Friday, December 11, 2009


12:22 1000yd Time Trail 1-14-2013

12:46 1000yd Time Trial 1-22-2012
3:46/3:45/3:44 (3x300yd with 30 sec RI) 1-19-2012


Personal Best:
MAF 6:35 (2010)
MAF-10bpm 7:06 (2010)

7:06 147bpm ave; 13 miles (track) MAF-10bpm 8-14-2010 warm/85 degrees
6:50 155bpm ave; 8 miles (track) MAF 5-28-2010 warm/hot 77 degrees
6:35 157bpm ave; 9 miles (track) MAF 5-6-2010
7:35 142bpm ave: 5 miles (treadmill 1 incline) MAF-10bpm 5-07-2010
6:35 156bpm ave; 4 miles (track) MAF 4-28-2010
7:47 145bpm ave; 60 minutes (treadmill 1 incline)MAF-10bpm 01-22-2010

12:45 Swim 1000yd TT 12-05-10 (Adrienne did the same)

Bike 135bpm (May)

2009 (MAF-10bpm)
7:24 145bpm ave; 60 minutes (treadmill 0 incline)MAF-10bpm 12-11-2009
7:30 145bpm ave; 2 miles (track) 7-2009

6:49 155bpm ave; 4 miles (track) MAF 8-13-2008
6:56 155bpm ave; 4 miles (track) MAF 6-02-2008
7:00 155bpm ave; 3 miles (track) MAF 4-20-2008
7:44 156bpm ave; 4 miles (track) MAF 1-10-2008

7:09 156bpm ave; 1 mile (track) MAF 4-07-2007

MAF Triathlon Run Racing Guidelines:
HIM = 15-20 seconds under MAF pace is good
IM = MAF-10bpm pace is what's possible for an IM run

Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 Additional Thoughts

At the request of a friend, I've been asked to analyze my racing schedule in relation to my desired outcome. If my desire is to PR the IM, then I might need to reconsider my current race schedule. If my desire is to win a bunch of local races most of which are short-course, then I might be setting myself up for a good IM but nothing stellar. This led me to look at what other successful Wisconsin athletes have done to peak for an IM.

The fastest non-pro in Wisconsin is Thomas Brunold. This is how his IM career has played out:

2004 - Marathon (2:35); IMWI (9:12); IMKONA (9:49)
2005 - Marathon (2:31); 20K (1:06)
2006 - Marathon (2:46); HIM (4:14); IMWI (9:38)
2007 - IMWI (9:14); IMKONA (9:12)
2008 - IMWI (9:20)
2009 - 20K (1:15); Syttenda Mai (2:01); IMWI 9:31

And that's it. The guy only shows up to race IM and usually one or two long distance running races. Interesting. Lets look at his protege Joe Kurian. I included only the relevant races:

2001 - IMLP (11:53 or 11:04)
2003 - IMWI (10:34)
2004 - IMKONA (12:02)
2005 - Marathon (2:33); IMWI (10:42)
2007 - Marathons (2:31; 2:39)
2008 - Marathon (2:39); 20KM (1:06); IMWI (9:39)
2009 - Marathon (2:39); 20KM (1:10); IMWI (9:10); IMKONA (10:02)

Another to look at is Terry Labinski, long-time fast guy in Wisconsin. His fastest year was 2003. Let's look at the number of races he did that year and the distances:

2003 - Odd distance tri; 3 HIMS; 1 Sprint tri; IMWI (9:23)

Next is Scott Bowe who did a lot of racing leading up to IMWI in September 2006, then over the next seven months until IMAZ in April 2007, did only four running races to have a breakthrough race and qualify for Kona:

2006 - IMWI (10:26)
2007 - 15K; 15K; 10K; 5K; then IMAZ (9:46)

Finally, lets look at up and comer Jeff Tarkowski from Green Bay. He seems to follow the Brunold Approach: only two races a year both of which are triathlons.

2007 - IMAZ (10:10); HIM (4:30)
2008 - IMAZ (9:54); HIM (4:18)
2009 - HIM (4:01); HIM (3:54); IMAZ (9:36)

On the other hand, I can think of a number of guys who continuely crumble at IM distance but rock the short-course stuff. There certainly seems to be a dividing line between HIM and IM.

Why are these athletes racing so little? I suspect its because they trade the short-lived glories of winning multiple short-course races for the long-term benefits of getting another high volume workout in. With Ironman dependent more upon stamina than quickness, it makes sense to prioritize the season that way. Add in the responsibilities of work and family, one finds it too difficult to get in the necessary long workouts during the week hence the weekend is too valuable for training to be wasted away by a short-course race.

This limited amount of evidence suggests that I need to reconsider my 2010 strategy. I didn't sign up again for IMWI to simply participate. The Brunold Approach of doing only one race, IMWI, is extreme. I would love to hear his rationale behind it. I suspect that his teaching & working schedule might be some of the reason. Another might be that with an Olympic background, he has a natural inclination for focusing on one big "A" each year as a matter of personal experience. Besides an IM is so long that the technicalities of fast transitions is irrelevant. You simply have to slug your way across 140.6 miles. Additionally, when reviewing the front of the pack IM racers at the international scene, especially the pros, one sees a complete dedication to the distance. The local races are seen as low-key opportunities for weekend warriors infected with the triathlon bug to participate in the sport; mere diversions from the task at hand for serious IM racers. Initially, I saw such non-participation at the local races as elitism by Wisconsin's fastest IM racers and it really turned me off. But now, I'm beginning to see things differently. I'm convinced that the unfortunate promixity of many highly enjoyable triathlon races here in Wisconsin are too close to IMWI for proper race execution. Expect to see me a lot less at the local racing scene this year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009 Whistlestop Half Marathon

October 2009
Whistlestop Half Marathon
Ashland, WI

Matthew Amman
1:21:25 (6:12 pace)
7th Overall

Good race considering it was 22 degrees and the seven hour drive to get there the night before caused havoc to my right hamstring. I was hoping to go a few minutes faster but still chalk it up as a good performance. I held fairly strong at 6:00/mile until mile eight when the leg started complaining and I had to stop and stretch it out a few times.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 End of the Year

2009 In Review

I spent most of the year following my own advice, but I did add in the bike tips of Zach Ruble, an IM pro who many might know from slowtwitch as BigZach. After Ironman Wisconsin in 2008, I knew I needed to work towards achieving a deep bike base again but wanted a stronger high-end (threshold). Zach recommended some early season biking at Zone 4 then mid-season a weekly dose of Zone 3 work (3x30 min/2x45min /1x90min). As for IM prep, he recommended German-styled 5hr/3hr bike rides. It proved beneficial. I'll be doing it again for next year. This year I was inclined to add a run after them ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. I'll be dropping that down to 15 minutes. The key, as I see it, is getting the bike section to be a high quality workout. Saving something for the run afterwards is likely counter-productive.

As expected, I coasted on my swimming ability. As long as I could get to the pool 3 times per week I was happy. I spent most of it swimming 200-500's with a weekly set of 100's(Base 1)/200's(Base 2)/300's(Base 3) at IM race pace (1:17/100yd).

