The Ironman Chattanooga Challenge started out with a challenge from me to KC to blog our way through a year of training for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28, 2014.  We knew that along the way we would be facing different scenarios that would force us to move training days and rest days.  We would skip parties, have to work late, sleep in all along the way to our own finish line.  Each of our travels there would be different and the point is to showcase that there is more than one way to get to the finish line of an Ironman. This week seems to showcase that we are built to crave a challenge.  Essentially we are looking at a challenge within a challenge.  It isn't hard enough to train for an Ironman but when it is so far away and you are Type A the difficulty grows exponentially.  We crave the challenge and this week it seems that KC and I have gone ahead and sort of accepted a new challenge on the way to Ironman Chattanooga.

KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

"Finally remember that God heals and the doctor sends the bills. Give nature every chance to do her own good work."    ~Tom Osler (1978) "One of the basic rules of health is, ‘Listen to your body.’ I am responsible for my health, and to respond to my body I must listen to it, learn from it.  ~George Sheehan (1978a) Those 2 quotes were taken from one of my favorite books, The Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes. Smart guy! Plus, he’s come around in his thinking when it comes to the conventional wisdom regarding endurance training with way too much emphasis on sugars and grains. [caption id="attachment_9329" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge[/caption] Those quotes hold true today as I did not do the Disney marathon. It was a hard decision to make but I knew by Friday morning there was no way I wanted to show up on Sunday and half ass it. Funny thing is, had you asked me Thursday morning if I was planning on doing the marathon, I would have said yes but then I had a little accident on Thursday afternoon, with the same foot that I have been having the nerve issues with, and that was the nail in the coffin right there. That’s when I knew, no marathon for me. So what’s a girl to do when she can’t run the marathon she’s been training for, for the last 10 weeks? She does another 100 mile bike ride. For anyone counting, that’s 2 centuries in the first 2 weeks of 2014. I’m kinda feeling a little challenge coming over me …a century a week? What the what? Is that the insane KC speaking? Why yes, yes it is and she loves this crazy challenge idea. Stay tuned to see what happens in week 3 of 2014. I plan on picking up the run slowly this week and should be back up to running speed soon, as long as I don’t pull anymore stupid human tricks while walking to my car in the parking garage at work! Easier said than done, I know. I had some fun this week. I was a guest on a really cool podcast! You should go listen to it. Not because of me, but because the 2 guys on it, Andrew and John, are awesome and are a hoot to listen to, plus you may learn a thing or two. Here is the link: http://doughboytoironman.com/2014/01/10/ironman-year-one-episode-13-coach-kc-kristie-conception-on-why-beginners-and-bopers-need-coaches-too/ That’s all I got for ya this week. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

Week 10 of ICC is also the first week of overload training for Rocky Raccoon 50.  This week was quite the week in terms of running volume.  I hit 67 miles this week for what is easily the most miles I have ever run in a week.  It did not come with its own challenges though.  Mid-week I found myself sluggish and wondering what was happening considering I had just come off of a pull back week.  As I wrote, here, it boiled down to tracking my food and making sure that I was surrounding my workouts with carbs and then lean proteins and healthy fats for my other two meals.  Since I workout in the morning this turns out to be very advantageous for my running and recovery.  Big breakfast and then some healthy, tasty and protein rich meals the rest of the day. [caption id="attachment_9328" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman - rocky raccoon First Week Of Overload For RR50 and HUGE base building for IMTN[/caption] This weekend was a breakthrough as well.  I was scheduled to run 23 miles on Saturday and 13 miles on Sunday.  Prior to registering for RR50 I had registered for the Bold In The Cold 15k which happens to be my favorite race.  This was the fourth year and I was torn about how to approach it.  Do I run prior to the race, run the race and then cool down.  Run the race then finish off the remaining 14 miles.  How would I fuel?  How would I hydrate? I took the option of running 12 miles as a warm-up first, then run the race at a steady but not fast pace and then cool down. I started at 5:15am with 12 miles and felt good.  I held a steady 8:56/mi pace with my HR at the top end of Zone 1. Perfect.  After that run I stopped and had coffee and a banana to refuel.  Walked to the start line and saw a bunch of friends.  We got in line and the gun went off.  I figured a steady 8:30/mi pace would be great to start and then drop down to 8:00/mi and negative split the race.  Well, after the first two miles and running a 7:50/mi pace I felt great and figured it was time to light the match and hang on for dear life.  Over the course of the next 7 miles I ran ~7:35/mi and finished in 11th place in my age group.  Finished off with a 2 mile cool down and 23 miles in the books. Sunday morning I went to Cedar Ridge Preserve where I ran 12 miles with 1500+ foot of climbing and cursed myself, the trail, Jeff and everything else along the way.  I was hurting big time.  I had two hours out there to contemplate what I wanted to do at RR50.  I have a 'plan' heading into the race so far but bigger than that is I think I am going to register for my next challenge. I originally thought I would be racing 70.3 Galveston in April, but with RR50 taking precedence I do not think that I can get the bike volume in that I would need to have an enjoyable and fast race.  What I will have is a HUGE running base and so the next logical thing to do is run a 100 miler.  I have the registration page open  and am ready to pull the trigger.  With running the 100 miler at the end of March I can get a couple of weeks of recovery in before entering into training for Buffalo Springs 70.3 and true IM specific training.  The next challenge is on the horizon and I think I am ready for it.

