Tuesday, September 22, 2009

End of Season Upgrade

The sexiest bike in West Michigan got a little sexier last night. My Whisper Eclipse now has Zipp Vuka aerobars and, best of all, SHIMANO Di2!!!!!!!!!!! This is one fast, high-tech bike.

For more info on the Whisper/Jade products follow the links on the left hand side of this blog.

Later on.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Well, it's been two and a half weeks since the Ironman and I suppose I have had plenty of time to decompress.  I have been putting off a blog post for awhile now because I realized right away that there is no way I can adequately describe my experience.  To say that it was life-changing, although cliche, doesn't really do it justice but that is how I can best describe it.  As it has gotten further away everything seems to have "blended together" in a way and I have a difficult time explaining everything... so I won't try to go into details regarding our time before and after the race but rather will stay focused on the race itself.  What you should know is that I had incredible, incredible support from my family and friends.  My Grandparents, brothers, Dad, and wife all made the trip down and it wouldn't have been the same without them.  My friends and family who weren't able to make the trip checked in with Gwen to see how I was doing and sent words of encouragement both before and after the race and I couldn't have asked for anymore.  I have truly been blessed over the last year to have the love, support, and encouragement of a such a great network of people.  I would also like to reiterate how much it has helped to have those of you who follow the blog checking in on me... I only hope that I can do the same for those who have supported me.

So, that being said... 

I'll start by saying, it was a long day.  13:11:07 to be exact.  Gwen and I were up at 4:30 a.m. on race day to head down to transition and then to get into the line for the time trial swim start.  I assumed that we would be there in plenty of time but as it turned out the line had started EARLY, EARLY, EARLY in the morning and I got into line towards the back 1/3.  Really, it wasn't that bad because by the time I heard the cannon fire and the line started to move it only took about 20 or 30 minutes for me to get into the water.  It was such a surreal feeling to walk under the inflatable swim start arch and then down the path to the docks where we all jumped in.  It almost didn't seem real and it was crazy because the music was blasting, everyone was sort of run/jogging to the docks, and there were tons of people yelling and cheering.  It was a really beautiful start to the day.  The minute I hit the water it became real for me.  I started churning away and was able to hit my stroke fairly quickly.  The water was 80+ degrees and felt absolutely great.  I was worried about the current prior to the race but I didn't notice it one bit.  I felt really comfortable throughout the swim and didn't have any issues with people swimming over top of me, getting in my way, etc.  The one thing about the swim that was difficult was when we made the turn and started to head towards the swim exit.  The turn was quite a ways away from the exit but every time you looked up you caught a glimpse of one of the bridges in the distance (there are several bridges in Louisville and the swim exit happens to be immediately after one).  By the time I got to the first bridge I thought I was free and clear only to realize that I still had at least 1/2 a mile to go.  It was discouraging but it was way early in the day, and I was really jacked up so I didn't focus on it too much.  Coming out of the water, once again, the barricades were absolutely jammed full of people screaming and cheering you on.  I caught sight of my family and was really excited to see them.  Gwen had made custom Josh is Ironman shirts which were really cool and made spotting everyone easier.  I made it out of the water in just around 01:30:00 (for some reason I can't pull up my official times right now and I can't remember off the top of my head anything other than my finish time).

The transition tent was an animal all its own.  There were dudes running all over the place naked, screaming, jockeying for chairs, etc. etc.  Again, I was able to make it through transition without too much of a problem.  I definitely took my time to make sure that I had everything with me and when I made my way out of the tent there were volunteers who smothered me in sunscreen.  The bike course was absolutely beautiful.  I don't know what else to say... there were a lot of rolling hills and maybe two or three climbs that were pretty challenging (where I had to get out of the saddle).  I was able to keep a relatively high RPM and stayed right around my goal of 19.5 MPH for nearly the entire way.  I was really staying up on eating (granola bars, GU, pretzels) and drinking and by the last 30 miles I really started to have to pee.  I must have stopped three times to go but was okay with this because I was confident that I was properly hydrated at this point.  As usual, I felt strongest on the bike.  The one difficulty I had was on the big downhills I lost a lot.  What kept happening was two lanes would form.  The right lane would be the slower, less confident bikers and the left was the faster, more confident bikers.  When you are hitting 45 MPH+ speeds you want to make sure you are in the right lane.  Unfortunately for me larger riders, who generate more speed downhill, kept coming behind me on the downhill and I would have to move to the right side and then hit my brake to avoid riding up on someone.  This happened all day and I wasn't really able to stay on top of it.  Frustrating, but not a big deal in the end.

Off the bike I started the marathon.  I absolutely blew up at mile 8 on the marathon and the story of the rest of my day was fighting the pain.  I won't go into detail because ultimately the only thing you need to know is that I had to walk a lot and my stomach hurt.  BUT, it worked out... and like I said before.... I did it.

So, what now you may ask?  Well... IMLP is on the books for next year as is Ironman Kansas 70.3.  As for everything else... I'm taking a couple of weeks to relax, enjoy Gwen's prep. for the Chicago Marathon, and then we'll see... keep checking back in when you get a chance.

For those who are interested here is the link to a Picasa Web Album with pictures from IMKY

So much to say, so little time to say it, so few words to describe it.  I realize that this post/blog will never do it justice so I am not even making an attempt.  IF anyone has any questions, wants to know more, etc. etc. let me know I'll try to give as good a picture/description as possible.

Later on... 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

IMKY

It has been a crazy couple of days but long story short... I heard Mike Reilly say, "Josh Boeve from Holland, MI; YOU ARE AN IRONMAN" on Sun. night. It took me 13 hours and 12 minutes to get there but I made it and it was an absolutely incredible experience.

I'll post a full race report in the next couple of days once I'm actually back home (we were home for 30 minutes today before having to leave to pick up our dog from MSU where she had surgery last Fri.) and settled in.

Thank you so much for all the words of encouragement and support leading up to the race. Check back!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...

The clock is counting down. Gwen and I are here in Louisville and I'm definitely pumped up. I want to take a quick minute to thank everyone who has been checking in, leaving comments for me, and giving me encouragement. Wish me luck! I'll post following the race...

Later on...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bring It On.

Bib #'s were released for IMKY today.  Yours truly will be sporting Bib #321.  It's real baby and it is right around the corner.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The "Staple" IM Nightmare Blog... W/ a Twist

First and foremost, I want to put it out there that if, after reading this post, you deem me to be neurotic and insane... you are probably only 1/2 right. The mental stress of IMKY's rapid approach seems to make itself evident in new and interesting ways every day but I'm happy to report that it has not driven me to the edge of sanity. Yet.

I think that I may have mentioned a time or two over the last several weeks that I have been having increasingly vivid, and strange, Ironman related nightmares. I am convinced that this is a common theme amongst those preparing for an IM, Marathon, etc. etc. My dreams started out as your run of the mill late for the race (similar to the late for your final exam variety dream), getting lost on the course, and other easily imaginable nightmares. From there I moved on to the more disturbing, being chased by a madman while trying to finish, and coming across a road that has been flooded variety. Each dream seemed to grow more intense, more vivid, and harder to shake in the morning. That being said, my dream last night is far and away the most creepy.

Before any of this I want to say that I know that your dreams are never as interesting to someone else as they are to you. I don't know how many times I have had to "act interested" when a co-worker explains their "crazy" dream and then spends what seems like forever pontificating about what it might mean. I won't bore you with my thoughts on what my twisted mind is telling me...

At any rate, here's the dream. Through a series of strange twists and turns in the race I somehow ended up in a massive sewer system. Disconcerting as it was to be totally off course I was more concerned with the "Freddy Kreuger-esque" gentleman that was chasing me. On foot I was having a terrible time staying ahead of him (and who is surprised by this when you consider my always slow run split?). I came to a portion of the sewer that was all chutes and ladders... (Probably something to do with my love for the video game Donkey Kong) and it was here that he caught me. I don't remember exactly what he said in the dream but as he wrapped his hands around my neck and started to choke me he said in a sinister voice "How do you like them apples... Ironman?" At this point I woke up gasping for air and trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I sat up so fast in bed that it scared one of the dogs awake and onto her feet. I could see her standing there staring at me wondering whether to run or lay back down. She's lazy and chose the latter.