Running was not much different. I made sure to get in 3-5 runs per week with one long run that progressively got longer. My longest run was 2.75 hr and I ran 5 times over 2 hours this year. Most of the run work was done in upper zone 1/lower Zone 2 (135-140 bpm). The pace usually was 7:30-8:00.

The highs were that I won a lot of races this year. My early triathlon dreams still lingered with me this year: to win J-Hawk Early Bird and Camp Whitcomb Mason. I managed to win both.

1st J-Hawk Early Bird Triathlon
1st Camp Whitcomb Mason Triathlon
1st South Milwaukee Tinman Triathlon
1st Stevens Point YMCA Lactic Edge Triathlon
1st LaCrosse YMCA Got Energy Triathlon

2nd Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon
3rd Tri-ing for Children Olympic Triathlon

56th IM Louisville

The lows were getting hit by a car, not finishing Triple T because of another bike crash, and competing at a different Ironman venue that I thought would suit my strengths (swim, bike) but found otherwise.

What I learned this year:
I was physically sharper then ever before. Most of the improvements are from simply training another year. This was my fourth year, third serious year of training. The minor changes in my yearly training program did address some my specific performance limiters. The changes in bike workouts, the 2 week versus 3 week taper, and doing lots of early season long bike rides proved beneficial when looking at race results.

To improve I need to make one big change. I recognize that competitive swimming from age 8 to 22 got me to the front end for triathlon's swim portion. As for the bike, that required 3 dedicated years of high volume and some intensity. And now, it's time to work on my running. I'm making two changes in my run training. First, I'll run in the middle to upper end of Zone 2 (6:50-7:45). Too often, I floated on the lower end (7:30-7:55 pace). It was fairly apparent when running with Scott Bowe or Chris Wichert that when running alone I was going too easy. To keep things on target, I'll start using the Polar foot pod. The other more important and more dangerous component is increasing run volume. I ran 30-35 miles/wk this year with the highest being around 40. I knew this day was coming. Every HIM or IM runner faster than me that I've met has at some time in their career put in some really high running volume. To that end, I'll attempt to put in 4-6 months of "runner" like volume. The goal is 60 miles/week January through April. I'll spend November and December slowly increasing the volume so that I don't acquire an injury in the processs. In summary, I want to be running 6x/wk during the season with a lot of race pace running.

Next, I need a mental adjustment. Work was a toll this year and took up a lot of "space" in my head. With the change in practice location and changes in fee-structures with insurance companies I had more stress this year. I need to refocus that area of my life. I am working on some ideas to make an adjustment. Although I successfully compartmentalized the mental drain at shorter races, when it came to IM I had a number of ugly thoughts slipping through related to work.

The goals include figuring out how to race hard without a side-stitch, have my run splits be more in line with stand alone run times, and having a breakthrough race at either a HIM or IM. To accomplish this I expect to race more. The tentative game plan is 10 short-course triathlon races, 2 HIM's, and 1 IM. The general training theme for the year is work on my speed for 3-4 months, then build my endurance on top of that. In Spring I'll start my usual training mode but decrease the weekly long bike to keep it under 4 hrs and keep the long run at 1.75 hr. This should allow me to add in a weekly track workout and race frequently. Late in the season I will spend 8-10 weeks doing the long stuff required for an IM and reintroduce the 100 mile rides and 2+ hr runs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2009 Ironman Louisville

Ironman Louisville
Louisville, KY
August 30, 2009

Matthew Amman

56th Overall
10th Age Group

What I saw in Louisville, Kentucky before I even started the race let me know that this was going to be ugly. As the son of a hydrogeologist and serious fisherman, I know a thing about water quality. The Ohio River is barely suitable for swimming. Add in floating timbers and logs, swimming is hazardous. As for the bike roads, the road surface itself was nice but there was absolutely no shoulder. The road ended at the white line. I was little taken back by the whole venue.

Horrible, horrible! Imagine lining up at 5:15 am to sit on road pavement for a 7 am race start. And because I was about the 1,200th person in the 2,700 person line, I started around 7:25 am. This was a time-trial start and I certainly prefer the mass swim start.

After jumping in, we had to swim a narrow channel for a 1/2 mile or more. The congestion was terrible. I had to swim with my head up most of time until we rounded the turn buoy and headed out into the river. The long swim to the exit with the river's current was easy. I exited with a disappointing time.

The first 2:13 on the bike were uneventful. I kept the effort ridiculously easy to save it for the back half of the bike.

At 2:14 I got a flat tire. Luckly it was the front wheel. I never did take the time to look for a hole. It did not matter, I needed to change it. It was my first time changing a tubular and made a few mistakes. Using a razor blade to cut the tire, I thought I cut all the way through the base tape. Nope. When I pulled with all my might to get it off the rim, it would not budge. I tried the other side. No luck. I thought this might be game over. After a closer look, I saw that I failed to cut the base tape. After cutting it, the tire came off. When putting the spare on, I found out it was not pre-stretched enough. Luckily, an IM race photographer was right there to help. With his assistance, I managed to muscle it on. I inflated the tire and was on my way at 2:21. Poof! seven minutes gone.

I pushed a bit after the flat tire to minimize the time damage. I also had to start dealing with road traffic. I passed a number of cars plus a truck with a horse trailer on the left. Yes, I said the left. Without a road shoulder 2-3 feet wide, often times motorists were stuck behind slow cyclists and simply had to wait patiently to pass. Well, when the faster cyclists like myself are on our second loop of a two loop bike course, we were forced to pass both the cyclist and the vehicle on the left.

The final 50 miles were a little hard to pace, akin to the first 50 miles. The rolly-polly hills made for a pedal, then coast feeling... similar to when riding with a group of cyclists. A powermeter would have helped out a lot.

In the last 10-40 miles somewhere, I got another flat tire. It was a slow leak that I did not notice it until the last few miles.

I felt really good running out of T2. I walked the first 2 aids stations like planned. I plugged along comfortably while watching my fellow competitors put on a show.

Guy #1 in my age-group passed me in the first 200 yards coming out of T2 running sub 7. No problem I thought, he'll die later. He never did.
Guy #2 not in my age-group was insane. He ran past me just after the 1 mile mark running 6:00 pace. No problem, he'll die later. He (Evan MacFarlane) never did. For the first 3.38 miles he ran 20:17 at 6:00/mile ending with a 2:55 marathon.
Guy #3 Viktor Zyemtsev and winner of the race running sub 6:30's.
Guy #4 Luke McKenzie and second place overall running sub 6:30's.
Guy #5 running around 7:30 pace and I just could not respond.

So about 5 five guys me passed on run. Not too bad I thought. Except for one, I was not confident enough to run in anybody's shadow and try to hold on. Based on how I felt last year at IMWI, this was a positive run and I looked great while doing it (according to my family and friends watching). My form was good, light on the feet, relaxed arm-swing, no side-stitch, and no stomach distress.

