Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Trail run has been 11 weeks in the making and over the course of the run nothing, and I mean nothing, fell short of expectations.  I am going to go over the events of the race in this report but over the course of the next few days I will layout the stories that took place on the course as our interactions with other athletes and volunteers unfolded.  In addition to that report, I am going to provide some insight into what Jeff and I have to look forward to when we race the Lake Martin 100 at the end of March.  Lastly, there will be a nutrition blog post coming up on No Meat Athlete in regards to what I ate before, during and after the race. Friday, February 8th With nothing to do on Friday but to pick up our packets and get a 4 mile run in Jeff and I woke up late and went and had a rather large breakfast, as is my normal routine.  After breakfast we went back to Jeff's house and got ready to run 4 miles.  As we headed out we ran into my wife (Karen) who was out there running 15 miles as she prepares for the Cowtown Marathon in a couple of weeks. After the run we met up with Jeff's wife (Annie) for lunch and then headed to the course for packet pick-up and athlete meeting.  At this meeting we ran into Lee and John who were participating along with Byron who is the sherpa-friend extraordinaire.  It was during the athlete briefing  that I believe I fell in love with Ultra Trail runs.  Liza (helping the RD's) gave us the rules and regulations of the race.  Typical stuff of do not litter and stay on course, but the best part:

DO NOT POOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL

Right then and there I knew I would love the race and the ultra trail run community. Once the meeting was over we headed back to Jeff's for pizza and bed time.  Bed time was right around 8:30p as we had to wake up at 2:30a to get packed and head to the race.

Saturday, January 8th. Rocky Raccoon 50 Ultra Trail Race Day.

2:30am comes early.  Too Early.  Luckily we had prepared the majority of our needs the night before and it was just a matter of getting our gear into the car and then making breakfast to take with us and coffee to go.  There was not much talk about the race on the way up but lots of jokes and laughter going on, which would be a foreshadow of the day to come. We got to the park around 4:15am figuring we would see a line of cars entering but there were none.  We drove right up to the booth and asked the woman allowing us access if there were a ton of cars earlier and she said "No.  Maybe 6 0r 7."  Immediately we thought we could have gotten another hour's worth of sleep but we were here and were able to get a great parking spot right near the bathroom.  After eating our breakfast it was time for me to take a nap.  I set my alarm for 5:30am and closed my eyes.  5:30am comes faster than 2:30am but I was ready. We grabbed our drop bags and walked to the start line.  Found our bag spots and then went into the tent to try to get warm.  It was mid-30s and it felt colder.  I had on 4 layers of tops, a pair of compression shorts, compression socks, Hoka Stinson, two pairs of gloves and a wool hat.  When Liza told us to get headed toward the start line that is what we did.  Our strategy was:  run steady.  We knew we would have to walk eventually but staying as steady as possible was our goal. Loop #1: The clock struck 6:00am and we were off.  Headlamps and flashlights everywhere.  Foot steps abound and the start of my first 50 miler was upon me. Jeff and I were running in single file with all the others and we were telling jokes and laughing and getting people into the spirt.  This was going to be a long day so may as well make the best of it.  When you are running in the dark you cannot tell if you are going uphill, downhill or flat.  You are just running.  About an hour into the run the light starts to break through the trees and you can now tell where you are at and begin to put your strategy in place. Our strategy was rather simple:

  • Walk the uphills, run the flat, cascade downhill and watch your footing.
  • Stop at every aid station to get whatever looked good.  Drink water at the very least.
  • Drink from our hydration packs at every mile.
  • Laugh, tell jokes and engage other runners in conversation as much as possible.

We hooked up with Marc around daylight and he instantly joined in the joking.  We were laughing so hard and just making fun of life while clicking off the miles.  Marc, in hindsight was smart, would walk more than us then run and catch up.  He held a steady pace with us and allowed us to forget where we were in terms of miles as we kept moving and joking and laughing.  After a bit more we latched onto Fabrizio who is South American (from Brazil and living in Houston) who was also doing his first 50 miler. This group of 4 was great to run with as we all had different backgrounds and stories.   After a while Fabrizio dropped off and we picked up Gayle who was the true definition of steady.  We 'allowed' Gayle to pull our little train for quite a bit until we entered the aid station and after that I took over pulling.  After 2:40 we were done with Loop #1.  Quick change of baseball hat on and wool cap off then  go.  Time for Loop #2 Loop #2: When you start the second loop you realize the areas where you should have slowed down or walked a bit more.  You also realize how many roots are on the trail.  I was amazed that we got through this section without falling down on our faces.  Jeff and I talked and decided that once the uphills caused strain on either of us we would walk and then reach the flat and go.  During loop #2 you pass the marathon distance and we decided to GoPro us going past this 'magical' distance marker.  I looked at my watch and saw 4:17…..not bad for a road marathon let alone a trail marathon.  Maybe a bit too hard. Gayle was with us and trudging along and when we hit Mile 28 Jeff and Gayle congratulated me for passing my longest distance run.  A PR set in the middle of a race doesn't happen often but it did at RR50.  A few more miles later and we passed the 6 hour mark and I thought to myself:  This is way harder than an Ironman but I kept it to myself as I did not want any bad mojo being released into the air. It was toward the end of this loop that we came across an aid station and they had KING CAKE.  Are you kidding me?  I did a double take and stared hard but chose to keep to my one oreo and two cups of water routing going at this point as I did not want to add anything to my stomach that I wasn't sure I could handle.  I was doing body checks and made note that my feet were feeling good, legs were tired and beat up but not impossible to keep moving and my HR was staying in the high Z1 or low Z2 range.  If my HR crept up too much going uphill I would tell Jeff and we would start to walk. Coming back into loop 2 finish was a tremendous feeling.  We did loop #1 in 2:40 and loop #2 in 2:52 with more walking.  We were feeling good about our progress but it was time to lock down and move.  In the drop bag area we added our liquid nutrition to our vests and grabbed a few bites to eat then it was back out for the next and final loop. Loop #3 Immediately I knew this was going to be hard as my feet entered shuffle mode.  I am not sure if you could have slid paper under my feet at this point but I was happy that they kept moving forward.  We stuck to our strategy and while we kept moving you could tell that our paces had slowed going up the hills and going down the hills was a much more gingerly activity. Marc caught up with us again and it was awesome to have him with us laughing.  Approximately 1/2 way through Marc took off and told us we would see him again further up but the next time we saw him he was waiting for us at the finish line.  Such a great and classy move.  Once Marc took off we came up on the one area that we knew had a huge puddle and there was not an easy way around it.  The first two loops I stepped easy so as not to get my socks and feet wet.  This time around with legs not responding as quickly as they were earlier I stomped, like a person killing a roach in a dark apartment, into the mud and got my feet wet and mud up my socks.  I did not care and just wanted to get out of this. Further through the trail, which was in terrific shape, considering hundreds of athletes did 4 loops on the course the week before for the Rocky Raccoon 100 and a few more hundred were going through the course again for the 50,  Jeff and I knew that the mud hill would slow us down and potentially keep us from going under 9 hours.  What we did not expect was me smashing my foot onto one of the rocks and sending a jolt up my IT Band that never loosened up.  Now, it was Jeff's turn to pull and at this point a couple of things happened that I will never forget:

  • Jeff telling me that we had come this far together and that I had done so much to get him to this point that he wasn't leaving my side.
  • Jeff saying that going through this shit was what made friends for life.

Hearing those two statements was a real pick me up and allowed me to block out the pain I was feeling in my leg.  We were calculating times to reach the finish line in 9 hours and we would both say that we did not care because of the lessons we were learning for LM100 but inside I wanted under 9 hours and I know Jeff did too.  My original thought was that we would finish between 8:30 and 8:45 and I wanted to be as close to that as possible.  With about 1.5 miles to go Jeff said that if we run up that hill and bust ass all the way in we would get in under 9 hours and with that we took off.  I did not give it a second thought.  I did not care how much pain I was in.  I wanted under 9 hours.  .25 miles into this all out run we saw Byron who took our pictures and gave us the push we needed and our paces picked up to the point of 7:00/mi.  We were hauling ass. Coming down the final stretch and hearing our wives, the spectators and volunteers cheering and there wasn't a single sore muscle other than my face from smiling so much.  I looked at Jeff and said:  We did this shit man.  It was the best feeling ever.  Greater than crossing the finish line of my first Ironman because it was that much harder.  As we crossed I saw 8:53:xx and then thought: THAT LIAR!  Either way crossing when we did was a testament to our plan for clothing, nutrition, run/walk, hydration and the hours and miles of work we put in leading up to that point.

Rocky Raccoon 50 Ultra Trail Run Conclusion

There is no way around the fact that you have to do work, both in the months leading up to the race and during the race.  While the runs prior will help build the physical aspect it is the mental part that is tough to mimic.  Most people will not have gone past a 50k (31 miles) during training and it is at that point where it becomes the great unknown.  How will my body react?  How about my mind?  How much should I continue to eat and drink?  How do I feel?  There are so many questions that you may not be prepared for if you did not put together a strategy leading into the race or execute during the race. Doing a 50 mile ultra trail run is so challenging but the accomplishment is even greater.  The Rocky Raccoon 50 is a great way to get into this sport.  I found everybody to be extremely helpful.  I witnessed a tremendous amount of support for myself and Jeff but for other athletes out on the course as well.  It was tremendous to see people lift each other up and help when needed. Thank you to the race directors, volunteers and spectators for allowing me to share this spacial day with you.  This was my first but will not be my last ultra trail run. [flagallery gid=26]

Published in Race Reports
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 09:29

Ultra Trail Run Training - The Survival Post

Ultra trail run or ultra trail runner was not a part of my vocabulary as of 11 weeks ago.  The idea and notion of running that far made any sense.  I would laugh at Jeff when he brought it up.  I called it crazy and just a dumb idea.  I would look at the training and think to myself:  70+ mile weeks is just ridiculous.  Why would anybody do that?  Then I started to think more about it and slowly my mindset began to change.  Why not do it?  Why not push myself further than I had in the past?  Why not go out on the limb and should it break it would only be because I tried. Along the course of these 11 weeks I learned a lot about training for an ultra trail run that I can use for the remainder of my training leading up to the Lake Martin 100.  I look at the overload weeks and think 85-95 miles in a week.....that sounds crazy enough to be awesome.  Mindset is one thing that you need to have going into long distance endurance sports training especially if the sport is specific like cycling or running.  When there is a combination of sports the mindset is a bit easier to get to because the monotony is broken up.  One way to think about this is your job.  When you are tasked with pulling the same report on a weekly or daily basis you find that report to be a pain in the ass but when asked to work on a project rather than pulling that report you get excited.  Ultra trail run training is that report.  Triathlon, for me, is that project. Here are a few tips I learned along the way to this point.  This is not a comprehensive list but I believe that following these tips will allow you to not only survive but to thrive on your way to your first ultra trail run whether that is 50k, 100k, 50 miles or 100 miles.