What Is Your Next Challenge?

Published in Train
Rocky Racoon 50 Mile Ultra Trail Run is a bit more than a month away.  That means that I have survived the base month buildup and after this week of pull back will be heading into overload weeks.  Those overload weeks once seemed like a complete and total joke but now I am excited about going after them.  Especially after the base building weeks have shown that I have the ability to run for a long time and recover properly. Here is an idea of how the weeks were going to be completed in the different cycles:
  • Base Building for 5 weeks totaling 279 miles in Z1 / Z2.  I ran 285.3 miles at an average HR of 142 which is at the high-end of Z1 which for me is 143.
  • Pull Back week (this week) total 29 miles.
  • Overload weeks starting on Tuesday January 7th and weekly totals of 67, 69 and 71 miles.
  • Taper week with a total of 34 miles.
  • Race week will be 64 miles with 50 of those in the race.
As of the typing of this blog post I am very happy with where I am from a fitness and mental perspective.  As the training started I thought that these types of miles would be impossible to get to and worse yet recover from.  I also feared that I would be hitting a plateau and that it would be nearly impossible to breakthrough.  What has actually happened is the opposite and I place credit on adaptation and mental awareness of where my body is for this result. The way my weeks break out are as follows:
  • [caption id="attachment_9305" align="alignright" width="300"]rocky raccoon 50 - ultra trail run - training The color coding is for the shoes that I wore on that run. This helps me keep track of miles[/caption] Monday - Rest Day.  Usually a recovery bike trainer ride and/or swim.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Low mileage days (5 - 10 miles)
  • Wednesday - Long Mid-Week Run (8-10 miles)
  • Saturday - Long Run Day (15 - 25 miles)
  • Sunday - Long Recovery Run Day (12 - 13 miles)
I have added in some strength training at least 1x per week along with swimming on Friday evening to prepare the body for the upcoming weekend.  In addition to that I have been visiting the chiropractor 1x per week.  Starting on January 6th with the overload weeks starting I will be visiting twice per week. Lastly, the addition of the Hoka Mafate and Stinson to my running shoe collection has truly helped.  The key to surviving and excelling at this type of training is to make sure that you are recovering and ensuring that you are able to go back out the next day for another run in the cold and windy conditions. As I progress through the weeks and miles of training an idea about how I think I should perform at the race is being formed.  I originally started out thinking that if I took my time from the Wee-Chi-Ta 13 mile trail run back in August I could use that as a gauge.  That race was broiling hot and run the day after a 100+ mile bike ride in 100+* temps meaning regardless of how much water I drank I was dehydrated.  I finished that race in 2 hours.  If we multiply by 4 to get the mileage that would be 8 hours.  Sounded good but running 13 miles and then using that as a gauge is near impossible not to mention the idea that the temperatures are going to be much different. Last weekend Jeff, Dave and I ran 23 miles on the Rocky Raccoon 50 course and covered 23 miles in 4 hours.  We didn't take it easy but we sure weren't pushing the pace either.  If you double that you end up in the 8 hour range also.  Does 8 hours make sense?  That would be fast for a distance on a course that I have never done.  I am guessing that 9 - 9.5 hours is probably a good guess but as I sit here thinking about that I almost do not care.  This first 50 mile ultra trail race is my barometer for the next one, and yes there will be a next one.  Never thought I would say that. This race is similar to Ironman Texas 2012 where I raced it but knew that there would be more and that I needed to use the race as a gauge for nutrition, body signals and everything in between so that I could race the next one faster.  Right now the notion of a second 50 mile race is closer to reality and there could certainly be a 100 mile trail race in my future as well.

How Is The Training For Your Next Race Going? Lessons Learned?

Published in Train
Hoka One One came into my life about 2-3 years ago when Jeff showed them to us via social media.  My face looked like the Nile River with a cascade of tears from laughing so hard.  I immediately started calling him Neil Armstrong because they looked like moon boots.  Not long after that Kevin began sporting them.  The raves and reviews permeated every conversation.  I would hear things like:
  • I recover so much faster.
  • I do not feel the pounding on my legs like I do with my other shoes.
The incessant chanting of positive thoughts was thrust into every conversation we had about these ridiculous looking shoes.  Before I knew it Karen purchased a pair after talking to Jeff (I tell you he could convince eskimos that ice was the ideal solution to any problem they had and they would pay for it.  See Rocky Raccoon 50.)  Then the claims from Karen were too hard to ignore but I fought it.  I loved my Brooks Launch, and still do.  EMZ began wearing them and she too lauded over how great her legs felt after running with them.  KC, of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge, became the next convert and all the sudden I was faced with a tribe of people I respected telling me that the Hoka One One was the shoe to end all shoes.  Not exactly that way but their claims of fast recovery and ability to go longer without issues started to pique my interest. When Rocky Raccoon 50 training started I did not own a pair but after the first week of 50+ miles after not having run 50+ miles in two months combined led me to the decision to get a pair.  I knew that in order to survive the training that RR50 was throwing at me I would need the ability to take as much off of my legs as I possibly could.  I had pairs of compression socks already but that wasn't enough.  I was eating properly after every long run but that wasn't enough.  Convinced that this was the right move I ordered the Mafate.  Soon thereafter I ordered the Stinson.  Let it be known that today I am a Hoka One One convert and here is why.