I crossed the finish line in 9:53. I was happy to go sub 10. As for qualifying for Kona, I needed to go a 9:48. Doing the math, the flat tire did me in. Frankly, the whole experience left me sour. Ironman corp. did a fantastic job; it was the venue (swim and bike course) that really irritated me. Ironman Wisconsin was a five star experience. I'll likely stick to my home turf next time.

A month ago an acquintance asked me why I race. It's a question I have struggled with for a couple of years. This particular Ironman race gave me a two-fold answer. First, when life fails to demand my time, efforts, and talents either professionally or personally or both, I seek it out in the form of a hobby. Currently, triathlon quenches my desire for success and hard work. Second, I found out what makes me tick. I have a hard time racing against myself or the clock. To win races or beat rivals I mentally have to say, "I'm better than you and I'll turn myself purple to prove it." A lot of front-of-the-pack racers are like that. I am no different. But at an Ironman race far away from home, I had neither a chance of winning the race outright nor a rival--somebody that I could say to myself, "There is no way I'm going to let him beat me." So what happens to me under those conditions? I coast and that's exactly what I did. If you saw me racing last year at IMWI, you could see the agony and exhaustion. I was digging deep to try to catch my rivals up the road. I gave it everything I had.

My future in Ironman racing is uncertain. I feel that there is much work to be done both physically and mentally to hit the ceiling. But like most hobbies, it's just for fun and if something else comes along that fosters the same feelings as racing I might just hang up the swim cap and goggles, sell the bikes, and use the running shoes to mow the lawn.

- Breakfast 3 Powerbars, 1 can Red Bull
- Bike: 13 Powergels; Chocolate is fine; Avoid Vanilla; Try Strawberry/Kiwi
- Spare Tubular plus trying bringing along Vittoria PitStop for flats
- Run: Loop 1 alternated coke/gatorade; Loop 2 just coke
- Salt tablets: 4 on bike, 2 on run (Salt stick); try more on bike and run

Heart Rate Data:
Swim 163 bpm
T1 144 bpm
Bike 135 but failed to work for last hour (likely was 145)
T2 122
Run 143 ave

Run Splits:
1 -7:54/pace 147 bpm
2 -7:19 141
3 -7:17 147 bpm
4 -7:41 146 bpm
5 -7:27 147 bpm
6 -7:40 147
7 -7:49 149
8 -7:25 146
9 -7:46 152
10-7:45 149
11-7:47 144
12-7:53 145
13-8:10 141
14-8:18 140
15-8:18 150
16-7:50 140
17-7:55 140
18-8:01 138
19-8:20 135 (started walking aid stations)
20-8:23 135
21-8:27 135
22-8:14 136
23-8:35 137
24-8:24 138
25-8:51 135
26.2-10:29 135

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Pleasant Prairie Triathlon

Pleasant Prairie Triathlon
Pleasant Prairie, WI
August 16, 2009
Olympic Distance

Matthew Amman 2nd OA
S 19:47 B 55:18 R 38:57

This was the race to finish off my IM Build. I'd never done a race at this location and looked forward to a semi-flat bike and flat run course. In the past a number of "fast" people come to win money. Pay-outs were for the first three overall.

Without an elite wave, Scott (Bowe) and I started in wave two with Jelly Belly Pro Daniel Bretscher starting in wave 1. The water was clear and I swam comfortably on Scott's feet for the first 1/3. The triangular swim course was nice because we made only two turns. One guy in our wave smoked us with a low 18 swim, I exited the water about 30 seconds behind Scott.

Transition went fairly smoothly for me minus having to rethread my right shoe strap. Scott had issues.

When you start biking, we have a good vantage point to see who's in front. Scott was nowhere to be found. I figured my T1 must of been slower than I thought and he somehow put out a herculian effort to be out of sight. Turned out I was wrong. Scott delayed exiting T1 to rearrange his race belt and then while biking, his rear brake was rubbing for loop 1. I had simply exited T1 before him.

Loop 1 was uneventful. I rode fairly even and upon starting loop 2, I saw the leader and calculated that I was 30 seconds behind. Not too bad, but I didn't have the motivation to push any harder. Suffering to catch and overpass someone is fun, but to do it as a solo effort wasn't going to happen today.

I came into T2 and put my socks and shoes on. After exiting, I was informed that I was in third. The run was hard. I struggled with the side-stitch from the start. At an out and back section, I saw the leader and he was cruising sub 6's. The guy in second had a CC shirt on with running shorts, obviously a relay team. By mile 3 the stitch had become manageable. I ran even paced until the end for second place.

1 6:15
2 6:19
3 6:16
4 6:23
5 6:25
6 5:57

The time difference between first and second was almost 5 minutes. Where can I make that up? First would be my transitions. Up to now, my bike shoes are off the bike. It seems that the faster racers are keeping them on their bike and slipping into them after the bike mount akin to the racers in ITU racing. I'm going to start doing that next year and try it out at Devil's Challenge Triathlon. Second, transition 2 is a little slow because I put socks on. With IM coming up, I was hesitant to get a blister. Third, raise my running performance. Between these three things, I might be able to make up the difference.

- 1 Gel and Red Bull for breakfast, worked fine (race start was 6:30)
- Carried a spared tubular, probably carry Pitstop in the future
- No socks for Olympics triathlons
- Running with race belt in hand for 1/4 mile felt good
- Side-stitch strategies remain effective
- Liberal use of Vaseline for the unit, worked good
- Nasal strip, aero-helmet, Team GG kit, visor
- Tire pressure F-115 R-117

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009 Camp Whitcomb/Mason Triathlon

Camp Whitcomb/Mason Triathlon
Hartland, WI
August 9, 2009
Sprint Triathlon
1/3 mile; 22 mile; 5K

Matthew Amman 1st OA
S-8:35 B-53:42 (24.6mph) R-19:43

The original plan was to do a massive workout on Saturday before the race (5hr ride, 1hr run) and then show up and humilate myself at the CWM triathlon. Well, the weather was terrible on Saturday but I managed to sneak in a 2.5 hr ride.

Sunday morning was sunny with a slight breeze. Like usual, I had to sign up race morning. Big problem. Upon registrating I was informed that they weren't allowing anybody in the elite wave. Huh! Two years ago I signed up race morning and was allowed into the elite wave. In a huff, I told the volunteers to hold onto the forms while I chatted with the race director. After pleading my case to both the RD and the head timer, the official response was NO! At this point I wasn't sure I wanted to play; besides Scott and I had a monster workout planned immediately after the race (3.5 hr bike, 1 hr run). After fuming for 15 minutes, I returned to the registration table, coughed up the $100, told the ladies that I'm going to win the race and not come back again. They just smiled.

Scott (Bowe) with the rest of the elite wave took off while I watched. I was stuck in wave 7--the last wave. The previous time I did the race, I swam with a wetsuit and found myself overheating. With similar conditions, I opted to go without it this time. It was the right move. I had a lot of swim traffic to manuevre past and made sure to be courtesy. After the recent triathlon related deaths, I didn't want to hurt a newbie by swimming over them.