So... there is the token "I have such crazy dreams during Taper Madness" post. Can't wait to see what the next couple of weeks will hold. Hope all is good.

L, P, and CG.
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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grand Cycling Classic and Final "Testing"

Starting on Friday and ending today I had the last "testing" workouts of my training plan.  I started out with a bang and ended with a whimper but in the end, I'm feeling good heading into my last two weeks of training before IMKY.  

Fri. was a great day for my 10 mile bike TT.  There was a pretty strong headwind for the first half of the ride but I tried to maintain a decent cadence knowing that I could make up some of the time on my way back.  In the end I finished in 00:26:30 with an average of 22.6 MPH.  This was my fastest testing TT yet and I still didn't feel like I was anywhere close to leaving it all out on the course.  Coincidentally I finished the first 10 miles of Steelhead just under 25 minutes... so it's not like I am being overconfident when I say that I can still do better.  I just have to put it all together.  I guess that post-IMKY will be a good time for that.

Sat. I was at the pool to set my T-time for the last time.  It took my 00:16:43 to swim 1000 meters and this was good enough to shave 4 seconds off of my previous best.  The new t-time was 00:01:40.  Again, I still felt like I could do better (although this hasn't been the case in the past... when I set my t-time last time I felt like I was giving it my all and then some).  It is definitely encouraging to be this far into my training and realize that I still have room to improve.  And, with that being said... here is a great example of how just how bad I CAN be at times...

This morning, Sunday, I hopped on my bike and followed behind Gwen while she did her long run for the week.  She ran 10 miles in some pretty nasty heat and humidity.  After her run I convinced her to come along to the track with me while I did my 3 mile TT.  I was feeling pretty good and figured I didn't need a warm-up.  This was probably the first mistake that I made.  I started out a little hot but was feeling good.  The first mile I finished in 00:06:59.  I was feeling great after this lap and was staying super consistent running 00:01:45 laps.  My second mile I came in at 00:07:01.  And those were the highlights of the day.  I blew up on my second lap of the 3rd mile and scrapped it for the day.  I just absolutely died on this lap and figured that the point of the workout was to run a TT... and since I couldn't do anything respectable at this point... I called it a day.  Anyway, live and learn.  

So, onward and upward.  This week I'm back to my training for a bit before IMKY.  I'm nervous and excited but there is a lot of other stuff going on right now which is nice because it helps keep my mind off of IMKY.  We are doing a huge renovation/remodel with our backyard/basement/driveway at home, Gwen's birthday is tomorrow (!!!!), and unfortunately our dog Hannah (the Great Dane) hurt her leg and has to go see a orthopedic vet.  It is looking like she tore or ruptured her ACL.  Anyway, with all this going on... I suppose it makes it easier in some ways.

So, before I sign off... I am going to post some photos from the Grand Cycling Classic that took place in Grand Rapids this weekend.  Gwen and I showed up and were able to catch the last Masters Race and the Pro Race.  Also, we ran into local legends Jim (from www.whispercycles.com) and Jeff (providing the best leadout in West MI for years to come), which was really cool.  Anyway, the race was a lot of fun and hopefully you'll get an idea of some of the excitement from the pics.  Hopefully this event will get larger in the years to come and I'll be able to continue enjoying it!

Alright all... hope your weekend was good.  Check in later!

Above:  The peloton comes racing in towards the finish.

Above:  These are the bikes that the support crew would hand out if a bike couldn't be ridden anymore... too bad they weren't a Whisper or a Jade huh (sorry had to... check them out at the links to the left)!

Above:  Race winner, Big Tom Zirbel of Bissell Cycling getting a taste of those famous GR "cobbles."


Monday, August 3, 2009

Steelhead 1/2 IM Race Report



Pictured Above: Gwen and I post race

Sat. was my 2nd 1/2 IM of the year and yet another great experience.  I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed participating in Michigan's only Ironman sanctioned (and my first Ironman branded) event.  Read below for the race report and check back over the next week to take a look at some of the "official" photos from the event.  So, for those who aren't interested in reading the long report here is the info that "matters" :

bib number:2098
age:26
gender:M
location:Holland, MI
overall place:943 out of 1660
division place:100 out of 144
gender place:751 out of 1181
time:6:05:03
pace:0:
swim:36:42
trans 1:5:36
bike:3:01:28
trans 2:5:10
run:2:16:09

On Friday, Gwen and I drove down to Benton Harbor to attend the expo and to pick up my race packet.  The expo wasn't nearly as big as I thought it would be but there was certainly anything one could want there.  I resisted the urge to get carried away and ended up only buying a Steelhead Cycling Jersey and T-shirt.  They had a ton of sweet loot there but I decided not to get too crazy as IMKY is coming up and I definitely want to hook myself up while down there.  After picking up my packet and everything we were on our way back home and I was mentally preparing for the race in the morning.  My plan going into this race was to take it really easy and use it as a long training day.  I spent the rest of Fri. night getting ready for the morning and packing up.  

Sat. morning Gwen and I woke up at 4:30 a.m.  I grabbed a couple of slices of bread, a glass of OJ, and hit the road by 4:50 a.m.  During the hour drive to Benton Harbor I listened to my usual pre-race mix of "This American Life," and Wilco/Band of Horses/Bob Dylan/Grateful Dead.  Lately I've been listening to this kind of mix a lot as I find it helps to get me pretty relaxed.  Once I got into Benton Harbor I had about 40 minutes before the transition area closed down.  I parked, put some air in my tires, and was on my way.  Right before I hopped on my bike to ride down a woman rode up and asked if she could use my pump... long story short, she blew her tube, needed help changing it, and based on all of this I got to transition with about 5 minutes to spare.  I was able to get set up pretty quick and then grabbed my wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap and headed out towards the start line.  The way that the swim start/finish was set up was really neat.  

First off, the swim was in Lake Michigan which both scared me and made me really excited.  To get to the swim start you had to walk 1.2 miles down the beach from transition.  The walk was nice because it helped to get the blood flowing and also it was neat to take a stroll down the beach.  The swim start area was awesome!  Totally unlike any of the events that I have done before.  It was a big party atmosphere with music playing, a huge inflatable start arch, an MC, etc. etc.  I was the 2nd to last swim wave and by the time my wave got lined up in the start area we were all ready to go.  Probably my favorite part of any triathlon (or one of my favorite parts) is that few moments before you actually hit the water.  The nervous energy that comes out in the form of shaking arms, slapping of thighs, blowing into clenched fists, hands pumping in the air, and so on is beautiful!  Once the horn sounded and we hit the water I was feeling great.  We were swimming with the current towards transition and I was making my way around a lot of weaker swimmers.  Once again, the buoys were lined up to the right of me (which makes it difficult for me as I sight/breathe to the left normally) but again, I was able to pace myself off someone else who I kept to the left of me.  I exited the water feeling great and as I ran up to the transition area I spotted Gwen and my Mom (and Hannah) standing along the barriers cheering for me.  I stopped to say hey and then made my way to my bike.  I definitely took my time in transition (throughout the day) and Gwen was able to snap a couple pictures.

Pictured Above:  Me coming into T1


Pictured Above:  Taking a moment to say hi before hopping on the bike

Heading out of T1 I was feeling great and felt like I was going to try to put the hammer down on the bike.  The first 33 miles were money.  I was cruising at a really easy 23.9 MPH and was feeling like there was no way I would drop below 23.5 MPH overall.  And then the proverbial "poop" hit the fan.  My first problem of the day hit EXACTLY at mile 33.  I heard a hiss coming from my back tire and realized right away that I blew a tube.  Once I pulled over and hopped off the bike I realized that there was a knick in my tire that would potentially expose any tube I used to puncture.  Luckily I was able to get inventive and threw in a $20 bill that I always keep in my bike bag between the tube and the tire.  This added another layer of protection and would keep me on the road.  Even though I thought I was moving quickly it took me around 7 or 8 minutes to complete this whole process.  I hopped back on the bike and hit the roads again.  Maybe now is a good time to explain that the roads for this bike course were terrible.  Honestly, I can't believe that they used some of the roads... it would have been better to ride on the gravel shoulder half the time.  Anyway, about 5 miles up the road I punctured another tube.  I was freaking out because I had only brought one tube with me.  As I stood on the side of the road I started asking everyone who was going by if they had an extra tube.  Finally some incredibly compassionate, awesome, unselfish guy stopped and threw me a tube.  I had to rip the $20 in half (I know... most expensive flats ever...) to "patch" the second hole in my tire.  This was like another 10 minutes before I was back on the road.  At this point I was just incredibly pissed.  I honestly was thinking about calling it quits.  And then I hit the headwind.  The headwinds for the last 18 miles was R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S.  People were literally moving at less than 10 MPH and I have heard that a ton of people actually missed the cut-off time based on this.  Anyway, with all the above my bike time was ripped to shreds.  I came in averaging an official 18 and some change MPH.  Here's a pic that Gwen snapped of me coming into T2... I look thrilled aye?



