Thursday, 01 December 2011 15:44

Are You Dynamic?

When I first hired Coach C to train me I was of the school of static stretching.  You know what static stretching is.  Stand with your feet next to each other and then bend over and touch your toes and hold for 12-15 seconds.  No bouncing or risk injury.  You do this twice and then move onto the next one and keep going.  I thought I was doing it right, and in fact I was but I was doing it at the wrong time.  I should have been doing that after the run. Coach C taught me that before I run or bike or swim that I need to do dynamic stretches.  She gave me a list of walking lunges, skipping, karaoke, butt kicks and high knees.  After doing these exercises prior to a run I noticed that my legs felt fresher and ready to run.  I also started to notice that my heart rate was up to 121 bpm when I was done.  It was then that I started to do the dynamic stretching just prior to the gun going off in a race, when I could.  Those races always seemed to have great starts and I figure it has to do with my heart rate being slightly elevated before I took off running.  I guess it is like warming up a car before you put it in drive and take off down the street. I have also noticed that I have a lot less pings and dings to my legs when I do it.  By that I mean that those hip flexor issues that I hear other runners/triathletes suffer from don't exist for me.  I will say that I have had some calf issues in the past two weeks and have addressed it with ART but believe that part of the problem is that my static stretching after my workouts became non-existent.  If I want to get to Ironman Texas in May in great health and shape I need to incorporate static stretching back into my routine along with the dynamic stretching.  My plan is to keep getting ART treatments as well as adding in Bikram Yoga for flexibility purposes. Here are some examples of dynamic and static stretching from  Find the post written by Nathan Koch P.T., A.T.C [HERE] [caption id="attachment_4797" align="alignright" width="255" caption="Side Leg Raises To Do Prior To Exercise"]dynamic_stretching_leg_raises_running[/caption]

Do these before

Inchworms: Start in pushup position and walk your feet as close to your hands as possible. When you can’t go farther, stop and walk your hands out in front to return to pushup. Come down on stomach and arch your back up for a spine stretch. Leg swings: Stand sideways next to a wall, and swing outside leg forward and back, increasing height each time. Walking lunge with twist: Perform deep walking lunges to stretch the hips, twisting torso away from the back leg. Static sustained stretches are designed to hold a position for a joint/muscle that is minimally challenging. The focus is on relaxing the body part being stretched and letting it go farther on its own. Research suggests that holding the position for 30–60 seconds will increase flexibility in the tissue; conversely, done prior to activity, static stretching may actually inhibit the muscle’s ability to fire.

Do these after

Frog stretch: Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Turn toes out and squat down as low as possible, keeping heels flat on the floor. Press knees open with elbows. Quad stretch: While standing, grab the top of your right foot and bring it closer to your glutes, while pushing hips forward. Pigeon: On the ground, bring a bent right leg in front of your body with your left leg behind you to stretch your glutes.

Do You Stretch Before and After You Workout?

Do You Practice Dynamic Stretching?

Published in Train
Sunday, 30 October 2011 11:44

I'm Doing Something Right?

repeat_training_triathlonAs humans we are creatures of habit and while change is a good thing it may not be so good when it comes to training for endurance events. If you have read this blog long enough you know that my weeks are setup the same from week to week and that I get up at the same time everyday except for Friday.  I believe by doing this I am training my body to be prepared to go and not confusing it to the point where it has no idea what is happening next.  Yes we want to confuse our muscles so that they get stronger but you confuse them through different exercises not through different start times. This week I have been doing research on trying to find an eating plan for a late in the day marathon.  On December 4th I will be running the Rock N Roll Las Vegas marathon and it starts at 4pm.  Obviously the later starting time means that I need to adjust my body clock to be ready for optimal performance at that time.  I will be doing at least one late evening run per week until race day but my biggest concern is fueling for that day.  I have all day to eat and that could throw a major monkey wrench into my plans to qualify for Boston. In case you were wondering my week usually looks like this:
  • Monday:   Recovery bike and a strong swim coupled with core/strength
  • Tuesday:   Strong swim and solid run
  • Wednesday:   Moderate Length ride and a brick run
  • Thursday:   Solid Run and an Open Water Swim
  • Friday:   OFF
  • Saturday:   Long Bike and Brick Run off the bike
  • Sunday:   Long Run
I start my days with a 3 am wake up and a smoothie breakfast, coffee and water.  I am working out by 5am and done by 7-8am each day.  This gives me nearly 24 hours of recovery before the next day.  I am never tired, nor am I hitting snooze or missing workouts.  I believe my body has adapted.  I am hoping that I can get my body to that point with only 6 weeks before Vegas.
In doing this search I came across this article on that gave me confidence in how I workout in terms of time of day and routine.  The title of the article is Live Like A Clock:  How A Routine Aids Performance.  The main points were:
  1. Improved Consistency:  Dedicating yourself to a routine not only acclimatize the mind and body to running hard at a certain time, but it also transforms how you think about, and schedule, your week.
  2. Adaptation=Optimization:  research has shown that when athletes exercise at the same time each day, the body responds by optimizing performance during those hours.
  3. Better Sleep Patterns:  Another benefit to running at the same time each day is better sleeping patterns.
  4. Improved Recovery:  When you fluctuate the time of day you run, you’ll often be completing runs and workouts on less than 12 hours total recovery between sessions. Our body doesn’t reset overnight, so when you run later in the evening on Sunday night and then run early Monday morning, your body is operating on limited recovery time.
  5. Healthier Eating Habits:  Finally, developing a routine leads to better eating habits and reduces the risk of bathroom breaks or cramps ruining your workouts. When you run at the same time each day, you can accurately predict when you’ll be hungry and provide yourself with healthy food choices.
I can say that my recovery from 70.3 Austin has been phenomenal.  My legs have felt so good that waiting for yesterday's 18 miler was more stressful than the taper prior to the 70.3.  Wondering how the run yesterday went?  How about 18 miles covered in 2:21:40 for a 7:51/mi pace with a heart rate in high Z2-low Z3 at 157.

Do You Train At The Same Time Everyday?