Ultra Trail Run Training Tips

  1.  Eat The Elephant One Bite At A Time. As a vegetarian I could have put something more plant friendly but the point is that the entire training plan is so big that it seems overwhelming.  Focus on that day's training and not the next day's or the upcoming weekends.  Live in the moment and focus on what you are setting out to accomplish.  This means that if it is a 4 mile run that you focus on those 4 miles and not think about the 25 mile run you have coming up in 4 days.  Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your ability to cover these distances.  Instead it is all bricks in the wall to getting you to the starting line.
  2. [caption id="attachment_9402" align="alignright" width="300"]ultra trail run - tips - training Source: Outside Online[/caption] Recover Properly. Recovery is not just the time you spend doing nothing sitting on the couch.  That is important but so is the amount of sleep you get.  In addition to that it is the right food that you put into your system.  Let us also not forget about stretching.  Now, I can tell you that I do not stretch.  I stop running and head right for the kitchen but never once do I stop to lay on my back and stretch out my hamstrings.  Instead I go to my chiropractor on a weekly basis (2x per week during overload weeks) and allow him to stretch me out as well as adjusting me.  I also get a massage at least every other week.  This allows my body and, just as importantly, my mind to relax and get away.
  3. Take Taper Seriously. In the past I would have found ways to sneak in a few extra minutes of swimming or cycling or running during taper week thinking that it could not hurt.  For this training cycle I am taking taper so seriously that I am not doing anything not on my training plan.  If it isn't there I am not doing it.  I am focusing on my nutrition and getting as much sleep as possible.  I am running these last few miles at a Z1 HR and not going above that one bit.  I am truly paying attention to taper and when I go out on these short runs I feel a spring in my step, a faster pace and the confidence is building.  In taper weeks prior to this one I would go for a short run and feel either fatigued or playing mind-games with myself that my legs were not sore.  That is not the case this time.  I have not felt stronger the week before a race as I do today.
  4. Figure Out Your Nutrition During Long Runs. I have run the equivalent of 12 half-marathons plus over the course of these 11 weeks.  On those runs I have run with the nutrition I plan on using on the course with what would be the equivalent of 225 calories per hour.  By testing and testing and testing the taste, cal/hr, electrolytes, carbs and protein mix I am confident in what I need to bring with me to the course on Saturday morning.  In addition to figuring out exactly what you are going to use you must use these long runs to figure out exactly how you are going to carry these calories.  I have done the runs with my running vest and a flask, even during 'short' runs of less than 10 miles.  Why?  To get comfortable with the extra weight.  To get comfortable with drinking while running.  To get comfortable with the vest and how to fix/adjust in case of anything happening.
  5. [caption id="attachment_9403" align="alignright" width="300"]ultra trail run - tips - training Source: (a href="/chrisultra.blogspot.com/">Chris Ultra Blogl[/caption] Run At All Different Times Of The Day And On Different Surfaces In Different Weather. An ultra trail run is going to take a long time.  This means that you are going to start before the sun comes up and in some cases finish after the sun goes down.  That is a lot of hours to cover while on your feet and different things are going to happen.  Running in the dark is different from running during the day.  Running on trails is different from running on the road.  Running in the rain is different from running in the heat and humidity. As you can see all of these items are different and you need to be prepared for these changes as much as possible.  The only way to do that is to train in those elements.
I will repeat that these tips are not exhaustive.  There is much more that goes into training for an ultra trail run but these will get you started.  I will be 100% honest and tell you, the reader, that this training is harder than Ironman training.  From a physical perspective there isn't much difference but rather in the mental fortitude that it takes.  Running 26 miles on Saturday is hard.  Running 13 miles the following day is harder and I think that is why ultra trail run training is harder than Ironman training.  I can ride my bike for 6 hours on Saturday and then run for 2 hours on Sunday because they are completely different.  I had a hard time psyching myself up to go out for a long run on Sunday after having done a long(er) run on Sunday.

What Are Your Tips For Surviving An Ultra Trail Run Training Program?

Published in Train
Ultra Trail runner were not words I would have ever used to  describe me when I started down the endurance athlete path.  Like anybody else I started with a half-marathon and that was ok but I wanted more.  I ran a marathon, and probably should have quit then because I couldn't walk afterwards, yet something kept pulling me back in.  I got into triathlon and raced sprint and Olympic distance races at first but again needed more.  When I raced my first Half-Ironman I was already of the belief that an Ironman would not be far behind.  Once that third Ironman was over and the fourth (Ironman Chattanooga) was registered for there seemed to be a void. There was a vacuum where the endorphins, training, food logging and elated exhaustion was missing.  Enter the world of Rocky Racoon 50.  The words ultra trail runner would now become part of the adjective list used to define me.  Somewhere along the way I had the following conversation with myself, and also a little help from my friends:
  • Me: When RR50 is over will you have time to properly train for 70.3 Galveston?
  • Me: Can you race Galveston by winging it?  Do you want to wing it?  Do you want to be great that day or just say you did it?
  • Me: Jeff is running Lake Martin in late March.  Can the 50 miler be a 'training' run for that? You'll have the base.
  • Jeff:  Yeah dude, c'mon and race Lake Martin with me. I have over 24 hours worth of stories for you to listen to.
  • Me: Yes, running a 100 miler makes much more sense than racing a 70.3 triathlon.
[caption id="attachment_9345" align="alignleft" width="300"]ultra trail run - triathlon - observations This Pic Of Denali National Park Looks Awesome
Source: Rob Hammer Photography[/caption] While I have not registered for Lake Martin 100 I have looked at condos.  I have set up a budget to pay for the race and the accommodations.  I have added to the Rocky Raccoon 50 training plan to carry me through March 29.  So it seems like a forgone conclusion that Lake Martin 100 will be my first, and not likely last. attempt at a belt buckle a la my friend Emily - RUN EMZ. And while the idea that running 100 miles seems more sane than that of a 70.3 mile triathlon there is more reason to this decision than meets the eye.  The ultra trail run training has proven to be a great way to train for an Ironman without specifically training for an Ironman.  How?  Here is why:

