for a brew!

Then, it was off to the finish line and the Milwaukee Ale House for post run celebrations. They had about 6 kegs of FREE beer on tap for the runners, and the place was jam packed. This was about 10am:
Milwaukee Ale House, good micro brew beer. We stayed until about 1:30pm.

A brief recap of the other stuff I haven't got around to posting. I finished the 30th running of the Milwaukee Marathon on Oct 3rd, my second mary. Long runs were lacking a bit, and I felt it around mile #20. I changed my race strategy on race day, knowing full well it would probably not work. I started off with the 4 hour pace group, but early on, I felt like I was running too slow, like I was shuffling my feet too much. So, I took off and went ahead of the pacers. Yep, I was right-it didn't work. I ran the 13.1 faster than last year, by about 2min 40sec. But, by mile #20, my legs felt like they were going to fall off. I saw the 4 hour pacers coming up, running with me, passing me, yep, bye bye they went. I simply could not speed up.

I wasn't alone that day with issues. I was running that last stretch with  3:30 pacer, who looked to be in wicked good shape. He was running a bit, then he'd walk and I would pass him. Then, I would walk for a few hundred yards, and he would slowly amble on by me. Repeat this, and see how ridiculous it can get. There was a remote, outside shot that I could make the 4 hour time, and I'd know by the final 5k if I had the shot. Well, I hit that last 5k and I knew I was not making it in 4 hours. SO, I figured, what the hell, why kill myself. I ran a pace I could sustain the last 3 miles, and finished upright.
Not great, but I finished. The racer shirts and medals were killers this year, a really nice design. The artwork looked nice, subtle colors, just pleasing to the eye. Here is the logo:
Right after the run, I put on the free foil wrapper-it was cold out there!

The kids and I, bundled up post race..lying in the grass to rest the legs:

And, I still have not completed a Tri. The Lake Geneva tri was a non-start for me. I woke up that morning after not sleeping all night, and found myself not feeling good at all. I was still going to give it a shot, and we even went down to the race that AM. Yeah, Wisconsin weather reared her ugly head. It was in the low 50s, a stiff wind was blowing right off the lake, and it was POURING out. I mean, it was raining sideways. So I stood around shivering for awhile, feeling miserable, cold, soaked to the skin and a bit feverish. So I packed it in and said forget it-and I'm glad I did. The race reviews from everyone I've heard from were terrible, a poorly marked course, few volunteers, dangerous roads with a bunch of nasty crashes on the bike leg and poor food afterwards. The race sweatshirts were ass ugly and dark brown, to boot. Needless to say, I won't be racing this one in the future, even if the weather is better.

Lets see, we road our little group "Tour de Java" ride a few weeks back. We had a nice Saturday and went out for about 20 miles or so, taking it easy for most of the ride. Most, I say, because my buddy brought a co worker with who is an absolute monster on the bike. We hammered one stretch at about 26-27 miles an hour, while trying to hold a conversation. We stopped for a hot cup of coffee at the coffee house just down the block from me. I haven't been on my bike since. Our race group will get together before the end of the year, over coffee somewhere. We sit and talk about this year's events, what we want for next year, look at pics from races, just have some fun with it.

I swam the other day, after 2 months out of the pool. I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt swimming (or not swimming, I guess?), and even managed to do 1,500 yards, not super fast but I finished and felt good. I mean, I was tired and took some breaks, but hey, it was a positive swim. I will take that. I know I can swim 2,100 yards again after a few times out-this is a good thing!

So, I slid into the off season, kind of "demotivated" about things, and the fact that fall/winter is here. I ran 4 miles today, still able to hold a 8:40 split. But, its hard to be motivated to go out at all right now. Wait till the snow flies and it hits 10 degrees. Then, it will be trainer time and pool sessions, running when the weather will allow. I'm starting on the weights and core strength stuff too.

And I started looking a bit closer at the 2011 race calendar. I found a few interesting races I might try, including the Chicago Triathlon in late August, this looks like a fun race. But, nothing is set in stone at this point, and I have not committed to anything yet. I've got a few ideas in mind, including possibly riding out east next year again, after missing it in 2010. Much will depend on what happens with a special entry application I submitted back in October to one of the biggest races in Wisconsin-if I'm selected to race this, then my entire season would be built around training for this one event. 

More on this thing later, when I hear back and know if I was selected...or not. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Race 1 of 3-Lake Country 1/2 Marathon report.

Lake Country 1/2 Marathon report time.