Published in Train
Friday, 04 November 2011 13:40

Indoor Training

[caption id="attachment_4621" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Riding Indoors Can Be Boring But Effective"]bike_trainer_triathlon[/caption] We are about to enter the cold months of winter and that typically means all training will be brought indoors.  I am not a fan of indoor training.  I do not enjoy spending mindless hours on the treadmill or the bike trainer.  Yes, there are very good reasons for using them but I still prefer to be outside and one with nature. If my training calls for speed work running I will head to the track and get it done there.  Very rarely will I ever run on a treadmill.  I find it boring and many people say that you develop mental strength during that but I would argue that as you are running up and down hills or around a track repeatedly you are developing race day mental strength.  At no point during a race will you jump on a treadmill and run mile after mile. How is the mental strength developed on the treadmill going to help you when you have to finally tackle that hill that never seems to end?  If you don't run outside how will you know that feeling? As for the bike trainer I would more than likely get on that in my garage (The Humidor) for speed intervals.  The reason I will do my speed work on the bike trainer as opposed to outside is that it is not very often you can find a one or two mile stretch that has no stop signs or lights.  WIth the road turning and undulating getting the speed work in makes it more difficult than running.  With that being said though I will pack up my bike and drive to Texas Motor Speedway (right Shannon) and ride around the 5 mile track there that has no stop lights and is typically car free. It should come as no surprise that in the past week I have come across two articles about running on the treadmill.  One article points out the psychological factor of getting outside versus training indoors.  The other article is about new technology that can make running on the treadmill more bearable because it allows you to feel as if you are outdoors while running in a climate controlled room. The article discussing the psychological benefits of running outdoors versus running on a treadmill can be found [HERE.]  The author (James Fell) points out that there are a deluge of studies that indicate that there is not much of a difference found in physiological results from running on a treadmill versus running outside.  The difference, according to the author, comes from the psychological.  The whole mental strength on a treadmill theory seems to get debunked in this article.  Here is an excerpt:

Research backs me up on this. A 2004 study from Duke University's department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences found some telling evidence that convinces me that I'm not actually crazy when I lace up my running shoes at minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit. After testing and interviewing 60 runners in different environments, the researchers found that the people who ran outside ran faster than the people who ran on treadmills, yet they had lower perceived exertion and the "highest levels of positive engagement, revitalization, tranquillity, and course satisfaction," according to the study, which was published in Psychology of Sport & Exercise.

In other words, the people outside like it more and work harder without realizing it. I should note that the tests were conducted during warm weather, but I'm confident that similar results could be expected once a person has become acclimatized to all-weather running. Then I read this article [click here] on the 3GO Magazine website.  This is a great idea and comes on the heels of having looked into Trainer Road.  These two products look great, but for me will not be a substitute for riding or running outside. What are these products you are asking yourself.  They are interactive ways to run on a treadmill or ride on the trainer that are meant to mimic the outdoor experience and provide you with data on your heart rate (running) or power (riding.)  These are terrific ways to judge where you are at in your fitness. Both systems will give you instant feedback of your training session along with the view of a specific course, or you can watch a movie and still get the results posted on the screen.  It seems like this is a great way to get your training in, especially if you live in the North when there is ice and snow on the road, and find out where you are. Those boring days may be gone, but they will never replicate the feeling of being outside with nature and hearing the sounds that come from the birds or the wind.  

How Often Do You Train On The Treadmill or Bike Trainer?

What Do You Think Of These New Interactive Options?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_4492" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Courtesy of"]train_hard_race_fast_triathlon[/caption] It was very early on in my triathlon 'career' that Jon of SwiCycloRun taught me a valuable lesson about triathlon.  In an email exchange he said that there is no magic bullet to speed.  That if you want to run fast that you have to train fast.  You cannot train at 9:00/mi pace and expect to run 7:30/mi pace in the race.  You can't get on your bike and lollygag through a 2 hour ride where you cover 32 miles for a 16mph speed and expect to race at 20mph.  Your body is not capable of doing that because you haven't trained for that. From that day I always treated every training session as if it were race day.  Along the way though I learned that there are days where aero means running at a 9:00/mi pace because you just cannot always run fast and recover properly.  Here in Texas in the middle of the summer where temps are regularly 105* I cannot expect to run 7:00/mi pace but have to be happy with a 8:30-9:00/mi pace and know that come fall/winter I will be down to the 7:00/mi pace because of the work I put it. And that is the key to it all.  It is work.  You have to put in the time and effort to get fast.  Chrissie Wellington, of Kona Ironman fame, was asked about how she is capable of running so fast off the bike and here is her response:

And how do I run so fast off the bike? Well that’s easy. I train myself to run that fast. Pure and simple. Speed work, tempo runs, hill repeats, long runs with hard efforts – it’s not rocket science. But if you want to race fast you need to be prepared to train hard and train smart. And, of course, being able to run fast is determined as much by the swim and (especially) bike training I do as by the run sessions. If you want to run fast you also need to look at how you ride the bike. Plus, of course, there is strength work. Thirty kilometres into the marathon is a bit late to realise you could have done with a few gut-strengthening exercises to enable you to hold your form. I am a slave to the single-leg squat.

If you train slow then you will race slow  If you train fast you will race fast.  I recently had a conversation with Greg Larsen (The Life I Tri) and an email exchange with Matt Oravec (Staying Strong and Positive) about 70.3 Austin and race plan.  Essentially what all three of us came up with was laying it on the line.  Go hard the entire time and if I blow up on the run and don't hit my goals so be it, I put for the best effort I had on that day.

This brings me to this mornings training session.  I have recently put my trainer in the garage (officially now known as The Humidor) and wore a t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt and hoodie sweatshirt so that I could mock the conditions I will see in May at Ironman Texas.  If I could handle the sweat loss and practice my race day hydration and nutrition then I will have limited the surprises on race day.  I also incorporated the idea of riding the trainer with limited water.  Why?  Well on race day when you are on the bike for 5-6 hours there may come a time when you forget to take in water.  Practice, practice, practice.

