[caption id="attachment_8789" align="alignright" width="225"]hard knocks - triathlon - lessons - lifestyle Enjoying The Sport Means Sharing Those Moments With Family And Friends[/caption] Hard Knocks is a show on HBO that covers the training camp of a National Football League (NFL) team every year.  I haven't had HBO in a very long time but with the new house and lowered bills we were able to fit it into our budget (partly because we chose Verizon over DirecTV and thus no NFL package.)  The show Hard Knocks started last week and I had set the DVR to record it.  While eating my lunch I decided to put it on and I watched it for the hour that it was on and I noticed a handful of instances in which the show paralleled the triathlon, and really endurance sport, lifestyle. When you decide to open your eyes it is amazing what you can see.  Yesterday I wrote about the sounds of triathlon and the harmonious music it makes.  I may be in my off-season and that may be why I am noticing all these things around me as opposed to falling asleep on the couch at 7:30pm after a long brick workout.  Either way these examples of life that I am noticing are helping to recharge my batteries for the 2014 season.  I spent an hour yesterday in a Google+ Hangout with Maria discussing which Ironman race I would be registering for and while a decision has yet to be made it has been narrowed down from four to three. So let's get back to how Hard Knocks made its way into my triathlon lifestyle:

Hard Knocks: Lesson #1

This year the program is covering the Cincinnati Bengals.  If you follow the NFL you know that this has been an organization that has been run poorly and when you expect them to be good they disappoint their fans and their owners.  When I thought about how this related to my endurance lifestyle I thought about the work that I put in during training cycles to set myself up for success.  Through training I expect a certain result and when it doesn't happen there is a piece of me that is disappointed.  Yes, you cannot compare yourself to others and I don't but I do compare myself to myself.  I look at my training and previous results and expect to get better with each race.  The problem is in defining better.  We live and die by numbers in triathlon.  140.6, 70.3, 1.2, 2.4, 56, 112, 13,1, 26.2 are all numbers you recognize.  You will also be able to spit out your personal bests at any distance without thinking so the definition of better is typically going faster.  It is also something that I look at from race to race instead of season to season and building on the previous efforts.  This mindset is changing though. I am looking at Ironman races for next year for a few different reasons.  Do I want a new experience or do I want to go back to a race I've already done and challenge myself to go faster than before?  The Cincinnati Bengals can do the same thing and think about building a team that wins year in and year out and not one that wins today and has no clue about tomorrow.

Hard Knocks: Lesson #2

The Bengals signed James Harrison who had formerly played for their rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  What did I learn while watching the segment regarding Mr Harrison?  Here is how I paralleled that story to my triathlon lifestyle.  James Harrison is an intense player who practices like he plays in the game.  When it comes to training I put in the effort but when I look back at my efforts in the race they weren't as strong as the training efforts.  At Ironman Texas I had a horrible swim, which I have discussed previously, and what I am doing to get better at it so that isn't where I am focusing.  What I am looking at is the bike.  I rode the 112 miles in just under 6 hours but I know that I can get down to 5:45 just by pushing a little bit harder.  As with anybody the idea that the run is still to comes causes us to potentially take it a bit easer than we had been training and so this coming training cycle I will focus on riding hard (when training calls for it) and repeating a mantra to myself that I can then repeat when the race comes.  Getting my cycling to be faster means that I will have to look to James Harrison and focus and train like I plan on playing on game day.

Hard Knocks: Lesson #3

[caption id="attachment_8792" align="alignright" width="225"]hard knocks - friends - ironman - triathlon Friends You Can Laugh With While Racing And Training For Ironman Are Invaluable[/caption] In the episode that I watched there was the intense life of football and even a drill called the Oklahoma drill where the intensity is sky-high and fights are bound to break out.  How does this play into triathlon for me?  With that intensity came good-hearted laughter.  Guys making fun of each other and laughing with each other. They put in the work but when the work was over they did not carry that with them to the dining room or to their hotel room and family life.  When I saw that I thought about how the previous 18 months unfolded for me and how I would tend to take one bad workout into the next instead of letting it go and laughing.  We all have bad workouts but not allowing them to ruin the next one is key to getting better.  Focusing on that workout and then letting it go and having fun with your family and friends.  Laughing about how horrible the session went instead of pouting about it.  This off-season I have been doing what I want when I want but still getting in 3-4 workouts of each sport and having a great time. I have laughed with friends via text, while riding, while swimming and while running.  I have goofed off with Karen and this is something that I am going to carry forward.  Not being so rigid in my chosen lifestyle that I forget to laugh and enjoy everything else around me. As you can see we can learn a lot from the things and people around us but we have to be open to them.  We cannot be so closed-minded and thinking that only we know best that we ignore the lessons that are around us.  Find inspiration and motivation in everything around you.
Published in Race
Monday, 03 December 2012 15:50