Ultra Trail Run Training Observations

  1. Embrace The Pain.  I thought I was a badass for getting through 18 months of Ironman training for 3 Ironman races.  Pfft!!!! That sh*t was nothing compared to this.  I am running upwards of 60 miles per week and capping off each week with a 12-13 mile run through Cedar Ridge Preserve.  For those not in the Dallas area, that MF'er is HARD.  This past week I asked the following questions of myself while 'running' 12 miles with over 1500 feet of elevation gain:
    • Are you sure you want to do this 50 and then 100 mile race?  This seems insane.
    • Are you kidding me?  Aren't you man enough to climb this nearly vertical wall of dirt? Get your ass up there.
    • Really dude?  Really?  You are doing this by choice? You do not have the ability to do this.
  2. My aerobic ability is a good as it has ever been.  I ran a 12 mile warm-up on Saturday followed by a 15k where I managed 7:30-7:40 per mile and finished in 11th place in my Age Group while averaging a Heart Rate that was at the Top End Of Zone 2 Without Going Into Zone 3.
  3. I have swum nearly 50% less in the first two of January 2014 compared to January 2013 (8,900y v 17,150y) and yet I posted a 14:20 800 TT last week (PR is 13:36) and yesterday posted sub 1:40/100y without feeling taxed.  The mindset of hard has changed.  The bar for what is difficult has moved and I am now able to push my body further because the mind is not quitting as early as it used to.
  4. I am becoming more efficient at using fat for fuel.  I am running very early in the morning Monday through Friday (430-5a start times) and thus am not eating breakfast prior to those runs.  These runs are typically 5 - 10 miles in length so there is truly no need to eat anything prior to starting.  By being able to use fat for fuel I am getting leaner but more importantly I do not have the need to carry loads of fuel.  Right now my plan for the 50 miler is to wear a Nathan Pak with ~800 calories along with two flasks of EFS Liquid Shot totaling another 800 calories.  As I run if I feel the need for a banana at an aid station here or there I will take one in.  The plan will put me at approximately 200-250 calories per hour.  Yes, I have been training on that and it has worked and my recovery has been sound as well.
[caption id="attachment_9346" align="alignleft" width="300"]ultra trail run - triathlon - observations Source: Competitor Magazine[/caption] When I put these 4 factors into my head and converse with myself I can see that the ultra trail run training is going to be enormously beneficial to my training and performance at Ironman Chattanooga.  Learning where I can push myself, understanding the use of fat as fuel instead of extra carbs on the bike or run and having an advantage aerobically plays well into Ironman racing. While 2014 is only two weeks old I am already contemplating what happens after Ironman Chattanooga in September.  Take a month off and start training for an earlier in the year 50 miler so I can  race Galveston?  Sounds like a pretty solid plan, but not until I add Ultra Trail Runner to the list of adjectives.

Have You Seen A Benefit To Your Triathlon Performance From Ultra Trail Run Training?

Here is an article from Competitor Magazine on Trail Running Tips For Triathletes.  
Published in Train
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
Friday, 10 January 2014 10:44

This Is Not A #Rage Free Zone

Rage was welling up inside of me yesterday and then like Mount Vesuvius (I am not sure if this is a 'working' volcano but the metaphor works) I erupted.  On Wednesday night I got into an Instagram conversation about the whole theory of carb-loading.  It was late and I went to bed thinking that Thursday was going to be a great day.  I woke up and sure enough it started out well and then quickly began to fill with rage.  Rage to the point that I am going to have to boycott Competitor Magazine and their Rock and Roll series of races.  Let's get into the three Rage Filled Rants on this gloomy and rainy Friday here in Dallas.

Rage #1: BBWAA and the HOF

I am a big baseball fan that to the point I refer to myself as a baseball nerd.  The game is long and can be quite boring at times but I am enthralled with all the numbers that baseball brings to my life.  Calculating OPS, BA, WAR, WHIP, ERA and all the other stats fills me with joy.  Ever since I was a young pup running around baseball diamonds in New York I was enamored with baseball and its numbers. Baseball's numbers were an easy way to compare today's players to yesteryear's players.  The numbers that Babe Ruth put up in his career are still compared to the numbers being put up by Miguel Cabrera.  That is EXCEPT for what is being called the steroids era.  If you can clearly define that era I would be happy to talk to you, but that is beyond this rage conversation. One of the voters for the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and has a vote for the Hall of Fame decided to hand his vote over to the website Deadspin.com and allow them to vote for the players and he would submit the ballot.  I am not sure what the BBWAA has a problem with but they have stripped this writer (Dan Le Batard) of his voting ability for life.  They believe that he did not take this voting seriously and I counter that with he took it so seriously that he chose not to participate because it is a total joke.  In order to be considered a BBWAA voter (and there are nearly 600 of them, yet only 3o teams or an average of 20 writers per team......and therein lies the first problem) you must have written about baseball for 10 years but do not have to currently be doing that writing.  You can have been shipped to the Food and Wine section and yet you still have a vote even though you do not cover the sport. Guess who does not have a vote.  Vin Scully. Bob Costas. Karl Revich.  That is right.  Three of the most notable faces and names in baseball today do not have a vote.  You figure that out.  BBWAA has gone about this the wrong way and when Dan Le Batard decided to stand up and say that the process is flawed they decided to take away his voice.  Makes sense...... RAGE!

