[caption id="attachment_9352" align="alignright" width="300"]doping - ironman - triathlon Source: EverymanTri[/caption] Doping is a topic that I have discussed a number of times on this blog.  It is no secret that I do not have any sympathy for those that dope, nor do I have any empathy when they get caught.  If you are going to break the rules and you get caught......deal with it.  It was a decision, conscious decision, that you made to go down that path and when you get caught you have to deal with it. Yes, there are false positives and the off-chance that a prescription drug trips the meter and says that it was something illegal.  All of that still does not tell me to give them leeway.  Not today.  Not when all it takes is a phone call to inquire about whether a certain prescription contains something that may be deemed against the rules.  Not when you can read the label on a canister of protein powder.  There are just too many safeguards to avoid having a positive drug test.  You get caught you deal with the punishment. Yesterday, Jeff posted a link to an article in Irish Triathlon that concluded that 1 in 7 dope at Ironman Triathlon.  1 IN 7.  That is an absurd number when you think about it.  Let's assume that there are 2100 athletes wading in the water with you before the cannon goes off.  That means that 300 of those people are doping.  Think about that.  It is perplexing considering that the number of athletes from any given race going to Kona is minimal at best.  What are these people thinking when they make the decision to take a drug that is going to improve their performance. If they stopped to think about it I can imagine that they would not do it.  Look at it from a numbers perspective.  At Ironman Texas 2013 I finished in 12:03:58 which was good for 80th place in my Age Group.  Assume that the drugs improve my performance by 5% and that would make my final finishing time approximately 11:28.  That finish time would put me at 39th place in the M40-44 AG.  That is still nowhere near a Kona qualifying time so why dope?  Before you say to me that those that are close to qualifying for Kona are probably the ones that are doping, the facts from the study are that they are not. The study points out that those that are physically doping are training for 14 hours per week and those that are cognitive doping (antidepressants, beta-blockers, modafinil, methylphenidate) are training for 15 hours per week.  During my overload weeks for Ironman Texas I was regularly putting in 18-21 hours per week.  During base building weeks the amount of training volume equaled ~17 hours.  That is far above what the average from this study is and yet I am over an hour away from Kona.  How far away are these athletes training for 14-15 hours per week? And this gets me to my point about doping.  I am very competitive.  I want to be better than myself from race to race.  I want to beat you, you and you.  That is no secret but I also know what I am capable of.  I am a 12 hour Ironman as defined by my 3 finishes.  Maybe at IMTN I can get closer to 11 than I am to 12 but the breakthrough I would need to get to Kona is enormous and I cannot see that happening.  Would I love to qualify?  Of course, but it looks like this is more of a legacy slot than qualifying slot and I am ok with that.  I once had aspirations of qualifying for Boston as well as Kona.  Today I am having thoughts of qualifying for Western States but in the end should I qualify it will be because I did it on my own ability and not a synthetic.  To me that is not qualifying, that is cheating.  Doping is cheating and anybody who dopes is a cheater.  There is no room in sport or life for cheaters.  Period, End of Story.

What Are Your Thoughts On Doping?

Published in Train
Monday, 27 January 2014 08:44

Ironman Chattanooga Week 12 - The Doldrums!

The ups and downs of training for an Ironman, or any event, can take a toll on a person's psyche.  Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away for a day or two.  Get away from it all and allow the universe to take control.  As endurance athletes we are Type A meaning that we want to have all the control, but at times that can wear you down and the effects can be seen in your performance, your diet, your sleep patterns and just about anything that takes place in your life.  This week seems to have been the doldrums for both KC and I but for different reasons.