Then once the trainer ride was done I put my running sneakers and went out and ran.  Not just coasted through the 20 minute run, but run hard and fast.  In that first 0.5 miles I thought I was going to blow up but then my legs decided they were going to participate.  I looked down at my watch and was running a 6:48/mi pace and felt strong and that I could hold this.  I finished the 20 minute run at a pace of 7:01/mi.  Last week my pace was 7:24/mi.  My body is capable of more than I thought.  Now my mind knows this and my body is saying yes let me go.  Let me out of the cage.

One week from today I will have finished my second 70.3 race of this year.  I have my goals in mind and will write a post about them but know that I will be pushing my body to go as hard as I can for as long as I can because I have trained that way.

Do You Coast Through Your Training?

What Does Your Mind and Body Allow You To Do?

Published in Race
Sunday, 25 September 2011 11:44

Favorite Workout?

I am in the midst of training for 70.3 Austin on October 23rd, but prior to that I am racing an Olympic distance triathlon on October 2nd.  If that weren't enough I have a half-marathon on November 6th and then the A running race.....The Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon on December 4th. I am calling the marathon my A marathon race because it is where I hope to qualify for Boston.  I need to run a sub 3:10 marathon in order to qualify (Thanks Jeff for clarifying that) and I have no clue if I'm ready for it or not but I can tell you this:  my marathon training has kicked in right in the middle of Half-Ironman training. I am very lucky to have a coach weave these training plans together because I know for a fact that I would not be able to have pieced them together on my own.  As you have read on the internet that you need to change-up training so that you shock your body into being uncomfortable thus getting stronger Coach has done just that recently. My swim workouts have changed up but more importantly the run has taken on a whole new look.  Saturday used to be a long run that I was given a time to run, and while it has gotten progressively longer (run 1 hr, run 1.5 hrs, run 2 hrs) the tempo/pace at which I am running has completely changed as well. Three weeks ago the schedule said run 2 hours 15 minutes at aerobic capacity.  I went out with teammate Robert Swan and we ran 16.36 miles (8:15/mile) in that time.  The next week the schedule said run 2 hours 30 minutes but here is where the change came in.  I was to run the beginning in the Z1-Z2 area and finish with 5-8 miles at my 'A' race pace.  The purpose was to mimmick running on tired legs for the half-marathon at the end of 70.3 Austin as well as being able to hold that pace for the marathon.  That day I finished my 8 miles at a pace of 7:58/mile.  Perfect for Austin, but way off the mark for Las Vegas. [caption id="attachment_4228" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Going Long"][/caption] Today, the time was 2 hours 40 minutes and the premise was the same.  This time my return run was at a 7:42/mile pace and I finished with 19 miles overall.  Still on the slow end for Vegas but nearly 40 seconds per mile faster than my pace at 70.3 Oceanside.  Calculated in time saved we are looking at nearly a savings of 9 minutes on the run alone.  My goal for 70.3 Austin is sub 5:30, and those 9 minutes alone would put me at 5:33 keeping swim and bike times flat. As is customary for me I don't just allow these types of things to happen and need to do research on training techniques and how often plans need to change up.  What do other coaches do and how do they prepare their athletes?  I typically take that information and email Coach to ask her questions.  I do all this in the name of getting better at the sport I love. With that being said I came across a post on Competitor Magazine's website called The #1 Workout To Get You Ready For Ironman.  The article is written by Gordo Byrn and is called Big Day Training (BDT.)  The point of the training is to train your mind as well as your pacing, and in addition to that nutrition over long exercise. The plan has scheduled dates as to when it should be done and those are 3/7/11 weeks out from race day.  The plan is as follows: ====================

Big Day Training workout, the first time

• Swim 1 hour • Break, with meal • Bike 5 hours, continuous with very minimal rest or stopping • Break, with meal • Run 1 hour easy “What most people find the first time they do that session is that they’re blown away by how torched they are once they get off the bike,” Byrn says. “Because their bodies have never trained that long, it’s never had that much output. Make some notes about how you do the run. When you get to the end, you’ve got 20 miles to run on race day. Are you ready to run 20? If the answer’s no, you’ve got to dial down everything in the first five hours of that day and try it again.”

Big Day Training workout, the second time

• Swim 5000–6000 meters, with the last 2000 meters at a more challenging pace • Quick break, change, recovery drink • Bike 100 miles, or the equivalent of time you think you’ll be on the IM bike course Tip: Start a little easier than your anticipated race pace, do the bulk of it around race pace, then finish up with the last third a little bit harder than race pace. • Quick break, change, recovery drink Tip: Try drinking a full quart of recovery drink before the 10k to fill up your gut. “It will slow you down,” Byrn says. “It will give you practice after a ton of exercise to figure out what to do when your gut is full. Guaranteed that it happens during the marathon. Sometimes your stomach is full, you feel lousy and you have to work through it. If you’ve done it in training, you won’t freak out on race day.” • Run easy 10K Byrn says you don’t have to get fanatical about your breaks in between, but to get the lesson from the session, keep them relatively short. Good luck! ==================== The first time you do this training doesn't seem to bad as your rest periods are elongated  and you are eating a meal to fuel your body for the next 'event.'  The second time is more like a race day, but what got me was the run with a full quart of recovery drink.  That is a ton of liquid to run in but the rationale makes 100% sense to me. I will be emailing this to my coach to see when we will be incorporating an epic day like this into my Ironman Texas preparation.

If you have already trained for an Ironman have you done this type of training day?

What different types of training did you do?  Do you have a favorite training session?

Do you question your coaches plans?

Published in Train
Sunday, 21 August 2011 12:07

Best Advice Received and Given

[caption id="attachment_3736" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Which Advice Is Best and Which Advice Do you Listen To?"]triathlon_training_advice[/caption] While waiting for what I hope will be the people who buy my house to cruise through and look through all my stuff (selling a house might be the worst thing you ever have to do in life) I was perusing the interwebs and stumbled across a piece in titled What's The Best Training Advice You've Ever Received? There were some good ones on there and they all made me want to get back out and train even though I had run nearly 13 miles just a few hours ago and truly needed to rest my quads for today's long brick workout. Here is the list that was provided and I will add mine to the end:

We posed the following question to readers on the Inside Triathlon facebook page, “What’s the best training advice you’ve received?” Here are a few responses to help you feel motivated and inspired.

