Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: Wrapup

This has been an interesting year. It was a constant juggle between the fun of participating in a new work venture and the drag of Ironman training. I knew upfront that Ironman was going to take a back seat this year and that work was ramping up; however, I did not expect to have significant hangups when it came to training. Unfortunately, I did get sidelined for awhile.

As I danced across the Central USA for work, I visited too many YMCA's to remember, along with unknown roads, parks, and sidewalks. On my third trip to St Louis, running around the Arch was becoming a bore, especially since it was nearly midnight when I finally fit the workout in. The eventual result was a bad back that lingered with me through Ironman Hawaii.

While the finishing times at this year's races were not great, the fun level was mostly high. American Triple T was a record bottom mainly because the motivation was low, the training going in was too hard, and I got lazy during the races and forgot to take-in the necessary nutrition. Thank goodness I'm not going back to Ohio.

Ironman Hawaii was fun. Because of the aches and pains it wasn't as fun as I'd hope. Adrienne and I did manage to cross the line together, something unique, but that uniqueness did not satisfy the need for conclusion. We both left Hawaii with feelings of "only if." Is there another Ironman Hawaii to come? At the moment, I'll say yes. If life doesn't get more hectic, I figure I'll go back to race the race.

2012 remains uncharted. I have resumed training with Adrienne to the extent of doing something for fitness. I may do a few races this coming year.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011: Ironman Hawaii


The race was insane!

Swim: I started in the second row with Adrienne and Cam Knuth. As the cannon went off, the chaos started. It took me just under 30 minutes to get to the turnaround. The whole time I was battered, kicked in the face (causing a small laceration underneath my eye), and felt I like I might drown about 20 times. It was really scary. The swim experience alone made me realize that I don't think I'm coming back to do this race again. Unlike the two practice swims before hand, the salty taste did not overcome my taste sense. (This trip was the first time I swam in the ocean and I battled some sea-sickness and salt-water taste.)

T1: I took my time. I happened to sit down across from Madison, WI Mike Lavery. He commented to me that the swim was brutal. I agreed.

Bike: The week before the back was feeling better than it had for a long time. However, when I shaved my legs the night before the race in the tub, I re-aggravated my left SI joint. Race morning I woke up and it was really stiff and vunerable. I was noticeablely worried. At the race site, I happened to find the ART docs and they worked it over and I got it adjusted. It made it feel significantly better.

I took the first 10 miles easy. Dennis Melowski & Steve Chapin soon passed me. I kept the watts around 200. My pre-race watt target was 180-200 watts. Given my lack of training, I was realistic about it.

I rode about 85% of it upright trying to manage the back discomfort. I had a lot of discomfort in the right glut.

I had to white-knuckle it up to Hawi the winds were that bad.

At 110.5 miles, I got a flat tire by hitting a road reflector on the side of the road. It tore open the sidewall of my front wheel. The hole looked bad and was going to be surprised if PitStop fixed it. It did not. Then I got to work removing the razor blade taped to my frame and cut the tire off. Shortly after that, race support showed up and they put the tire on for me. After I inflated, I rode the last bit in.

Adrienne was about 10-15 minutes ahead of me I suspected.

T2: Again, I took my time. The run around the pier was long. The legs felt great because of the easy bike effort.

Run: I took off at a manageable pace, 7:30s. The first five miles were just fine. I walked every aid station.

I put in a few strong efforts to see if I was going to be okay and I was. Pre-race I had determined that I wanted to run the first 13 miles and run-walk it in.

I saw Adrienne way ahead of me on the first out and back on Alii Drive. But when I came to mile 8, I saw Adrienne walking. She massaging/stretching her right abdomen. We chatted and we both decided to walk-run the rest of the race together.

I had one stop to the porty-potty as we ran up Palani drive to the Queen K. From there we ran and walked until we got out of the Natural Energy lab. At that point, I figured out that if we kept running the last 4-5 miles, we'd crack 11:00. We ran around 8's for the last 3-4-5 miles.

On Alii drive, we grasped each other's hand and walked across the finish.