Two years ago I raced CWM differently. It was my first time trying to win a triathlon. Between Michael Boehmer overtaking me on the bike coupled with trying to hold off Phil Bzdusek, I rode every hill all out (akin to MTB racing) and prayed that I wouldn't die. It worked that time to take 2nd OA and a big mental booster.

This time without the hype of "being in the front" when starting the bike, I simply kept my effort consistent never digging deep on the hills or making a tactical move.

I started running fast to take advantage of the uneven territory. At mile 2 I developed a side stitch. I kept it under control for another 100 yards but then I needed to stop. After resting for 10-15 seconds, I surged forward. One thing I learned that is if I tuck my chin, the stitch goes away. I may look a little goofy but it seemed to work. I finally crossed the finish line in 1:23:59.

I'm taking my ball and going home.

Race safety is always my primary concern. After getting hit by a car in a triathlon earlier this year combined with a record number of triathlon deaths, I'm alittle worried while racing. In this particular case, you don't pay $100 to simply enjoy the morning especially for us competitive guys. To ask an elite to swim over a few hundred people and then bike past them 5-10 mph faster is potentially hazardous. We got lucky this time, but that hasn't always been the case.

Monday, August 3, 2009

2009 Late Season Training

Beesting & Loose Skewer

This past week I finished my first of three Build weeks to set me up for Ironman Louisville on August 31st. I managed to survive, learn a few lessons along the way, and was thankful for the rest days in between. The key workouts consist of:

1. German style 5 hr bike ride faster than IM pace
2. Zone 3 bike ride for 90 minutes followed by 60 minute run faster than IM pace
3. Long hard run

A lot of times when you do really hard workouts like this you don't know what to expect. Sometimes you surprise yourself yet other times you make a few errors. The major lesson so far is pacing.

Workout #1 was designed to be soulcrushing but with poor pacing, I sort of ruined it. I did the TriWisconsin Lannon loop three times ( with a working knowledge of how fast I can ride it per loop. Last week I did two loops at breakneck speed without much trouble. However, this time the wind was up and my stubborness led me to believe that I could still muscle out three loops fairly close to the same pace per loop. I was wrong. My final loop was 11 minutes slower than the first. Not good. And when it came to running 30 minutes afterwards, I struggled. While the focus was the 5 hr bike part and running was simply bonus material, I did not get what I wanted out it, plus I got a nasty beesting while riding. Adding insult to injury, my rear skewer was loose for the ride. Thankfully, I lucked out and nothing bad happened.

Workout #2 was at Crank Daddy's bike shop on a ergmo/computrainer to ride at constant watts to keep my heart rate within zone 3. What I did was ride 425 watts (the thing must be WAY off) for 90 minutes followed by a 60 minute build run. The first 20 minutes were to be easy, the second twenty moderate hard, and the final 20 tempo. It was a challenging workout.

Workout #3 was the long hard run. The goal was to run my usual 2:45 loop faster than usual and see what happened (house down north ave to parkway, parkway to Hawley then back along wells (at Hawley & Wells turn usually takes 29-30 minutes), connect with parkway head north, across bridge to hart park, up parkway to north ave junction (usually takes 60-62 minutes) up parkway to hwy 100 back along other side of parkway, back down all the way to Hawley, same route back to north ave then to home street). 20.5 miles later I finished in 2:30. I had to fight a few mental demons along the way yet I survived.

Workout #1/German Ride
This was a combo workout with Camp Whitcomb/Mason Triathlon followed by 2.5 hr bike ride immediately afterwards. The race went really well (see race report) and the following bike ride was manageable. I was far off IM race pace, but I made it. I also thought about running after the ride, but called it a day. This was my substitution for the week's German Ride.

Workout #2
Long brick workout of 2.5 hr bike (originally going to be 3.5 hr) followed by 2 hr run. The bike was on pace until 2:10 when I was stung by a bee on the right thigh, ouch! I had to stop on the side of the road and was in considerable more pain than last week's episode. After a few minutes, I decided to cut my ride short and head back to the car. Ten minutes later I felt fine at the car, I decided to finish with the long run. I ran strong hold sub 7:30's. I was happy that I kept it together mentally.

Workout #3
Instead of a computrainer ride at Cranky Daddy's I opted to go outside and do the Lannon ride. I rode sub 1:40 for 35 miles with a 7:30 pace run for 45 minutes afterwards.

Workout #1/German Ride
Long ride was 105 miles to Theresa and back in sub 5 hrs (4:56) with a sore throat/head cold. I was supposed to run afterwards but with a late start time I had to get to work. I ran 1 hr later in the day and it was easy. I did, however, check out the legs after the bike with a short jog and felt fresh unlike the previous effort the week before or a month prior when I did the exact same workout (105 miles to Theresa and back in 5:00) but could barely walk afterwards.

Workout #2
Long Run 1.5 hr hard at sub 7:20 pace in the heat. I suffered.

Workout #3
Olympic distance triathlon (see race report).


I followed this with Matt Fitzgerald's two-week taper.


In conclusion, the season has gone by fast. Adrienne and I have done a number of races with the usual drama. We won a few, lost a few, had moments of greatness and moments of failure. Mentally I feel cloudy with erradic motivation but physically things seem to be getting sharper. I believe the build workouts I have chosen for this year will make me stronger to handle the challenges of racing an Ironman.

Monday, July 27, 2009

2009 Tri-ing For Children Triathlon

Tri-ing For Children Triathlon
Eagle, WI
July 26, 2009
Olympic Distance
1.5K 40K 10K

Matthew Amman 3rd OA
S 18:18 B 59:11 (25.2mph) R 39:37

I expected this to be a challenging race both physically and mentally. I had a few prerace jitters because a number of tough competitors were expected to be there (and they were). Next I just couldn't get my mind psyched up. I tried to talk myself into it but it failed to work. This and a few other races in WI just fail to motivate me unlike Camp Whitcomb Mason, High Cliff, Devil's Challenge, or Lake Mills.

To win this race I knew that I needed to run a 37:XX 10K otherwise Joe Kurian was going to run me down! I wasn't too worried about anybody else.

Scott and a fellow Gear-Grinder Jordan Mathes took 1-2 in the swim with me exiting the water about 1 minute behind. I thought I had a decent swim minus my accident at the first turn buoy. When ducking under the buoy, my face caught the support line and took my goggles off my face so I had to spend some time getting them back on. As a result I lost another 10 yards to the swim leaders while letting the trailing pack catch up.

The bike course distance was spot on for once despite some last minute course changes because of road construction. I managed to bike into the lead after Scott and Jordan decided to question the first bike turn. After a quarter mile, they decided to turn around thinking they shouldn't have turned right but once they saw me coming at them they turned around again to follow me. With time, I pulled away and rode solo around the two loop bike course. It was a windy day with some rough roads. I had the fastest bike split and knew I needed it if I was to have any chance winning.