So today was the Lake Country 1/2, race #1 of 3 for me in the next month. The great thing about living in Wisconsin is also a bad thing (sometimes). Sometimes, the weather can change, drastically, at the drop of a dime. Well, this was one of those times. We went from mid to upper 80s and humid to low 50s and cold, with a stiff wind on top of it.

All my gear was organized and sitting at the ready on the kitchen table, so I figured I would need only a short amount of time before heading out to the race. I woke up before my alarm even went off this morning. I was tired last night, was feeling a bit anxious for the race, and thought I'd be dead tired getting up on my weekend off. I was wrong! I was awake at about 4:15am, with the alarm set for 4:40. I got up, started the coffee and took a nice, hot shower to loosen up. I had only one cup of Alterra this AM, which was hard, in a way; normally I've got to have two cups-one on the way to work and the other in my aluminum sipper, which I sip until about 9am (a creature of habit thing...).

Breakfast time, I'm still the only one up. I had an English muffin with peanut butter and my coffee. I mix up a water bottle with a pre-packaged size of Hammer Heed sport drink. The Lemon-Lime mix is kind of bland, so I'm looking forward to trying the Berry flavor at next weekend's race. But overall, the Hammer nutrition, for me, is perfect. None of their products gives me a sour or upset stomach, and I've never bonked while using Hammer. Time to get the family up. The kids get up right away, with no complaining or issues at all. We packed up snacks and drinks in a cooler, so they had to just get dressed and hop in the van. My wife and the kids have decided to do the 5k today, so it should be fun.

The drive out to the race is about 50 miles, but with sparse weekend traffic, we make it in good time, with about 45 minutes to spare before race start. I still had to pick up the race packets, so I run inside and see a huge crowd of runners, family, support and volunteers. Well, I am pleasantly surprised when I see there is no line at the pre-reg tables. I grab the bags, walk over to timing chip check out and get our chips. Back outside, pin on the bib, strap on the timing chip and time to warm up. A little stretching, a short jog down the road we start out on and back, over for a Porta John stop. I didn't stay in the Porta long, there was no hand sanitizer (I'm sure these things are the same gross, nasty germ boxes all over the country!) so I cut out of there quick. This would be a mistake for me later, see mile #5 notes below.

Warm up run, stretching, Heed drink downed, iPod hooked up. Sip some water, then hit a Hammer gel about 5 minutes before the start. Sip some more water. Kisses and hugs from the wife and kids, then off to stand in the crowds until go time. I'm trying to stay warm, jumping up and down, trying not to tighten up as we wait. I check my GPS, the official start time is running about 5 minutes late. I don't even hear the start signal-the crowd just starts shuffling forward. It takes a good minute or two to get to the actual start mats, and we are off!

A really slow, clogged up jog at first, lasting for about the 1st mile or so. It seems common at any larger race, you have to bid your time and weave through the crowd for the 1st mile or two, then it starts to thin out. I checked my Garmin at the 1st mile marker, it took about 9:07 to get this far, a bit slower than I wanted, but I'm OK with it. I'm warmed up, picking my pace, feeling good. Still going right and left, speeding up and back to my race pace for another 10 minutes or so, until the runners start to separate into smaller groups, more evenly matched for pace to each other now. The race is taking on a really good feel now-my legs feel great, my HR is right in line. It's a beautiful morning, cool, almost cold, but the sun is bright and strong, beaming on my face, warming me up. I remember looking at a small lake on my right as we run past, with a small waterfall at a dam. The sun reflecting off the water, the runners in front of and behind me. I was thinking, "What a great day to be alive, to have my family here, to have us all healthy, to be able to do these things and how lucky I am". Maybe a little "runner's euphoria"...perhaps, or just being aware of these things around me, sometimes we take such things for granted in our lives.

The wind continued to blow strong, which will be good later in the race. I think it might have heated up like it did in 2008 otherwise, but the winds kept it cool and made for excellent running weather. Things are going really good, superb. Then, about mile #5, my stomach starts to churn. Uh oh. Not good. I thought I could wait until the end of the run for this. There are Porta Johns on the race course, but they are few and far between, and the runners are flocking to them, lines are forming. Whoa boy, my stomach feels like it's cramping, bad now. Not good. About this time, I see a girl in front of me suddenly cut sharply to the right, off the road, across the grass. I look over, I see a brick pavilion, I see...real restrooms! I cut off the road in a second and follow behind the girl, around back to the men's side. Much better than a plastic germ box, any day, any time!