• Don’t wait until you think you are perfectly trained. Sign up, show up and have fun. • Train smarter, race harder. • Never out ride your run. • Smooth is fast….fast is smooth! • If you feel you are in control, you are not going fast enough. • No one ever wins the race in the water. Relax and swim YOUR race! • The water is meant to slow you down. Just relax and think of the water as an incredible masseuse. • After I withdrew due to injury: It’s just one race. • For the 140.6 distance: Don’t get caught up in the moment. Keep moving forward and smile. The day is long. Be patient. • Work on form, speed will follow. • The better you recover the more you gain! • First you learn to train, then you learn to race, eventually with time and effort, you’ll learn to win! • Follow a plan and invest your time to learn from others! • Rest is your friend • A healthy athlete beats an injured athlete anytime! • When you feel like quitting… dig deeper. • Get a coach! It isn’t too expensive and is worth every penny! • Sleep is NOT over-rated   The best advice I got was actually during a race and I have applied to each training session I put myself through.  It was around Mile 20 of the Dallas White Rock marathon where I was looking to run 3:29.  My coach was at the event and was going to run a few miles with me and I was starting to hurt and she said to me:  Those Who Can't Quit and Those Who Can Do.  That was all she needed to say and before I knew it I was back to my previous form and got my body moving at a faster pace for those last 6 miles and finished at 3:39.      

What is the best training advice you've ever received?

Published in Race
I am excited to post this race report because of who wrote it.  I 'met' Matt through Twitter or Blogging or Facebook or Carrier Pigeon, but either way I am thrilled to have met him.  He is such a positive influence to all those that he comes in touch with.  I read his tweets to others and they are chock full of great advice and is always there to provide a slap on the back as well. Matt is out there training for his first full Iron-distance race this year and it's been awesome to follow his journey and see how he takes to the training with his wife Heather.  Great people, doing great things. Thanks Matt for letting me post this. ===========================