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Week 12 Recap

Ok, these weeks lately have been really lame and boring but you know what? I’m okay with that. I feel like I still need the down time for my brain. My mind hasn’t quite wrapped itself around training for another Ironman yet but it will soon. And once the physical and the mental parts come together in harmony, like when the stars, moon, and planets align, it’s game on and full speed ahead. For now, I’m happy with where my training is. [caption id="attachment_9384" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - duldrums KC's 'light' Week 12 Training Log.
Not sure a 4th Century Ride in 4 week is light.[/caption] I have a confession to make. I’m a very spontaneous person, so when I get something in my head, I usually just do it. Last Friday was a testament to that spontaneity. I had been thinking about getting my nose pierced for quite some time, so when I woke up last Friday, I decided that it was the day to finally do it. So I did. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know why you will not see any swimming on my calendar snapshot until the beginning of March. No swimming allowed because the puncture could get infected and who has time for an infection? I do have a 70.3 on March 22nd, I haven’t swam since Ironman Florida and I AM NOT ONE BIT WORRIED. I’ve taken long breaks from the swim before, only to come back even stronger within a few sessions. The same cannot be said about long breaks from running and biking. The fitness is lost too quickly on the run and bike, unlike the swim. At least that has been my experience, so I don’t fret over it. This week’s training was good. I got my 4th, 100 mile ride in today, so that makes a century every week for the month of January. Not too shabby, huh? I’m thinking I’ll try to keep that streak going if I can, for a while, maybe through February. My running is coming along nicely. I’m slowly inching up the mileage …slooooowly. I would like to have an average of about 30-35 miles of running per week by mid February. That’s a comfortable range for me. This week’s lesson is practicing setting short-term goals. Not looking too far ahead just yet. It’s too early in the game (the game being IronmanTennessee). So far, it is working very nicely. No burn allowed here! Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 12 Recap

Last week was the final week of overload training for the Rocky Raccoon 50.  The week totaled 70.68 miles which is the second consecutive week I have gone over 70 miles and totaled 209+ miles over the three weeks.  Needless to say that final run on Sunday was a sap sucker as well as de-motivator for the upcoming race.  My legs were extremely heavy & I was sore in my lower back which I attribute to two things.  The first being that I was coming down with a bit of a chest cold and having run 26 miles the day before on the road.  The road just trashes your legs and it was evident from step 1 that the run on Sunday was not going to be a pleasant one. When I finally finished slogging through 11+ miles I landed on the couch and spent the rest of the day there.  I had no desire to do anything and the energy was quickly fading as the hours ticked away.  I finally fell asleep for a short nap, which normally energizes me but this time just continued to make me tired.  When I woke up I started questioning my ability to race these 50 miles.  Questions such as:
  • [caption id="attachment_9383" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - duldrums Managed three swim sessions and have a goal of a :39/50y on the 4th of 4x50 descending.[/caption] How am I ever going to get through 50 miles if I am this tired after 37 over two days?
  • Should I have started the overload week a bit earlier to get in more miles?
  • What would happen at the Lake Martin 100 if getting to 50 is so hard?
I questioned and questioned and questioned.  I then made the determination that I was not going to get up early Monday and go to the pool or get on the bike.  I was going to sleep in and allow my body to heal.  I was going to sleep in and allow my mind to regain the strength it had lost during those two hours of running on Sunday. Right now I am in taper and the amount of miles I run this week is approximately half of what I have run in the past two weeks and it seems glorious.  I have gone through overload three times in lead up to Ironman races and none of them were as hard as the three weeks for the lead up to Rocky Raccoon.  Getting through those weeks and preparing the mind and body for the race in two weeks is going to be my sole focus.  Nothing else matters and I am okay with that.  Lake Martin 100 training will effectively start the week after RR50 recovery and then and only then will I concern myself with 100 miles of running.
Published in Train
Ultra Trail runner were not words I would have ever used to  describe me when I started down the endurance athlete path.  Like anybody else I started with a half-marathon and that was ok but I wanted more.  I ran a marathon, and probably should have quit then because I couldn't walk afterwards, yet something kept pulling me back in.  I got into triathlon and raced sprint and Olympic distance races at first but again needed more.  When I raced my first Half-Ironman I was already of the belief that an Ironman would not be far behind.  Once that third Ironman was over and the fourth (Ironman Chattanooga) was registered for there seemed to be a void. There was a vacuum where the endorphins, training, food logging and elated exhaustion was missing.  Enter the world of Rocky Racoon 50.  The words ultra trail runner would now become part of the adjective list used to define me.  Somewhere along the way I had the following conversation with myself, and also a little help from my friends:
  • Me: When RR50 is over will you have time to properly train for 70.3 Galveston?
  • Me: Can you race Galveston by winging it?  Do you want to wing it?  Do you want to be great that day or just say you did it?
  • Me: Jeff is running Lake Martin in late March.  Can the 50 miler be a 'training' run for that? You'll have the base.
  • Jeff:  Yeah dude, c'mon and race Lake Martin with me. I have over 24 hours worth of stories for you to listen to.
  • Me: Yes, running a 100 miler makes much more sense than racing a 70.3 triathlon.
[caption id="attachment_9345" align="alignleft" width="300"]ultra trail run - triathlon - observations This Pic Of Denali National Park Looks Awesome
Source: Rob Hammer Photography[/caption] While I have not registered for Lake Martin 100 I have looked at condos.  I have set up a budget to pay for the race and the accommodations.  I have added to the Rocky Raccoon 50 training plan to carry me through March 29.  So it seems like a forgone conclusion that Lake Martin 100 will be my first, and not likely last. attempt at a belt buckle a la my friend Emily - RUN EMZ. And while the idea that running 100 miles seems more sane than that of a 70.3 mile triathlon there is more reason to this decision than meets the eye.  The ultra trail run training has proven to be a great way to train for an Ironman without specifically training for an Ironman.  How?  Here is why:

Ultra Trail Run Training Observations

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

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

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

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

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

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 8

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

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 8 Recap

Holy run week Batman.  This entire week was  filled with running, running and more running.  In the end I wound up posting nearly 65 miles of running which is the most I have run in.....well probably ever.  Even during marathon training back in 2010 and 2011 I did not run this much.  While that number seems like a lot it is going to be dwarfed by the mileage I have planned for the overload weeks that are still to come.  Those weeks will range between 65 and 72.  Lots of miles on these legs but sure enough I have felt my body getting stronger and breaking through plateaus and better yet my mental stamina is getting stronger. [caption id="attachment_9287" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail running Hunstville State Park Rocky Raccoon Trail Training[/caption] This weekend I ran 23 miles at Hunstville State Park which is where the Rocky Raccoon 50 will be held.  I did the run with my buddies Jeff and Dave as they are training for a 100 miler in Alabama after RR50.  I felt great this entire run and toward the end we put down tracks and ran miles that were sub-10:00.  That feeling of gliding over the trails and not having my HR escalate in Z3 told me that the 285+ miles I have run in the past 5 weeks in Z1/Z2 are paying off.  In addition to that wearing the Hoka Mafate (review of these and the Stinson here) being able to recover so that the miles can pile on has been truly helpful. As you can see from my training  for the week there was NO swimming at all.  As motivated as I was to swim the problem is that the Y pool was closed and the day it wasn't closed there were not two lifeguards so you could not swim.  That hurt the swim training, but this week is a pull back week for running so I will be spending more time on the trainer getting my legs recovered and swimming to help get the yards in the drink in. [caption id="attachment_9288" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - trail running IMTN Week 8 Training[/caption]
Published in Train
Toughest week of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge?  Is it possible to have the toughest week in Week 9?  Is it too soon?  Is it too late?  Should a week be defined as toughest week at all?  Week 9, as it turns out, was the toughest week of this challenge for both KC and I but for different reasons.  One had it tough because of a physical scenario and the other because of a mental scenario. As I said when I challenged KC to this Ironman Chattanooga blog challenge, we are going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly because training for an Ironman is hard.  There are going to be life situations, physical ailments, mental plateaus and everything in between that can derail you for a day, a week or a month but overcoming those obstacles is what makes you an Ironman.  My motto when it comes to the 140.6 mile race is that you become an Ironman during the journey and that the actual race is your victory lap.  This theory is proving to be true after the toughest week of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge to date.

KC's Toughest Week - ICC Week #9

[caption id="attachment_9312" align="alignright" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training A bit different than what Mom told you but it works too.[/caption] This was an interesting week and start to the new year. I did my last “long” run, last Sunday, a 16 miler, in prep for the Disney marathon, then woke up Monday morning to do an easy 4 mile recovery run. On my way to the front door to take off on my run, I felt a weird pain in the ball of my left foot, behind the 2 toes next to the big toe. It felt like an electrical shock or as if I had stepped on a big piece of glass, except there was no broken glass anywhere, there was no blood, no cut, nothing. I only had socks on at the time because I had left my Hoka running shoes outside from the day before (they were wet and dirty from running in the rain), so I have no idea what happened. I didn’t think much about it, went out and ran 4 miles with no problem or pain. Since that run, I have attempted to run several times and it’s uncomfortable. Walking around I’m aware of it, so unless I experience some kind of miracle between today and Friday, I will run the Disney marathon, if not, I’m out. Since I am a WebMD doctor, I have diagnosed myself with Metatarsalgia. At first, I was upset about it early in the week, then I started thinking more clearly about it. First off, I’m already qualified for Boston 2015, so that already makes me feel better about the situation. The only reason I was planning to run a marathon again was to better my qualifying time. Secondly, I truly love to run. There is something about it that centers me and gives me a feeling of peacefulness that I don’t get from biking or swimming. So yeah, I miss that a lot! Anyway, I woke up this morning and I was mad. Mad at the universe (I have to be mad at something or someone, right?), so I decided that I’ll show you, you Universe! If I can’t run, then I’ll just bike my ass off, ha! And so, I did just that. I did 100 miles, a century, and it made me feel so much better. Hey, I did my first century of 2014, sweet! So that was my week and I think it ended on a positive note. Like in any life event, be it personal issues, work issues, health issues, etc …take one day at a time and know that there are no problems, only solutions …you just have to find them. [caption id="attachment_9313" align="aligncenter" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training KC's Week 9 - Toughest Week Of Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Training[/caption] Upward and onward!