T2 was a chance for me to cool off (literally and figuratively...).  The rain started shortly before I got there and added another wrinkle to the day.  By the time I left transition I was just ready to be done.  Luckily the run was a welcome relief after all my drama on the bike.  Normally I get bored with the run but it was a good chance for me to get into my own head and remember why I love this sport.  The run course was set up with a couple of loops.  It was neat because the run course was always full of people.  By the time I was on the course a lot of people were on their second loop and this gave me a lot of motivation to keep on pushing.  By the time I was crossing mile 13, and the finish line was in sight... I was feeling great.  No big issues nutrition or otherwise on the run.  Here I am coming into the finish line:



So, overall I had a great time.  In the end, I was able to push through some less than ideal circumstances and remind myself why I'm doing this.  Also, I had a great time preparing for IMKY which is now right around the corner.  I was so happy that Gwen and my Mom stuck out the rain and cheered for me and that all the great volunteers and people cheering the athletes on stayed around.  A great event through and through.  Well... I guess that's it.  I'm feeling great today and will be back to my training plan this week.  Thanks for taking the time to read through all this!

Monday, July 27, 2009

IMLP 2010

I'm IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Let the (mini) Taper Begin...

Tapering for the Steelhead ½ (this Sat.) has officially begun!  Last week was a full week of training and excluding Wed. I was able to stay on track and fit in all of my planned workouts.  The "bulk" of the hours came Fri. – Sun. and although I was glad to get some good time in, I'm also glad that I'll have a little relief as I taper this week.

 

On Fri. I hit the pool for a 01:10:00 workout.  I swam 3000+ meters mixing in a couple of sculling drills, the pull buoy, and a kick board… overall I was feeling good.  Over the last couple of weeks (since Muncie) my pool workouts have been easier and easier to go to.  I'm not exactly sure why my attitude towards the pool has changed but I'm good with it!  After the swim I went out for a quick 00:45:00 run.  The humidity started to get to me towards the end of the run but I was able to finish off strong.

 

Sat. I went out for a 04:00:00 brick workout.  I headed over to the north side of Holland (I live on the south side and normally ride there) to get a bike ride in along the Lakeshore.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride.  It was probably in the Mid-70's, sunny, really low humidity, and a light breeze rolling through.  On the way out (I did an out and back) the wind wasn't really fighting me and on the way back in there was a small headwind but nothing too serious.  I rode up to my Dad's house in Spring Lake where I was given a race recap of his Grand Haven Triathlon experience a week ago.  In total I did just over 60 miles which I then followed up with a slow, but good, 3 mile run.  Afterwards we had dinner at my Mom's…

 

Sun. Gwen and I went out for a long run.  We ended up doing just over 12 miles together.  It was the first time that we have run that type of distance together and it made a huge difference for both of us.  It is so much easier to get a run like that in when you have someone to go along with you.  Neither of us had too much trouble with the pace or distance but by the end we were definitely feeling a little tired.  Gwen's knee has been bothering her and thankfully she bought a foam roller and has been having a lot of luck with that.  At any rate, this was a great way to end the weekend and my longer workouts heading into my taper for Steelhead.  I'm feeling good and although I'm excited about the race I definitely have IMKY in the forefront of my mind at this point.  I'm not na├»ve enough to take my "eyes off the prize" as far as Steelhead goes (it'll be a big workout either way) but it is hard NOT to think about Louisville at this point.  It is so crazy to me that 10 months of training is culminating and although I am confident and know that I have put the time in… it still doesn't take away the nerves.

 

Today I'm hoping that I'll be able to register for IMLP 2010… we'll see how it goes but wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BLAH

Headed home from the pool... only made it through 40 minutes of a 01:10:00 scheduled workout. Skipped my 01:00:00 run completely tonight.

On the bright side... Have done my workouts for the week up until this point. Tomorrow it is back on the bike so at least I have something to look forward to despite the fact I'm feeling lazy as crap right now.

Not sure what the deal is today...

blah.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Photos

Unfortunately things have not been as productive as I had hoped they would be following the Muncie Endurathon on Sat.  Luckily, I have recovered quite nicely and would have been able to resume my normal training schedule had life not gotten in the way this week.  If it wasn't one thing, it was another; and if it wasn't another, it was just plain laziness.  That's how I have found myself sitting here on Thurs. night looking back at the week and realizing that I've only gotten one workout in thus far.  It's always a crappy feeling knowing that you are missing precious hours of training but in the end I suppose it may (just maybe) work out for me.  I think that I could probably have used the time off to help with my recovery from Sat. which seems complete but then again, you never know.  So, I'm trying to to dwell on it too much.  This weekend will again present another obstacle to my training plan as Gwen and I will be out of town all day on Sat. for a wedding.  I'm planning on doing my brick tomorrow, long run Sat. morning before leaving, and on Sun. hitting the pool for one of my missed swim workouts.  Should turn out alright.

With all that being said I felt as though I needed to do SOMETHING productive in regards to triathlon so I am posting up these pictures from both the Ann Arbor Triathlon (the first 3 photos) and from the Muncie Endurathon (the last 2).  The pics from Muncie DO NOT give justice to the massive amount of rain that was coming down although in the finish line picture my crazy looking, Pat Riley hair may give a small indication as to what was going on.  Enjoy!

Above:  Sporting the Speedo on the run, bike grease all over my face. (Ann Arbor Triathlon)

Above:  Coming into the dismount area still hammering away. (Ann Arbor Triathlon)

Above:  Another pic from dismount area (Ann Arbor Triathlon)

Above:  The finish line at Muncie.  I was ready to be done as you may be able to tell. (Muncie Endurathon)

Above:  Putting the hammer down in Muncie.  (Muncie Endurathon)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Muncie Endurathon Race Report

So, the Munie Endurathon is officially on the books.  My first ½ IM (for those of you not "in the know" that's 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run; half the distance of a full Ironman.  Thus, the ½ IM moniker) was a great experience and I am feeling great about it.  Here is the official "line" on the event (i.e. the important numbers):
 
bib number: 745
age: 26
gender: M
location: Holland, MI
overall place: 257 out of 698
division place: 25 out of 44
gender place: 219 out of 507
time: 5:27:15
pace: 0:
swim: 43:08
t1: 3:18
bike: 2:30:46
t2: 3:04
run: 2:07:01
penalty: 0:
 
So, first off… to point out a couple of the "highlights" from above I want to mention the following:
• My 2:30:46 bike time (22.3 MPH avg.) was strong enough to place me 81/698 overall on the bike.  This is certainly the "metric" from the race that I am most satisfied with.  
• I was officially 22 minutes and 15 seconds away from being able to qualify for the National Long Course Halfmax Championships.  This is a pretty huge time gap but definitely something that I may be able to achieve next year.  Obviously my "Achilles Heel" is the run and I probably need to focus a little more on the "speed work" in my training.
 
Here's the "brief" rundown of my day.  
 
Gwen and I drove down to Muncie on Friday afternoon/evening and got to the expo around 6ish.  We hung out for a little bit and checked things out but there wasn't anything that made me feel like sticking around for more than the 20 minutes that we did.  Following the expo/registration I had to go to a pre-race meeting where they covered the course, USAT rules, etc. etc.  The meeting was actually pretty informative and gave me a much better understanding of some of the frequently violated rules of the USAT (for instance the rules regarding overtaking and being overtaken on the bike).  After the meeting we went out to the Olive Garden where I absolutely stuffed myself.  Got back to the hotel around 9:30 and watched a little of the TdF recap for the day and went to bed by 11:00.
We woke up around 4:30 a.m. on Sat. and started to get ready for the day.  We were staying at the "official" race hotel so the breakfast was started early (at 5:00 a.m.) so that athletes could eat prior to heading out for the day.  I ate an English muffin, hard-boiled egg, and mini omelet figuring that I had plenty of time to digest it all before getting to the course (and I did).  We got to the course about an hour early and I had plenty of time to get set-up and make sure I was ready to go.  The weather was beautiful (it was mid-70's and the sky was clear) as I got into the line for my swim wave.  
 
