Monday, 18 November 2013 09:03

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week - 2

Welcome to Week #2 of the Ironman Chattanooga 2014 Challenge.  If you have made it this far, congratulations.  If you are just starting out be sure to check out Week 1 as well as the introductory post that explains what this challenge actually is.  For those of you who are not keen on clicking, the cliff notes version is that KC and I are both training for Ironman Chattanooga 2014.  We both have a handful of Ironman finishes under our belt but wanted to chronicle the ups and downs of training from two different perspectives. KC: Female, No Sugar/No Grain lifestyle, lives in Florida. Me: Male, Plant-Based Lifestyle, lives in Dallas. We both work full-time jobs and have lives outside of swim, bike, run but we are determined to toe the starting line in the best shape possible but that also does not mean that it comes easy.  Ironman is hard.  Ironman training is harder.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - KC 

[caption id="attachment_9136" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Week 2 of Ironman Chattanooga Training for KC.[/caption] I am now 2 weeks post IMFL and have been fighting an off and on sore throat, cough, and stuffy head the whole time. It's pretty annoying. I wish it would get me already and run its course or just go away but unfortunately, it seems to want to linger. Even with a scaled back training schedule (refer to my training calendar - yes, this is scaled back for me), the cold symptoms remain. 
 
This week was my Hal Higdon, week 1 of 8, marathon training program that I mentioned in week 1's recap. I got off to a good start this week, except I had to scrap today's 1-2 hour run. I listened to my body and it said, drink some theraflu, hot tea, and take a long nap, so I did and I feel better. I did manage to sneak in a 50 mile bike ride though, yay!
Tomorrow is a new day ...and I WILL feel better!
Upward and onward!

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - Jason

[caption id="attachment_9135" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 2.
Color coded for Jeff.[/caption] As you can see from my training log I put in a total of 4 hours.  This was not an easy week for training from the simple fact that I just was traveling .  The long hours typically logged on the weekend were nearly zero because of my travels to watch this girl and the other athletes kick the crap out of Ironman Arizona and well this is what you get.  Truth be told if I tracked my running during the event along with the walking back and forth everywhere I probably put another 5 miles on my feet in the time I was down at the event. Am I disappointed in the lack of training?  Not one bit.  This is the 'off-season' so I am ok with missing workouts or not logging in as many hours or miles as I typically do.  The fact is that we have lives and not every waking moment can be consumed by triathlon, as much as we would like it to.  I have discovered that I have to make my workouts count these days.  When I was working from home I could get by with a one hour trainer ride that was sort of just getting through it, but now with limited time the workouts have to have a meaning and if I think I am just going to coast through it I do not bother. The perfect example is Wednesday's workout.  On Tuesday nights I stay up late watching Sons of Anarchy so when the alarm on Wednesday goes off at 4am if I am not jumping out of bed ready to go there is no point in getting up at all and slogging my way through a workout.  This week I had intended to go swimming that morning.  A late night coupled with 29* weather in the morning made me hit snooze and go back to bed because the idea of swimming right then and there was out of the question. I would have dreaded the drive, hated jumping in the pool and been even more mad at myself for just slogging away.  Moved the swim to the next day, got extra sleep and that evening got myself on the trainer for a solid one hour focusing on keeping a low heart rate that would not push me over the edge. I am looking forward to a more disciplined training program but for now I am doing the work I need to do and pretty soon that work will most likely involve prepping for a 50 mile run in February.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 16:34

Off-Season Training Observations

Off-season training has been going on since the middle of May.  I had planned to continue with structured workouts but after having raced Ironman Texas as my 3rd Ironman race in 12 months along with 4 Half-Ironman races in 18 months I decided it was time to take a break and get away from structured training.  Getting away from a daily schedule, however, did not mean that I was getting away from working out. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Side bar:  If you are swimming, cycling and running with no ultimate goal (a race) are you just working out? If there is a race does it become training?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I came up with the cycling goals of 650 miles in September (rode 747 miles) and 800 miles in October (rode 809 miles) and along the way I have seen a handful of changes in my base.