Rage #2: Carb-Loading

The concept of carb-loading has driven me up a wall.  I hear and see people talking about eating pounds and pounds of pasta the night before a race with the idea that they are preparing themselves for the race the next day and nothing could be further from the truth.  Do not get me wrong, as I was a part of the movement when I first got into these endurance sports but the more I raced and trained the more I read and learned.  That led to quickly changing from the carb-loading concept to the carb, protein and fat pyramid.  This is not an actual pyramid but a way in which I monitor my calories and macro-nutrient intake the days leading up to a race. A few years ago I read Maria's blog post about how John (her husband) fueled and I took that same process and it worked. I did it again and it worked again. No GI issues.  No bloating.  No uncomfortness at mile 20 of the run.  What was this magical formula?  Eat a larger carb based meal TWO nights before the race.  Eat a larger carber based breakfast the morning before the race and then taper your meals that day with a focus on healthy fats and lean proteins then eat like a pig AFTER the race with a 3-4:1 Carb:Protein ratio to ensure proper recovery. The rage that is being built is from reading about people running 5ks and piling food on their plate as if they are going to prison the next day.  Even at a 15:00/mi pace you will be done with a 5k in about 45 minutes.  No reason to carb-load at all but if you feel the necessity to eat more then do after the race.  Surely you can wait 30-45 minutes before eating a stack of pancakes 2 feet high.  Why put in all those hours, days, weeks, months of training to find yourself in the porto at each 10 mile segment?  Doesn't make sense for long races and makes even less sense for 5ks......... Speaking of 5ks

Rage #3: A 5k is a 5k.  It is not a mini-marathon

[caption id="attachment_9324" align="alignright" width="300"]rage - anger - mini marathon A 5k is a 5k. It is nothing else but a 5k. Stop making names up.[/caption] Yesterday while trolling though the interwebs I came across a site for a Mini-Marathon.  Thinking WTF is that I clicked and the blood boiled.  The mini-marathon is a 5k.  It is not a 13.1 which is commonly referred to as a half-marathon.  No, this mini-marathon being promoted by the Rock and Roll brand is a 5k.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Why are they promoting this race as anything but a 5k?  I refer this to the wussification of America where people need to have the feel to have run a marathon without actually running a marathon.  I am sure somebody will point out that it is a way to get people active.  Maybe, but is there proof that says those that run a 5k eventually run a marathon?  Is there proof that says that somebody running a 5k being marketed as a mini-marathon eventually runs a marathon?  Or is this some marketing survey that says: Would you run a mini-marathon if the distance were 5,000 meters or commonly referred to as a 5k? I posted this to Facebook on a friend's page and another friend posted a link to another mini-marathon.  This version is a 1.31 or 2.62 mile run and comes with age awards, finishers t-shirts and medals.  REALLY?  Do we need to be rewarded for running 1.31 miles?  Shouldn't a high-five and way to go be enough?  Why do we feel the need to reward this?  Running has clear distances.  5k, 10, 15k. 13.1.  26.2. 50k. 50mile. 100 mile.  Why can we not stick to these?  I am at a loss. On my 9.31 mile run today, also known as a 15k, I thought about how this would translate at the triathlon level.  Would we register for a 14.06 mile race that included 240 meter swim, 11.2 mile bike and 2.62 mi run and call it a Mini-Ironman?  I do not get it and it drives me nuts that we feel the need to even have these things.  Run 1.31 or 2.62 on your way to a bigger and more difficult goal like a half or full marathon. As a matter of fact do not ever refer to anything less than 13.1 or 26.2 as anything but what it is.  You ran 12.4 miles today.....then you ran a 20k and not something close to a half-marathon.

What Is On Your Rage Friday List?

   
Published in Uncategorized
The fact that the Ironman Chattanooga challenge is 8 weeks old is astounding.  It reminds me that while I am not specifically working on Ironman training the base that has been built-in the past 8 weeks and will continue to be built is all heading toward the A race of 2014 which is IMTN. As I have mentioned in this series before the training that KC and I are doing today is for a race prior to Ironman Chattanooga (a marathon for KC and a 50 mile ultra trail run for me) but the Ironman is still there in the back of our heads.  We have goals for that race, but we also have other accomplishments we want to tackle.  In addition to other races we have family, friends, work and other responsibilities.  While we would both love to throw our jobs out the window and focus solely on Ironman training that just isn't happening.  We are going to show you what 11 months of living a life while training for an Ironman is like.  The ups, downs and in betweens.  There will be glorious days and weeks, maybe even an entire month of glory.  There will also be downs and pain and hurt and agony and wonder about why we are doing what we do. This series is to show you that there is no one size fits all when it comes to training for an Ironman.