[caption id="attachment_9278" align="alignright" width="300"]hoka one one - mafate - ultra trail running - review The Hoka One One Mafate 3[/caption]

Hoka One One Mafate

I purchased the Hoka One One Mafate for the specific reason of using them for Rocky Raccoon 50 on February 8.  The Mafate has lugs on them that make them ideal for running trails but I figured I could also use them on the road.  The description on the Hoka One One site says:

The ideal shoe for ULTRA marathon runners looking for a lightweight, stable and performance cushion running shoe that can hammer the down hills and make it easier charging the up hills.

I figured I would have zero issues running the roads and since the training for RR50 involves charging uphills and sprinting downhills I couldn't have found a better shoe than this one correct?  Wrong.  This shoe is tremendous and I absolutely love it but not for the road.  The lugs do as they are intended and grab the road, which is ideal on a trail but not great on concrete.  I felt as if I were pulling my legs up just to get the lugs to release.  Now, this may have all been in my head but it was enough to throw me off as I was running in them.

I put on a total of 33 miles in the Mafate but after the first run I felt sharp pains in my right foot after about 6 miles.  I would keep going and within 0.5-1 mile the pain would go away.  I couldn't figure out exactly what it is about them but when I went back to the Brooks Launch that pain in my foot did not exist.  It had to be the shoes and more specifically using a trail shoe on the road.  In addition to the lugs I had to get used to the heel-toe drop.  The Brooks Launch which I have been using for the past 3 years is a 9.5mm drop while the Hoka One One Mafate 3 is a 4mm drop.  While the shoe looks like a boot and has tons of cushioning it is actually a very minimal shoe in terms of the heel-toe drop and this was something I had to adjust to.

While the foot pain was evident after about 5 miles and last for up to a mile what I did notice was that my legs were not fried.  I have done 4 runs in the Mafate 3 up to this point with the maximum being 12 miles and all the others being recovery runs after longer days or long weekends and my legs did not feel like I assumed I would from the pounding that they were taking.  I was becoming more and more convinced of the magical powers of the Hoka One One.  Despite the frustration of the foot issue I was sold on the shoe as a great long run shoe as well as recovery shoe and purchased the Stinson which is more of a road shoe.

Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac

I was like Ralphie from A Christmas Story when the Hoka One One Stinson showed up at my doorstep. I could not wait to rip open the box and get them on my feet as fast as I possibly could.  I poured over my training plan to try to figure out the best day to wear them and when I figured it out I laid them out like a bride lays out her wedding dress the night before the big day.  They may even have sparkled.  I was excited and when I put them on for the first time I was greeted with the feeling of pillows on my feet.  Could this really be?  Could these shoes that looked like cinder blocks actually weight next to nothing?  They sure felt like it but let's go take them for a test ride. [caption id="attachment_9280" align="alignright" width="300"]hoka one one - stinson -running - review Hoka One One: Time To Fly
Source: Hoka One One[/caption] The Hoka One One slogan is Time To Fly and with the first few steps that is exactly how I felt.  It was December 19th and I had run 174.45 miles since November 25 and was averaging nearly 54 miles over those 3 weeks.  My legs were beginning to get tired and I was starting to get cranky.  On this run I managed to bang out 6 miles at an extremely low HR of 140 bpm with not even the thought of my legs feeling tired.  The shoes were doing what they were intended to do and that was to provide cushioning to my legs and feet.  I felt like I was running on air and felt very fast in comparison to the miles on Monday thru Wednesday of that week.  The best part was that I did not experience any form of stabbing sensation in my feet.  I was getting more and more convinced that these were going to be my long road and recovery run shoes.  I would wear the Hoka One One Mafate 3 on the trails and the Brooks Launch on the treadmill. The Stinson has heel-toe drop of 6mm which is slightly bigger than the Mafate 3 but much less than the Brooks Launch.  Rotating all three shoes through my training would allow me to strengthen my feet and calves from different perspectives and I believe that this is also contributing to my fast recovery.  At this point I have run 23 miles in the Stinson with the longest being 12 miles and each run has felt good to great along with no issues the next day in terms of my legs feeling warn out.