Cleveland Marathon Race Report

Not sure where to start.  I have been a tease with every race report so here is the important stuff.  Distance: 26.2 miles (a lot more according to my Garmin). Time: 4:10:31 Place: no clue, they were idiots with their results. So, Friday... well Heather went out and got her run in, I was a crabby patty and came home and slept.  This taper really messed with me at the end of the week.  I was eating everything in site and was exhausted.  I think my body is used to this and knew what was to come haha. After I woke up, Heather had made one of our favorite salads with strawberries, almonds, chicken, spinach, romaine, and blue cheese with a raspberry vinigerette.  Put me back into a happy place.  We didn't pack anything we just relaxed and took it easy. Saturday: Well, I had other plans on my agenda but it was raining all morning.  I couldn't get my landscaping accounts done.  So I worked some more on our chicken coop, I am building a run for them outside of the coop so they can flap around and eat more bugs.  My wonderful wife (reluctantly) came outside to help me lay it out and get all the netting on the run.  It is almost done but we had to get inside and get our stuff together. Heather had pretty much everything ready for us by the time I put all my tools away and cleaned up.  So it was a quick shower and we were off to the expo. The expo was about 20 minutes away from the race... decent location but it was a torrential downpour and the parking lot was pretty much full. Got in and made our way through the expo and it was pretty good.  A lot of vendors.  I will throw a complaint out here (as you know I keep it real, don't piss me off haha).  Second Sole had a booth set up.  I wanted another pair of compression socks for my achilles and calves to keep them "warm" and happy (per my Dr.'s request).  So we went to their booth, they had the best selection and at $50/pair hey, that is like 20% off retail. So I go there and the dude looks at me and says you are a size M-IV (4 for the un Roman literate ;)  ).  I said, well I was sized by Fleet Feet and they have me at a M-III (3) and they fit me very well and are tight enough.  Well Deuschbag proceeds to go off on a tangent about how he knows what size I am and he will measure me and prove it blah blah blah. So I sit down and he measures me and he goes, you really should be in a M-IV but you are on the borderline. Blah blah blah. We went back and forth a bit and I told him I don't care what you say, I have an achilles issue and I want my "compression" socks to COMPRESS.  So as he was getting the stuff together for me I saw a bin of gummy bears.  Mind you this is a running expo, tons of free samples right?  Well I go and grab one and D-Bag grabs my arm and yells at me.  THOSE ARE NOT FOR THE SPECTATORS!  Honestly I thought he was going into a Roid-Rage right on the spot and I turned defensively ready to throw down on the spot... yes, over a flipping gummy bear. I proceeded to drop it back in "his" bin.  He proceeded to "explain" to me why those are his and not for spectators. ... Alright, I have gone to Second Sole for years through high school and college.  GREAT people.  Great store.  This D-Bag realllllllllllllly pissed me off.  Because of HIM, I don't care to shop at second sole again.  I am sorry, your employees are a direct representative of your company.  If you have a D-Bag employee, I assume you are a D-Bag company. Onward.  Heather claimed that I was in the wrong for just grabbing a gummy bear.  They were out in the open and the lid was not on his container... you be the judge haha! We went to the hotel after that and checked in. Relaxed for about an hour or so and then her Mom came up.  BDD had met H's mom at the Portage Lakes Triathlon last fall and we had an awesome time.  BDDwas a bit sad that she wasn't at the Glass City race this spirng to cheer us on... she is an AWESOME cheer leader :) We got her settled in the room and we headed on down to the inspiration dinner for Team in Training. This is our second event with Team in Training.  Nike Women's marathon was our first. We realllllllly enjoy the group of people we train with and the coaches are really cool and fun.  Last fall we trained every week with the Team.  This year, we went to 1 run with them.  We were both injured all year and since we were so late in the plan, I decided to follow our own plan that was more adapt to our lack of base mileage.  Luckily a lot of people we already knew were running the race too so we still knew a lot of the runners. At the inspiration dinner they told a story of a 23 yr old girl with ridiculously awesome credentials and graduating at the top of her class from Duke had passed away in February from Leukemia.  She was an alumni.  It was really sad to hear the story and that everyone knew her.  Her parents were at the dinner and it was honestly tear jerking.  It really solidified why we do this and that there is more to running and racing than JUST the medals (and free shirts). All in all we had 92 participants doing either the 26.2 or the 13.1 in our chapter.  Out of those participants we have raised over $118,000.00 for this event alone!  It was a great success. We chatted afterwards with some friends and we were up to our rooms for bed. Sunday: We were up at 4:30am.  About typical race day wakeup haha.  Actually both got a GREAT sleep.  I have had GI issues since Glass City (and during that race).  So I got desperate, I cut out all coffee and beer last week. I was 99% positive that the coffee was causing too much acid in my stomach which would get me sick. So I was hoping today would be problem free. Saturday before the expo, we stopped at Wendy's for some Bowl Movement gurantee... or some cheeseburgers haha. To my despair, it was not full proof.  No BM Saturday at all and none Sunday morning.  Alright, I was in panic mode haha. I had 1 pop tart for breakfast and started stretching and getting my gear together. My key trick was to take a hot shower and stretch in the shower.  The heat loosened up my achilles really nice and allowed me to get it loosened up perfectly. We got our gear on and headed down to the lobby for a team picture. Heather and I were getting a little panicked that they weren't heading down to the start line.  It was not raining but was a bit chilly, upper 50's so we headed down to the start line without the group. We went to Brown's stadium and found the bathrooms.  This was my last chance for a successful 2-day backed up download. Believe it or not, it was almost perfect.  Got up to the stall, got settled and had a major success. I thought about the whole pre-race deal.  All last year I had pre-race jitters and was so nervous.  This year, I don't care.  I don't get upset or nervous.  That nerve stuff would cause the downloads in the past... so I am kinda screwed now I think haha. Afterwards met up with H and her mom again and we headed to the start line.  Got settled in at the 3:45 pace group (give me time to explain this) and we waited for the start.  5 minutes later, anthem.  5 minutes later, start. So, why did we seed ourselves with the "faster pace group"?  Something I get pissed off about all the time that others do? Because that pace group was not even doing 10min miles for the first few miles.  Walkers were up there.  People were gasping for air up there (before mile 1).  I was furious.  We were dodging people left and right.  We had a plan to stick to and we had to execute. The race starts out going up a hill... I actually really enjoyed that haha. As we were going we heard someone yell out for us, it wasn't until after the race that I found out it was Rachael from MissFit_Island! There were too many people that I couldn't find her in the crowd (sorry ! ) Our Plan.  Run the first 3 miles then walk a minute.  This was to get through the crowd of people and hopefully have things thin out a bit.  This was more for our safety than anything because we did not want to start walking by the beginning and get run over or cause an accident.  After that it was run 1 mile, walk 1 minute.  SIMPLE plan. First few miles were great.  Felt awesome, I was pushing the pace a bit but at the start of every race its all adrenaline.  H called me out a few times though and I had to respect that this was her race more than anything so I would back it off. Mile 4 I had to pee, badly.  I hopped in line for the port a pots and as usual chose the wrong line.  Told H to stick to the plan and stay on the right, I would catch up.  Well after that pee stop, I proceeded to catch her with a 6:30 mile split... that might have cost me the race with my achilles.  NO SPEED WORK MATT! (idiot). I felt good though and had a few miles to get the legs warmed up, from then on it was SMART running. We stuck to the plan, the first half of the course was awesome.  If anything, I would definitely run the Cleveland HALF marathon again ANY DAY.  It was a very fast course, heck, H ran her 13.1 in 2hrs flat almost which was essentially what she ran at Glass City this spring! It was actually through really nice neighborhoods, along the shoreway of Lake Erie, and GREAT crowd support.  I was really impressed with this part of the race. Nothing really eventful except that a Team in Training coach was dressed up as a gorilla and I proceed to stop and dance to the music with him at mile 7.  They were playing the Tanto Jump On It song.  You bet your butt I was doing the ride the pony dance while running.  People were going nuts laughing their butts off hahaha.