Off-Season Training Observations

  • Regardless of my base if I do not drink enough on a long ride I will dehydrate and that will cause my recovery to be longer than it should be.  I learned this lesson, not once but twice, as I almost passed out after a one hour session on the trainer in which I left my water bottle in the kitchen and was too lazy to get it and felt good.  During a 4 hour ride in 55*-60* weather I did not feel myself sweating and thus did not take in the liquids I should have. That evening my legs were more sore than they had been in nearly 2 months after 1500+ miles of riding.
  • I have run a total of 117 miles from September 1st through October 31st or an average of 58 miles per month.  This is low volume for me yet as I picked up running again in November my pace is faster and my RPE is lower.  I am running more efficiently than I did prior to the overload of bike miles I put on.
  • Swimming has been non-existent for the past month.  In October I swam a total of 1200 yards and that is because I felt a bit of guilt from Maria sending me an email and essentially asking me if I needed directions to the pool.  What I noticed in the pool was that my form was horrible.  I was crossing over and my pulls were far deeper than they had been.  On the positive side I noticed that my fitness was great considering the wasted energy with my poor form.
  • Nutrition.  This has been a 'bit' of a struggle because of the lack of structure.  Without the structure of a training schedule I have had a lack of structure with my meal planning.  I am no longer tracking my food and just winging it.  Throw in the fact that I am now getting home from work, working out for an hour and I am eating between 7pm and 8pm.  Prior to this change my dinner was being consumed at 430-5pm.  My off-season weight has been ideal for an off-season as I am anywhere from 5-8 pounds over racing weight.  This is very easy to lose and can be done in a week so I am not concerned about any off-season weight gain.
  • I am a morning person, without a doubt, but I am noticing that I am enjoying the evening workouts as much as I do the early workouts.  I am getting in two workouts per day right now with each being an hour and they are both enjoyable.  At first the evening workouts were dreaded but as the commute home has become unbearable some days it is an opportunity for me to get away from the world and focus on me.  Some times I come up with solutions to work problems, and other times I am lost in my own thoughts that I barely remember anything from the workout.
  • I cannot stand training with music.  I recently went on a run with headphones and at first I enjoyed it, but after about 2 miles of running I wanted to throw the earbuds and iTunes into the river.  I was no longer able to focus on my footfalls or the rhythym of my breathing and the cadence of my run.  I have vowed to no longer use music as I am truly at peace with the world and my body when I cycle and/or run without any distractions.
  • [caption id="attachment_9108" align="alignright" width="290"]off season training - triathlon - ironman - sufferfest The Sufferfest - Beat Your Own Ass Today To Kick Their Ass Tomorrow.
    Source: The Sufferfest[/caption] The Sufferfest is an invaluable part of my training.  With days getting shorter the rides on the trainer are becoming more important to this off-season training cycle.  Firing up the various videos from The Sufferfest make the hour go by without a blink.  In addition to their normal videos they have introduced much shorter heart pumping videos that are to be used as add-ons.  The Long Scream is a favorite of mine and that is truly a leg and lung crushing workout.
The off-season training is something that I have enjoyed but there is a bit of me that is starting to get fired up about structured training and re-discovering all that Ironman training encompasses.  Pushing my body and my mind to its limits and beyond.  Understanding how one workout compliments the next.  How the recovery shake at the end of each night prep's my body for the next morning's workout.  Why the particular swim drill is aiding my overall ability to swim more efficiently. In the end the science of the body and its limits is something I look forward to.

What Has Your Off-Season Training Taught You?

Published in Train
Friday, 25 October 2013 10:51

Bend It Like Beckham. Or Race Like Ramsay?