Hoka One One Conclusion

The Hoka One One shoe is for real.  While they may look like clown shoes they do what they are intended to do and that is to provide cushioning.  Heading toward a weekend where I will run 23 miles on the trails in the Mafate 3 and 12 miles on the road in the Stinson I am excited because I know that while my legs will be tired they will not be thrashed as if I were to only wear one type of shoe that has less cushioning. The combination of the different heel-toe drop and the 23mm of cushioning make the Hoka One One a shoe that is ideal for long runs and recovery runs.  Of course, like any other shoe you need to test them to make sure they not only fit you properly but provide the support that you need.  The Mafate is neutral shoe that weight 14.7 oz while the Stinson is also a neutral shoe that weighs 11.9 oz.  The Brooks Launch weigh 9.3 oz but they feel heavier and that is most likely due to the pounding your feet and legs feel on each foot fall thanks to the 'lack' of cushioning in comparison to the Hoka One One line of shoes. In the end I think I have the right combination of shoes for my running.  The difference in weight coupled with the difference in heel-toe drop added to the difference in cushioning between each shoe is allowing me to maximize my recovery while building strength for the ultra run training I am doing.  As a matter of fact I think that the Stinson could be in my changing bag when I race Ironman Chattanooga in September of 2014 because of the comfort of the shoe coupled with the cushioning it will afford my legs after 112 miles of biking.
Published in Product Reviews
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 12:28

Treadmill Running - I am getting used to this

[caption id="attachment_9214" align="alignright" width="300"]treadmill - running - habit - rocky raccoon The NordiTrack that we use in the garage.
Source: NordiTrack[/caption] Treadmill running was something I would do only if forced to.  I would look at the treadmill on my way around the gym and would think to myself......no way, no how.  I was 'forced' onto that machine a few times during Ironman training and it was ok.  Not my favorite but it was a time saver when I had a run workout right after swimming.  Then one day I jumped on it, and I cannot remember why, to do mile  repeats.  I fell in love with the idea of mile repeats on the treadmill because I could control the speed.  By control I mean go faster than I would have outside in the elements.  I felt this benefited me tremendously to get the legs to turnover at a pace they would not have should I have been outside. The off-season hit and summer was there so I did not have to do any treadmill running.  This was grand until Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Trail Run training started.  Two weeks into that training and the ice storm of 2013 hit Dallas.  This forced me indoors and I am fortunate enough to have a wife who is also an endurance athlete and loves running.  She had purchased a treadmill and I thought nothing of it at that time, but what a life saver this turned out to be.  This, by the way, is not your typical treadmill.  Karen did her research and she ended up with the NordiTrack 9000 (not the actual number but it sounded good.)  This thing is incredible. This treadmill has the ability to connect with Google Maps and allow you to run anywhere in the world.  To date I have run in Venice, London, Joshua Tree National Park and started the Big Sur marathon amongst other courses.  The treadmill goes through an incline or decline based on where you are on the course and it also provides pictures of where you are at.  The data it gives back to you is outstanding.  I have enjoyed my time on the treadmill so much lately that I am coming up with reasons to not run outside.  Last week I ran 17 miles through the streets of London on the treadmill. To make it an even better experience last week after 12 miles on the treadmill I mounted a 19" television along with Apple TV so that we can stream Netflix or ESPN to the TV and allow us to run until we cannot run anymore out there.  In the past few days I have learned a few reasons as to why I am enjoying my time on the treadmill compared to the days of dreading it.

Why I Am Liking The Treadmill

  • Data. As I mentioned earlier there is data everywhere.  From the incline / decline percentage to speed to calories burned.  There is also elevation gain data being thrown at you.  All of this data is in a controlled environment and in front of my face so I do not have to look down at my watch every 10 seconds hoping that time has passed.
  • Easier On The Legs. The Rocky Raccoon training started out with 50 miles in week 1.  It was at 52 miles in week 2 and I believe this week (week #3) is going to be near 60.  That is a lot of time on my legs and having the comfort of the treadmill under me makes the recovery process a bit easier.
  • Mental Strength. I have done super long trainer rides (6 hours is my PR) but that is completely different from the mental strength of the treadmill.  I have figured out multiple ways to make treadmill runs go by fast and have applied those ideas to the road.  For example, the 17 mile run I did on Saturday is made up of 68 1/4 mile segments.  If running at a 9:00/mi pace I am pacing a 1/4 marker every 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  Knowing that I only have to run 2:15 to put a check mark in the box helped tremendously as I did not look at the entire run of 17 miles but instead 0.25 miles at a time.  Anybody can run 0.25 miles right.
  • Multi-Tasking. As I said earlier I have mounted a TV above the treadmill in the garage.  This gives me the opportunity to catch up on movies that I have not seen in the theater because I was too busy swimming, biking and running.  In addition to movies I am also finding that I can crank out 1 to 2 chapters of a book at a time without losing my balance or feeling disoriented.  Since training for long hours is draining I can easily be asleep by 8pm instead of watching a movie with Karen or reading a book that I bought months and months ago.
In the middle of typing this blog post I looked at what I have planned for training during the week, which is where the treadmill is going to come in handy.  Since I need to leave the house around 7:15am to get Chico to school I need to be out on the road by 5am running and home by 6:15-6:30 at the latest.  That would put me at 10 miles maximum and that is if I maintain a 9:00/mi pace.  Running at Z1/Z2 is no guarantee of running that pace so the treadmill will come in handy in the middle of the week and I am glad that Karen had the foresight to research and buy one. I do not know if I will ever be able to keep up with Emily but the more I run on the treadmill and the longer the miles go the higher the confidence level goes that a super long treadmill run is feasible.  This weekend's 19 miles will be a true test.