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 8

ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail runningToday I was singing running in the rain. Ok, I was singing too and I didn't care who heard me. Actually, the all day threat of rain must have scared everyone away because it was like a ghost town at Flatwoods park, the park near my house that I run and ride at almost everyday. I got a late start today and that always throws me out of sorts. I'm such a morning person but for some reason, probably because weather.com had me totally convinced it was going to be a total washout, I held off on heading out early. Still, I did get up pretty early, like5am early, I checked the radar and yep, it showed lots and lots of rain coming through soon, so I drank some coffee and went back to bed around 7. I woke up around 9:30 and it had maybe drizzled for like 5 minutes. Of course, now I'm a little irritated. I check the stupid, inaccurate radar again and the hour by hour and sure enough, that big blob of rain storms is coming and will be getting here soon, so again I wait. Around 11 am, I had enough of that crap. Barely a drop of rain at this point, so I said, rain or no rain, I'm getting this last long run in for Disney. I wasn't waiting around any longer. The run was not easy and I know why. I'm not used to running mid-day. I run probably 95% of my miles before the sun has even risen. I prefer to run as early as possible. It's when I feel my best, so to say today's run was run outside of my comfort zone would be an accurate statement. I'm glad I did it and I'm glad I can check it off the schedule. The best part of this run, beside the fact that it's done, it that it finally did rain while I was out there and it felt sooooo good! Today's photos were taken out and about on the trail. I ran a nice mix of pavement and trail. [caption id="attachment_9293" align="alignright" width="192"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail running KC On The Trails[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9291" align="aligncenter" width="192"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail running KC On The Trails[/caption] In other news, I sat down this week and looked at the 2014 calendar to see when I officially start training for Ironman Tennessee. Looks like the last week of April will be go time and I'm looking forward to it. Next week, probably on new year's day, I will sit down again and plan out my training plan for the 70.3 I have in mid to late March. I'm ready to jump back into the tri training but I still have to get past the little 26.2 mile run i have coming up in 2 weeks. Bleh! Someone remind me why I signed up for the Disney marathon. I hope everyone has a nice week coming up. 2013 was a good year and I'm hoping 2014 will continue to build on that same note. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 8 Recap

Holy run week Batman.  This entire week was  filled with running, running and more running.  In the end I wound up posting nearly 65 miles of running which is the most I have run in.....well probably ever.  Even during marathon training back in 2010 and 2011 I did not run this much.  While that number seems like a lot it is going to be dwarfed by the mileage I have planned for the overload weeks that are still to come.  Those weeks will range between 65 and 72.  Lots of miles on these legs but sure enough I have felt my body getting stronger and breaking through plateaus and better yet my mental stamina is getting stronger. [caption id="attachment_9287" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail running Hunstville State Park Rocky Raccoon Trail Training[/caption] This weekend I ran 23 miles at Hunstville State Park which is where the Rocky Raccoon 50 will be held.  I did the run with my buddies Jeff and Dave as they are training for a 100 miler in Alabama after RR50.  I felt great this entire run and toward the end we put down tracks and ran miles that were sub-10:00.  That feeling of gliding over the trails and not having my HR escalate in Z3 told me that the 285+ miles I have run in the past 5 weeks in Z1/Z2 are paying off.  In addition to that wearing the Hoka Mafate (review of these and the Stinson here) being able to recover so that the miles can pile on has been truly helpful. As you can see from my training  for the week there was NO swimming at all.  As motivated as I was to swim the problem is that the Y pool was closed and the day it wasn't closed there were not two lifeguards so you could not swim.  That hurt the swim training, but this week is a pull back week for running so I will be spending more time on the trainer getting my legs recovered and swimming to help get the yards in the drink in. [caption id="attachment_9288" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail running IMTN Week 8 Training[/caption]
Published in Train
Monday, 20 January 2014 12:44

Ironman Chattanooga Training Week 11

Ironman Chattanooga is creeping closer and closer all the while I have my sights set on the Rocky Raccoon 50 and Lake Martin 100.  The and I suspect it will continue into Ironman specific training.  The more work I do on the trails the more I am coming to the conclusion that overloading one's body helps their mind as well as their ability to be stronger and faster. When I did the two large cycling blocks in September and October (nearly 1600 miles in two months) I noticed that my running seemed to be easier than it had been before the large cycling block.  With the large volume of run training I am doing now I am noticing that my running ability as well as my swimming ability have taken a step forward. I started thinking about this last night and how this can be incorporated into a Ironman specific training cycle.  Typically, I would have 3-4 swim sessions, 3-4 bike sessions and 3-4 run sessions per week.  What if we changed that up to be very specific.  Week 1 - Swim heavy with nearly 20,000-30,000 yards.  Week 2 - 70-80 miles of running.  Week 3 - 250-300 miles of cycling.  Obviously in those weeks you would still have some of the other sports but not enough to make the focus go away.  Then in Week 4 that would be a recovery week with limited volume for all three disciplines and then started again.  In a 16 week schedule you would have 4 very sport specific weeks in which you just worked your ass off on that sport.  You basically buried yourself in that sport for the week.  You may cry for mercy but then the next week would be a different sport.  Thoughts? Anyway, this is Week 11 of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge and while KC contemplates another 100 mile ride for next weekend, I contemplate whether or not I want to do an ultra run two weeks post Rocky Raccoon as a training run.

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 11 Recap

[caption id="attachment_9360" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - triathlon - running - triathlon KC's Keeping It Simple And Effective[/caption] Keeping this week’s re-cap short and sweet. As you can see from my training week above, I started easing back into the running. I still have some tingling and numbness in the toes but it’s much less and not as painful. I got my 3 days of Xfit in, love that and did my 3rd century bike ride of 2014 …that’s 3 for 3 if anyone is counting. Let’s see if I can pull that off again next weekend. Anyway, not a whole lot going on training wise at the moment, except just keeping a solid base. There is a half marathon I may do on February 23rd but haven’t completely decided if I really want to do it or not. Other than that, I have a 70.3 coming up March 22nd and I will be super ready for that. It’s a hilly one, which I love the challenge of a nice, hilly bike and run course, so bring it on. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 11 Recap