    [caption id="attachment_9084" align="alignright" width="275"]beckham - ironman - kona - triathlon Wonder What Triathlon Tips Ramsay Is Giving To Beckham
Source: Parade Magazine[/caption] David Beckham is going to be the next 'celebrity' that will be able to go to Kona, Hawaii to race the Ironman World Championships without having qualified.  Typically we do not hear about these celebrities garnering entry into the premier triathlon event until the summer prior to the event, but this time we are hearing about it weeks after Fredrick Van Lierder and Mirinda Carfrae crossed the finish line as the first male and first female competitors.  I have not hidden my displeasure of the entry of the celebrities into Kona.  The 2013 version featured Hines Ward and Gordon Ramsay and the year prior featured ??????  I really have no clue so obviously this form of marketing is lost on those that are in the sport so how can it be effective for those not in the sport. Hines Ward got in due to a sponsors exemption (don't forget to refuel with chocolate milk) and so WTC cannot be blamed for his entry.  Gordon Ramsay on the other hand was given not only a spot at Kona but also in Vegas for the 70.3 World Championships.  There will be those out there that will stress their point that the celebrity showings is good, if not great, for the sport because it brings attention.  That the pros will get more money because sponsors will be paying more money to be affiliated with the race.  That the ratings will go up and thus allow WTC to sell the rights to the broadcast for more money.  The problem, as I see them, with these theories are:
  1. If the ratings go up then you will only know that after the race has occurred and it will be another year before the race is broadcast again and by then that celebrity will have been forgotten and the idea of racing a triathlon for those not in it may be lost.
  2. If pro purses were growing because of the celebrities participating then why are there pros out there that are writing articles about why they choose to DNF so that they can race again rather than putting themselves at risk of injury.
Having been in marketing my entire adult life I have a bit of experience about what it takes to promote.  The way that WTC is going about this is not completely wrong but they are not asking enough of the celebrities to whom they are granting free access to Kona.  These celebrities are not promoting the sport year round.  Instead they are discussing their entry one month prior to the race and then a week or two later you never read another article about them recovering or preparing for the next one.  It happens and it floats off into the ethos of the world never to be seen from or heard from again.  Do you remember Joe Bastianich racing Kona?  How about Rocco DiSpirito racing 70.3 Cleremont?  Oh, and how about that woman from Biggest Loser racing in Kona?  Yeah, me either so how well was the promotion of the sport if a person like myself who consumes all things triathlon can vaguely remember any of these athletes? My ideas are to require those that are interested in participating in Kona on a WTC exemption slot to do the following:
  1. Make guest appearances at triathlon shops across the country on a monthly basis.  Speak to those that are in the sport and bring in those that are just dipping their toes in the water.
  2. Participate in two 70.3 races throughout the year in whatever race they choose.  It does not have to be in the United States but they do have to participate so that they are not just showing up in October for one race and are gone after that.
  3. Raise money for the Ironman Foundation, bring attention to the Ironman Foundation including a donation to the foundation.
These are just a few of the ideas that first popped into my head about how WTC can actually leverage the celebrities that they are granting access to race in Kona to work for them and garner attention for the sport.  By just giving away slot after slot year after year they are not generating anything other than drawing the ire of those that want to race in Kona but miss by 10 seconds or the athlete who is passionate about the sport and wants to protect the sanctity of the Ironman World Championships because qualifying is how you should earn your blue wristband.  Your blue wristband shouldn't come because you caught a football in the Super Bowl, can cook a beef wellington or married Posh Spice.

What Would You Require Of David Beckham To Participate In Kona?

Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_9038" align="alignright" width="247"]holidays - triathlon - training - offseason You Can Celebrate Christmas And Still Keep An Eye On Your Training[/caption] Triathlon Holidays are here and gone. The Kona Ironman World Championships came and went yesterday and unless you are racing IMAZ or IMFL your triathlon season is over and you are ready to focus on what to do in the new year.  Since races fill up very fast these days there is a good chance that you have already laid out your 2014 race calendar.  You are looking for the long rides and runs to help support those ambitions.  Maybe there is a century ride that you are looking to do or a 15k race that fits in nicely with your planned training.  The scenario is most likely the same for a lot of you reading this but let us not neglect the fitness gains you have made over the last year and allow them to slip away because your training goes down and your holiday treat consumption goes up. Before we get into some ideas for how to maintain a solid base while the holidays are going on let us quickly discuss the triathlon Christmas holiday known as Ironman Kona.  Yesterday, I had the great fortune to broadcast the coverage live onto my TV as opposed to trying to squint at my laptop or iPad and go blind.  While watching the coverage I watched with a different eye than I have in year's past.  In the past I was just watching the athletes and this year I was studying the athletes.  Trying to pick up anything I could so that I could apply it to my training and racing. From watching VanLierde and Carfrae race to Potts and Rapp pulling out early I learned a lot.  VanLierde chased down McKenzie on the run and when he caught him he did not slow down.  This meant a lot to me because I know when I am running I put a bullseye on a target and will chase them but as soon as I catch up to them I feel as if my work is done and will slow down, even if for a moment, instead of passing with authority and leaving no question that I am prepared to suffer and go fast.  Mirinda Carfrae proved the same theory.  8 minutes down to Rachel Joyce coming out of T2 I had the feeling that she was going to win and I texted Adena as such.  It is one thing to have the ability to do something but it is completely different to actually put that ability to use.  Carfrae did just that and when she passed Joyce she did it with authority as well.  She carried that powerful leg turnover all the way to her second Ironman World Championship victory. Jordan Rapp and Andy Potts proved something else to me and it is a lesson that I am putting into good use already.  Andy Potts pulled out with an injury before the race even started.  Jordan Rapp dropped out of the race midway through the run.  That is a DNS and a DNF from two of the best American triathletes, and truly best triathletes in the world.  Think about that for a moment.  These two world-class athletes make their money as professionals through racing and sponsorships yet when it was time to make a decision on a DNS or DNF they made it.  We, as age groupers, think that DNS/DNF are the curse words to the endurance athlete's lifestyle but the reality is that they are not.  This off-season I have had both Redman 70.3 and Oilman 70.3 on my radar to race and have decided to forgo them.  In year's past I would have put my head down and done the races despite not having the motivation to do them because, well, that is what I do.  Learning from Rockwall last year and understanding the bigger picture and I have put those two races into the 'no need to do them pile.' Lastly, what I have also learned from the IM Kona World Championships is that it is possible to run hard and fast off the bike after a strong and hard bike leg.  As age groupers the saying goes: 'a good run is after a well paced bike' and that is true.  The problem for me is that the well paced ride has been one in which I can go much faster but worry about blowing up on the run.  With that in mind I have made the months of September and October extremely bike heavy. In September I chose a goal of 650 miles and eclipsed that with 747 miles including a 102 miles at Hotter N Hell as well as a 124 mile training ride with some buddies.  Seeing how close I was to 800 I chose a goal of 800 for #OchoInOctober.  As of the writing/publishing of this post (October 13th) I have ridden 396 miles and am well on pace for 800 this month.  Through all these miles I have seen my recovery runs get better even with ridiculously tired legs. As the rest of the country and world prepares themselves for turkey, stuffing and dessert as well as Christmas cookies the triathlete holiday is going be filled with running and cycling as they prepare for the next year's races.  That is not to say that we will not be dabbling in all the foods but it does mean that we will be keeping an eye on where we want to go, what we have learned and how we are going to get to our desired goals.
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
Random thoughts make its second showing here in the second week of September and some of these are just thoughts that make me say:  what were you thinking?  So we are a few days past the mid-way mark of the month and as you know I am trying to ride 650 miles during #CycleSeptember.  Things are looking very good for me at this point and I have shot at surpassing 650 miles by Sunday of this week.  That would give me a week to taper and recover before heading into an October that will be filled with bigger goals and was one of the random thoughts I had while pedaling for nearly 200 miles this past week. Remember that these are some of the random thoughts that pop into my head as I am out there swimming, biking and running.  In case you missed last week's random thoughts post you can click here.