Are You A Treadmill Runner?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_9146" align="alignright" width="300"]gadgets - apps - cycling - running Gadgets, Apps and Watches Can Aid In Taking Performance To The Next Level.[/caption] Whether you are a recreational runner or an ultra-marathoner, there's an app for that. From mapping out courses to monitoring heart rates, there are a growing number of apps and gadgets that can help runners of all skill levels reach their potential. Not only does this make for a tough decision when you are in the marketplace, but it could impact your wallet. Following are four top apps that will fuel your running without breaking the bank. Running Apps
  1. MapMyRun: MapMyRun is an online application that allows you to create routes, log workouts and diets, and maintain a fitness diary. What makes this an excellent option for runners (aside from being free) is the smartphone app available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices that uses GPS technology to track and record your progress. Users can "Go MVP" ($5.99 per month or $29.99 a year) to access additional features, like Route Genius, training plans, heart rate analysis, cadence analysis, mobile coaching, and interval training. Proud of your recent run? You can seamlessly post your performance to Facebook.
  2. RunKeeper: RunKeeper has long been at the forefront of fitness apps available for iPhone and Android devices. It provides GPS tracking, audio interval cues, and it can be integrated with your iPod. You can create and store route with RunKeeper as well, but I have found MapMyRun easier to use and more feature-rich, although both are very straightforward. The online application provides free training plans for runners seeking to complete a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon. Recent reports have indicated that the GPS tracking can be a little off, but I have yet to experience this. Similar to MapMyRun, it is free, although additional functionality is available via a paid subscription to RunKeeper Elite for $5 per month or $20 per year.
  3. Nike + Running: Nike proves that it knows running with a free app for iPhones and Androids that tracks distance, pace, calories burned, and more. You can even activate the perfect song to finish up your run or get pumped up with cheers from a real-time crowd. Nike also offers a selection of devices that can be used in conjunction with its software, including the Nike+Sensor ($19), Nike+ SportWatch GPS ($149-$169), and the Nike+ Fuelband SE ($149), among others. The data collected by the devices is automatically uploaded to nikeplus.com, where you can utilize features similar to those found on MapMyRun and RunKeeper.
  4. Endomondo: If you like to run socially, consider Endomondo. It is free, and it is geared toward "... sports involving movement across a distance." GPS technology allows users to track sports data and monitor performance, but to compete against your friend's friends, new and old, in a number of challenges, from most miles to most calories burned. You can create your own challenges, too. It is available for most mobile devices.
Looking for more than just an app? Fitness watches and heart rate monitors can help you fine tune your running. Following are tips for choosing which one is best for you.
  • Fitness Watches: Running watches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are available at a broad range of price points, so it is important to isolate the features that are most important to you first.
    • Accelerometer Watches: Runners have long relied on accelerometer watches, which measure speed and distance using motion sensors instead of GPS. While they do not allow you to track your path, some provide features like heart-rate monitoring, either built-in or in conjunction with a heart rate monitor. Timex accelerometer watches are available for less than $50, while Garmin offers models in the low $100s.
    • GPS Watches: If you spend time running off the beaten path or data drives your routine runs, consider a GPS watch. Feature-rich and with a price tag to match, these watches are smart. They will track your speed, distance and location with ease, and they can remember recent runs. Garmin has long been at the forefront of consumer GPS equipment, and watches are no different. You will pay as little as $125, although most watches on the market are priced around $200.
  • Heart Rate Monitors: Heart rate monitors enable you to achieve peak fitness by monitoring your cardiovascular performance over the course of your runs. They come in chest-strap models or finger sensor models (which resemble watches). The former are more expensive and more accurate, but are prone to interference. The latter are less accurate and less expensive, and they require you to stop your exercise to capture a reading. While heart monitors aim to keep you in your peak target zone, some models will also alert you to dehydration or nutritional deficits during your workouts.
Make sure to consider your specific needs before making a purchase, and keep in mind that you may be able to monitor and improve your running with little more than an easy-to-use, free app.
Jamie Lee is an avid runner and tech enthusiast. He writes for eBay about a wide variety of fitness and consumer technology topics.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 07:44

Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Half-Marathon Race Report

Wee-Chi-Tah Half-Marathon Trail Race

Let's continue the story from yesterday shall we?  In case you missed it here is the recap of the Hotter N Hell Hundred Bike Race.