Post Race: All that Gu, Powerade, and Coke made me sick to my stomach. I went into medical to make sure I was alright. About 15 minutes later they discharged me, but when I went outside and over to the medal and finisher pickup, I puked four times.

After being escorted back to medical, I got an IV.

In summary, Ironman Hawaii is much harder than Ironman Wisconsin. The weather conditions plus the level of competition make it hard to do well. I am happy to have finished the race since my year has been tough from an exhausting work schedule and a bad back. Others seem to love the race, such as Dennis Melowski, but I think Ironman Wisconsin continues to be my favorite. If I do another Ironman, I'll stick to my hometown race.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Low back pain has finally caught up to me. I went into 70.3 Racine with a lot of back pain yet managed to keep it under control. I vaguely recall riding with Brunold a few weeks prior to the race and that I never rode aero because the back wouldn't allow it.

After Racine, I went on an aggressive work trip covering a lot of real estate via plane and car. On the final day, I sat down in a Caribou Coffee shop in Minneapolis causing a strong dull pain in my left lower back. It felt like somebody stabbed me. It took me 10 minutes before I could get up and walk out. I slightly panicked because I wasn't sure if I could handle my flight home two hours later. After gripping the area and finding some ice it calmed down.

Nevertheless, this would begin my bout with back pain for the next seven weeks. There were times where it was good, but I continually aggravated it by trying to ride the bike. Big no, no! It usually went like this: run a bit, swim a bit during the week, then attempt to ride the bike on the weekend.

Today, I made the call to stop biking. I'll still run and swim as best I can because those activities don't seem to cause aggravations.

Interestingly, because I never let the problem heal I eventually injured most of the components in the lower back: left SI joint, right SI joint, lower lumbar spine. It also meant I got to experience the differences in those pain patterns: pain with walking, pain without walking, pain while sitting, no pain with sitting.

Kona is a few weeks a way and at this point, I'm just going to rest the back for three weeks, show up in Hawaii and do the best I can with a healthy back and untrained biking legs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

IM 70.3 Racine

S-27 B-2:21 R-1:37
4th AG
30th OA

Decent race. Training since American Triple T was nearly non-existent for a month and then I started to pick it up to about 8+ hours a week. I was happy to see I could still be fast without much training.

The heat was a big issue on the run. I went into the race with a "just finish" attitude. When I got off the bike, I had a slight side stitch and it was hot. I let the legs carry me to mile one and whatever the pace was, I predetermined to hold it to the end. Once I crested the hill and strolled up to the first aid station and mile marker, my watch said 7:30 so I stuck with it until the end.

Next race is likely Hawaii.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grumblings from the Readership

I've received a fair amount of email traffic regarding my last post. Interestingly, none of the traffic comes in the "comment section", just via personal email. In the future, feel free to comment there.

Like all addictions, fellow addicts never want to see a buddy quit. Leaving this so called sport has been hard. I initially felt compelled to sell everything and take up painting, but I stopped short at the bike. I had a few nibbles, but push come to shove, I couldn't do it. That must mean something. Training the last few days has been unstructured and I figure I'll stick to that until whenever. "Fun" is slowly creeping back in.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


...I'd do it again if I could.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For Sale

This is the list of items for sale. All reasonable offers considered.

Monday, May 23, 2011

American Triple T

Verb: Reach a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress


Have I improved?

American Triple T has taught me the answer is no. Four years of doing the same race and I have seen little to no changes in my time. Time to move on. In the past I thought it was a fitness booster. Wrong. Do elite marathoners participate in 50 -100 mile running races, i.e. ultramarathons to get ready for the big 26.2 race? No. I missed the boat on this one: Specificity in Training matters.

The realization really hit me at the start this race weekend. If you can't beat the guys in the first race, you're not going to beat then in next, or the next, or the next. Part of my ongoing problem is finding the correct training stress to overcome my handicaps. The first issue is the side-stitch. Insane S-B-R efforts are the only time I get them, something that happens at my Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. So, at a race like Triple T, that is a major problem. The second issue is continual improvement. Rarely, some of the faster athletes come back to this race and one or two of them go from finishing behind me in years past to beating me. This was the case this year. It was humbling. Finding the formula to being faster has been tough. Between friends' experiences and my own, it seems like nobody has it completely figured out. The results show it. Great duathlete, but DNFs at IM; Great HIM'er, DNFs at IM; Great TTT'er, mediocre at everything else; Sometimes good, rarely great, otherwise miserable. In many ways, I'm all of those things and so are we all.