That brings me to my next point.  Every 5 or 6 miles they had live music or a DJ.  It was honestly awesome!!! The first half had such energetic crowds and music it was seriously awesome.  Mile 12 had a live band of what looked like 8 year olds playing Guns and Roses Paradise city.  As we were running by they were doing the guitar solo part and it was REALLY good.  I was shocked these kids were that talented yet alone knew that song haha.
Well we told Heather's mom to meet us at mile 13 and then head back to the finish and wait for us haha.  She was having a BLAST! She had her cow bell ane we saw her about a quarter mile out and we started screaming.  She went nuts, I felt so bad for everyone around her ;)
I guess there were some guys that were really fit running without shirts and she was giving them cat calls haha. I am so glad that I fit in with her family ;)
Well at this point it had been misting lightly for the whole race.  The winds were really not horrible and for the most part we had a tail wind for the whole stretch from mile 5 - 16!
The back half... now there were virtually no crowds.  The back half was the road I drove every day to go to college for 5 straight years.  It was honestly weird running on the road that I had driven for years.  If anything it was nice and was essentially a gradual down hill the whole stretch to mile 18!!!
Now, here is where crap started going wrong.  Heather had a bad cramp at mile 12... she was able to fight it off and get control of it.  She got another one at around mile 14 or 15 or so.  She started drinking solely water at this point and no more Powerade or Infinit.  She was taking GUs anyways so she didn't need the additional nutrition.  Well as we were running down Chester Ave. they did not have cops at every intersection.  The East side is pretty much more or less approaching Cleveland's low income Ghetto.  My college was right at the border of the ghetto and we NEVER ran East.
Well these people could give two shits about the marathon.  They were speeding through the intersections with no guards and the people in front of us at one intersection had to stop and jump to the side to avoid getting clipped!  I screamed and cussed out the driver but obviously they didn't care.  This was one of my BIGGEST complaints on the course.  Honestly, I was pretty scared for the other runners.  If they hit me, I would have done more damage than a deer would to a car haha, so trust me, they would have missed us!
We kept up with our plan.  Mile 14 the achilles acted up.  Minor pain but it was there.  I have run on it with a lot more pain in training so I knew I was still alright.
Mile 20.  Well this was along the lake, dead fish skeletons and fish heads every where.  It was so pungent of stanky fish smell that we were trying to hold our breath haha.  This is also where I was starting to panic.  10k left and I couldn't get started after the minute walk breaks.  The achilles was seizing up on me big time and it took a minute of trying to run to loosen it up.  I told H it was time to change the plan... I said I need a 30 second walk from here on out because otherwords this thing might completely seize up on me.  Every mile from this point on was more intense pain.  I was hopping on my left foot at points to try and give my right foot a break.  Mile 25.  Rain started to pick up a bit.  I had a smile from ear to ear.  We were CRUSHING this race for H and we both looked at each other here and said we feel AMAZING! (aside from my flipping achilles).  I was kind of hobbling through the next mile (although you couldn't tell at mile 26 below).
Typical MattyO fashion. Pumping the crowd up.  The lady on the right LOVED
my energy and was going nuts as I was trying to pump the crowd up.  H is
right at my side... well, trying to avoid all the attention at least haha.
We had 0.2 miles left.  The pace just kept picking up and picking up!  I gave my typical yell at the crowd that was just STANDING THERE WITH THEIR THUMBS UP THEIR BUTTS!  "I DIDN'T RUN 26 MILES FOR SILENCE LET'S HEAR IT!!!!!"
I proceeded to go from side to side getting High 5's from the crowd and getting them pumped up too.
We finished at 4:10:31 and it was truly awesome.  H got to the TNT tent and started to shiver horribly (as she does after every marathon) so we got her warm clothes on and put some panchos on her to keep her body heat in.
Some of our friends, H with her popsicle, me with a plate
of food, 2 burgers, hot dog and mac and cheese :)
(Fatty Pig Fatty, hey, I just ran 26.2!)
So, Our Afterthoughts...
Now Heather and I talked a lot about this race afterwards.  This running plan was our plan for the Ironman race in September.  We wanted to try it out and see how our bodies accepted the walking and the starting and stopping.  Granted, the achilles was seizing up on me big time and I was actually really afraid of tearing it from the amount of pain I was in.  I am hoping that 2 weeks of recovery will allow this to be a thing of the past.
Minus the achilles issues, this plan is honestly gold.  We both felt 100% amazing.  Our quads were a little sore at the end but that was obviously, heck, do anything for 4 hrs straight you are gonna feel it.
H was the real gage for this plan though.  I typically run faster than her, so my fitness level was different than hers. And all in all we planned on doing the Ironman together as well.  So we needed something that worked for both of us.  Now, a lot of people thought we were nuts and asked, isn't it hard to start up after you walked? NO.  At San Francisco we had some issues starting up because we were dead, we did not practice a run walk and with this plan this time around we practiced the run/walk technique for any runs that were over 13.1 miles in distance.  Everything less than that we ran the whole length.  This was something we decided together and wanted to stick to.
In my own opinion, I do not think I will ever run a full marathon without walking again.  I used to hurt severely from marathons for like 3-4 days.  I am walking fine today, even the achilles backed off and aside from the enormous knot in my achilles (going to doc next week to get it worked out) my quads don't hurt, IT Bands don't hurt and everything feels AMAZING.
Am I on cloud 9 right now? YES, this is my 5th marathon.  I don't hurt at all.  We both felt really good for the rest of the day yesterday as well, albeit sore quads yesterday.
Did we stick to our plan?  100%.  We had to make a couple adjustments due to issues that came up.  We took an extra walk break for Heather's cramp and we shortened the walk breaks at the end due to my achilles.  Both of us could adapt to the changes, but we STUCK TO THE PLAN.  James, you would have been proud of me for finally getting over my Meat Headedness and listening to you for once ;)
Lessons Learned:
The way you train, should be the way you race.
Running races with friends/groups is awesome. Huge energy surges when you see them.
There is NOTHING WRONG with yelling at the crowd for not cheering.
Run/Walking (RULK) you can kick ass.  We passed people the WHOLE race.  How? I don't really know. The whole last 10k, we passed people LEFT AND RIGHT. That was a great feeling and another solid identifier that we trained properly and our plan was excellent.
Coffee causes GI issues in my stomach while running.
We raised over $560 over the minimum fund raising goal :)
Heather bought a SPI Belt at the expo and it worked EXCELLENT for her during the race.  It was slim and she didn't notice it while running.
Yet again, I was Heather's sherpa for this race... since we practiced that way, I guess it was only fitting LOL! I filled up my bottles with water so she always had water when there weren't water stops during our walk breaks.
When a race has 3-5 port a pots at every water station, I will have NO GI ISSUES at all.  When a race has ONE SET of port a pots halfway through, I will end up shitting in the woods and suffering a fate worse than death for miles.
I don't really care to ever run a stand alone marathon again.
Heather got a PR by over 27 minutes. TWENTY SEVEN folks.  That is huge.  How? By walking during her race.  Explain that to me hahaha!!!
To sum up the day. Excellent.  I love that I am able to experience these things with my wife at my side, she is my best friend and the best training partner I know of.  I wanted to thank all of my Twitter friends for really helping me by sending me positive vibes and being super supportive (even through all your TrashTalk LOL).  I also want to send a HUGE congrats to Beal.  He is the newest member of the 26.2 club.  It is a club that you can NEVER get kicked out of ;) Great job man, wish we were able to see you finish, but H was going into convulsions lol.
Picture Dump:
We woke up with this on our door. Total PMA all day. (Positive Mental Attitude)
At home recovering and icing achilles.
Of course the bling! The guitar spins in the middle of medal!!!
My Canada hat I got during the House of Payne 5k.
Two TNT 26.2 pins now!
Heather ready to go home after the race.