At 7:15 a.m. (about 15 minutes after the first swim wave) my age group got into the water.  As we were standing there I realized just how long the 1.2 miles looked.  It was a little intimidating at the moment but I figured that there wasn't really anything that I could do about it.  When the horn went off and we all started to wade in and swim I was feeling pretty "tranquilo."  Luckily I was able to position myself fairly quickly into the first ½ of my age group.  This made it a lot easier and I wasn't getting kicked and jostled around as much because the weaker swimmers were behind me.  Most everyone in the front group swam a pretty straight line and sighted fairly well.  Because sighting is something that I'm not great (and to make it harder, I breathe to the left and all the buoys were to the right so I couldn't use them to sight from) at I figured my best option was to get alongside someone and use them as a pacer and to sight off of.  This worked really well for ¾ of the course.  When we hit the 2nd, and last, turn was when I started to have some issues.  At this point the faster swimmers from the age group waves behind us started to really have a presence.  In addition to this I was starting to catch a lot of the swimmers from the first group to start out and it got really crowded.  This had a kind of "traffic jam" effect and things slowed down a touch.  Thankfully, we didn't have to go very far in this scenario.  When I got to the exit zone I was feeling great.  
 
When I got into T1 I had the top ½ of my wetsuit off and was ready to go.  I ran into the bathrooms for a quick pit stop (not thinking about how nasty it was that I was barefoot in those porta-johns… *shiver runs down my spine*).  When I got to the bike racks I was able to get the wetsuit off much faster than I did in Ann Arbor and didn't waste anytime getting my bike shoes, helmet, etc. on.  Overall it took just over 3 minutes but I was happy with that because other than stopping for the bathroom I didn't feel like there was a lot of wasted time in there.
 
Coming out of T1 onto the bike course I was feeling pretty confident.  I had been told that the course was fairly flat and that you had a chance to really put the hammer down if you are strong on the bike.  One thing that most people didn't take into account was the fierce headwinds that were present throughout the course.  I think I could have averaged a solid 2 MPH faster average had the headwinds not been so dominant.  Anyway, I started out at a fairly slow pace.  I was trying to stay around 18-19 MPH to begin with but once I hit the "rails to trails" section of the course (about 5 miles in) I was feeling like I could push a little harder.  That section of course was easily the fastest for me.  I averaged probably around 28-29 MPH through there and was passing a TON of people.  From there we got out onto the highways (which were completely closed… very cool) for the remainder of the bike.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this post I did well overall on the bike and was able to pass a lot of people while also managing to avoid BEING passed.  And then it started to rain.  At about mile 49 the skies opened up and to quote Muncie's newspaper, The Star Press, there were, "torrential downpours on multiple occasions…"  This made the last 17 miles a little harder as it was extremely difficult to see at times with rain either getting behind my sunglasses or covering them completely so that I couldn't see out of them.  Despite this I was able to keep pushing on.  The last 10 miles of the course were awesome!  The roads were complete crap and the rain was probably as hard as it got all day (my bike shoes literally FILLED UP with water).  It felt like I was riding in Paris-Roubaix and it was crazy to see all sorts of people start to fade and crap out once the going got tough.  At any rate my focus had already shifted to the run…
 
I got to T2 and was definitely a little disappointed to find that my shoes, and socks, were completely soaked.  I knew that meant my feet were going to take a beating over the course of the 13.1 miles but figured there wasn't anything I could do about it.  
 
The rain was probably a blessing and a curse for me.  On the one hand it slowed me down on the bike due to limited visibility, big puddles, etc. etc.  However, it helped me out on the run by keeping me cool and keeping my heart rate down.  Despite the rain, I started to feel really "hot" internally by about mile 11.  The run course was basically a series of rolling hills with some flat spots intermingled throughout.  By the 2nd mile I wasn't even aware of the rollers (not to give the illusion that I was hauling ass or anything).  I got into a comfortable pace and started to plug away.  One thing that is disappointing to me is that I always save a little on the bike because I know that my run is so weak.  Had I pushed a little harder on the bike though, I feel that I could have been top 50 AND still have finished the run in the time I did.  In the end it wasn't my legs/lungs that hurt me on the run.  It was my feet.  I could feel a massive blister forming on the instep of my left foot and, sure enough, it WAS massive.  By mile 8 I was having hard time ignoring it and putting it out of my mind.  I had to stop and walk at several points because the chafing had gotten so bad.  So, lesson learned.  I need to make sure that I keep socks and shoes in zip lock bags (or something) while in transition.  At any rate… I pushed on through and when I hit the finish line just under 5:30:00 (which was the bottom end of my goal!) I was pretty pumped.  To top everything off Gwen had suffered through the rain and was standing there waiting for me at the finish line.  Again, I felt like bursting into tears because there was a huge wave of emotion that hit me… but more than anything I was just excited to see her and proud of myself for getting out there and doing well.
 
Overall the day was a success for me.  I finished under my goal time, felt strong throughout the day, felt that my nutrition was where it needed to be, and added another "distance" to my race accomplishments.  Yesterday and today I'm taking as recovery days and then it is back to the plan with my mind firmly set on IMKY.  It looks like I will more than likely be doing Steelhead at the beginning of next month although at that race I am not going to push the pace at all (look for an hour swim, 17-18 MPH avg. on the bike, and 11 minute miles on the run… just a long training day!).  Once I get some pictures I'll post them up!  Hope everyone is doing well.
 
Later on…
 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New (lengthy) Update....

The updates have been pretty spare over the last several weeks due to
an increase in my workload at the office, an increase in the hours
training, traveling for work, etc. etc.

That being said, it has been a productive time for me and I am excited
for this upcoming weekend during which I will have my first "real
test" of fitness this summer. I will be racing in the Munice
Endurathon ½ Ironman on Sat. and although I am nervous for it, I am
also pretty confident. I think that realistically I would like to
finish somewhere between 5 ½ - 05:45:00. That being said, ultimately
this is just another training day in pursuit of the "big day," August
30 (IMKY). This week has been fairly relaxed with the training as I
am focusing on tapering and heading into Sat. feeling 100% (I have to
be honest I am 150% sucked into the TdF right now too so it hasn't
been too bad not having long workouts at night).

Here's a quick recap of the highlights from the last several days. I
have been spending a lot of time in the pool and actually am starting
to "fall in love" with swimming all over again. My workouts have been
moving along quickly and I am continuing to maintain my fitness level.
Running has been so-so; I've had a couple of decent runs but overall
nothing impressive. On the 4th of July I celebrated with a nice
04:45:00 brick. I did about 04:15:00 on the bike and made it 80
miles. A little slower than I would have liked but I was happy since
I felt strong on the run following it. I realize now that my biggest
issue is going to be the run in each event I do this year. I peaked
WAY too early in my running fitness this year and then had a period
where I actually lost fitness… so, now, I'm slowly building back to
the level I was at. This means that I'm for sure going to be doing a
good amount of walking when it comes time for IMKY (and probably
Muncie as well). This is disappointing but in the end my goals have
ALWAYS been about finishing and losing some time on the run is a small
sacrifice to pay to make it to the finish line.

As IMKY draws nearer and nearer I'm finding myself COMPLETELY
OBSESSED. It is becoming the thing that is always in the front of my
mind, on the tip of my tongue, and haunting my dreams. I have had IM
related nightmares for nearly 2 weeks now (missing cut-off times,
getting lost on the course, taking too long in transition, etc. etc.)
and it has been difficult to put it out of my mind. In a way it was a
double edged sword for me to head down and ride the course. I gained
a lot of confidence and was able to see the fruits of my labor meaning
I felt strong on the bike, fit overall, and my nutrition plan worked
flawlessly. With all that in mind I think that I became a little
overconfident and haven't gotten as much out of my workouts since then
as I should have. I'm really looking forward to Muncie because I
think that it'll kind of snap me back into reality and whet my
appetite for some competition.