So needless to say, my stomach felt better after the mile #5 stop. It didn't bother me again for the remainder of the race. The problem was, I figured I lost a good 2-3 minutes on this pit stop. Oh well, better to pit stop than to become a picture on one of those funny posters you see of a runner in a race who has failed to pit stop and has...failed, lets say, you know what I mean. Another thing was, I had to pass a whole bunch of runners I had already passed in the 1st 5 miles. Seeing familiar jerseys, caps, the Fuel Belts, the same faces. It was a little deja vu, but what are you going to do?

The rest of the race is uneventful, and the miles simply melt away, the race seems to go by very fast. I must say, this was one of the best longer runs I've ever done, bar none. My legs and feet didn't even begin to make their presence known until about mile #10, when I got a bit of discomfort in my left foot. 5k to go, some uphill grades nearing the end, but I'm still passing people. My pace is rock solid, my HR only hits 160 on the longest grade, but comes back down quickly. Before I know, I'm turing into the lot and snaking around to the left and up through the finish chute, and this 2010 1/2 mary is in the books!

My Garmin said I was on the finish mat at 1hr 55min, the race clock said 1h 58m. The official time results said 1h 57m 48s, so I don't think they gave corrected times for those of us in the way back. Any which way, it was a great race. They put on a great event, well supported, on a great course.

The "official" race times and data from Midwest Sports:

My "official" GPS data, from start mat to finish line:
Just to point out, my HR did not go up to 175 bpm. I got some erroneous readings early on, which spiked at 175, then dropped back to normal ranges. Unknown why this happened, interference maybe? I averaged 156 bpm, which was right where I wanted to be. My pace of approx 8:49 min/mile was also right on line with what I wanted to get out of this race. I could have pushed it up to 160 or 162, for a 8:40 pace or so, but I would have been suffering in the last 4 miles. I am fairly certain the 1,983 kcalories burned is a bit on the high side, possibly as high as 10-12%. This is common with what I've seen using both Polar HR monitors as well as my Garmin GPS. Maybe a more realistic kcal estimate would be 1,500 or so.

Now, for some pics! 
Post race eats at van, right across from the finish chute:
The kids and I right after the race:
The kids, with cowbells balanced on their heads!
Ringing the cowbells for runners...more...cowbell...
A bit crabby this early on a Saturday? Yes...
A bit happier now...
Race number, tech tee shirt (a decent design, I like it!) and race medal:
Nice looking medals this year.
The finish chute. Note the "FINISH" sign, blowing in the strong W/NW winds!

I still feel great this evening, a little soreness in the legs but this is to be expected after a 1/2. The compression socks are on, I took some Acetaminophen and we cooked up some of our homemade tacos for dinner. I was even able to cut the grass this afternoon, so all in all, a very good race day with results right where I wanted them to be. And to top off the day, my oldest ran almost the entire 5k course, really surprising my wife ( and making her work to keep up with the youngster, who wanted nothing to do with all the running)! She wants to start doing some "real runs" now, as she put it, with me, around our subdivision. So, another running career is born!

This was a great test leading into next weekend's Tri. I'm feeling good, confident, and looking forward to getting into this next race! Bring it on!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2 minutes.

How many times have you said that in your life? "Give me two minutes, I'll be ready". Yeah, we've all said it before, heard our kids say it, "Ah, Dad, come on. Two minutes more to watch TV?" Or, "Dinner will be ready in two minutes". It didn't really strike as a catch phrase, something to remember, or ponder. Well, I will remember two minutes, for the rest of my life!

Sometimes I cringe at the thought, other times I laugh. My wife and I joke about it, and I make fun of myself to my friends about it (now). And I got mad about it, felt sad about it, felt sorry for myself (not for long). I felt like quitting. I felt like I had wasted a great moment. An epic failure, never before had I not finished an even I had signed up for. Never.

But, then I got motivated by it.

So, I'm still no triathlete. No, not yet. On to why that is.

Here I am, pre swim. Note the red buoy WAY out over my left shoulder, in the distance, that was the 1st turn, where we made a hard right and swam south almost all the way to the North Pier:
Suited up, almost time...
How does the two minutes come into play? Well, two minutes was the time in which I missed the swim cut off time for IM Racine. Here is a pic of me all suited up, just prior to the swim start for my wave. One of the logistical problems, at least for me, was the fact I was starting the race in the 2nd to last wave. The last wave started 4 minutes behind my wave, and to make the cut off for an IM sanctioned 70.3, you have 70 minutes from the last wave start to finish. I had 74 minutes to swim 1.2 miles. I swam it in 76.