Ironman Lessons Learned: The Cliche' Version

[caption id="attachment_6821" align="alignright" width="268"]ironman_triathlon_discipline_training_finishline Source: Power Creative[/caption] Ironman isn't just a race, it's a lifestyle.  So much goes into that one day that to think you can just wake up and do it is insane.  Along the journey you are going to find out A LOT about yourself and your friends, family, co-workers and the sport.  It is amazing the things that I learned going down this path.  There were so many lessons that I could write post after post after post about the lessons learned but I won't.  I know you are all a busy group with all the swimming, biking, running, stretching, strength training, core work, eating, sleeping, work, meeting friends, reading to your kids, etc that you do so I boiled it down to 5 simple clichés. Your road to Ironman will be bumpy, just accept it.  Not everything will go as planned, just accept it.  One day you will be able to swim 1:30/100y and the next day be struggling just to finish the set, just accept it.  One Monday you will be on top of the world, but by Friday you will feel like death.....just accept it.  This is how it goes, but if the following five lessons I learned can help you then it was worth every moment of putting my body and mind through it. 1- Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

I learned this because I will have raced a total of 12 races this year.  I started with a 15k in January, then a 1/2 mary, 1/2 IM and it kept going.  All the while training has to be fit in along with trying to be a husband, step-dad, partner in my business, etc.  It was more than I should have done.  When the peak training for Ironman Arizona hit I was frustrated, crabby, mad and HUNGRY.  It had all come to a crescendo during those 4 weeks and as much as I love racing I don't think this schedule is smart.  Our bodies and minds need rest, so take it.  Step back from the game.  For the past two weeks I have done what I want and when I want.  This has been the best recovery ever and I am loving it.  Sleeping in, making breakfast, talking to my wife past 8:30p......it is all awesome and very much welcomed.  Be mindful of what you are going to put your body through and don't bite off more than you can chew.

2- Treat Others As You Would Want To Be Treated

The paragraph above talks about my frustrations and my crankiness and that spilled over into my home life.  I was not the best husband I could be because I was tired.  Just plain tired.  I wanted to sleep, I wanted to eat, I wanted to train and all on my time.  I tried my best to not put myself at the top of the heap but there were times when I did even when I didn't have to.  I like to get my workouts over with early in the morning so I can spend time with my family.  The problem with that is there were days where I was just too tired to do anything and yet I pushed forward to do them.  Sometimes it worked out but other times I was just a crabby asshole.  Your family and friends deserve to be treated better and so if you are tired then bow out of the event and let them have fun rather than being the thorn in the side.  If your training calls for a 4 hour bike ride but you want to be with your family then do a 3 hour bike ride and be fresh for them.  Treat them the way you want to be treated.

3- Just Say No

Did you read that last paragraph where I say to just bow out?  It is so important to know and understand your limitations.  There are only 24 hours in the day so you need to respect that.  You are training for 3 hours, you need to work for 10 hours, you need to sleep for 8 hours and that totals out to 21 hours.  You have three hours remaining so make sure you take advantage of them and don't try to do too much.  If somebody asks you to help them out think about it long and hard before you commit to it.  They may be upset that you say no but it could help save the friendship in the long run because you end up being a no-show since you fell asleep on the couch.  I know that as IMAZ training continued on I started to post less on the blog.  I stopped posting on the weekends unless there was something very compelling I wanted to say.  I have also cut back on the number of blogs that I read as I just didn't have the time and more importantly I wanted to read it and understand it.  If my eyes are glazed over then I am not really comprehending what I am looking at and this is a disservice to the writer.