Published in Race Reports
Thursday, 05 May 2011 13:37

Athlete's Plate - May 5, 2011

am super excited to bring today's Athlete's Plate to you because of who it is for.  This athlete, and yes she is an athlete, is a source of true inspiration for me.  Her blog was one of the first for me to read.  I have to admit I was a tad intimidated at first.  You see when you open her site the music just starts blaring and pumping and my heart rate soared to Zone 3 immediately.  Then you start reading that she stop counting her marathons after 30 or so.  You continue to read and she decided in December of 2009 that she was doing an Ironman, and began the journey on January 4th 2010.  That is just awesome (that is another hint) to lay down a goal and start immediately when others are still trying to figure out their new year's resolution. All along the way I have read her stories of training and living.  Her race reports and have placed her on my shoulder during long rides and run as a source of 'don't you even think of giving up' motivation.  She is an angel, and yet a ninja at the same time.  She takes no prisoners and doesn't believe that men stand a chance against her on the bike (I tend to agree.)  She is THE MOST INTERESTING WOMAN IN THE WORLD....I'm sorry the Dos Equis commercial came on (it is Cinco De Mayo) and threw me off. Without anymore hype I present to you the Athlete's Plate for KC of 140.6 miles.....of Awesome!!!!!   

Breakfast - Mexican Egg Whites with KONA Coffee

Ingredients: 4 egg whites, 1/4c of Salsa Verde, 1/4c black beans (drained and rinsed), sliced avocado, 2 corn tortillas, 1Tbs olive oil, KONA Coffee Servings: 1 Nutritional Information: 427 calories, 20g Fat, 42g Carbs, 10g Fiber, 23g Protein Directions:

  1. Heat 1Tbs of olive oil in non-stick pan.
  2. Separate  egg whites from yolks (or just buy a carton of egg whites) and pour into heated pan.
  3. As eggs begin to settle add in salsa verde and black beans and scramble (at this point I would add tabasco or your favorite hot sauce)
  4. Wrap corn tortillas in damp paper towel and heat in microwave for 15 seconds
  5. Once eggs are to your desired consistency pour onto warm tortillas
  6. Layer sliced avocado on top of eggs and wrap.
  7. Eat with a cup of hot KONA coffee.


140.6 Miles to Awesome Apple Granola Bar

Recipe from OneHungryMess on (recipe called for a dehydrator and I adjusted for oven baking)

Ingredients: 3 medium apples, cored & shredded (or pulsed in a food processor), 1 cup raw almonds, 1/4 cup raisins, 6 dates, chopped, 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Servings: 8-10

Nutritional Information: 185calories, 10g Fat, 22g Carbs, 4g Fiber, 4g Protein


  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Grind the almonds in a food processor just before it reaches an almond meal consistency, leaving some small pieces.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Stir until well combined.
  5. Place the mix into a slightly greased baking pan.
  6. Place pan in oven for 12-15 minutes or until sides are browned
  7. Remove and allow to cool then cut into shapes.


Lunch - Flat'bread'Wood'Fire Grilled' Park Pizza

Ingredients: 1 pkg of Tandori Whole Wheat Naan Bread, 1/2c low-fat ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1/2c chopped spinach, 1 roma tomato sliced thin, 1/4c shredded asiago cheese [caption id="attachment_2070" align="alignright" width="300" Servings: 2 Nutritional Information: 476 calories, 22g Fat, 49g Carbs, 6g Fiber, 25g Protein Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425* and begin by placing pizza stone in oven before it begins to preheat.  No Pizza stone?  Use a baking dish but do not put in oven during pre-heat.
  2. Place ricotta in bowl and whisk with egg.
  3. Add spinach to ricotta and mix to well combined.
  4. Spread ricotta/spinach mixture on Naan bread.
  5. Add tomatoes on top.
  6. Cover with shredded asiago cheese
  7. Place in oven for 12-15 minutes until crust is ultra crispy (New York Style)
  8. Remove from oven and cut into pieces.

Make this the night before and re-heat in oven for lunch or eat cold.  Who doesn't love cold pizza?  

PM Snack - Tampa Bay Lightning Fast Liquid Snack

[caption id="attachment_2073" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Click here for source"][/caption] Ingredients: 1/2c spinach, 5oz Plain Greek Yogurt, 1/4c frozen blueberries, 1 medium banana, 1/4c frozen strawberries, 1Tbs almond butter, 1Tbs Flax meal Servings: 1 Nutritional Information: 439 calories, 11g Fat, 53g Carbs, 9g Fiber, 23g Protein Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and combine to your desired consistency


Dinner - Thor Tempeh Tacos w Mandy Q Roo Red Beans & Rice

Ingredients: 6 oz tempeh (crumbled), 1 jalapeno (seeded and chopped), 1/4c red onion (chopped), 15oz can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed), 1/2c zucchini (chopped), 1/4c shredded vegan cheese, 3Tbs Salsa Verde, 2 chipotle peppers (seeded and chopped), avocado, 12 corn tortillas, 2c spinach, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp paprika, 1tsp dried oregano, 2c brown rice [caption id="attachment_2074" align="alignright" width="320" caption="Click Here for Source"][/caption] Servings: 12 (nutritional information based on 2 tacos, 1/2c rice) Nutritional Information: 399 Calories, 8g Fat, 69g Carbs, 10g Fiber, 14g Protein Directions: Directions:

  1. Place tempeh in a pan with enough water just to cover.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Once done drain the water and then cook tempeh in same pan for 5 minutes.
  2. While Tempeh is cooking place 1 cup of rice into pot with 4c of water.  Bring water to boil, then reduce to simmer until all water is absorbed.
  3. In a separate pan heat 1Tbs olive oil then add in red kidney bean and add water to barely cover.  Cook over medium-low heat.
  4. Addzucchini, red onions, jalapeno, chipotle peppers and spices and cook for 5-7 minutes or until zucchini and onions start to soften
  5. Add in salsa verde and cook until sauce thickens
  6. Place tortillas in a damp paper towel and place in microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften
  7. Place spinach on tortilla along with slices of avocado
  8. Pour mixture onto spinach and top with cheese
  9. Add your favorite hot sauce to the tacos
  10. Serve with side of beans and rice

  Nutritional Information: 1916 calories, 71g Fat, 236g Carbs, 39g Fiber, 89g Protein Nutritional Breakdown for Endurance Athletes: 42% Carbs, 22.5% Protein, 36% Fat This menu is a little high in fat and low in carbs.  You can remove the almond butter from the smoothie as well as the asiago cheese from the pizza and that will lower the fat and increase the % carbs since they are high in fat but don't present a lot of carbs. KC - I hope this recipe represents you.  You are a true inspiration and motivation to all of us age groupers so keep doing what you do.