Here are some more pics from the start, a good crowd was on the beach that morning, hundreds of racers, several hundred friends and family walked down to cheer us on at the start, to the north:
Looking back south towards the North beach swim finish:
My wave, wading out into the chilly 64 degree Lake Michigan water:
My wave, heading out past the yellow marker, to the 1st turn:
Heading back to our tent/cheering section, my race day done!
The remainder of my "race" was spent here, sipping an Amstel, or a water:
Who came wandering down by us, to say "Hi" and cheer on the mere mortals? 
None other that Craig "Crowie" Alexander, the reigning IM World Champion and overall winner (big time) of the Inaugural IM Racine 70.3, here he is with Kim, my buddy's wife: 

Alexander the Great(2nd in pic) and the other male pros, running to the bike area:

Needless to say, I was disappointed beyond words. I felt pretty good once out of the water, at least until the official said I was the 1st one to miss the cut. In looking back at the swim, I started off terribly. I swam to the 1st red buoy (where we made the turn), and I felt the need to stop and rest. I continued on, making it from buoy to buoy along the route. At least a few times, I found myself swimming off course WAY farther out than I needed to be-I'm talking 75 yards or more out west of the north to south swim lane, costing me more precious time and energy. I felt a bit of panic early on-I won't lie about this. I remember thinking to myself at about the 2nd red buoy marker after the turn, "What the fuck did I get myself into here". I saw several other racers from my wave, and the last wave (based on swim cap colors) getting plucked from the water. One girl looked really, really scared and water logged as they pulled her up into a boat.

I wasn't alone; one of the pros in the swim kept going due south, missing the last buoy marker to turn into shore (another racer and I started in the last two waves, we had enough time to watch the mens pros come out of the water before we even walked the mile down the beach to the swim start). The officials on the back of a personal water craft were blowing their whistles at him, trying to get his attention, for several minutes before he finally held up and got turned, but he lost some ground to the other pros.

The final kicker for this OWS-my first this far out in Lake Michigan without my jet ski with for support-was that by the time my wave started, the winds had kicked up from the south/southeast. The chop builds very fast on Michigan, it's not a body of water to fool with. So for the last half of the swim, the chop and swells built to 1-2 footers. It was rolling so good, and right at us swimmers, that it knocked one of the life guards off her surf board twice while I was close to her. She was saying, "Holy shit, did this get rough out here". Onto the sand again, walk to the shore, struggle to grab hold of the lanyard on the wetsuit to start pulling it off. The official coming up telling me, sorry, but we need your timing chip. You missed the swim cut by two minutes. What? Shock set in.

I can honestly say, this was the hardest swim I had ever done in my life, by far. But stopping and not racing, I felt like I was going to puke all over.

The Good: I finished the swim. Albeit too slow for IM cut off times, but I did the entire 1.2 mile swim. One other racer that hung out with us along the run route, she is a sponsored duathlete and is very much in shape. She came up later and was telling us she was the 1st out of the water-hell, we all thought she was out of the water with the pros, that she was that fast. No, she clarified, she made it to the 1st red buoy marker, and called for the support boat to pull her out of the water. I felt a little better after hearing this. After all, I did the entire swim. And damn, was I close to making the cut, only two minutes over.

The really good thing was, I felt good after the swim. I felt like I grew stronger in the last 1/3 of the swim, even though this was during the worst of the conditions out there. I swam longer at the end too, taking far fewer stops to catch my breath. I felt like I was ready to get on the TT bike and tear it up.

The Bad: I thought long and hard about the reason I ended with a big old fat DNF. I looked back on my training logs, and it is as plain as the nose on my face: I did not train enough for the swim. I didn't do nearly enough long swims, not enough time in the pool, not enough prep time in becoming a better swimmer. Was it a bad choice by myself, picking a 70.3 IM sanctioned event for my 1st triathlon? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. I know I can do the distance (even though I swim slow!). And even though I went way over what I thought I'd swim it in, the thought comes back, two minutes too slow...

And so, this gave me motivation to move on, to start looking ahead.

What's next? At least three more races are on my calendar this year. 
1) Sept 4th, the Lake Country 1/2 Marathon, out in the Lakes area west of me.
2) Sept 11th, Lake Geneva Extreme Sports 1/2 Extreme 70.3 triathlon.
3) Oct 3rd, Milwaukee Marathon.