4- Listen To Your Body

I cannot tell you how important this is to having a successful training cycle.  I know when I went through the first cycle for Texas that if the schedule said 4 hour bike ride well damn it I am riding for four hours no matter how tired I was.  In the cycle for Arizona if the schedule said 4 hour bike ride and I finished the loop in 3 hours and 39 minutes I got off my bike and did my run.  I got home 20 minutes faster than I expected and that was a good thing.  I didn't push it because nothing was going to be gained in that 20 minutes of riding.  When I needed a nap I took it.  If I needed to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I did.  Your body will give you the answer to all your questions so listen to it.

5- Eat All Your Veggies

This is not a ploy to convert everybody to vegetarianism but more of a reminder to treat your body like a temple.  You cannot possibly go out and ride your bike for 4 hours and do a 30 minute run and then stuff your face with Oreo's right after.  Make sure that you are recovering properly with the proper nutrients.  Get all the macronutrients that you need into your system (carbs, protein, fats) as well as your micro-nutrients.  Be smart about what you eat and when you eat it.  It is important to get that recovery shake or meal into your body within 30 minutes but after that listen for your hunger queues.  Your body will tell you when it is hungry so pay attention and then make sure you are eating something that is going to help you recover and get out the door the next day for training.  That is not to say that you shouldn't have pizza if you want it.  Go for it and enjoy the hell out of it.  You earned it and it is what your body is craving at the time but remember that you need fuel for that next workout and making wise food choices will help make that workout a bit easier.

My journey to Ironman Texas 2013 begins one week from today and I am excited.  This week is my last unstructured week and I am taking advantage of it.  I am swimming a little, riding the trainer a bit and running for however long (not how far) I want to.  I added in Bikram Yoga as well as using the rowing machine (that machine is now affectionately known as the Machine Of Death.)  I have gone to a wheat-free (not gluten-free) diet and it all feels right.  My body is telling me that it feels good and I like to hear that.  When the clock strikes on the 10th I will be rested and ready to get into the workouts again, but I also know that if something doesn't feel right I am going to back down. I have 6 months until this next Ironman and I want to get there in one piece and that starts by following the lessons I have learned in 2012.

What Lessons Have You Learned From 2012?

Published in Train
Monday, 28 May 2012 14:41

Ironman Texas - Lessons Learned

[caption id="attachment_5968" align="alignright" width="270"]ironman texas - triathlon - race report A Simpler Equation Has Yet To Be Written[/caption] Ironman Texas is now over a week old and while I am still basking in the glory and greeting everybody I see with Hi, I'm Jason and I'm an Ironman it is time to let it go and focus on the future.  In order for me to focus on the future I need to have understood the past so as not to repeat the errors I made along the way.  I would normally have written this post the day after the event but I wanted to marinate on what went right and what went wrong and reflect on the what led to that point. I know I won't be able to take care of all of these items on this list in one fell swoop and so it may not be 100% correct for Ironman Arizona but I know that the more I practice at it the better I will be.  The more I listen to those around me and put to work their suggestions the faster I can go at this distance. 1- Start packing the Monday of the race.  I waited until the last-minute because I have been racing triathlons for two years now so why would I need more time.  Well you do for Ironman.  Lots of stuff goes into this race and you don't want to forget anything.  I wound up forgetting my charger at home and my watch eventually died on the run course.  Now I don't have data for my run to examine and try to get better at. 2- Don't be afraid to go faster.  In the water I would be hesitant to go fast because I might be out of breath.  Well duh!  You are going to be out of breath until you get faster and more efficient.  Once you become more efficient you will not be as tired as you were when you started that process. 3- Speaking of efficiency.  Do various drills and not just the same drills in the water.  By doing the same drills repeatedly I will only be better at that scope of work, but not overall. 4- Film a swim session or three and send it to everybody I know.  That means you Jeff, Bob, Kevin, Jon, Colleen, Beth, Katie, Claudia and a whole host of others that are much better than I in the water.  I'll get different opinions but it will give me something to work on with those various drills from above. Update: This never happened because of warnings I received about multiple opinions.  I also switched coach's and my time in the pool has increased and so has my speed. 5- I will embrace the trainer even more than I did in this cycle.  I feel the trainer got me faster because I spent a lot of time on it working on cadence and being aero for as long as my neck could stand it (which is nearly 2 hours) before having to sit up.  I pushed myself but always slowed down when my heart rate hovered above an average of 135bpm.  Guess where I rode Ironman Texas at?  134bpm.  If 134bpm means a 6:05 ride then what would a 140bpm ride mean?  Could I save 15-20 minutes and still be setup for a good run?  I think so. 6- Not bring as many calories on the bike as I did.  I had so many calories and consumed more than I did during training and thus the throwing up at Mile 100.  I think this really lead to this issue of beating bloated as well as having to go to the bathroom for #2 at Mile 19 of the run. 7- Perfect my ability to fill my water bottle with the EFS Liquid Shot bottle I carried in my shorts.  I was a little spastic during this transition and so I need to practice on the bike on the trainer and on the road to perfect this. 8- Running through more of the aid stations on the run course.  I ran a 4:09 which is terrific and I know I can run a sub-4 hour marathon and it would start by taking 15 seconds at each aid station instead of 30-45 seconds.  Think about 25 stops at 30 seconds equaling 12 minutes and 30 seconds.  If that is 15 seconds I would save 6 minutes and 15 seconds without doing much of anything. Please don't get me wrong with this list as I am not saying I am not happy with my results.  I am thrilled with my performance and race steady and consistent.  I just want that steady and consistent to be faster for Ironman Texas 2013. In conclusion, anybody can do an Ironman.  I truly believe that.  What I think it takes is a special person to get through the training.  One that is determined and focused but also has a tremendous  support system.  You cannot get through this alone.  You will lean on tons of people and some will be strangers but they all have a helping hand in getting you to the finish line.