[caption id="attachment_9359" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training peaks - running - triathlon Lots Of Running Miles . 71.79 for the week[/caption] This week was all about the trail run.  This was the second week of overload for RR50 and it did not disappoint.  The week consisted of two 10 milers mid-week, a 24 miler on Saturday and a 13 miler on Sunday.  I banged out the two 10 milers but the first one I hated.  I posted on Facebook that the 10-12 miler is quite possibly the worst distance to run because it is too long to be considered short and too short to be considered long.  On anything less than a 10 miler I know I will be out there for anywhere between 45 minutes and 1h15.  I can handle that.  On a run longer than 12 miles I know that I am looking at close to 2 hours based on my current Z1 pace.  I can live with that, but the 10 miler is just awful. Anyway, when I got to Big Cedar Wilderness on Saturday morning it was dark out and I borrowed Karen's headlamp.  Figuring with the 6am start time for RR and the fact that the Lake Martin 100 miler will take me from sun-up to sun-down I better get used to running with a headlamp.  Karen's headlamp is badass and I believe that I lit up the night with it.  I only needed it for a few minutes but running with a headlamp is not terrible.  The 24 miles I was supposed to run turned into 21.8 miles because it is nearly impossible to map out an exact amount of miles when it comes to trails especially when you go must make up routes.  I was happy with the 21.8 as I finished them in less than 4 hours at a decent pace. Sunday was my third round with Cedar Ridge Preserve which is a tough trail course here in Dallas.  The last two weeks it has beaten me up to the point that when I get home to climb the stairs it is a chore.  Yesterday, that did not happen.  I took it to Mr CRP and when I was done I posted this to Facebook:

Float like a butterfly Sting like a bee Scheduled for 2 laps finished with 3 Guess who won this round That would be me See you next week Mr CRP

It was a blast.  I covered the 16.5 miles in just over three hours and felt great.  My legs were strong the entire time and I held a consistent pace over the miles.  Since each loop is 5.5 miles I could see what pace I was running for each section and compare them to themselves.  Steady was the name of the game and now my mindset for RR50 and a goal time is starting to come together.

[caption id="attachment_9358" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - cedar ridge preserve trail - running - triathlon Cedar Ridge Preserve Trail[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9357" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - big cedar wildness trail - running - triathlon Big Cedar Wilderness Trail[/caption]

What Are You Training For And How Is It Going?

Published in Train
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
Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:49

ICC - Week #6: And The Hits Keep On Coming

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge (ICC) entered and completed its 6th week and with that KC and I are one week closer to the toeing of the line and jumping into the river to float downstream.  We will not really float but with the amount of swimming the two of us are doing that might be the best solution for us. Remember that the ICC is to showcase how two seasoned triathletes with multiple Ironman finishes train for the race.  Since we are in different areas of the United States, different genders, different family/friend/work responsibilities you will see different types of training volume.  We also have different strengths so while I may spend more time in the water, KC may spend more time on the bike.  We are crafting our own way to the start and finish line of Ironman Chattanooga.  I do not compare my volume to her's and she is not comparing her training to mine.  We are our own athletes with our own goals.  This is true for you, the reader, as well and so while there are rules of thumb when it comes to training for an Ironman like make sure you swim, bike and run there is no one way to get there.  Keep that in mind as you read what we are putting ourselves through and looking at your training schedule [caption id="attachment_9225" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning KC's Training Calendar. Gotta love the simplicity of tracking her training volume[/caption]

KC's Week 6 Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

Some of you may have already read part of this post on Facebook today, sorry for the repeat. Week 6 proved to be much better than last week. I felt stronger and better rested. I took it a little slower on the runs this week and focused on building up the miles during the week. I also felt like I redeemed myself with today’s long run. I can erase last week’s crapiness from my memory bank now. Today’s 20 mile run that turned into 22 miles was brought to you by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I also claim the title of The Running MacGyver. That wrapper you see in the picture above, saved my run too. My body Glide and jogbra failed me today folks, so around mile 7, I realized things were gonna get ugly, particularly in one spot. My quick thinking MacGyver skills kicked in (my Dad would have been so proud) and I began looking for a remedy, which turned out to be the candy wrapper. I carefully placed it between my skin and the jogbra and threw down the next 15 miles, no problem! For those not in the know, here is a link about MacGyver:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGyver Overall, this week was pretty good. I’ll start throwing in the swimming in January. For now, until the end of the year, I’m enjoying the running, the night biking and the crossfit stuff a lot. Upward and Onward! [caption id="attachment_9227" align="aligncenter" width="224"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning Who needs Body Glide or Trislide when you have Reese's Peanut Butter Cups[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_9226" align="aligncenter" width="224"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning 20 Miles Turned Into 22. Yeah, that happens!!!!![/caption]  
~KC