wee chi tah - trail run - race report

 After the bike ride we showered, had dinner and back to bed early again as we needed to get up for a half-marathon trail race.  Makes total sense doesn't it?  When the alarm went off I don't think Jeff, nor I, moved.  What in God's name were we thinking? Totally spent and dehydrated we pushed our way to the car while Bob hung back as he wasn't running and was going to head back to Austin. Before I tell you about the race let me just say that I have NEVER done a trail race.  Karen has and has told me that they are just different and you run them slower.  I thought great....run slower so more of a recovery run.  Yeah, not so much.  You start out and everybody is gung-ho and you go with the flow out of the gate.  Jeff was gone in seconds and I was caught behind other athletes, which was not a bad thing. I didn't know what to expect so going out a bit slow was fine by me.  That is until the first mile was done, my watch beeped and I saw: 8:48.  What was I thinking?  If those people were not in front of me I probably would have run a rather idiotic 7 minute mile.  Holy hell this is going to be hard was my second thought. I ran and with every step my quads screamed, then my calf, then my hamstring.  Even my arms and neck were yelling at me to stop and lay down. I hammered on and eventually wound up with two guys behind me and we were chatting while running single track.  These guys were pushing me otherwise I don't know if I would have kept on.  We were together for about 2-3 miles but on the trail that seems like an eternity of having guys breathing down your neck.  At once you want to yell at them to pass you but at the same time you are happy to have partners because you have no clue where you are or where you are going.  The small chit-chat that last 20-3o seconds and then stops for minutes helps pass the time. Now, this trail racing stuff is HARD. You are going up and down repeatedly. You are jumping over roots and rocks.  Avoiding getting hit in the face by twigs.  You have to be on your game.  At one point we went through a series of ups and down that while only 1/4 mile in length kicked my ass.  I reached the top of one of the dunes and stopped dead in my tracks.  One of the two guys, who had resorted to calling me Jeep because of my shirt yelled out: C'mon Jeep you cannot stop now. You are my pacer. I said alright let's do this and I ran not 100 feet, not 10 feet but one foot before I never saw him again. I just could not keep up the pace but I was determined not to walk.  He had given me the inspiration to run the entire race.  This was at mile 6 1/4 (yes, that is what the mile marker said) and I knew that I had about 1 hour and 10 minutes to go.  Let's do this. At one point you go over a suspension bridge that sways and rocks and I fell into the fence three times because I did not have the leg strength to hold myself up. Once past that you run up a cliff and a spectator yelled: #472 looking strong. I replied with:  You are not a very good liar.  I was done until we crossed a stream and the cold water on my feet made me want to stop and lay down.  One of the volunteers must have seen my face and said only one more mile to go. I heard this and started running, then I heard 'go you can get in under 2 hours.'  WHAT? I huffed and I puffed and I climbed the last hill then crossed the finish line and hit my stop button at 2:00:00.  HOLY SH*T are you kidding me?  Looking to go 2:30 and I beat that by 30 minutes.  I was spent. I could not stand at the finish line and the idea of doing anything other than involuntary breathing was impossible. Caught up with Jeff afterwards and he said that was the hardest trail race he had ever done.  Hands down.  I don't know if I'll go trail running anytime soon but to put down a 2 hour run on that course made my day beyond belief.  We grabbed some bananas, oranges and water then headed off to the car where I proceeded wrap a towel around my waist and strip in the parking lot because I just did not care anymore.  I was spent and tired and hungry and dirty. In other words I was done. Off to the Motel 6 for a quick shower, then out for breakfast and a two-hour ride back home.  All in a good day's work to say the least. This endurance weekend was a big boost of confidence for the rest of 2013 and truly for what lays ahead in 2014.  If my body can react to a trail run and finish in 2 hours after pouring myself over my handlebars the day before in a 100 mile race then I truly believe that a 5:30-5:45 bike split with a 3:45 run split at an Ironman next year is well within reach.  Now to work on my swim anxiety.

Published in Race Reports
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 13:13