Coming into transition was hectic. The sprint and half-sprint participants were finishing with me. After racking the bike, putting on socks and shoes, I took off. It looked like I had a minute on Scott and Jordan. Short of mile one Jordan ran past me fast, sub 5:45 fast and kept truckin' ahead to get about 50 yards ahead of me until he eased off the gas. He lingered there the rest of the race. By mile two I had trouble. Yes, I had an inkling of a side-stitch but that was gone by the first mile, this time it was bodily movement #2 trouble. I needed to find a restroom.

Jumping back in time, on the drive out to the race I had an upset stomach and was forced to make an emergency stop at PDQ to use the facilities. My guess is that 8 jumbo chocolate chip cookies I ate the day before were the culprits. Gosh, they tasted soooo good that I just couldn't stop after 1 or 2.

Now back to the race. From mile 2 onward, I ran as fast as I could while keeping myself intact. 6:20 pace was plenty fast but the rest of the competition managed to catch me. Joe Kurian caught me at mile 3 while performing a 35:10 run split and in the final half mile, Pete Metz blew past me with an incredible 36:XX run split and vomitting a few times in the process.(Although he somehow got a 2:00 penalty on the bike dropping him to 5th in the overall standings. Bummer.)

Heart Rate Data:
Swim 164 bpm ave
Bike 165 bpm ave
Run 160 bpm ave

I'm happy with how I did. The high end run speed is simply not there this year from lack of speed training. I guess that's what you get when you're IM training. Long slow distance (LSD) training makes you just that...slow. Although I wanted to win, for this year I'll take it in stride. Joe Kurian and Justin Henkel continue to teach me that when it comes to triathlon racing, you need to develop the rockstar run of a 2:30'ish open marathon to really dominate triathlon running. That way you can run the following triathlon run splits: 16-17 5K or a 34-35 10K or 1:18-1:20 half-marathon or sub 3:00 marathon. That is what it takes to win anywhere on anyday.

When reflecting upon my strengths and weaknesses, I still believe I'm a fairly balanced athlete. When I started this sport in 2005, I knew I could coast on my high school swimming background for the swim section. As for the running part, Dad did a number of running races and a few marathons when I was kid, Grandpa too. As part of growing up I did few races with him as well until I got heavily involved in Soccer. Biking was to be my major performance limiter. My first big race was Spirit of Racine HIM in 2006 and the bike section killed me. When comparing myself to others in my age-group that year, I was a top swimmer, horrible biker, and ran mediocre considering that I fried myself on the bike. Three years later I've evened out my talents, especially at the HIM and IM distance. However, at the Olympic and Sprint I lack the raw running speed to put out a sub 17 5K or sub 36 10K run split. I chalked most of that up to lack of run specific speed training. When looking towards 2010, I see myself dedicating a lot of time towards that type of work.

- Stay away from chocolate chip cookies
- Breakfast: One Powerbar and 1/2 can Red Bull was fine
- 1/4 filled water bottle filled with HEED was fine
- Simply flushing mouth with HEED twice on bike was fine
- Experts agree, crack marks on the chainstays seem to be paint cracks and not frame cracks

Monday, July 13, 2009

2009 Lactic Edge Triathlon

Lactic Edge Triathlon
Stevens Point, WI
July 11, 2009
Sprint Triathlon
500yd; 18.12 mile; 3.22 mile

Matthew Amman 1st Overall
S-5:49 B-42:12 (25.7mph) R-19:12 (5:57 pace)

At the last minute Scott Bowe talked me (and our wives) into travelling to Stevens Point, WI to do the local Cellcom YMCA Lactic Edge sprint triathlon. Previous year, Scott and I were in the area for our epic IM training camp and did it. Scott won last year.

The race course was different this year. Construction caused the course to be slightly longer than last, hence when comparing times things don't match up.

The swim start was quick with Scott leading us out to the first buoy. In the first few yards I happened to get cut off by fellow Gear Grinder Tom Shepard. To prevent a gap between Scott and I, I pulled Tom underneath me. Not very nice on my part, but he did cut me off (he forgave me after the race). From there I sat in the draft touching Scott's feet--something he let know after the race he wasn't thrilled about. Gee whiz! But that's what you get for wanting to swim in the lead. Next time I'll be polite and not touch the feet. At the swim exit, I was a few seconds behind Scott and together we put a half a minute on the field.

Transition was smooth and I managed to leave T2 with Scott. He led the bike course for a 1/2 mile before I took over. I was working hard with the heart rate staying really high (around 175 (LT)) and after another mile I was happy to see Scott come around and pass me. I then eased off the accelerator to give myself a breather. With my reckless abandonment for speeding around the corners he never got more than 15 meters ahead. After another mile I was tempted to push hard again but decided to make my move around mile 8. Between Scott fading a bit and my love of perfect pavement, I hit it hard at the 7.5 mile mark--Sentry World--and pushed all the way to the finish. The effort and outcome was good but far from stellar. That lovely feeling one gets when racing tapered is addictive and racing when tried doesn't allow one to feel that unbridled energy. I was hoping to ride the final 4 miles in the 50-12 gear ratio, but lacked the power to sustain it. Bummer.

I came into transition with about 1:30 lead ahead of Scott and Tom. Transition went well and I managed to run with an even effort holding 5:57 pace. I did flirt with a right side-stitch but running sub 6 is fast enough for me. To get rid of the it would require a lot of track work and that's simply not compatible with IM training.

Congratulations to my fellow Gear Grinder teammates. Together we took 1-2-3 overall. Individually I was happy to win but felt my performance was mediocre. The Pewaukee Triathlon happened to be this weekend and I feel that there is no way I could have won that race if I showed up. David Thompson and Will Smith are much faster than me. I often wonder if I could get that fast. I remain skeptical meanwhile I'll be happy to be one of the local fast guys.

Adrienne placed first overall in the women's field.

Things to Remember:
* Breakfast of 2 Powerbar Protein bars was too much.
* I may be fast, but I have a ways to go before I average 27-28 mph on the bike and back it up with low 17 5k run split.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2009 Got Energy Triathlon

Got Energy Triathlon
La Crosse, WI
June 14, 2009
Olympic Distance (1500m;40k;10k)
Matthew Amman 1st OA
S-20:33 B-57:58 (25.7 mph) R-39:11 (6:18 pace)

A car nearly killed me in this race. In the last half mile before entering T2, a car took a right turn across the closed bike lane right in front of me. I had only a few seconds to react by braking and swerving. It was not enough and I hit the bumper.

Earlier this year when visiting our friends Travis Evenson and Paula Skoy in Onalaska, we saw that the YMCA puts on a local triathlon in June. Adrienne and I figured we would sign up as another excuse to visit friends.

We travelled there after work Friday with the dogs. Zero like usual hogged the back seat with Nika having to stand. They eventually worked things out so that both could lie down.

Saturday was fun. We went and watched Travis play in a softball tournament in Sparta and enjoy the chicken dinner the local Lions club was grilling. Yum. Afterwards, I put together the bikes and Adrienne and I went for a 30 minute ride to warmup the legs. I was hoping to get a swim in as well at the YMCA but did not have enough time. We had an excellent dinner at an Italian restaurant in LaCrosse.