Are You Racing Ironman Texas In 2013?

Your Tips From Racing Ironman Texas In 2012?

I also wrote 10 tips for CorePower that you can read here.
Published in Race Reports
Thursday, 05 January 2012 15:33

A Year In Reflection and Perspective

This weekend I will be running the Bold In The Cold 15K and I am excited to make an attempt to put myself back on the podium as I did last year.  When this notion hit me I began to reflect on all the things that occurred in 2011 that went right that I will apply to 2012.  With anything right there are plenty of wrongs as well and I will work on those to apply to 2012 as well. So what went right?
  • I found my mojo on the bike and really embraced riding the trainer and found myself going from 18.0 mph at 70.3 California in April to 20.o mph at 70.3 Austin in October.  They were completely different courses but I know I felt much better after the ride in Austin.
  • Thanks to Jeff Irvin I discovered EFS Liquid Shot and that I can cover the 56 miles of a 70.3 on liquid alone.
  • I set a PR of 3:31 at the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon which beat my previous best by 8 minutes and finish the season on a high note.
  • I found the best pizza in Texas and have desires to take 3 hour road trips for a slice.
  • This blog got a make over and has become what you see before you today and continues to evolve.
So what went wrong?
  • Marathon training at the end of a long season beat me up mentally and physically.
  • Not learning how to sight well for open water swims and losing at least 4-6 minutes trying to navigate.
  • Not knowing how to pace myself in the pool when it comes to Threshold Pace, Moderate Pace, Easy Pace.  Seems like all swims are the same time.
  • Not adding yoga into my routine to help me with flexibility and core work.
There are other items that I will be working on in 2012 that are related to triathlon but involve family.  I know that I will be gone for long hours on the weekend and so I have to make sure that my time with my family has meaning.  Meaning does not mean that we are going out all the time but it means that I engage with them when we are at home.  It means that I put value into the time spent as opposed to taking it for granted. I want to focus more on helping Shape Up America raise funds.  Your donations have truly helped and I want to keep that momentum going in 2012 and using different ideas to help raise money.  If you remember the Cupcake Marathon, then you might be interested in a fund-raiser for a virtual 70.3 or 140.6.  I will be working on the details of that in the very near future. 2012 has a lot to offer and I plan on taking advantage of each and every moment.  I will not allow a day to go by without meaning.  I have a journal that I am keeping as I go down this road to Ironman Texas and Ironman Arizona.  Keeping track of my attitude and physical feeling so that I don't burn out.  At the end of 2011 I felt burnt out and learned that marathons will not be run in December ever again unless the previous 11 months are not as labor intensive.  

When you reflect on your 2011 what do you see?  What lessons are you taking from 2011 and applying to 2012?