Run For Sherry - February 9th

Run For Sherry

Run For Sherry is taking place on February 9th and will be officially started at 9a MST.  For those of you who don't know what the Run For Sherry is please keep reading and watch my interview with Beth Risdon of Shut Up And Run. The Run For Sherry is a virtual run to honor Beth's cousin Sherry who was tragically taken from this world last year.  Sherry went out for a run in her small home town in Montana and never returned.  She was murdered by two men who had violence on their minds and they unfortunately acted on those thoughts. Last year Beth organized the Run For Sherry and there were over 25,000 downloads of the bibs and who knows how many countless copies were made.  The run reached 25 countries and brought to light the need to be vigilant when we are out running regardless of whether you know where you are or not.  Paying attention to your surroundings is important and making sure that your family and/or friends know where you are is the first step to helping ensure your safety. This year the Run For Sherry is not only to never forget Sherry but to encourage us all to keep running.  I, personally, want to make this year bigger than last year and have documentation of it so please print your bib here and then take pictures with you wearing it as you get ready for your run and upload them to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #RunForSherry.  This will allow Beth to get all the pictures in a couple of locations and download to create something memorable for all of us to share. Here is the video of my interview with Beth: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_ipQcP_XF4]Thank you for reading and watching.  Now make sure that on February 9th at whatever time and at whatever pace and for how ever long you run that you Run For Sherry.   [caption id="attachment_7251" align="aligncenter" width="612"]run for sherry - memory - running Run For Sherry[/caption]
Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_6262" align="alignright" width="200"]oakley_splitjacket_sunglasses_lancearmstrong_productreview Lance Armstrong Sporting The Oakley Jawbone[/caption] Oakley Split Jacket sunglasses.....have you ever seen them?  Of course you have.  Lance wears them.  You know the ones with the yellow on the bottom to match his Livestrong company colors.  You have probably seen them on more than just Lance and wondered, like I did, if they were worth the hype and in the end really the cost.  I fortunately, or unfortunately, happened to be in the market for sunglasses and started shopping around. Let me take you back a week and tell you how this whole thing started.  I had just finished my fastest ride on the 60 mile course I have around my house and put up a decent 20 minute run.  I was feeling good and loading my bike into the Team Baha car when I put my sunglasses ear piece into my mouth so I could have use of both hands.  It was then that I tasted metal.  I looked at them after I was done loading the car up and notices that the bars were breaking through the rubber ends and I knew immediately it was time to go sunglass shopping. I am a cheap skate when it comes to sunglasses because I know that with the sport of triathlon it is very easy to leave them at a race, leave them at a hotel, break them as we change from cycling to running.  There are a ton of different ways to lose or break so I tend to be somewhat cheap in terms of pricing, but I still want the best.  The last pair I was using were a prize from Jen over at the blog Miles, Muscles and Mommyhood won over two years ago. [caption id="attachment_6261" align="alignright" width="300"]oakley_splitjacket_sunglasses_review Source: Oakley Vault[/caption] As I was sitting down to do some research I had a few must-haves:
  1. Interchangeable lenses.
  2. No slipping when my face would get sweaty.
  3. Matching colors to the Cook Train Eat Race racing kit.
  4. Travel case.
  5. Price.
I contacted Marni Sumbal of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition as I knew she was an Oakley Ambassador and asked her what pair she would recommend.  I did not give her my list and just let her choose which ones she thought were best.  From there I could make a decision.  Marni did not disapoint and gave me a list of the ones that she likes and different pairs that her husband, Karel, really enjoys riding with.  Then she gave me the best bit of information I could have asked for and told me to visit OakleyVault.com.  This is where Oakley puts their products on sale and it was a home run. As soon as I got there and clicked on men and eyewear there they were staring at me like an epiphany.  The blue stood out as I knew it would match the race kit, then I noticed the price.  $89.99, down from $260.  It was as if my hand took control of my brain and immediately went to add to cart, filled in the information, paid for express shipping (still came out to barely over $100) and they were at my front door before I knew what had happened. I must have refreshed the tracking information every 3 hours for the 2 days it was going to take for the sunglasses to ship from California.  When the door bell rang and the man in brown handed over the package I ripped it open and knew immediately that I had made the right choice. These sunglasses were everything I wanted in a new pair of sunglasses.  The lenses are interchangeable, there was a hard case for traveling with an extra pair of lenses and the blue matched the race kit perfectly.  Next was to test them out. The first few times I used them were on a few runs.  This is where I figured I would put them through their paces because with running I would be bouncing up and down and this would allow them to slide across my face.  As I ran and was sweating in the Texas heat I was amazed that they never moved. Not one slight movement and better than that is that they are so lightweight you barely notice they are on your face. The one downside that I have to get used to is having a bottom frame on the lens.  I have been wearing sunglasses without a bottom frame for the past 4 years and the first time I looked down to see my pace on my watch and saw the lens frame I was freaked out.  I did not know what it was I was looking at and was confused for a moment.  The answer to this:  raise my arm up just a bit more and run in them a couple of more times.  Now I don't notice the bottom frame. So they passed the run test, but lets see how they work on the bike.  Yesterday I had a simple 1 hour recovery spin and would have done this on the trainer but went out into my neighborhood and took the Oakley Polarized Split Jackets with me.  I found them so comfortable that I never pushed them up on my face and when I was heading into a headwind I did not feel any wind coming up under the bottom of them because of the frame touching my cheeks.  Perfect. These lenses also have a venting on them which is great as well as the sunglasses never fogged up with the heat, humidity and sweat pouring onto them.  It is amazing when you focus on these things that you take notice and in this case taking notice meant nothing to see. I am very happy with this purchase and want to say Thank You to Marni for helping me out in choosing these sunglasses.
Published in Product Reviews
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:38