This is not a very big race. The sprint category had some 180 participants while the olympic distance had just under 70. The venue, Lake Neshonoc and Swarthout Park, was beautiful with perfect conditions.

The swim start was uneventful. I started up front and a little too far to the left. The first 200 yards was fast with some guy pretty intent on swim up and over me. He kept swimming up on to me until his hands were on my waist. Wierd. After a while I was out in front and pulled away. However, by starting on the far left I had trouble swimming straight and kept veering off to the left. I eventually made it to the turnaround buoy and started back to the swim finish. I exited the water in 19:XX with a 30 yard lead. Transition went smoothly.

I rode out of Swarthout park quickly and onto Hwy 16 where an assigned motorcyclist was my guide through the bike course. Upon reaching the first turn as we started riding through town (West Salem), the motorcyclist had some troubles and went around the first turn too slow. I nearly ran into him and had to swerve. It was not a good sign.

The bike course was mildy hilly but the road conditions were nearly perfect and there was no wind. It made for fast bike riding. I pushed fairly hard but was a little worried about tired legs. My training partner Scott had done a race the day before (Elkhart Lake Triathlon) and when we chatted on the phone after he finished the race, he told me that his legs were still trashed from our hard ride at Merton Tuesday and the hard run we did on Thursday. Nevertheless I seemed to hold up okay.

I led the entire bike course. The turnaround was a bit gravelly and I did slip a bit. On the way back I could see that I had a comfortable lead. Second place (Brent Sinn) was a few minutes behind.

As we got back to town, there were a few turns to manuevre through. For the last 3/4 of a mile, the eastbound road starting at Leonard Street was closed off to traffic with construction barrels. Soon after entering this area--the dedicated bike lane--the lead motorcyclist decided to vear off into the traffic lane. I thought nothing of it because he had problems when we originally went through this section. My other thought was that maybe he thought I could make it back to the park/transition area on my own--it was nearly in sight. So I forged onward in the bike lane.

Well, apparantly what was going on was that a car wanted to take a right turn across the bike lane, something I did not see, to enter a side street into a subdivision. To avoid a mishap, I either needed to come to a complete stop or vear left into the traffic lane behind the motorcyclist. Anyway, the car turned right in front of me giving me a just 10-15 yards to stop and/or swerve. I tried to swerve but knew I was in trouble. I was moving way too fast (+25mph). The driver of the car must of saw me at the last second because he tried to stop but was still moving when I crashed into the right side of his bumper. The collision was between his bumper and my crank/left pedal (nothing touched the wheels or frame). I went flying landing on my left hip and shoulder. The pavement was smooth so I slide maybe 7-8-9 yards. Immediately, I got up to assess the damage. Having witnessed Scott crash at Triple T a few weeks earlier, I was familiar with the routine: check body, check bike, make decision if to continue. Based on the rather small tear on my bike shorts I knew it was not as bad as Scott's fall. Some fingers on my left hand were badly scrapped plus some minor road rash on my left shoulder and chest. The bike seemed okay, the wheels still true, no visible cracks on the frame.

I climbed back on and biked back into transition. Checking over my shoulder, I saw that the motorist had pulled over to the side of the road and race volunteers were scrambling over to talk to him. Meanwhile, I was falling apart mentally. I was extremely mad and felt violated. Here I was pouring my heart into having a fast race and some car takes me out! When I entered Swarthout park with the spectators cheering me on, hidden behind my sunglasses were tears of anger and fear. I managed to rack my bike, put on my running shoes, and start running.

Full of adrenaline, I managed to run strong the first mile. I was trying to put what just happened behind me and hold it together to win. As wanted, I kept my running stride short and pushed the envelope short of side-stich territory for the first 15 minutes. At the first turnaround I had what looked like another triathlete running me down. He was running sub 6 miles, me right around 6:25. Worried I kept pushing it and after 5K never saw him again (He must of the been the winner of the sprint triathlon.). At the start of the second loop, Adrienne was starting out on her first loop. She was running fast (nearly as fast as I). Upon passing her, I told her what happened. She thought I must of been fine with the pace I was holding.

On the second loop I let myself find my natural running stride. My pace seemed even and I even managed to push hard for the last mile. I never ran on the edge for risk of hurting myself even more. I crossed the finish line in 1:59:27.

Who was at fault? I believe we all were: the motorcyclist, the car, and me. While it's easy to point a few fingers, I'm just happy to be alive. The medical staff at the race did a wonderful job and wish to thank them as well as the race staff. They did their best to ensure a safe race and sometimes things just happen.

I'll be sore for the next few days and have to grow some new skin. I was hoping to race High Cliff Half-Ironman this coming weekend, but will have to spectate instead. That's okay. Adrienne is fun to watch.

La Crosse Tribune:
Got Energy Triathlon: Wife and husband sweep intermediate distance races

WEST SALEM — Adrienne Amman smiled. The “debriefing,” as she called it, likely would take place on their three-plus hour drive home Sunday to Wauwatosa, Wis.

Amman could take great satisfaction in a job well-done. The Got Energy YMCA/Touchstone Energy Triathlon, a race she and her husband, Matt, had first heard about when they visited the area last winter, had been an enjoyable experience. Adrienne won the women’s intermediate distance race, which consisted of a nine-tenths mile swim, 24-mile bike ride and 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) run, in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 53.6 seconds. She beat runner-up Maggie Fournier of Onalaska by more than seven minutes.
Adrienne Amman begins the swim portion of the Got Energy Triathlon Sunday as she runs into Lake Neshonoc in West Salem. PETER THOMSON photo

For Adrienne, it had been a day worth talking about. And the perfect person with whom to discuss it would be sitting in the car seat next to her.

Matt had had a pretty incredible day himself, winning the men’s intermediate distance race in a course-record time of 1:59:27. He had done so while doing the final leg of the race, the 10-k run,with an aching left hip. It was the result of a collision with a motorist as he approached Swarthout Park on his bicycle.

Matt simply was looking forward to icing his leg and getting some rest. But Adrienne was happy knowing her husband of seven years would offer his opinion of the day’s events if she asked.

“He’s my guide and my coach,” Adrienne said of Matt, who, like her, graduated from Middleton High School and the University of Wisconsin. “He tells me what I need to do with my training and I say, ‘OK.’ ”

It’s no wonder.

Matt, 32, has completed one Ironman triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run), the Wisconsin Ironman, last year in Madison, and plans to compete in one later this summer in Louisville, Ky. He’s a chiropractor with a hectic schedule — he has his own practice in Milwaukee — but he has a strict, 20-hour-a-week workout regimin.

Adrienne, 30, is a speech therapist at the Milwaukee Veterans Administration Medical Center who also has a busy schedule that includes between 16 and 17 hours of training a week. Even though Matt and Adrienne don’t get to train together often, days like Sunday when they both perform well are a great way to spend a weekend.

“This (competing in triathlons) is just fun for us. We keep it light and just try to enjoy it,” Matt said. “This is our hobby.”

It’s the type of hobby that Adrienne is glad she shares with her husband. She knows he’s a good resource in helping her improve.