Random Thoughts From The First Two Weeks Of September

  1. [caption id="attachment_8947" align="alignright" width="225"]randome thoughts - superfood Superfood is nothing more than just food. The need to describe it as super is redundant.
    Source: Trainer Tony Martinez[/caption] Can we stop using the phrase superfoods.  If it is a natural food it is a superfood because it will contain healthy fats, or complex carbs or lean proteins.  It will also have micronutrients, vitamins and minerals thus making it a superfood or what I like to call food.  Now if you are downing Oreos (even if they are vegan) on a regular basis then when you have that cup of blueberries you may feel like Superman but otherwise these items are just food and should be referred to as such.
  2. While we are going to stop using the phrase super to describe our food let's continue that pattern and stop using hyperbole to describe EVERYTHING.  I see and hear phrases such as:  That was the best run ever.  That was the greatest steak ever.  That was by far and away the absolute greatest race in the history of races and that includes that dude that ran the first 'marathon' in Greece.  Really?  Is everything you do just the best ever?  C'mon now.  It was probably just good but because you want to post it to Facebook that 3 miles run just became the most epic 3 mile run ever.  Right.
  3. Instagram.  I love this piece of social media but sometimes it is even too much for me.  The shout out for shout out nonsense has to stop.  Please do not tell me to visit the page of the greatest chef in all the land and when I get there that chef is telling me to visit the greatest ballerina in all the land and it is you.  That stuff just has to stop.  Nobody cares about the number of followers or likes that you have.  Just create great content for your page and leave it at that.  People will find it if they are truly interested.
  4. Drivers please respect cyclists on the road.  There is no reason for you to do 100 mph to pass me just so you can get off the next exit which happens to be 5 feet away.  Just slow down and get behind me and before you blow your stack you will be pulling off the exit anyway.
  5. PR companies.  Please, please, please read a few posts of my blog and my About Me before sending me an email asking if I want to review your women's running shoe or your deliver to your house steaks.  Seriously it doesn't take long to read a paragraph or two to understand what I am about and how I live my life.  Sh*t just Google my name and practically my life's story pops up and you can, in a moment, know if I am writing to your target audience or not.
  6. Protein.  I have had it up to my neck with this word.  Protein pancakes. Protein muffins. Protein water. Protein eggs. Protein air.  People......outside of water and air I cannot think of a single thing that doesn't have protein in it.  As a matter of fact, most Americans get more protein than they need and do you know what happens to that extra protein?  No, it does not grow your biceps into a quadceps.  It turns to fat, just like too much carbohydrate.  Stop with the protein non-sense already.  Please.
  7. Breaking news.  This comes on the heels of the Bo Pellini rant about the Nebraska fans FROM TWO YEARS AGO that surfaced today.  Somebody recorded the head coach of Nebraska having a discussion in which he is rather calm but cursing up a storm from lots of frustration.  He thought he was having a private moment but it turns out somebody was recording it.  Based on the fact that Nebraska what whitewashed by UCLA this past weekend this person released the tape to Deadspin and now there is a good chance this will get Pellini fired.  Is anything sacred anymore?  Can we no longer have a discussion with family/friends, colleagues, neighbors without wondering if it is being recorded for a gotcha moment?
  8. [caption id="attachment_8946" align="alignright" width="265"]random thoughts - keep calm By Raging I Find A Way To Remain Calm.....Most Of The Time.
    Source: KeepCalm-O-Matic[/caption] These Keep Calm signs.  Keeping calm is what causes people to eventually erupt.  Sometimes you have to vent. Sometimes you have to be an asshole.  Sometimes keeping calm is the wrong thing to do.
  9. After watching 60 Minutes on Sunday I thought about how odd it is to have federal laws that make marijuana illegal but Colorado state law that allows its use in a recreational setting to be legal and the Federal Government turning a blind eye to it yet that law causing these local businesses to have a difficult time running a legitimate business in Colorado.  Something has to give here right?  It is either legal or illegal but it cannot be both.
  10. Also after watching that 60 Minutes episode I tuned into Al Jazeera TV and watched about 30 minutes of it in bits and pieces.  The parts that I saw were coverage of the new Miss America who is Indian and how within seconds there were Tweets from the public stating how ridiculous it was for an Indian woman to be crowned Miss America.  I immediately thought that these tweets were jokes but sure enough they were real.
  11. The episode on E:60 yesterday with AJ Green, the high school football coach and the boy who was sexually assaulted was easily the best episode ESPN's E:60 has ever produced.   You can see them all by clicking this link.
  12. It is time to get another tattoo.  I cannot wait until after Ironman Chattanooga.