Published in Race
Monday, 18 July 2011 13:31

Common Mistakes Made By Triathletes

I have been holding off on writing this post for a week and was going to use this space today to write about my race from yesterday but since the final results have not been posted I am holding off on the race report.  I am trying to calculate what my error cost me in terms of time  and possible ranking.  Since there is a correlation between my mistake and these common mistakes it was just the perfect time to post this. The original article was posted on in Competitor.com and written by Joe Friel.  You can see the entire article [HERE]

1. Poor ability to pace properly

Almost all triathletes start the bike leg of the race at much too high an intensity and then fade as the race progresses. They start the run on tired legs and generally have a poor race (except for the first 5K of the bike). The fix: Athletes must learn to negative split races. This starts with workouts. Intervals must be done with the easiest first and then progressively get harder. Steady state/tempo workouts must start under control and gradually get faster to finish strong. Athletes must learn to be patient in workouts and apply that to their races while ignoring what is going on around them. I have seen this first hand and experienced it as well.  No matter how many times I tell myself to negative split the race I always go out way to hard on the run.  The run is what got me into endurance sports and it is what I am best at so when the time to run hits I am shot out of a cannon and always seem to pay for it in the end.  Just not smart race tactics and something I need to be better at especially when Ironman rolls around in May.  Start off slower and finish stronger is going to be my new mantra.

2. Too many hard days

Going into workouts tired means poor performance and little change in fitness. The fix: To go truly hard in a workout, you must be ready. As the hard workouts get harder, the easy workouts must get easier. This means that the overall quality of training improves. And in turn, faster race times occur. You have read through this blog enough times to know that I have a coach.  Having her schedule my workouts for me allows me to not have to think about these things.  I have quite a bit going on in my life and being able to not have to think about how hard I should go saves me because I know I would be one of those athletes that presses the gas pedal and never lets up and then wonders why I don't recover well or that a workout just wasn't what I wanted it to be.  I have even gone so far as to really back off on those slow easy days.  I used to run 8:30/mile on those slow easy days and now I am closer to 9:30/mile and I think this has saved my legs to go harder in races than I ever have before.

3. Not enough base

Athletes tend to start the high intensity training much too soon in the season. If one is to make a mistake in training, make it on the side of developing too much aerobic endurance. The fix: Lots and lots of zone two and three training. The athletes I coach spend nearly 80 percent of their seasons training primarily in these two zones. When I first started with Claudia and the training called for Zone 2 paces I thought to myself....this is ridiculous as I am practically walking.  What I failed to do was combine efficiency with my running.  Now I can run an 8:30/mile pace and have my heart rate in upper Z2.  This is not just from training but also because I have become more efficient with my stride.  The same can be said for my cycling.  A few months ago I would be in the 135 bpm range and going 16 mph on the  trainer.  Now I can be 140 bpm and going close to 20 mph.  I learned how to be efficient in my pedal strokes so it takes me less energy but I go faster.  It is amazing when these things start to click.

4. Haphazard training

At best, most triathletes have vague ideas of what they are trying to accomplish in training. For the most part, they are hoping something magical happens and somehow have a good race. The fix: You must have a purpose for every workout. That purpose should be aerobic endurance, muscular force, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed skills or recovery. The higher one’s goals, the more important this becomes. Whenever I look at my training schedule I always ask what is the point of this session.  Am I supposed to recover from the previous hard workout?  Am I going hard to build my lactate threshold or am I backing off to build my aerobic capacity.  If there is a training session that I don't understand the point of it I will ask my coach.  This allows me to take the right mind-set into that days training and helps me get the most out of it.

5. Set goals much too high

People think that shooting for the stars means if they fall short they will still make it to the moon. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, this does just the opposite. If the goal is obviously out of reach there is no motivation to even try for it. It just becomes wishing and hoping. The fix: Goals must be just barely out of reach to be effective. I am a huge believer in setting my goals just out of reach so that I push myself to get there.  The majority of us are Type A personalities so we will not stop until we get there.  I have a goal for my first Ironman and I'm sure as we get closer and closer I will adjust that time based on training and my confidence in my abilities at that time.  When I first set a goal for IMCA I thought I just want to finish, then it became I want to go under 6 hours.  Then I narrowed it down to 5:39 (I finished in 5:42.)  I am racing 70.3 Longhorn in October and my goal is to beat 5:30 so I am looking at 5:29 and as my season progresses I may change that further down to a time that would seem to be just out of reach for me but that is the point.  Set the goal so that you are slightly uncomfortable in attaining it and amazing things will happen.