Another product of my IMKY craziness is that I am becoming extremely
focused on my 2010 plans. I think that this is an attempt (along with
obsessing about TdF, biking gear/components, all the new tri
apparel/toys, etc. etc.) to keep my mind occupied for the most part.
At this point I am thinking about the following and trying to
determine what will work out/be realistic:
• IMLP (Lake Placid is said to be one of the toughest IM courses in
the States, if not the toughest. A great test of fitness… something
that I would REALLY like to do. One of the most appealing things to
me is that it is a mid-season IM so you don't have to wait until the
end of summer. The downside… it's nearly impossible to get into so
unless I somehow get lucky and it doesn't sell out this weekend I may
be SOL)
• IM 70.3 St. Croix (All I have to say is… THE BEAST. Possibly the
toughest 70.3 out there and most certainly in the top 3 in terms of
difficult bike courses. Biggest benefit, it's in St. Croix and early
in the year.)
• Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 (Right around the corner (relatively
speaking) from home and I've only heard good things about the
inaugural Rev3 race in Connecticut. It's at the end of the season so
there is a lot of waiting…)
• Michigan Bike Racing Association races (I'm definitely going to
focus on the bike next summer… the question is how much. I'm not
exactly sure which races I'll focus on but find the opportunity very
appealing/interesting. I want to see how far I can take myself if I
were to focus on just 1 of the 3-D)

So… there's a lot to think about. We'll see how it all shakes out.
Obviously the main focus right now is on Louisville and August 30.
Send me a word or two of encouragement if you wish… or just wish me
luck in your head. I'll take all the help I can get!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This Week...

This last week was a big week for my training. I had a lot going on at work and was worried that I wasn't going to be able to fit in my scheduled workouts but I suppose that I did a decent job. Wed.-Sat. I was in Kentucky for work and as I mentioned before, I was able to ride the IMKY bike course on my way back home (Sat. morning-mid-morning). It was an AWESOME experience. I was really worried about the hills and what they were going to do to me but I handled them pretty well.

As far as weekly totals, I'm not sure how long/far I went in the pool or running because I didn't keep very good track of it (oops). However, here are the weekly "totals" for the bike followed by a quick breakdown of the ride on Sat:

Totals:
Bike: 3 rides, 08:23:29, 146.5 Miles

IMKY Course, 112.5 Miles, 18.0 MPH Avg., 41.2 MPH Max Speed, 92 Avg. Cadence, 120 Max Cadence, ride time 06:14:55

The ride: I met up with a couple of fellow BT'ers for the ride on Sat. morning (Garret, David, and Amy as well as Garret's friend Kenny). We took off at about 6:30 a.m. and started with a fairly casual 17 MPH pace. I was wondering why we were moving so "slow" at first but once we started hitting the hills I realized why you need to take it easy on the flats. The hills were non-stop, steep, and long. It was crazy but I absolutely loved it. Without overstating my own effort... I would say that I was definitely comfortable on the bike as well as the hills. The course consists of an out and back and two big loops through some really beautiful scenery. I was loving all the new sights and it kept my mind busy. The nice thing about riding a hilly course like this is that you are constantly thinking about how you are riding and you don't get lulled into a false sense of security. I really really enjoyed myself. After the ride we did a quick 30 minute brick run... well, for me it was more of a brick walk/run. I was feeling alright but the heat (it was in the 90's and very humid) was definitely getting to me and I didn't want to push it. I knew I had a long car ride ahead of me and I didn't want to either dehydrate myself or pull any muscles or anything that would make the boring car ride any longer. At any rate, I am feeling much more confident in my abilities now and am even more excited for IMKY. It's going to be a great event and I can only hope that the race goes as well as the ride did on Sat.! And for anyone who was wondering... yes, it was really really scary hitting 42MPH on the bike... fortunately, that will probably be the only time I hit that type of top speed on the course. During race day I highly doubt that I'll try going any faster than that (or near that) with a lot of other possibly squirrely bikers around me!

Alright, check back later this week!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Catching Up

Wow, I just thought about the fact that it has been a couple of weeks now since I have blogged. I figure now is a good time to give a quick update on what's been going on.

The last couple of weeks since the triathlon have been pretty busy. Gwen has been out to Oregon and back, we've done a lot of work around the house, and, of course, I've been training. Here are a couple of the bigger "highlights":

-swam 3200 M. in 01:10:00 at the pool. Felt good. They had the lanes at the pool set up as 50 M. lanes which made this a lot easier to do (less turning which makes me feel like a rat on a wheel).

-This Sat. I had a 03:00:00 brick. I rode for about 02:15:00 and was feeling pretty good. It was a lot hotter than it has been lately and it was nice to get out in the sun. I rode 50 miles and finished off with a 45 minute run. Definitely felt good when it was all said and done.

Other than that my workouts have been pretty basic. This weekend will be exciting because I will be in Louisville to ride the IMKY bike course. All 112 miles! I have to be in KY for work and it worked out that some BT folks will be riding the course on Sat. so I've hopped on board and am super pumped about it. Check back this weekend for pictures and a course report!

Wish me luck. IMKY is coming up fast and the Muncie Endurathon is only 3 weeks away! Time is flying by!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ann Arbor Triathlon Race Report

This morning was the "official" beginning to my triathlon season.  Once again Gwen and I found ourselves on the east side of the state for a race.  The triathlon was held at the Pinckney Recreation Area just outside of Ann Arbor.  When we woke up this morning in Ann Arbor it was thundering and lightning and I was pretty worried that the race was going to be delayed and/or cancelled but by the time we got out to the rec. area the sky had cleared and it looked like beautiful weather for a triathlon!  This tri was a sprint with the following distances:
  • Swim- 1/2 mile
  • Bike- 14 miles
  • Run- 5 miles on the Potowatami Trail
There were just under 400 participants who raced the triathlon and another couple of hundred that participated in the duathlon.  Compared to the other races that I've done this one definitely seemed more competitive.  There was a strong showing from U of M's triathlon team, MSU's triathlon team, etc. etc.  All in all it was a really well run event (Elite Endeavors were the organizers and I highly recommend checking out some of their upcoming races) on a well put together course.


Pictured Above:  My wave coming in from the swim (green caps)

To break everything down I'll start with some stats.  My finish time was 01:44:25.  That was good enough to put me 14/28 in the Male 25-29 age group and 120/368 overall.  Here is a breakdown of each individual leg:
  • Swim- 00:15:57 (14th in age group, 134th overall)
  • T1- 00:04:14 (really long here.  I was having trouble getting out of my wetsuit and into my tri top... more on this later)
  • Bike- 00:39:43/ 21.1 mph (8th in age group, 54th overall... puts me in the top 15% of all bikers! )
  • T2- 00:01:42 (again, really long.  For some reason I'm very slow in transition)
  • Run- 00:42:52/00:08:35 minute miles (17th in age group, 159th overall)
A couple of interesting (at least I think) notes on the race and the above.  I was in the bottom 1/3 of my age group in terms of transition times.  Had I been able to cut 3 minutes overall (this should have been easy to do) I would have ended up 3 or 4 spots higher. 


Pictured Above: T1.  Wetsuit off, helmet on, having trouble getting my gloves on.


Pictured Above:  T1.  Why was I slow?  To answer that I'll ask another question... why did I feel the need to fold up my wetsuit and reposition it several times before taking off?

 My bike time would actually have been a little faster than the above however as I crossed the timing mat with my bike out of T1 I noticed that my chain had fallen off.  I took a little bit to get it back on and then get on my bike and take off.  My bike computer actually read closer to 22 mph.  


Pictured Above:  Coming in off the bike... feeling good.

Finally, my run... I missed a couple of the aid stations and was hurting a little (started to cramp) because I hadn't taken in any fluids throughout the race (outside of a couple of sips of water on the bike).  This was dumb.  I feel like I could have been a lot more comfortable had I gotten some water and this probably would have led to a bit quicker time.  The run was on a really nice trail and I was happy to have a chance to run through the woods and up some hills... made for a nice finish.


Pictured Above:  Crossing the line.  Feeling great!