So What Random Thoughts Did You Have While Training?

Published in Race
Monday, 16 September 2013 08:56

Challenge? I Welcome Them Especially This One

[caption id="attachment_8931" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - united states Challenge Family Comes To The US In June 2014
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] Challenge is a word that may strike fear in some and in others bring out the best that they have to offer.  For me the word Challenge represents another triathlon company, with a tremendous following and reputation for putting on outstanding events, coming into the United States.  You know about World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman but you may not know who Challenge Family is and that is about to change. Challenge Family puts on the world's largest triathlon in Roth, Germany every year.  You read that right......the world's largest triathlon.  On July 12 there were approximately 3,500 individual starters and 650 relay teams from over 60 nations.  The size of the field isn't the only BIG part of the Challenge Roth race.  According to their website more than 200,000 spectators were along the course.  That is just a tremendous amount of people cheering you on and throw in the fact that Challenge Roth is fast and you have the makings for an incredible event. Let us compare the size of 3,500 individuals at Challenge Roth to Ironman and other 140.6 races in the United States:
  • Ironman Texas 2013: 2055 finishers with a 17% DNF rate which would bring the total to 2,475 at the start line
  • Rev3 Cedar Point: 288 athletes in the 140.6 event
  • HITS Championship 2012: 58 finishers in the 140.6 event
[caption id="attachment_8935" align="alignright" width="276"]challenge - triathlon - united states - roth Challenge Roth. Imagine riding through a crowd like that.
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] As you can see the 3,500 individual racers at Challenge Roth dwarfs all others including Ironman.  The reason that I am bringing up Challenge and their races is that they are here in North America and have been building the excitement for an announcement regarding their first United States race.  This race is to take place in 2014 in June in the Mid-Atlantic region. To date the following areas have been eliminated:
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • New York City, NY
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • Behoboth Beach, MD
Not too much left when it comes to cities big enough to host the event but I am staking my claim to OBX in North Carolina.  There have been guesses that Ocean City, Maryland is another place to have it but in June I am not sure how the tourist faction would play there.  The same can be said for OBX but I am sticking to my guns. One of the main reasons that I am excited about this race coming to the United States in 2014 and hopefully beyond is that the Mid-Atlantic region in June is going to be hot and depending on where the race is held it will be flat as well.  If I could design a race course that fits my abilities those two ingredients would certainly be in the recipe. If you are wondering when the announcement will be made you will not have to wait much longer.  The race location will be announced on September 18.  I am not sure if there will be a rush to register like there is for Ironman branded triathlons but the cost could make it a race where people turn to, especially after missing out on Ironman Chattanooga.  The cost will be $575 for individuals and $625 for relays. With my commitment to Ironman Chattanooga I will not be able to race the inaugural event being held by Challenge Family but there is a 70.3 that is being raced in North America in July that might fit the race schedule.  Challenge has announced that they will be hosting their first half distance triathlon in North America to be held on July 6, 2014 in New Brunswick, Canada.  After speaking with Mandy of Caratunk Girl I have done a little research and it seems like the perfect location to host a race. [caption id="attachment_8932" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - united states - canada Challenge St. Andrews In July 2014
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] The landscape of triathlon, especially long course, is changing and the penetration of Challenge Family into the United States is expediting that change.  I, for one, am excited to see Challenge enter the US market and provide long course triathletes with another option where the look and feel will be similar to that of Ironman with the number of expected participants and the pomp and circumstance that accompanies both race series.