6. Too much emphasis on weekly miles

For the advanced triathlete, the key to race success is appropriate intensity, not how much weekly volume is generated. The fix: If your goal is to run a sub-40-minute 10K off the bike in an Olympic distance, then the key determiner of success will be how much sub-40 pace work is done—not how many miles run in a week. You may have noticed that I have stopped posting my miles from my training as often as I used to.  I will write a post every now and again about it but I have gotten to the point that the # of miles doesn't matter as much as the quality of those miles.  I am more focused on how hard I go in those tempo runs, or interval training on the bike.  What are my splits during my swim?  For me I know I am capable of finishing a 70.3 race and so it is now about being faster at that distance while also preparing my body to go 140.6. Joe Friel is an elite-certified USA Triathlon and USA Cycling coach and holds a master’s degree in exercise science. Friel is the author of 10 books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. You can learn more at trainingbible.com. [caption id="attachment_3188" align="alignright" width="481" caption="Negative split your next race"]negative_split_racing_pacing[/caption]

Have You Made These Mistakes?

Do You Learn From Your Mistakes And Apply Them To The Next Race Or Training Session?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_1671" align="alignleft" width="223" caption="This guy will not pass me."][/caption] I wrote my race report and posted it earlier this week, but it has taken me some time to come down from the highs and lows and truly evaluate my performance. I am my harshest critic and so I have a tendency to not appreciate the ability and talent and performance.  It was with this  theory that I have decided to sit back for a week and try to understand what I did right and what I did wrong.  Wrong may not be the best way to phrase this so let's say what I can improve upon. I believe that self-reflection is the best way to understand where you started and where you finished.  It also gives you time to be truly free of the emotion and to put together a game plan for the next training session and plan the next race accordingly. PRE-RACE NUTRITION / HYDRATION: I believe that my nutrition was  spot on heading into the race.  I ate properly and did not change anything other than adding a 1/2 sandwich of almond butter and jelly the night before.  I was nervous and my favorite sandwich helped ease my nerves and get me to sleep fairly easily.  The morning of the race I ate the same type of breakfast I had been eating prior to long rides on the weekend and at the same time interval before the start so that my body was prepared to process the carbs to give me energy when the starting whistle went off. My hydration could use help.  Coach had given me a hydration plan and being lazy or excited I did not print it out and neglected getting in the carb solution she prescribed on the day of the flight or on race morning.  Getting that hydration in may have helped me on the run and that will be one item that I truly focus on when I head to the next 70.3 event. I did my best in San Diego to avoid eating or actually over-eating due to the excitement on Friday (the day before the race) but I know I ate a few things that I normally would not eat.  This included a vegan pumpkin cookie.  Yes, I would eat that but not the day before the race.  This might be nit-picky but I need to focus my consumption of calories to avoid any issues during the race. SWIM I put my goal time at 40 minutes based on my training and wound up swimming 40 minutes and 37 seconds.  I am very proud of this as swimming was the one discipline that I was terrible at.  It was also the reason I wound up hiring a coach. As my swim improved so did my confidence but the swim did not truly improve until I started swimming with Greg Larsen (Twitter: @tri2live)  I think the issue of swimming on my own is that while competitive with myself when there is a carrot to chase and push me I perform better.  The next step in improving my swim is to join a master's swim class.  This will help me exponentially I believe. I also need to know that I have to push myself in the water and have the confidence that if I exhaust myself that I exhaust myself.  I do this on the run and always complete the run, so I need to apply this theory to the swim.  Swim hard and my body will automatically slow down as I get tired. BIKE Again I hit my goal time.  I was looking at 3 hours on the bike and wound up riding 3 hours and 6 minutes.  