I was talking it over with my dad. Both he and I are fans of the movie Chariots of Fire and applicable to the stage I'm entering. Athletic pursuits are a young-man's fancy and once you hit your ceiling its time to move on and/or give back to the sport you love(d). Being a competitive triathlete is a selfish endeavor (the twice a day workouts, the five hour bike rides to name a few); to stick with the sport too long is bad for my overall personal development.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


In the last two years, the drink of my youth--Vernors--has returned to my lips to properly hydrate me after my workouts. Usually what I do is take two scoops of Glutamine and add them to a glass full of cold Vernors. Then I wash it down with another can or two of the stuff.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Orleans 70.3

Swim: Cancelled due to high winds
Bike: 2:23
Run: 1:26 (6:35 pace)
OA: 68
AG: 11

The swim was cancelled. That did not help my prospects of doing well overall. As an age-grouper, cheating/drafting and/or unintentional drafting is a problem. Given that the format changed to a bike-run as a time-trial start with M30-34 taking off at two-a-time, two seconds apart and behind various other age groups, there was a peloton for the first 45 minutes of the race. I'd say that a lot of the time the road was congested three-wide with bikers. Us faster riders spent plenty of time on the far left dodging road cones passing people. It was my first time at a premier race, such as an Ironman event, that I encountered a cancelled swim and bike congestion. Overall, I thought the racers and race event organizers did the best they could given the situation. By day's end, the event was merely marked by my participation.

The IM 70.3 Championship slot rolled down to me, but passed on it because I anticipate having a work conflict. I already have KONA on the schedule.

Other notables:
- Race venue was inexpensive (hotel, car rental, parking, food)
- Used a powermeter (ave 229 watts)
- I was under-nourished (4 gels on bike, 3 salts bike, coke on run)
- Have the two scoops of First Endurance Pre-Race, but add it to only 8-12 oz of sports drink.
- Great to see Wisconsinites there: Jackie Arendt, Chris Wichert, Paul Eicher, Mark Hering, and Mike Pierson

We had the opportunity to tour the French Quarter. I was as interesting and energetic as it was when we were there in 2003. I took this picture of a door:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011: Training Update

I've been so busy with work that I haven't had much time to blog let alone train. For the most part, I've kept the workouts to the main sets. In other words, little to no warmup or cooldown. Classic Me!

This year remains a big question mark and I like it that way. I just want to have a good time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011: Hard Work

I've been busy trying to balance out my work schedule and my training schedule. So far work has been taken over training hours.

My triathlon results in the last week have been promising despite the lack of training: 10K last week (36:XX) and a decent FTP test (29X watts).

Handing off my training schedule to Scott Bowe was the right thing to do. It has kept me from thinking and stick to doing. Also, his methodology has really challenged me. Zone 5 work is fairly new to me. His emphasis on it has added to my understanding of it.

First race this year is New Orleans 70.3. Hope to see some of you there.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011: Another Year

The journey into another triathlon season begins. This year, I hope, is a little more fun than years past. I anticipate a heavy race schedule with a variety of distances. The two long races are American Triple T and Ironman Hawaii. The big A race is actually the half-ironmans. I want to be a bit closer to the four hour mark.

One major change for 2011 is the introduction of power-based, interval training. Since the concepts are new to me, I asked Scott Bowe to help me with it. In the past, I've relied on a heart rate monitor. While it worked, powermeters seem to a better work metric.

Also, interval training is new for me. Massive volume with a doses of intensity have been the cornerstone of my training for the last four years. I look back at those years as preparatory work for the next phase: hitting the ceiling. Could I have done it differently, I suppose so but I'm not convinced that it would have benefitted my desire to be competitive at IM. I have noticed that for other athletes who did a more controlled progression over several years from sprints to oly to HIM to IM yielded better improvement. I wasn't patient enough to do that. Bummer.

I look forward to seeing everybody at the races this year.