Is Challenge USA A Race You Would Enter Considering Time And Location?

Published in Race
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:44

The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Ignore

[caption id="attachment_8914" align="alignright" width="300"]mind - training - triathlon - ironman Training Your Mind Is Not Just About Pushing It
Source: Triple Threat Triathlon[/caption] As endurance athletes we are extremely in tune with our bodies.  We know when we have the slightest hitch in our step.  We know the moment that our hunger strikes.  We can tell you what our pace and our heart rate is while out on a ride or run without looking at our watch.  What we fail to do a lot of times is connected to our mind.  Our brain has a way of getting pushed to the side so we can go one more mile, one more lap, one more step or lift one more weight. During a training session and especially in a race we tell our mind to shut up.  We ignore it because that is what we are trained to do but there are instances when ignoring your mind can be detrimental to your progression in your chosen sport.  When you are tired because you were up all night watching football or Sons Of Anarchy and the alarm goes off at 4am, do you jump out of bed or hit the snooze and then finally get out of bed to go run 5 miles?  Would that time be better spent getting more rest so that when you do go for that 5 mile run you feel good as opposed to just getting it in? That scenario happened to me and instead of getting out of bed at 4am to put on running shorts and put in 5 miles I slept another hour.  After waking up I made coffee and enjoyed the time before I took my step-son to school.  After dropping him off I went for my 5 mile run and it was during the run that I thought to myself: such a better idea to have waited than to have gone out there half-asleep and not enjoyed the run.  I know that there are days that we have to get that run in at that time because it is a packed day and there is no other time to do it.  Those things happen but they probably happen less often than you think.  Not everyday is packed to the gills with things to do.  You can shuffle training sessions around and still be prepared for your next race.  There is no reason to put yourself in a box and not allow yourself a chance to get out. Our mind can be our own worst enemy during training because we are going to push ourselves but there are moments when we need to pull back on the reins.  Today I know for sure that I do not want to jump into any structured training and so I am pushing off Oilman (as of today.)  The reason is that my mind is not ready to be wrapped around a set training schedule.  Last night as I was planning out the rest of this week to make sure I got in somewhere between 125 and 150 miles of cycling I almost stopped short and pulled the plans out of training peaks because they suddenly felt like a huge albatross around my neck.  I am not specifically training for anything and if I fall short of 650 miles who really cares?  This is my point about how the mind can be one of our worst enemies.  I set out a goal and now I am trying to figure out everything I can to get myself there, but for what reason? During Ironman training there are certain workouts that cannot be missed, but if you treat every workout that way by the time you hit those essential sessions you could be burnt out and your mind could prevent you from executing the plan the way it was designed.  By understanding what the end goal is and what it takes to get there you can set yourself up for success without burning out.  Talk to your coach, or other triathletes if you are self-coached, about how you feel on a daily basis.  You don't have to call them, but put it into your log.  Track how you felt before, during and after each workout.  If you start noticing trends with workouts then make adjustments or your coach will make them for you. Last week I spoke to Maria about the upcoming season and what is left of 2014 and I came to the realization that I was tired mentally toward the end of IMTX training.  I had been pushing and pushing and pushing and didn't allow my mind a moment to sit back and relax.  I enjoyed my training because I feel free when I am out there but my body was telling my mind something and my mind was ignoring it instead of synching them together.  My passion has been getting reignited with registration of Ironman Chattanooga and I know when I am ready to enter into structured training it will be with a relaxed mind and body.  I also know that I will allow myself the opportunity to not be strangled by the training plan.  If Maria wants 3 hours on the bike and I get in 2:51 and my loop is done then I am going to be done as well.  There will be no reason to continue to ride for 9 minutes as I will not be building any fitness in those 9 minutes. Experience is going to play a large part in this next go round with training.  I know what my body is capable of and hopefully my past experiences will teach my mind what it is also capable of.  This experience coupled with the time off should lead to a successful training cycle and one in which I will be able to join club members on rides and runs and piece together sessions that maximize my time while allowing my body and mind to recover properly.

Do Not Underestimate The Power That Rest Has On Your Mind.