“You can learn something from every race,” Adrienne said. “There’s always something you can improve upon.”

Things to Remember:
- Breakfast 500 calories (2 Clif Bars); 1 can Red Bull
- Drink only 2/3 can of Red Bull (5-6 oz) in future
- Tire pressure F-115 R-118 (Fine)
- Water bottle 1/3 full with water
- Flushed mouth twice on bike, never drank
- No food or water for OLY
- Wore socks for run (Good idea)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009 American Triple T

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
May 22-24, 2009
Portsmouth, Ohio
Shawnee State Park
Team Name: Rock 'N Rock Lifestyle
(Matthew Amman and Scott Bowe)

Overall Result: DNF

Scott Bowe and I teamed up again for the 2009 American Triple T race. After personally struggling in 2008, I was looking forward to testing my stamina. I have found that this race favors those with a long-distance racing curriculum vitae, short-course racers rarely perform well.

Our trip to the race venue included Adrienne's teammate Michelle Lanouette and Wisconsin short-course superstar Chris Wichert racing in the solo category. It would be his first attempt racing long-course and prove to be a learning experience. To breakup the 9+hr trip we stayed Thursday night at Adrienne's aunt and uncle's place in West Lafayatte, IN. We eventually rolled into Shawnee State Park at 3:30 Friday afternoon.

250 meter swim 4:46 (6 OA); 5 mile bike 10:47 (5 OA); 1 mile run 6:03 (38 OA)

Unlike last year, the lake water was warm and the pavement dry. I swam without a wetsuit again, biked evenly, and ran strong without a side-stitch. By placing in the top five, I earned us a 30 second time bonus.

RACE #2 OLYMPIC 12th Overall
1500 meter swim 20:16; 24.5 mile bike 1:09; 6.55 mile run 43:25 (6:38 pace)

The first race is just too short to really separate yourself from the competition so this becomes the ego race. Everybody around me smoked themselves trying to hurt each other.

I swam strong and noticed that I continue to develop a right side-stitch when breathing right--my dominant side. The problem seems to go away when I breathe to the left. Odd, for my entire swimming career I never had to breathe to the opposite side, but for some reason long-distance swimming is different. At least I found a solution. The other thing was that I swam by myself instead of trying to stay on Scott's feet the entire time. Obviously that set me up to bike and run better than in the past. The bike and run were uneventful. I enjoyed three powergels, 3 salt tablets (Saltstick), and water on the bike; 2 salt tablets and water on the run. I was happy with my performance and getting excited about hurting others in the final two races.

RACE #3 OLYMPIC 25th Overall
24.5 mile bike 1:09:57; 1500 meter swim 22:20; 6.55 mile run 50:44 (7:45 pace)

We started this race with the team bike time-trial. After what happened last year, Scott led out the first ten minutes using his SRM powermeter. We managed to hold strong. Switching over to the swim and putting on a wetsuit was difficult. In the process I put a few fingernail nicks in my wetsuit. Scott and I swam past a lot of people as expected.

The run turned out to be difficult for Scott. A right quad cramp and later a right chest stitch forced him/us to really slow down, but in stotan fashion he toughed it out keeping us in the top three (team category).

1.2 mile swim 27:55; 56 mile bike DNF; 13.1 mile run DNS

If you haven't guess it by now, things got bad. After a solid swim, Scott and I biked comfortably on the heels of the top team (USPROTri). Scott was feeling a little wiped out so I did as much of the bike work as possible. At mile 21 before we got back to Hwy 125, something bad happened. Scott and I had just crested a hill and he took the lead down a snaky descent. On the way down his front tire hit a pothole causing him to lose control and fall. Because we were travelling at 34 mph he slide a good 20 yards on the pavement before rolling into the woods. Being a few yards behind him I narrowly escaped riding over him. It was horrific to watch and immediately knew our day was over. By the time I set my bike down, Scott was on his feet and about to grab his bike. I told him to stay put and assess the damage. We both thought he was going to live, but the road rash on both legs, arms, and left butt cheek was bleeding profusely and swelling fast. As for the bike, I picked it up and checked it over. It was rideable, but the front wheel was out of true, the right aerobar busted up, and the left brake handle twisted around. After fixing the twisted chain, I had Scott get back on the bike. We rode slowly back to the transition area just a few miles away.

A DNF is tough on the psyche. For now Scott is going to learn how fast he can grow skin. I, on the hand, am going to go hammer the TriWisconsin Lannon ride tonight to makeup for missing out on the second loop of the Triple T HIM bike course. Fellow riders...look out!

On the flipside, my wife Adrienne and her teammate Michelle took second place in the women's team division. I swear that woman works half as hard as I do yet earns the same amount of hardware.

As for Chris Wichert, he survived (barely) and seems interested in returning next year. Arguably he should be in contention for the overall win. The swim remains his weak link yet in the tradition triathlon format of swim-bike-run you can have a weak swim, but Triple T is far from traditional. I continue to believe that the bike-swim-run format, found at the third race at Triple T, is a better triathlon format. At least that's what us swimmers think.

Thanks to HFP Racing for putting on another great race.

Things to Remember:
1. Training consistently pays off.
2. New Tubular tire pressure: front 115 psi, back 118 psi. Worked fine.
3. Razor blade is best for removing a flat tubular.
4. After installing spare tubular, pinch the rim between your legs and grab the tire to pull in an upward direction to reseat it. Start opposite of the valve. Repeat around the tire 4-5 times. This prevents a wobble.
5. Breathe more to the left when swimming.
6. 2 Powerbars and 1 can Red Bull for breakfast; Race venue food (Cans of coke, P&J sandwiches, Manwich sandwiches, chips, pasta, etc.) worked good for lunch and dinner; Race fuel was simply Powergels, water, and salt tablets (Saltstick type). Worked fine.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

2009 J-Hawk Early Bird Sprint Triathlon

J-Hawk Early Bird Sprint Triathlon
Race Report April 26, 2009
500yd Swim; 13.7 mile Bike; 5K Run

Matthew Amman
1:01:22 1st Overall
S-6:01 B-33:36(25.0 mph) R-21:47(6:45)

Back in 2007 I tried to win this race. The last triathlon race in 2006 was Camp Whitcomb Mason and I had shocked the field by coming in second overall to local pro Michael Boehmer. With the memory fresh, I put forth my best effort and did remarkably well with a tough field consisting of Nick Langer, Terry Harth, among others. I walked away with a solid second and a nasty side stitch. Then in 2008, the men's field was stacked with pros Terry Harth, Greg Thompson, Michael Boehmer plus elite racer Scott Bowe and Nick Langer. That time, I ended up third behind Boehmer and Harth.

This was my time to win. My training has not been much different than last year, but I've felt a lot stronger in all three disciplines. For the week going into the race, I put in my long run on Tuesday (1:52) plus my long bike ride of 105 miles so I felt a little tired. Previously, I had eased up on training to ensure a good race. This year I'm training through my C level races, something new to me.

Race morning it was raining and cold; however, the sky cleared up for the 11:35 wave letting us race comfortably. The temperature was in the upper 50's.