Jason's Week 6 Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

This week was the week from hell when it comes to driving.  Dallas was hit with an ice storm on Friday of last week and with the temperatures being below freezing that means that ice did not really go away until Thursday.  In 10 trips into the office I was stuck in traffic on 9 of them thanks to poor driving on the ice.  It was horrible and with each passing minute the anger in me grew to rage.  I had not planned on doing so many doubles but I needed a stress relief and when I would get near home I would either choose to go swimming or go and lift and do core.  The benefit is that this gave me a way to structure my training for Rocky Raccoon and allow me to get in the pool, jump on the bike trainer and do some lifting and core work. [caption id="attachment_9224" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning Jason's Colorful Training Peaks Calendar For Ironman Chattanooga Week 6 Training[/caption] My training plan for Rocky Raccoon 50 is very run heavy with 6 days per week of running.  The majority of the runs during the week are low mileage with Monday off.  Wednesday is the long run day mid-week.  Saturday and Sunday make up about 60% of the miles I put up.  For example, this week I ran 57.4 miles with 31.45 between Saturday and Sunday.  Trying to make sure that I am getting proper recovery I devised the following plan:
  • Monday (Rest day from running):  AM Swim; PM Bike Trainer.
  • Tuesday: AM Swim; PM Treadmill run.
  • Wednesday: AM Run; PM Bike Trainer
  • Thursday: AM Run; PM Strength/Core
  • Friday: AM Run; PM Swim
  • Saturday: Long Run
  • Sunday: AM Long Recovery Run; PM Strength / Core
My swims will be structured and between 1500 and 2200 yards because I am only going to be in the water for 30-45 minutes. I need to keep the structure of the swim this way because right now I am in no mood to get in the water but I know that I can do anything for 30-45 minutes and that will keep me motivated.  The bike trainer sessions will be one hour-long with my heart rate in Zone 1 and not much more than that.  Just pure spinning to keep the legs fresh. My long runs on the weekend I am hoping to do on the trails.  There will be days where I have to run them on the treadmill, like this past weekend.  On Saturday do to responsibilities I ran 19.32 miles on the treadmill.  You would have thought I shot the President the way people reacted to me on Facebook.  When I thought about it I realized that these people are telling me not to run on the treadmill had no real reason for telling me not to run on the treadmill.  I enjoyed running for three hours and getting lost in my own mind while also watching two movies.  Had the people proclaiming that I should be outside could provide me with scientific evidence that running on the treadmill is WAY WORSE than running on the road then I would have delayed the process but in the end it was what I needed to do to get in the 19 miles and enjoy the day with my step-son having our Saturday morning breakfast before leaving to cut down our Christmas Tree. Overall I am very happy with the way training is going so far. I had some issues during the first week of Rocky Raccoon training but have broken through that plateau and am now on my way to some very large volume weeks. As the volume increases I may have to make some adjustments to my training but that is what this is all about. Keeping your eye on the prize and making adjustments to get there.

Are You Racing Ironman Chattanooga? If So, Share Your Training Story With Us

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_9033" align="alignright" width="277"]swot - analysis - triathlon It starts with SWOT Analysis but then that analysis has to be executed.
Source: Intelligent Triathlon Training[/caption] SWOT.  Do you remember this from your business classes in college?  It seemed that every class I took during my undergrad and graduate programs discussed SWOT at some point.  We had to identify a company and then do a SWOT analysis on them.  It seemed so routine and mundane and you just sort of glossed over it.  Amazing what can come back around and play a vital role in your life. Today while working with companies on their recruitment marketing strategy I am performing SWOT analysis so that my calls are educated and simultaneously opening the eyes of those that I am working with as to what they are, should and could be doing in terms of marketing to attract top talent as well as retain the talent they already have. While doing this I thought about how I could put this SWOT analysis to a practical use for my triathlon ‘career’.  What parts of the sport of triathlon were my strengths and weaknesses?  Where did I have an opportunity to improve and at the same time what were the threats to this improvement?  This ‘off-season’ I have pushed off races that I thought I wanted to do for a number of different reasons from burnt-out after 3 Ironman and 3 Half-Ironman races in a 15 months period to timing of the events.  Regardless of the reason I wanted to put my off-season training to good use and so leveraging my education and SWOT analysis I realized different areas for improvement.  Here is my SWOT analysis on myself for triathlon.

SWOT ANALYIS – TRIATHLON

STRENGTHS:
  • Running.  My running has been a strength of mine since I started this sport and it was evident by the marathon time I put up at Ironman Texas this past May.  The 15th fastest run out of 400+ M40-44 made me happy and showed that I can run well of a properly ridden bike leg.
  • Head strong.  I have an ability to shut out the heat, the pain, and the negative talk that will surface during a triathlon regardless of distance.  I realized earlier this year that I run well when I run angry so I focus on things that make me rage during runs and I am able to focus on that only and get the legs moving.
WEAKNESSES:
  • Swimming, but not from the standpoint of moving my arms and legs but more of the mental side to swimming, specifically treading water.  This weakness causes major anxiety and thus an elevated heart rate that pulls energy from me during the swim and forces me to slow down.
  • Losing focus.  Not on triathlon but on other aspects of life.  Making sure that I get in that 3 hour ride despite the fact that I may be cutting it close to an appointment that I have to attend or a number of other examples that are the same.
OPPORTUNITES:
  • I have chosen to focus a lot of time on the bike this off-season and taking advantage of the faster athletes in Dallas.   Chasing them around the area despite getting my HR into Z3 for an entire 100 mile ride.  Pushing the envelope with them so that I can get faster and more efficient on the bike which will lead to a stronger and more efficient Ironman bike leg.
  • Swimming in the open water as much as I can. I have a lake right by my house and a number of triathlete friends willing to jump in at a moment’s notice.  Using them to develop the skill of drafting while working on my anxiety as much as I possibly can including 1 hour swims on Saturday and Sunday before long bike rides.
THREATS:
  • Time.  With new responsibilities at work there is less of an opportunity to workout during the day.  This means that those afternoon lunch rides and runs will need to be replaced with afternoon strength sessions and swims in the pool which may not be long but have to be effective.
  • Swimming pool. As the weather gets colder jumping in the lake is going to be more difficult and the location of my new office provides me with a gym just one block away. The problem is that the pool is 18 meters long.  Really?  Who thought this was a good idea?  Three strokes and I am flipping back.  I will certainly be dizzy from any long swim.
By doing a SWOT analysis of my triathlon life I should be able to create a better off-season strategy to address my weaknesses and turn them into strengths while riding myself of the threats and taking advantage of my opportunities.

Do You Remember SWOT Analysis?  Have You Done A SWOT Analysis on your triathlon career?

Published in Train
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