Overall I'm really happy with my effort out there today.  I think I could have done a little better job overall with transitions, etc. and I probably would have cracked the top 10 in my age group.  I was super happy on the bike... felt very strong.  There wasn't a single person who passed me on the bike and I feel like I was definitely in that group of stronger bikers (I feel like being faster than 85% of the field is an indication of this) and that is for sure the biggest thing I can walk away with.  Like I said, it was a great "training day" for me and as always I learned more about the sport and what not to do/what to do.

Oh, I forgot to mention... I was one of 2 dudes who rocked the speedo only tri.  The other guy was in his 60's or 70's... I think he may have actually looked better in his.  Anyway, the Whisper Cycles speedo is pretty hot aye?  Hope everyone had a great weekend and thanks for checking in!  Later on...





Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Last Weekend (May 29-May 31)

This last weekend was a big one for Gwen and I. Gwen ran her second 10K of the year in Ann Arbor, and I got in some decent workouts.

The Dexter-Ann Arbor was Gwen's 2nd 10K of the year. We left on Sat. afternoon and headed to Ann Arbor where we stayed with Gwen's cousin, Christina, who was also running (she ran the 1/2 Mary in a very fast 01:44:00!). Sat. evening we were able to catch up with some of the crew from Wilmot... woot woot, and then it was off to bed (after watching the Wings win Game 1!!!). Sun. morning we woke up early and I drove Gwen and Christina to the start line where they had to catch buses to drive them out to their respective start lines. After that I worked my way towards the finish line and set up camp in the PERFECT spot for some sweet finish line photos... unfortunately, as luck would have it, I MISSED GWEN as she crossed the line!!! I still don't know how this happened but she finished in 01:06:00 and we were definitely excited! Post race Gwen went and got a massage (which I should mention was one of the many great "perks" of this race. Very well run. Huge turnout, lots of spectators, etc. etc. Can't say enough about it...). Following the massage we made our way back to the finish line just in time to see Christina cross! Overall it was definitely a successful trip.

After my ride/swim on Fri. I was definitely still pumped. On Sat. prior to leaving I went out for my "long run" of the weekend. I was out for 01:1500 total and my goal was to run negative splits. I BARELY did this, but was super happy with the workout anyway. I did a big loop along Lake Macatawa and towards Lake MI. It was a beautiful day for this with awesome weather. On my way out I ran 3.4 miles in exactly 30 minutes which put me at 8:47 per mile. On the way back in I ran 4.01 miles in 35 minutes which is 8:43 per mile. Add in the time I took to stop and buy a gatorade along the way and you get my 01:15:00. Despite the fact that the "negative" in my negative splits was so small that it was almost non-existent, I was happy to have it. By the time I showered, packed, and ate... we were ready to go.

Sun. when we got home from Ann Arbor I was dead tired. Gwen and I both fell asleep on the couch until like 6 pm. I was pretty bummed at that point b/c I had a 03:00:00 Brick planned and figured I would scrap it. BUT I decided that I needed to get it in so to make it more "efficient" I set up the bike on the trainer and decided to do the run on the treadmill. It worked awesome! I put in a big effort and my reward was how great I felt post-workout. I even did some simulated climbing which really felt great (about 25 minutes worth when it was all said and done). I felt awesome on the run (which was 30 minutes long... after 2 1/2 hours on the bike).

So, that was the weekend in a nutshell. My first official triathlon is this upcoming weekend in Ann Arbor and I'm super excited for it. Check back this week as I have a couple of "new" workouts which should be interesting.

Thanks for all the support. Hope everyone is doing well.

Later on...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday... the new Sat.

Last week I was officially cut back to 4 days at work which means that Thurs. is the new Fri.!  This is a short term deal but I'm taking advantage of the new found time to get some stuff done around the house and, of course, to get some longer workouts in.

Today I woke up to our new refrigerator being delivered.  My brothers came over to help me move it in this evening and let's just say that the installation was not without incident.  That being said, I got it in finally and now we have ice cubes again!  Besides putting the fridge in I spent some QT in my yard this afternoon mowing, raking, etc.  So now my triathlete's lawn is not so "triathleteish."  The bigger part of my day consisted of my workouts...

This morning I headed over to the pool for a big swim.  My plan called out for a 3100 M swim broken down into the following:

-6x50 M. each 25 increasing in pace.
-The following at T-Pace:
  • 100
  • 200
  • 300
  • 400
  • 500
  • 400
  • 300
  • 200
  • 100
-300 M. easy to cool down 

Because I have been slacking in the pool lately I upped the ante a little and did 1000M to cool down instead of 300 which put me at 3800M total... which is just over 2.3 miles.  Definitely a great workout.  From there I hopped on the bike and went out for an hour long ride.  Here are my bike computer metrics:

Time- 01:00:00
Avg. Cadence- 93
Avg. MPH- 21.3

This was my first ride in the big chain ring (for the most part) and I was able to keep a decently high cadence which meant that my avg. MPH were higher!  I was really happy with this ride and felt comfortable throughout.

Tomorrow is a 03:00:00 Brick and I'm looking forward to getting in a really good workout to start the weekend.  Gwen and I are heading to Ann Arbor for the weekend as she will be running in the Dexter to Ann Arbor race on Sunday.  She's doing the 10K and I'm really excited for her!

Alright... that's all for now.  I need to relax a minute!!!!

Hope everyone is well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tight Leg!

Laying here watching the Magic vs. Cavs and my left calf got super tight on me. Luckily Gwen was willing to play masseuse for me tonight and is working on the huge lump in my leg. Definitely a result of training on Sun. and Mon. which I suppose means that I was working hard enough.

Yesterday I went out in the morning with the Mon. Night Ride group. We headed south towards Saugatuck/Fennville and had a nice little ride. My bike computer read:

Total Distance: 41.3 miles
Avg. Mph: just under 19 MPH
Avg. Cadence: 88

After the ride I went out for a quick run. I was out for about 20 minutes and ran just under 3 miles. Considering the effort already in my legs from the ride I was pretty happy. Following the Brick Gwen and I spent some q-time with her family in Saugatuck and then saw Ryan and Ali before heading home for the night.

On Sun. I had my "long run." I ran for just under an hour and went between 7 and 8 miles. I was feeling great and despite the hot weather I finished strong. Following the run I went out to the local disc golf course to hit the links with the boys (Nick, Will, and Ryan). Had a lot of fun and definitely want to make it out again soon. We'll see how it goes!

Today I used as a rest day and plan on getting back to it tomorrow. My first official triathlon of the year is in just about 2 weeks and I'm curious to see how it's going to go. Either way it'll be nice to see the fruit of my labor.

On a separate note I have some exciting stuff going on with my bike and Whisper/Jade cycles. Once everything is all said and done I'll post some pictures. Gwen has been loving her new Jade and is getting used to riding a road bike. Pretty soon we'll have her out in the group ride! Also, Gwen starts training for the Chicago Marathon soon! She'll be running the marathon for the Girls on the Run Solemates program and we're both really excited about it! I'll keep you posted on her progress and any news that she may have.

I've been watching the Giro d'Italia consistently online and I have to say that watching bike racing is quickly becoming one of my favorite spectator sports. Todays was a rest day but we'll see what tomorrow holds.

That's all for now. Keep checking back... Whisper/Jade uni's will be in this week and once they're in I'll post some pics... they're sweet!!!

Hope everyone is doing well.

Later.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gwen's New Bike!


I had mentioned awhile back that for Gwen's graduation I bought her a couple of gifts.  Yesterday I was finally able to give her the 2nd gift that I had bought... her first road bike!  Yesterday afternoon we went into Jade/Whisper Cycles and she got fitted for her new ride.  Gwen isn't super comfortable on a bike so this gift was probably more "for me" than for her but I'm really excited to get her out on the road and riding.  There is a church down the road from us that has a massive parking lot that is set up really well for a short circuit course and that's where we'll be heading to get her started.  Below you'll find pictures of the bike... green is her favorite color and Jim hooked it up with the cool silver decals.  





So... this gift was definitely a little "selfish" for me to buy (especially since I have a pair of shoes that fits the pedals... but that's purely coincidence).  Based on that I decided to also give her another gift.  This is something that I had been planning on giving her for awhile and it seemed like the perfect occasion... 



So, ladies... which would you want?  I already told Gwen that between these two gifts I think I have the next couple of years worth of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. covered... we'll see how that works out though.  I figured worst case scenario I've at least set myself up to build up a bike or two someday!!!