The swim was unremarkable. Scott Bowe took top honors getting out of the pool first, I came out second. Transition went well and I was glad to have the toe-covers on the shoes. On the bike course, I caught Scott around mile 1, taking the lead, and never looked back. I felt strong and tried my best to hold an even effort. My race wheels (PX 82-101 combo) worked fine although I could tell the cross winds pushed me at times. First the most part, the wind was light, the roads wet, and the corners well-swept. I was happy to put up a new course bike split record, previously held by Michael Boehmer 34:35(24.3mph). Transition 2 was quick and I started out running fast. The cross country run course was a muddy mess. Everybody was slipping and trying to avoid the large puddles. I was simply happy to run as fast as I could and not fall down. I finished strong and took the win.

My history at the race:

2009 1:01:22 S-6:01 B-33:36 R-21:47 1st
2008 1:02:49 S-6:06 B-35:02 R-21:40 3rd
2007 1:05:37 S-6:19 B-35:58 R-23:21 2nd

Overall, I was happy to see that everybody enjoyed the race. My training partner Scott Bowe did significantly better than last year mainly because he avoided riding the first section of the bike too hard. I believe last year he averaged 375 watts for the first five minutes, ouch! Adrienne, always a little timid on the bike corners and hates rain, was faster as well. She and Robbie Greco duked it out until the very end. We all survived a wet, muddy, and chilly weekend with plenty of stories to share.

Pre-Race Meal: 2 energy bars (Powerbar, ClifBar) 3 hrs before start time; RedBull (6oz) 2 hrs before start time
Race Setup: Team GearGrinder outfit, Aquaman Goggles, Swim Cap, Toe-Covers, Aero-Helmet, PX bike, PX 82-101 Race wheels (123 psi), Nike Skylon Running Shoes
Things to Remember: Training consistently works, Race smart with even efforts on swim and bike

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2009 South Milwaukee Tinman

South Milwaukee Tinman Indoor Triathlon
South Milwaukee, WI

Matthew J. Amman

Official Distance 10.00
Swim .667 (47 laps)
Bike 6.71 miles
Run 2.63 (5:42 pace)

15 minute swim; 15 minute bike; 15 minute run

1st Overall

This was my second year doing this low-key race at the South Milwaukee Fitness Center. Again, it fell on the same day as the Blarney Run in Wauwatosa, but I was happy to forgo the gut busting 5K. Adrienne did the race as well, taking first for the women's division.

Race Morning:
No breakfast this time. We split a Red Bull two hours before hand.

The swimming pool had lane lines in it this time and we had the pleasure of racing with Robbie Greco from Gear Grinder. Adrienne and I ahead of time decided to keep our swim pace at 1:20/100yd or slightly faster. The strategy worked well until I had some goggle issues. To compensate, I swam ahead to have some time to stop and fix them. In the end, I ended up one length ahead of Adrienne. Robbie, fresh off some club swimming, swam really hard ending up one length ahead of me.

Ah, the stationary exercise bike. It’s nothing fancy and feels awkward when riding. I was happy to hold even power for the most part. The classic side stitch reared its ugly head but never got out of control like last year. The power level floated between 18 and 19 with only a few times easing back to 17.

Treadmill running is always easier than the real thing. I started out at 5:48 pace for the first five minutes and dialed it down from there. The last 90 seconds was at 5:00 flat and it felt hard. The stitch was present but did not hinder performance much.

Post Race and Final Thoughts:
Running five to six times a week for the last six weeks proved beneficial. My overall biking volume is down from last year, but the focus on zone 4 bike intervals is working. This race capped off the preparatory period for the beginning of the 2009 training season. Next week starts Base 1.

(Adrienne swim .653, bike 5.69, ran 2.29; 8.63; 1st overall female)

Things to Remember:
• Consistent base training pays dividends, the short hard stuff does a better job getting my abdomen in shape. Otherwise my body rebels by developing a side stitch.
• Red Bull might be enough for sprint triathlons.

Matthew J. Amman 3-18-2008

(picture from Spirit of Racine 2008)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Feb 2009
For the last few months I have been hiding in a foxhole. After Ironman, I was physically and emotionally tired so I refrained from structured training until January. It was a good move. The excitement and energy returned and I am happy to be back swimming, biking, and running. A few things are different for 2009.

1. I accepted an invitation to race for Team Gear-Grinder ( I did so for a couple of reasons. The first was to restimulate the novelty of training. IM training can be boring and doing it with others can help me get out there. Riding with TriWisconsin club and the Gear-Grinder team will help keep me accountable to hitting my volume and intensity goals (20+ hrs/wk May-Aug; 2 Hard rides/wk). Second, they offer a nice clothing line with a variety of shirts that I can wear for work. For the last few years, I wore my collectin of IM Wisconsin polo shirts. It's time to update my work shirts. Once I get them logo'ized with Gear-Grinder, my office logo, and PX I'll start sporting them.

2. I changed my Planet X bike frame size from Large to Medium. Over the last year, I felt slightly uncomfortable on long training rides. It seemed that the top-tube length was a wee bit long, something like 2 cm too long. Add in what I saw in race pictures with my body position stretched out, I sold my PX frameset and bought a new, smaller PX frameset. It was the right move. Now I feel much better. To digress with a side story, I did a 1 hr indoor Time Trial race at the end of January. It was a disappointing race. My power was 251 watts for the hour despite a hr ave of 171. But a friend pointed out that my seat position looked wrong. Turns out, I inadvertently installed my seat slack (~74 degrees) instead of steep (~78 degrees) when building up the new bike. Hence, during the TT race the seat felt too high and I was forced to ride the seat's nose at the same time slipping off of it. A week later when I looked at it at my friend's suggestion, I saw my mistake and corrected it. Ah, much better.

3. My training has evolved again for 2009. Much of my training last year was focused on achieving base. I abstained from mountain bike racing and the fast TriWisconsin Lannon rides to promote "going long." I feel it was a good strategy for a first IM. This year I am building up volume slower from January to Spring, and then adding in lots of speed work with the Merton Ride on Tuesdays and the Drop the Doc ride on Saturdays. Hammering it with the roadies should be fun and prove valuable to increasing my bike speed. As for swimming and running, I'm content. My genetics and background keep me at the sub 55 min IM swim and the sub 3:30 IM marathon. I'll keep the status quo for this year.

4. Adrienne is doing her first Ironman this year. I am excited and nervous about her journey as any spouse might be. Inherently, she is a better athlete than I, and suspect she will do better than me. I distinctly remember the days when she used to show me up when running and swimming together in college. Today and now, she relies upon me as her confidant and coach, to get her to the finish line. I hope things go well. They have so far.

The racing schedule is simple this year. Ironman Louisville in August is the A race. Secondary races include American Triple T (with teammate Scott Bowe again) and High Cliff Triathlon half ironman. Tertiary races might include J-Hawk Early Bird, LaCrosse YMCA Sprint Tri, Steven's Point YMCA Sprint Tri, and late season Devil's Challenge Sprint Tri.

See You at the Races.