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!