I averaged 18 mph which is what my training had me at.  The bike being the longest component of any triathlon is where I can make up the most time I believe.  Going from 18 mph to 19 mph or 20 mph is a significant increase and will help my times tremendously. [caption id="attachment_1673" align="alignright" width="250" caption="The medal was nice, but this was the reward for racing."][/caption] Putting in an effort to produce a 19 mph bike speed would save me 9 minutes.  A 20 mph bike speed would save me 18 minutes.  I know this is a big leap but I also know that there are ways to improve that involve both training and equipment. In my training I have to embrace the trainer in those times when getting outside is not possible.  If I need to get on the spin bike at the gym I need to crank up the tension and know that it is going to hurt and that my speed may be affected but it will help my endurance and leg strength.  I have to be more cognizant of the time on the trainer as that will help me the most I believe.  Now, the trainer is no substitute for riding outside and when I do get outside I need to make sure that my routes are varied and include hill climbing.  Just like running doing hill repeats will help my overall speed. As for equipment there is the opportunity to buy an aero helmet as that will be the cheapest way to gain speed.  I borrowed 404s for this race and if I can continue to do so I will.  If I need to rent the wheels for a race I will do that until I can afford to buy my own set. RUN [caption id="attachment_1675" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Heading down the finisher's shoot"][/caption] My goal time was 1:40 and I ran a 1:48.  I am very hard on myself for this time and I don't know why.  A 1:48 half-marathon back in November would have been a PR.  Today I am disappointed with it.  I felt like I struggled in the last half of this run and I have pinpointed it to the fact that I was not properly hydrated from the bike. On the bike I consumed 660 calories through PowerBars but I only drank about 5-10 ounces of hydration in the form of Accelerade.  This needs to be increased as I had salt caked on my legs when I finished.  There is sodium in Accelerade that would have helped keep me hydrated and fresher for the second half of the run. With my training I believe that the run is my strength.  I give it my all each and every time I run and don't hold back.  Sometimes to my detriment I'm sure but I love running and I love finding that next gear. Dialing in the hydration on the bike I believe will help me the most on the run. POST RACE [caption id="attachment_1676" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Look at all the liquid in the SpeedFil"][/caption] Immediately after the race in the athletes tent I grabbed everything in sight.  Not a great way to recover.  I should have stuck to some oatmeal peanut butter cookies (of which I am perfecting a recipe now so that I am prepared for Austion 70.3.)  I believe that the nutrition in a couple of oatmeal peanut butter cookies combined with HoneyMilk will help me recover within those first 30 mintues. After those 30 minutes are up and I head out to a restaurant I won't be as hungry and won't consume an entire pizza, although I will have pizza.  That is my food for recovery. Learning from this experience I will be able to control my caloric intake on the Sunday and Monday after the race.  This past week I have eaten as if it were my last meal before a 50 year prison sentence.  There hasn't been a cookie or extra serving that has slipped past me.  It took me two days to get back to my very controlled caloric intake and I feel so much better now than on Sunday or Monday.   I know there will be those who say that I am crazy for evaluating my performance this way, but I believe that I have made a lifestyle commitment with triathlon and I want to continually improve.  Improvement may come in the form of a few seconds but it is improvement.  I believe in being better the next day than in the current day so that I am always moving forward.  This type of evaluation will help me do that. In case you want to know I finished 147 out of 434 M35-39 racers.  On the swim I was 213 and finished 147th so that shows that I improved with each leg and that I am the proudest of.  As other racers were getting weak I was getting stronger.  That I will hang my hat on and know that all of my endurance training paid off and now it is about focusing on speed, which will come with hard work and determination (two areas I am not lacking in.)  