Training this weekend is going to be good.  Today I was supposed to get out on a 2 HR. Brick but instead ended up on the couch (after watching the Giro online) taking a 2 HR. nap.  Looks like last night we ended up staying out a little too late.  With a bunch of our friends back in town for the holiday it's pretty hard to motivate and get out training alone but this is a big weekend for me and I need to make sure to stick to it.  That being said, because of today's missed workout I'll be bumping my "recovery day" on Mon. out of the schedule and replacing it with either the Brick I missed today or tomorrow's scheduled long run.  All in all it was worth it to have some rest today and then have a great dinner with Gwen and my Phil (my father-in-law) for Phil's birthday.  Tomorrow I'm planning on getting out early to do my workout and then in the afternoon we have lunch for my Grandma's birthday and then I'm going disc golfing with my boys Nick and Ryan... very excited for this.  That means tonight I need to be a little smarter about how much imbibing I do (always difficult when everyone is in town).  Loving life though...

Hope that everyone else is doing well.  

Later on...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ride of Silence Today

Today is the Ride of Silence which, as some of you may know, is a slow paced ride to honor cyclists injured or killed on public roadways. This is a really neat cause and I would really, really encourage anyone who has a local ride to get out and support/ride along tonight. Check out their website @ www.rideofsilence.org

This is eerily topical as this afternoon I just read an article from a local Grand Rapids news source that spoke about a cyclist killed by a city dump truck in GR this morning. Really sad news...

Alright, just wanted to give an FYI on this as it is a really important and good cause.

Training this week is going alright. I'm feeling good and have a lot of different "irons in the fire" that I'm excited to post about(new gear/equipment, Gwen's big surprise, etc. etc.). Hopefully I'll have some time to share more this week. Until then hope everyone is doing well.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, May 17, 2009

MI Beginner Triathlete Training Day at ILRA

Alright, first and foremost... today was awesome!  Gwen and I had a blast out in Brighton at the Island Lake Recreation Area with a bunch of other folks from Beginner Triathlete.  The weather was beautiful (a little chilly but pleasant) and there was a great turnout... around 20 people.  Here's a group pic... I'm on the far right squinting.  Makes me look like Sloth from "The Goonies."



There were two "courses" set up for the day; Sprint and Olympic.  In addition to that people were doing all sorts of things; aqua-bike, duathlon, run only, bike only, etc. etc.  I chose the Olympic Distance course and although we didn't have an "official" clock I came in somewhere around 2 1/2 hours.  Granted, there were a couple of stops in there and T-1 and T-2 took about 15 minutes total... but I was still pretty happy with the time.

To start the training off we all jumped into Spring Mill Pond.  Most of us were wearing wetsuits although there were a couple of brave souls that went sans protection and toughed it out.  The water was probably 55-60 degrees which isn't so bad when you consider that the air temperature was about 50 degrees.  At any rate, I came prepared with a wetsuit... and despite it being the first time that I've swam in a wetsuit I felt very strong.  Gwen told me that I was looking quite strong... but she's my wife and she's supposed to say that type of thing (just like my Mom telling me I was the cutest boy in school).  I was a little worried pre-swim about having a tough time adjusting to the fit/feel of the wetsuit while swimming but it wasn't bad at all.  I had one brief moment where I felt like I was having a hard time getting air but it passed quickly and I stayed calm throughout.  Below is a picture Gwen took of me getting out of the water and heading to T-1:



It's been a long time since I've come out of the water and hopped on the bike and it took me a minute to gather my legs (and wits) about me before heading out for the 24 mile ride.  Once I got out on the road I was feeling great and it was a really nice course.  It was basically a circuit with some decent little hills and chances to pick up some speed on the flats.  There were a TON of roadies out while we were riding and it definitely seems like a good place to get out and train... if it were closer than 2 1/2 hour away.  It was great to see a seemingly strong biking community and it was cool because there were a lot of people who noticed the Whisper and asked about it.  Hey, what can I say... if it looks good, rides good, you know it's good!  Coming off the bike I was feeling a little tired but was definitely ready to run.  Here's a pic Gwen took of me in T-2:



After I took some time throwing my shoes on and making sure I was ready to go Gwen joined me for the run!  We set out at a steady pace and made our way back out onto the course.  Again, I can't say it enough how impressed I was with the course today.  A big up to Coop from BT for taking the time to scout the course out and make sure we had the right distances to make this enjoyable for a wide variety of folks.  Gwen and I made it 4.6 miles (1.6 miles shorter than the official Olympic distance... but it was a great run nonetheless!).  After the run we took a minute to say goodbye to everyone and then were on our way!  It was a really great way to end the weekend and I would definitely encourage anyone who hasn't checked out Beginner Triathlete to do so.  It's a great resource with a lot of great people.

So, next week doesn't hold anything as exciting as this weekend but I'm looking forward to building off of what I accomplished this week.  I'm definitely going to try to get out and do some more OWS (open water swim) in the near future.  I much prefer it to swimming laps in the pool... but I don't think there are many who DO prefer the pool.

Hope everyone had a great weekend...

Later on...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big Weekend

This weekend is shaping up to be a big one.  Today I did a TT on the track at the middle school down the road and then a 10 mile TT on the bike.  The winds were hellacious today but I was happy to see small improvements overall.  Tomorrow I will be heading towards Brighton with Gwen to train with some fellow MI Bt'ers (beginnertriathlete.com).  There will be a sprint distance and olympic distance course mapped out and we're all going to head out and get a nice day in!  I'm really excited about this as it will give me an opportunity to break in my wetsuit as well as do my first triathlon of the year.  I'll throw up a post tomorrow reviewing it and will have some great pictures I'm sure.  

This week was a decent week overall.  My total hours were down for the week because of the "testing" that was called for in the plan and this was a welcome change.  My allergies have been killing me lately and it doesn't seem like the medication I'm on is doing anything.  There is a constant "tickle" or soreness in my throat/chest and it is driving me absolutely nuts.  That on top of a constantly stuffy nose makes for lovely training days... at any rate, I'm hoping that it will either get better or that I'll get used to it in the near future.

I set my T-Time in the pool again this week.  I dropped 10 seconds overall from my time which equals a 1 second drop in the t-time.  I'm sitting at 00:01:44 right now.  The pool that I swim at has been closed (or has changed hours) the last couple of weeks to accommodate some work that has been going on so I haven't been in the pool as much as I would have liked.  Because of this, I'm pretty satisfied with my new time.

This morning I woke up and jumped onto the internet to watch the Giro d'Italia.  I'm glad that coverage is available online but kind of bummed out that the American networks aren't covering it at all.  Anyway, I watched that and then got ready for my running time trial.  I may have explained this before but basically I run 3 miles on the track and log the time it takes for each mile.  My time this week improved by over 10 seconds from the TT last month so I was pretty happy about that.  Here's the breakdown:

Mile 1- 7:20
Mile 2- 7:22
Mile 3- 7:25
Overall- 22:07

I'm still running a little slower than I want to be at this point.  The main thing that I am concerned about is that I have a really hard time running negative splits unless I really back off on the first mile.  This is something that I'm going to have to continue to work on.

The 10 mile TT on the bike was done about an hour and a half after the run.  Typically I break these types of "testing" days into two separate workouts (at least that is what my plan calls for) but because of the tri tomorrow in Brighton I smushed them into one day.  This may have had an affect on the overall time on the bike but I think that the biggest factor in my time today was the hellacious winds.  On my way out I had a vicious crosswind that was pushing me all over.  On the way back in the crosswind became a headwind.  Overall, my time was about half a minute faster than it was last month... so again, considering the conditions, I was pretty happy.  Here's the breakdown:

Time- 00:29:21
Avg. MPH- 20.5
Avg. Cadence- 93

So... that's it for now.  One more thing though... yesterday Gwen signed us up to volunteer at the Girls on the Run Celebration 5K.  It was cold, windy, and rainy and I didn't really want to do it but once we got out there it was a blast!  What an awesome, awesome, organization GOTR is.  Those girls were so happy to be running the 5K... and it was crazy to see them do it!  These are 3-5 grade girls (the majority)!!!! Over 500 participants showed up yesterday and it was worth it to cheer them all on.  On a side note I saw a lot of familiar faces there as Jade/Whisper Cycles was providing support on the bikes.  They did leadout/follow-up for the girls.  At any rate, it was really cool and I was excited to be a part of it (even for only 1 day).  Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Check back tomorrow evening for the MI BT Tri post!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Brick... (and the Speedo Debut!)