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series Thoughts

[caption id="attachment_6021" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Quite Possibly My Swan Song In The RnR Series"]rockandrollmarathon_sandiego_running[/caption] Rock And Roll Marathon Series - well, yes I did it again. I ran another Rock and Roll Event.. and I truly believe it will be my last. I am thankful for these large events as they motivate people to get out and run – but in my honest opinion they have gotten way too crowded and chaotic and here are my pet peeves:
  • Lining up at the front of the race in the lower numbered corrals and then running slow.
  • Abruptly stopping during a race. Move to the side first – I crashed into 2 people who stopped..
  • Photo ops. I saw several people taking self-portraits while running, or taking pictures of others. Please refer to above and move to side – OFF the course.  This is a running event, right?
  • If you must spit or blow your nose please check around you – I dodged a few snot rockets. EWWWW
  • Rest stops – at least try to throw your cup off the road or in the bin and not on the runners behind you, and yes this might be a good time to get rid of your gu rather than discarding where ever you feel like it -  do you actually think someone drives the whole course after to pick up all the little packets you discard?
  • Being aware of your surroundings. Yes – there are others running this race, and they might pass you so pay attention and be courteous and don’t bottleneck the course.
  • Stopping IMMEDIATELY after the finish line. In Vegas I could barely cross the finish line.  I was able to cross in San Diego but came to a stop right after…  Keep moving people or seek medical attention if you cant.
  • Don’t cheat races. When I was waiting for my family to finish the race – I saw more than one person with TWO timing chips on. Really?  Also saw another take a short cut prior to the 11 mile mark – can you really live with yourself knowing you PR’ed by cheating?
  • Thank the volunteers. We get to do the fun stuff – they are the ones that make it happen.
Ok – enough griping. The race weather was perfect and I PR’ed (barely) at 1.51.09  putting me in the top ten percent out of over 17,000 people – so overall it was a great day spent with my family in San Diego.

How Do You Feel About Rock and Roll Events?

Are You A Fan Or Larger Or Smaller Events?

Published in Race
Monday, 04 June 2012 11:44

Ironman Arizona - Here We Go

[caption id="attachment_5997" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Ironman Arizona: Let's Get It On!"]ironmanarizona_imaz_triathlon_training[/caption] Ironman Arizona is in 168 days or 24 weeks.  What does that mean for me?  It means that training for this race starts today.  I am very excited to get the training going for this race because there are so many people out there that are training right now and I felt out of the loop for two weeks while I recovered. I have set up my spreadsheet to track my mileage for IMAZ and to compare it to IMTX.  I would think that the mileage would be similar but I do think that there will be more swimming mileage.  I have found an open water swim practice hosted by the Frisco Tri Club on Wednesday evenings and I will be attending this practice as often as I can.  Based on the 1:34 I put up at IMTX I could surely use the practice. There will be a few changes going on during this training cycle:
  • My aerobic bike rides will be done at 140 bpm.  My goal will be to race IMAZ at that heart rate so in order to understand how that feels I need to train there. I will still be doing a lot of my work on the trainer during the week in the garage and with extra layers.  I found that this helped me to understand how much liquid to take in.  While it should be somewhat cooler in Arizona in November if I train at a hotter 'climate' then the cooler weather will benefit me on race day.
  • I have picked up a new bike computer.  I will be training with the Garmin Edge 500 so that I can track all my trainer work properly as well as when I head out on the bike.  This will allow me to upload my bike data for Coach so that she can truly adjust any bike sessions she has scheduled.
  • As mentioned above, I will be heading to the lake more often so that I can get the open water swim practice.  The beauty of this is that the summer will be with no wetsuit but IMAZ will most certainly be a wetsuit event.
  • My aerobic runs will be done at 155 bpm.  I raced IMTX in 4:09 which equates to a 9:31/mi pace.  I had some data before my watch died and it showed a 140 bpm during that first 41 minutes.  I ran that first loop in 8:27/mi and the 2nd and 3rd loops at 10:06/mi and 10:04/mi so I don't think my heart rate ever elevated above the 140 bpm which is not bad but I also know that I can run the marathon at a sub-4:00 pace.
  • My diet is going to be dialed in from day one.  I have been on a routine lately that has helped me keep my post-IMTX weight right near race weight.  In addition to that my body fat% is at 6% and that is an improvement from early April.  That being said Summer Bailey and I are going to be comparing the cost of training for an Ironman being a vegetarian versus being a carnivore.  This should be interesting and my spending will be chronicled through 'Feeding An Ironman'
Here are my numbers from  Ironman Texas and we can certainly compare them to Ironman Arizona as the training goes on.  
Swim Bike Run
Miles 110.8 2858.6 633.6
 

I would be ignorant to think that I will get through this on my own so I want to thank my sponsors for helping me out, but first thank you to Karen.  Ready to rock and roll this training?

  • Herbalife 24 - nutrition to help me start, keep going and recover.
  • Boundless Nutrition - when you want great tasting cookies you come to these guys.
  • Grapevine Grains - for the best oats and flours to make healthy dishes go to them. (CTER code gets you a 10% discount)
  • TriSwim / TriSlide - TriSwim removes that chlorine smell, while TriSlide protects against chafing and sores but also removes your wetsuit fast.
  • Sonix Studio - my partnership with Chad in this web design and internet marketing company that allows me the freedom to train and race.
  • Core Power - recovery milk that goes great in an Herbalife 24 smoothie.
And certainly last but not least.....thank you Coach.  Claudia Spooner of iRuniTri Mutlisport has gotten me to the start and finish of IMTX and will now have the task of doing the same at IMAZ.  Be prepared for lots of questions and suggestions Coach.

Thank you for reading and as they say in boxing:  Let's Get It On

Published in Train
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