The Lake Geneva Tri has no stringent cut off times, so that will ease some of the pressure. I need to do this race, one of the last 70.3 events in this area for the year. It is like a mental weight on me now-if I don't complete what I started out to do in July, it's going to bother me, eat at me, all winter long. I just have to get this goal done, just for me. 

I've been swimming more-I got back in the pool almost right away to work on my weakness in this great sport. I've since cut down my 2,100 yard time to about 55 minutes-almost 21 minutes faster than the (in)famous IM Racine swim time. I've also done numerous 2,500 yard, 50 lap swims. I've worked on my stroke a bit, and can feel the improvement in the pool. I rest a lot less than I did in pre race swims. I feel I have improved a fair amount since mid July. I guess we will see about that...

The Lake Country 1/2 Mary is more of a training run, to set me up for the 70.3 a week later. I'm shooting for about 2 hours, no PR quest this year (I ran it in 2008 in 1hr 47m and change). Just an organized long run this year.

The Milwaukee Marathon, well, that will be interesting too. I've had to "lose" some of my running time and fitness in order to swim and bike more evenly. More on this one later, after I finish #s 1 and 2.

More on training to come, like my 8 miler in the blazing heat today and some pics of my new CO2 air set up on my TT bike. Stay tuned for some other things that have been going on since the last time I checked in...Oh, and check the "new" banner (almost the same as the old banner) at the top of the page, notice the new date? New race goals for 2011 have been set and will be coming to the blog soon...

Friday, July 16, 2010

IM Update

Today, the IM Racine Expo opened, as did packet pick-up. So the family and I stopped downtown right after it opened. Things were quiet early in the day today, there was no wait in line for my packet, my race chip works and everything went smoothly. I saw zero Pros walking around. Maybe tomorrow...

Racine Festival Park, site of the IM Expo:

Expo tent, where the IM schwagg was ( yeah I bought a few goodies!):

North Beach, where we will swim. They put out some small white course markers, man they are FAR out there. You see the small, old pier in the foreground? That's the entry point. We'll have to swim out past those boats in the center of the frame, and head up towards the pier you see in the distance. The exit point is way way down the beach, almost to the pier. GULP. Whoa boy...

My buddy and I swam this yesterday, it was nice and warm outside. Well, the air temp was warm, at least. The water temps for Lake Michigan were supposed to be in the low 70s, according to online maps. Yeah, let me tell ya. Once you got out from shore, you could feel the temps drop. We swam from this same pier in this pic to the far section of beach you see, way up in the right upper corner of the pic. Not quite to the pier, but within a couple hundred yards. Probably 2,000 yards or so, maybe slightly more, in around 40 minutes, which surprised me.

And what you can't see, there is some chop (yesterday was worse, with about 1-2 foot swells with a SW wind blowing at 15-20mph). So, I got a headache from the cold ass water, swallowed a bunch of water from the swells, coughed or burped up and puked a little in my mouth (yeah, I chugged a Coke literally right before we waded in and swam-smart, I know. Note to self-DO NOT slam a Coke on race morning right before the swim). OK, so I took a break, swam on my back for awhile, until the puking feeling went away. Then, I felt better and was able to get my stroke down fairly well. Oh, another thing about swimming in cold ass water-it's very hard to get your breathing right. It's hard to exhale under the cold water, so you force out the air as you're turning your head to take your next breath.

The wetsuit worked fine, it fits perfectly. Floats like a bobber (I don't even have to tread water with this suit!), it feels slicker and fast(er) in the water, not like I'm fast, but this can't hurt. If anything, it's too hot! Even in this cold ass Midwest Great Lakes water. I found myself feeling like I was heating up, so I opened up the neck seal and let some cold water rush in, which did the trick. This (hopefully) won't be an issue race day morning, like I said it was about 90 degrees when we swam this yesterday. It should be around 68-70 deg Far. in the AM on race day. Now, the updated forecast is calling for a high of 89 degrees and humid. Great, lets make the race just a little bit harder!

Let's see, what else. Race day nutrition, all set out:

IM Race numbers! WHoop WHoop!!

Race gear, set out all over the living room floor (and the wife doesn't even care!)

Tomorrow, what's on the agenda? Well, we have a race meeting at noon, which lasts about an hour. My buddy Ryan and I are attending, then it's off to grab his race packet, drop the bikes at the corral and hit the Expo one more time. Yeah, I will probably buy a few more bits of race schwagg. I got some, but WTH, they have some cool IM Racine 70.3 things, so why not?

Stay tuned, more pics of the IM bike corral and swim course tomorrow. Hopefully they have the BIG inflatable course markers out tomorrow.