Published in Athlete's Plate
Saturday, 16 April 2011 20:10

Goals....Do You Have Any?

This morning while waiting for the start of the Marathon Makeover six mile run I received a text message fro Coach C.  The message was simple and just said 'have a good ride today.' That led to an email exchange between the two of us regarding her unbelievable effort at 70.3 Galveston and the rest of my race season in 2011.  After a few back and forth text messages we have decided that the CapTexTri Olympic at the end of May, the 70.3 Austin at the end of October and the Rock N Roll Las Vegas in December are the big races for the rest of the year and what we will focus our training on. After we decided on these races I went in for the kill.  I told her I wanted to crush 2:53, 5:42 and qualify for Boston and was this possible.  I knew the 2:53 was a given, but what about qualifying for Boston after racing a 70.3 on October 23rd?  The RnR is on December 4th.  That gives me a total of 5 weeks between the two races.  Her response was yes, YOU can do it. I know that the triathlons are going to be a little harder than just showing up and beating the times.  The reason that they will be difficult is not just because it would be setting a PR in two triathlons but they will be raced in Austin.  Austin has a series of some tough hills to work through thus making it harder to just show up and beat times.  With this in mind I have made the decision that easy rides and runs are no longer going to be 'easy.'  I am going to push myself harder in this training session than I did in training for 70.3 Ironman California. I have my base built.  I know what it takes to race those distances.  I know the effort during training that it took to reach those milestones and I know that I will need to work harder to get there.  I also know that I have team of Angels and Ninjas to help me by motivating me, inspiring me or just providing me with insight into training and racing. The funny thing about these goals is that they will keep getting faster after each and every race.  After thinking about beating 5:42 in Austin, I started thinking about how fast I will be able to go at 70.3 Puerto Rico in March 2012.  From there how fast can I go at my first 140.6?  What is even realistic for a first 140.6?  I have not clue about 140.6 but this is how my mind works.  You can always do better is my thought process, no matter what the topic.  If I sell a silver package for our company, I think I need to sell platinum next.  Skip right over our Gold package and straight to the platinum.  Why not?  Life is too short to just accept it for what it is. Recovery is officially over and training has started.  Yesterday at the hotel in Kansas City I was scheduled for a 60 minute run with 3x10 min at LT.  I got on the treadmill and set it to 7.0 for my warm up.  After 10 minutes I pushed the pace to 8.5 and held for 3 minutes, then 8.7 for 2 minutes then 9.0 for 5 minutes.  Recovery for 3 minutes then back to 8.7 for 3 minutes, 9.0 for 2 minutes and 9.5 for 5 minutes.  3 minute recovery and then 9.0 for 3 minutes, 9.5 for 2 minutes and 9.9 for 5 minutes.  I then cooled down when in came another runner.  I immediately thought to myself this guy thinks I am just lollygagging and wanted to go back up to 9.9 to show him I wasn't.  Who was I racing and why?  I don't know but I am putting my mind into getting faster and competition bring out my best. The switch has been flipped to on and it won't come off until I cross three finish lines with goals surpassed.  At that point we will re-evaluate and set some new goals.  

What are your goals for 2011?  How do you decide what races you are going for a PR?  Do you train differently for your 'A' race versus others?

Published in Train
Friday, 01 April 2011 17:34

Cupcake Marathon Winners Announced

  The winners of the Cupcake Marathon were selected through We had close to 200 total finishers with over 130 racers in the Marathon distance.  Needless to say this was a success and with that we are announcing that we will be hosting a Fall Cupcake Marathon. In addition to that we are investigating a Mini-Cupcake Marathon in the summer that will be geared toward parents getting their children off the couch as we try to fight childhood obesity. Secondly, we are also investigating hosting the Pizza Triathlon.  This one may be a little harder to produce but we will be doing our best to find out how we can host it.   All that being said you came here for one reason and one reason alone.  That is to see if you were a lucky winner.  Here is the list of winners and their prizes. Please contact me via this form with your information so that I can pass it along to the sponsor of your winnings.    
Marathon 1/2 Marathon
Sugared Bakery - Marathon Julie Julie
Sugared Bakery - Marathon Melissa Preast
Sugared Bakery - 1/2 Marathon Allison McClendon
Sugared Bakery - Marathon Cookie Katie Burkart
Sugared Bakery - 1/2 Marathon Cookies Fawn Gold
HoneyMilk - Marathon Elayne Canterbury
HoneyMilk - Marathon Jennifer Neumann
HoneyMilk - Marathon Melanie Mueller
HoneyMilk - Marathon Darlene Cardillo
HoneyMilk - 1/2 Marathon Marcia Kadens
HoneyMilk - 1/2 Marathon Michele Coccaro
HoneyMilk - 1/2 Marathon Jessica Corson
HoneyMilk - 1/2 Marathon Jeri Light
Bondi Bands - Marathon Julie Curtis
Bondi Bands - Marathon Paula Powell
Bondi Bands - 1/2 Marathon Janice-Fitcheerleader
Road ID - Marathon Danielle Sterling
GU Sampler - 1/2 Marathon Elisabeth Comeau
HydraPak - Marathon Dana Ogle
No Meat Athlete - Marathon Tiina Lunning
No Meat Athlete - 1/2 Marathon Jeremy Ellis
Thistle Dew - Marathon Melissa Barnett
SPI Belt - Marathon Anne Ryerson
SPI Belt - 1/2 Marathon Laura Muise
FFunClub - Marathon Nancy Capen
FFunClub - 1/2 Marathon Skinny Sushi
FitChickExpress - Marathon Christina Noble
  Thank you so very much for participating and making this marathon viral.  I received emails from those wanting to get in even after registration closed and others looking for help on hosting a virtual race. You all made this so enjoyable and inspired and motivated me.   Thank You Jason and Christel
Published in Race
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