Above Left: Pre-Brick
Above Right: Hour 1



Above Left: Hour 3
Above Right: Out of the Saddle and Climbing!



Above: Post-Run, Hour 4.  Happy Mother's Day!

Hope all the Mom's out there had a great Mother's Day today!  Today's workout was a tough one but it was totally worth it.  Not only did I do my longest brick to date but I was also able to work on my nutrition (although today will probably fall into that "what not to do" category).  Also, the speedo made it's debut.  Ladies and small children... please avert your eyes!

To begin, wearing the speedo was a little odd to say the least.  Truth be told, I've never worn a Speedo prior to today's brick.  It felt strange at first but I had to get over that pretty quick as I kept telling myself that I'll be rocking the speedo only tri in less than a month.  I'm thinking maybe I'll have to tan before that... look at how crazy white my legs are!  Anyway, once I was sure that everything is in place, and wasn't leaving, I hopped on the bike and got to work.

Because my speed sensor is attached to my front fork I wasn't able to get a speed or mileage readout for this workout.  That was a little disappointing since this was my longest ride of the year and I would have liked to have known where I was at distance-wise but I guess it was on the trainer so it would have all been relative anyway.  Anyway, the metric I used while riding was my cadence.  My goal was to stay above 90 RPM for the entire ride and I was able to do so with a couple of brief exceptions.  The ride itself wasn't very hard but the fact that I was doing it on the trainer made it pretty boring after the first hour.  To keep myself motivated I threw on the Ironman 25th Anniversary DVD.  Riding while watching these DVD's is such a great experience... it's like you are constantly reminded of why you're on the bike.  Once that finished I threw on some music and rode, rode, rode some more.  Gwen was around to keep me company for the last 45 minutes or so and it made things a lot easier!

Following the ride Gwen and I went out for a 30 minute run.  I was really, really surprised at how good my legs felt.  When we started out it felt as though I hadn't been riding at all!  We made our way over to the local middle school track and ran a couple of miles each.  I was feeling really good and today has been a huge confidence booster for me!

The one thing that I learned today was that although my aspirations may be to be an Ironman... my stomach will probably never be "iron."  Today I decided to try using Accelerade instead of my normal 50/50 Gatorade/Water mix.  Instead, I mixed in one scoop of Accelerade per 12 oz. of water.  My plan was to drink one bottle of water for each hour of the workout.  In addition to this I took one packet of GU each hour.  The first 2 1/2 hours went great but after that I started to have some major GI issues.  I'm guessing that what I did wrong was to consume the Accelerade too fast.  The first 2 hours I spread it throughout... However, the last 2 hours I basically slammed it.  There was basically an immediate effect.  Each time after that anytime I took a drink or used GU I felt like I had to run to the bathroom.  It definitely made for an interesting end to the training.  In the end, I was able to control everything but I know for the future that I really need to spread out the Accelerade.  Surprisingly, I didn't mind the flavor of it too much... which I figured that I would but it works great!  I definitely feel like I noticed the "power" that I get when I use nutrition in the right way!

Alright... this week should shape up to be a good one.  I'm really excited as I think that Team Uniforms for Jade/Whisper Cycles will be in at the end of this week and I will be able to unveil the new speedo (the special Whisper Cycles speedo) in conjunction with the new uniforms!  There will also be plain old tri shorts which I plan on wearing more than the Speedo... so friends/family/acquaintances don't worry!  Don't run and don't be scered.  And, for the record... I would like to say that Nick Gerrits totally hit the nail on the head when he made fun of me for starting a blog.  He called it out that eventually there would be a day when suddenly pictures of me in a speedo came online... unfortunately, he is so right!

Alright all... hope the weekend was good.  

Later on!

(oh... and two more things... or, three more things: 
1.  if you haven't already... go out and buy Ben Folds Presents: University a Capella!
2.  why the heck isn't there coverage of the Giro d'Italia in the States?
3  it's Mother's Day for goodness sake... make your Momma proud and buy a Whisper!  www.whispercycles.com 


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2 Days of Riding...

So I tweaked my training schedule a touch this week to accommodate the Jade/Whisper group ride tonight. In the end I think it will have been worth it especially b/c tomorrow it's supposed to rain.

Here are the readouts from my computer for the last two rides:

05/05/09- time 00:56:27, distance 18.8, avg. mph 20.0, max mph 29.5, avg. cadence 94

05/06/09- time 01:39:06, distance 32.8, avg. mph 19.9, max mph 32.4, avg. cadence 93

This week has been pretty good and I'm looking forward to finishing the week out strong. It has been crazy busy around Holland this week b/c of Tulip Time. Luckily this has meant that the roads that I bike have been less busy lately. Hopefully the same will be true at the gym/pool this week as well.

In other exciting news it looks like Gwen may have some hot prospects for a job coming up so we are pretty excited about that. All in all, things are going really well.

Thanks for checking in. More later!

Later on...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend Workouts

This weekend was a great confidence builder for me.  After a lot of trepidation about whether or not I would be on, or near, form I was able to prove to myself that I'm still making progress.  As I have mentioned over and over and over this week... this was the first week that I was back on my training plan. 

I had mentioned earlier that I was going to post some of the information that I went over with my nutritionist... and then, I failed to post it.  That being said, I learned a lot of good stuff from her and feel like it has really helped my energy levels and recovery times so far this week.  Basically, the long and short of it was that I found out that I haven't been eating enough.  I have been letting my body get nutritionally deficient during the day and then when night time rolls around I'm looking to pound down as much food (especially Gummi Bears and Jelly Bellys lately) as I can.  By tweaking my eating schedule and learning about which foods will help me "carbo load" I've been able to avoid this type of semi "binge" eating this week.  I've also been practicing my race nutrition and this weekend was the first big test for me.  I used 50/50 Gatorade/Water mix and Gu gels on the bike and felt great throughout.  Again, I didn't have to binge post-workout because I didn't let my body go "deficient" during the workout.  So that's it for nutrition for now, on to the workouts...

Yesterday I did a nice 03:15:00 Brick.  It was AWESOME!  Here is the readout from my bike computer for my ride yesterday:  ride time- 02:56:05, distance- 55.7 miles, avg. MPH- 18.9, max MPH- 33.0 (that was on a flat stretch too!), avg. Cadence- 93.  Like I said, I felt great to get out and do that distance on the bike and also be able to practice nutrition, check out some new routes, etc. etc.  Post ride I went for a QUICK run.  I spent 20" running around the block and went about 1.7 miles.  My legs felt great and my lungs/heart felt good too.  Overall the day was a real boost for me.  As the weather is getting better I'm looking forward to having a lot more days like this.

Today I went out for an 01:20:00 in the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  Again, it was a really awesome day.  This was my first long day in the Dunes this year and it felt good to push myself.  I love the SDSP because there is a lot of hill work, loose sand, dunes to run up, and BEAUTIFUL views.  Today was the perfect day to get out and let loose.  I started out on the trails that I run all the time and just went.  I ended up picking up a deer trail and just following that until I got lost.  It was a really cool feeling to just be able to get lost out in the woods following this deer trail until I hit the road.  Once I hit the road I was relieved to see I hadn't gone TOO far out of my way and I spent the last half hour of the run on the road.  It was a really nice way to end the run and I realized again how lucky I am to live in this area where there is a lot of really great scenery to occupy your mind while training.  

Looking forward to the start of another week.  This upcoming weekend is the annual 5/3 River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, MI.  I wasn't planning on doing this race but am thinking about going for it now.  It's a 25K and I've run portions of the course before... we'll see if I end up doing it or not.  I'm a month away from the Ann Arbor Tri.  My official race uniform is 50% completed... I have the much talked about Speedo and now am just waiting on my Whisper Tri Top.  It sounds like my Whisper Uniforms will be in, in a couple of weeks and I can't wait.  I'll post pics of the new kit when it arrives... who knows, maybe the Speedo will even make it's way onto the blog... I apologize ahead of time!

Alright, hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!