Published in Train
Thursday, 05 September 2013 09:11

Ironman Chattanooga Sells Out In Three Minutes

Ironman Chattanooga sold out in three minutes yesterday.  I don't know if that is a record or not as I know that Ironman Melbourne sold out in 5 minutes but for a race, especially an inaugural event to sell out in three minutes is flat-out amazing.  I was one of the fortunate ones to be able to register for the race during a pre general entry registration that I received from the Tri Club that I belong to here in Dallas.  I was sweating as I know a handful of bloggers were trying to get in and fortunately they did so there is going to be a rather large party at the finish line on September 28, 2014. Having a race sell out in 3 minutes and having the euphoria pulsing through my body should have been a good time but my happiness soon turned to frustration as I read post after post after post about people being pissed off about not getting in and blaming all sorts of reasons for it not happening.  I remember when I made an attempt to get into Ironman Arizona back in November 2011.  I sat by my computer and had all my answers for the required questions ready to be punched into the computer.  When I hit register and was successfully in all the adrenaline left my body and I quickly went home to take a nap.  It was an amazing experience to just get in and so I understand how happy those that got in were.  What I don't understand is the vitriol toward all things from those that did not get in.  There are other races on the Ironman calendar for 2014 not to mention that there are other series that run full iron-distance triathlons. [caption id="attachment_8892" align="alignright" width="149"]ironman chattanooga - triathlon - race Will Be Ordering This Jersey To Train In For The Next Year.[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Vitriol

The complaints were astounding but some were just amazing to me.  I read that it was the pre-registration of the Tri Clubs that caused this event to sell out in 3 minutes.  Really?  This is what caused the sell out?  Let's think about this for a moment and then take a step back and reflect on this theory: Let's assume tri-clubs were allotted 500 out of a total of 2,500 spots.  20% seems like a good guess.  Now let's look at races like IMAZ and IMFL that also sell out in minutes.  Those races have people who volunteer so that they can register for the race before it opens to the general public.  Those races also have athletes that raced that year that get first dibs on entry slots.  How many do you think get in from those two groups?  Would you be agreeable that it is 20% or 500 out of 2500 people as well?  If so, then why place the blame squarely on the Tri club for the sell out?  It makes no sense to make that argument. Then there is the problem with Active.com and their servers going down or people getting kicked out or whatever technological problem that arises.  As a person who works in digital marketing I know that technology is not fool-proof.  This stuff breaks down.....ALL THE TIME.  You can put items into a test server and hammer away at it to make sure that nothing goes wrong but unfortunately our world is not utopia filled with unicorns and rainbows.  We live in the real world that even when you move files from the test server to the live server even the slightest misplacement of a comma can cause major issues.

Ironman Chattanooga Registration Proved One Thing To Me

The Ironman Chattanooga registration process proved one thing to me and that is the idea that the sport needs celebrity endorsements from the likes of Hines Ward is not necessary.  An inaugural race sells out in three minutes on the same day that Challenge Family announces a new race coming to the Mid-Atlantic region in 2014 shows that the sport is thriving.  It indicates that giving away Kona slots to celebrities so that NBC has a figure to cover during their coverage is borderline absurd these days. Those that race triathlon, and those considering it, did not get into the sport because Rocco DiSpirito was on his bike at the 70.3 World Championships in Clermont a few years ago. Tony Kannan races Kona again.....who cares?  Now, in this year's version we are being given an inside look into the training of Hines Ward and how he prepares for Kona.  Really?  Hines Ward celebrity stopped a few years ago when he went from Super Bowl MVP to Dancing With The Stars.  There is no need to promote him and his training so that the sport gains popularity. If you read the statistics from the USAT about the huge boom in people becoming members and those purchasing one-day passes for races you will know that having these, and I use the word lightly, celebrities racing is not what people are looking for.  We do not associate with the Hines Wards of the world but rather with the athlete next to us at the starting line.  The person we wave to during cycling and running sessions.  The person we strike up a conversation with while at the pool.  These are the people whose stories I want to know more about.  I don't care about Hines Ward because he is not living the type of life I am living which involves having to work full-time while balancing family and training for an Ironman. When I get asked about the sport, specifically the 140.6 distance, the questions don't start with: I saw Gordon Ramsay is racing an Ironman and I think I would like to do it as well.  They typically start with: I want to challenge myself and I think an Ironman is what I want to do.  What do you think?  Nothing in there screams celebrity sighting.  Let's leave the celebrities to the E! Network and promote those age-groupers that are working their tails off to be the best triathletes they can be and celebrate their accomplishments rather than those of B list celebrity.

Did The Ironman Chattanooga Sell Out Prove Anything To You?