Jason Bahamundi

2476 38 Lewisville TX USA Marketing
40:37 3:06:37 1:48:41 5:42:17 836 147
TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi. (40:37) 2:08/100m 1289 213
BIKE SPLIT 1: 24.45 mi 24.45 mi (1:11:22) 20.56 mph
BIKE SPLIT 2: 56 mi 31.55 mi (1:55:15) 16.43 mph
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (3:06:37) 18.00 mph
RUN SPLIT 1: 3.275 mi 3.275 mi (26:20) 8:02/mi
RUN SPLIT 2: 6.55 mi 3.275 mi (25:06) 7:39/mi
RUN SPLIT 3: 9.825 mi 3.275 mi (27:45) 8:28/mi
RUN SPLIT 4: 13.1 mi 3.275 mi. (29:30) 9:00/mi
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi. (1:48:41) 8:17/mi 836   147
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 1:39
Published in Train
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 12:35

Lessons Learned from the DWR Marathon

In this world of endurance sports even our best efforts lead to lessons learned so that we can continue to get better.  That is the circle we live in.  We train to race, then after the race we evaluate what we can improve upon during our training so that we can race again. For a moment while on the course of the Dallas White Rock Marathon when I realized that the 3:29 goal was fading fast I thought to myself this sucks, I am not going to get to my time.  This goal came about on November 22 so I had two weeks to focus on this one item.  To run a marathon faster than any other time I had ever done (truth be told it was only 1 other marathon and I ran it in 4:29:58.)  It became my obsession, and I convinced myself I could do it.  So on the course I kept checking my Garmin and I was there until Mile 20 when my split grew to 8:35.  I rationalized and used the Boston qualifying method that 3:29 really meant 3:29:59 and I was still on target.  Then Mile 21 blew that away. In the back of my mind I knew that I should have been around 3:35 to 3:40.  3:40 was my original goal and 3:35 came about after talking with Ironam Mike Wien.  I crossed in 3:39:23 and for a moment was upset, but then realized that I beat my previous time by 50 minutes.  An incredible feat from one marathon to the next. Since that time I have reflected on the things I could have done differently and instead of cursing myself I have accepted them as lessons to have learned.  Last night while reading Texas Runner and Triathlete I came across an article by Allan Besselink titled 8 Ways To Ruin A Marathon.  The article discussed injuries, developing a race plan, doing something different on race day, acclimating to the weather, focusing on outcome and not process, not driving the course, not strength training and not consuming enough carbs during the race. I read and re-read this list and thought about those that I did not do plus a couple of others that can help me to qualify for Boston (3:15 needed for a young guy like me.)
  1. I normally train in long shorts so that when they get soaked with sweat they get heavy and it is harder to run with them.  These shorts have pockets in them so I carry my GU in there.  The racing shorts don't have pockets so I needed a place to carry my GU.  Went with a cycling jersey UNDER another shirt.  I couldn't get the GUs out of my BACK pockets twice on the course and this is a change from the norm.
  2. I used GUs during training but switched to the PowerBar Energy Gels for the first 12 miles.  Now I have taken PowerBar before but I did not train with them for this marathon so why would I switch.  With the temps hovering around freezing I knew that the GU would be like a rock and trying to get it out of the package would be very hard and the PowerBar Gel is more liquid.  Well at Mile 4 I wore most of the gel because it squeezed everywhere all over my let and the pee did not get rid of that stickiness. (read my race report about the reference to pee here.)
  3. I did not drive the course.  Karen and I spoke about it but we never did it because 9 miles of the course is our home course at White Rock Lake.  We also thought we knew Dallas so no need to drive it.  Mistake?  I'm not sure but it couldn't have hurt to drive the course.  Problem here is that we were home and it wasn't a rush with everything else, but if we travel to another location I will be sure to drive the course.
  4. I will run at the time of the race start.  Not the gun time, but the race start.  Our corral went off around 8:12am because of the wave start but I was used to waking up at 4am and going for a run by 5:30 or 6:00am.  During my training I did not allow my body to wake up fully before running like it would during the marathon.  Part of this is eating breakfast and being properly fueled prior to the race.
  5. I am on the fence with this one, but running with an iPod.  I don't do it now because during the 70.3 California and any other triathlon I do you cannot wear headphones so I need to be mentally tough to conquer the run at the end of a triathlon.  During a marathon it is ok and maybe just maybe a hip-hop tune like the Jay-Z/Linkin Park 99 Problems would get my legs moving faster.  Maybe, not sure.
  6. Train faster.  On my long EZ runs I was at around 9:00/mile to 9:15/mile.  This is too slow if I want to run sub-8s on race day.  My EZ runs need to be closer to 8:30/mile so that my legs know what the speed is like.  On my speed work days I was fine, but I think on the long run days I need to go faster than I have because I want to race faster.
I had a race plan for pacing from coach and I had a nutrition/hydration plan from my training (1 GU and water every 4 miles -- this is why I need to run faster b/c that would be ~32 minutes in a race and closer to 36-37 minutes during training.) I am beyond happy with my time and my improvement but I know that if I want to qualify for Boston in 2012 that I need to improve by 24 minutes.  6 items to improve on may not seem like a lot but it is the world of difference between going to Boston and reading blogs about getting in.  I want to get in.  It is not on the bucket list because I know I can do it and I am willing to put in the hard work and effort.
What lessons have you learned either the hard way or just from experience that helped you reach your goals?
Published in Race Reports