Published in Race
Cycle September is something I came up with after my buddy Jeff Irvin decided to ride approximate 440 miles in one week.  Was that the smartest thing he could have done?  Not a chance but it taught him a valuable lesson and that is that it is possible to do.  As endurance athletes we are always chasing the question:  What if?  What if I went this way?  What if I ate this?  What if I drank that?  What if my bike wasn't as heavy?  What if, what if, what if?  In asking that question Jeff pushed himself and came out the other side a stronger cyclist for Ironman Florida coming up in November. Right now I am still in the no training plan, training plan so I am coming up with challenges to keep me engaged.  I am a self-motivated person but when you are chasing that carrot that ride on a Wednesday evening in the 100* weather takes on more meaning and you are less likely to skip it.  With Jeff's feat in mind I set my goals out for September, in this blog post, one of which was to cycle 650 miles in the month.  The miles had to all be outdoors as no trainer rides or spin classes would count.  This was going to be a big test for me because if I don't want to do it what do I lose? Nothing.  This would be a game of mental strength to see if I could hit those goals. There are a couple of things that would prevent me from hitting 20+ miles per day (on average) and so I have to plan accordingly.  First off, we will have my step-son for two of the four weekends and Karen runs on Saturday mornings.  This means I can start my ride at 11am in the sweltering heat or just go for a one hour run as a recovery run and skip the bike.  If I do that then I am only putting in 65-80 miles on a weekend when we have Chico.  The other factor is that it is HOT  here in Texas in September.  I mean sweltering hot so if I don't get out early I will not get out for a 'long' ride.  Since I take Chico to school at 7am then the morning ride it out.  Factoring these items into my, so-called, plan I would have to get 200+ miles during two of the four weeks and then another 100-200 during the other two weeks. The first week resulted in 216.5 miles or approximately 1/3 of the goal miles and that is a great way to start but more importantly a few things have happened along the way and I am thrilled about those lessons more than the miles.

Cycle September Lessons

  1. My bike handling has gotten tremendously better in one week.  I am now cornering in the aero position rather than sitting up and applying a gentle squeeze to the brakes.  I am taking more risks on the turns than I have before and I have come away better for it.
  2. Instead of getting weaker in terms of being tired I am noticing that I am stronger today than I was one week ago.  I have undergone a regiment of 10 to 15 minutes each night of either foam rolling or using the stick and that seems to aid tremendously in my recovery.
  3. I am also on a No Sugar Added challenge this month and I have been drinking nothing but water on my long rides and this has helped me to use fat for fuel.  My Body Fat % has gone from 10.5%-11.0% down to 9.6% as of today.  My weight is also down 2.4 pounds.
  4. I am a liquid nutrition rider.  I have taken nuts and dates on my two long rides this past weekend and consumed a total of one date while riding.  This obviously is not a great way to get through a long ride but I forget about the food in my jersey and thus have to come up with a way to get calories into my system without added sugar while riding.
  5. Soccer Moms in mini-vans are worse drivers than 18-year-old boys in Mustangs.  For whatever reason the soccer moms like to get really close to me and yet the Mustangs/Muscle Cars give me plenty of room.  By the way, if I can spit and hit your car while I am riding you are driving too close.
  6. I can spit to my left while riding with no problems, but spitting to my right and I am covered in saliva.
  7. My tan lines are ridiculous.  There are three shades of tan on my arms and now on my legs too.  I started this challenge with the typical bike short tan line but have now added the compression sock tan line and my knee caps are brown, my calves are tan and my quads are white.
  8. Riding around the airport makes me happy.  It is 4 miles on open road with planes flying directly overhead.  In the past two days I have seen 1 British Airways, 2 American Airlines and 1 UPS plane touch down and it was more amazing each time.
  9. 18 wheelers on the airport road love when I race them.  They let me keep the lead for about .25 to .5 of a mile then smoke me and blow their horn when they pass and it is a great way to get interval work in.
  10. My base when I start training for the 2014 Triathlon Season, which will most likely include 70.3 Galveston, 70.3 Buffalo Springs and Ironman Chattanooga, is going to be sky-high.  That makes me happier than a pig in mud.
Here are some of the maps from the Cycle September Challenge from the past few days. [caption id="attachment_8900" align="aligncenter" width="280"]cycle september - challenge - triathlon You Could Say This Has Been A Bike Intensive Week[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8901" align="aligncenter" width="300"]cycle september - challenge - triathlon Sunday Morning Takes Me Out Into The Country That Is Texas[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8902" align="aligncenter" width="300"]cycle september - challenge - triathlon Riding The Airport Brings A Huge Smile To My Face[/caption]   What Are You Challenging Yourself To Do This Month?  
Published in Train
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