Jason's Toughest Week of ICC - Week #9

[caption id="attachment_9315" align="alignright" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training Jason's Week 9 - The Toughest Week Of ICC Training.[/caption] When I went to bed on Sunday, December 29th I knew that the upcoming week was going to be different.  The training plan called for a whopping 29 miles FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK.  I had just run 23 miles on Saturday and now was facing the idea of running ONLY 29 over the course of 5 days.  This week was a scheduled pull back week for me before I enter into the overload weeks.  I wasn't really sure how I was going to handle it but I put a brave face on when the alarm went off on Monday morning and did what I have not always done.  I got on my bike with the mindset that I was going to be going to the pool 4x this week.  I made up my mind and so it was. As each day went by I found myself not making excuses to skip the pool, but instead I was looking for ways to get to the pool.  I was looking for ways to get out of work early and jump into the drink and take full advantage of this week from a pull back from running perspective and to do all I could to help my legs recover from the previous 5 weeks.  Getting them prepared for the 67, 69 ad 71 mile weeks coming up. This week was a true focus on recovery and that helped me get past the idea that I just wouldn't be running.  I took advantage of what the schedule gave me and put in place a recovery schedule of:
  1. Herbalife24 Endurance Strength ordered and stocked up on.
  2. Scheduled visits with Dr Tim of St. Onge Chiropractic and Sports Therapy 2x per week during overload weeks up to and including taper and race week.
  3. Swimming 4x per week in the evening during the next three overload weeks.  My swims will be between 1200 and 2000y with very little exertion.  That being said I hit 1:35/100y this past week……yee-haa!
I am also going to put some additional misery to the overload weeks.  On Sunday I ran at Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve and it was extremely hard.  My gluteus, hamstrings, quads, calf muscles and hip flexors felt the entire 10.76 mile run.  This course is tough, much tougher than the course at Rocky Raccoon.  Adding this on Sunday for 12 miles will make the race seems much easier.  It is about mental training as much as it is physical training. In the end my mind was able to get through the recovery week but not without adding a few extra miles to the plan.  I went for 33 miles instead of 29.  I feel mentally stronger for it already.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 10:18

Heather Jackson Reminds Me Hard Works Pays Off

[caption id="attachment_9261" align="alignright" width="200"]heather jackson - triathlon - wattie ink Source: Wattie Ink On Instagram[/caption] Heather Jackson ranks right at the top of my favorite triathletes, male or female, to watch and root for.  I put her up there with Mirinda Carfrae and Caroline Steffen.  I think that my rooting interest is in the fact that all of these ladies are tremendous runners off the bike and that is the facet of triathlon that I am most inspired by.  Running a marathon is hard.  Running a marathon after a 112 mile bike is hard.  Running a marathon at the pace that they are running off the bike is incredible to watch.  These ladies, and triathletes in general, did not get there by hoping and wishing.  They got there through hard work. Yesterday I was reminded of the hard work it takes to be successful at this sport.  As I was scrolling through Instagram I came across a picture of Heather Jackson riding the trainer and looking completely spent.  Sweat everywhere and mouth agape as if to say: this is so f*cking hard but I will survive and I will get stronger.  That left a lasting impression on me and reinforced in me that in order to achieve the goals I am laying out for myself. I do not have my goals laid out specifically for this year as of yet but I am thinking of the following for the big races in 2014:
  • 10:00 at Rocky Raccoon 50 in February.
  • 5:00-5:15 at 70.3 Galveston in April.
  • 5:40-5:45 at 70.3 Buffalo Springs in June.
  • 11:00-11:30 at Ironman Chattanooga in September.
Knowing that these are all much faster than my previous times I have to be understanding of the hard work that is going to go into these training cycles.  I need to focus my mind on the knowledge that there will be rest/recovery days and that I need to take advantage of those days but simultaneously knowing that on training days there is a purpose.  Do not waste energy and time on the 'junk' miles and put the hard work in that is required to achieve these goals.  I use the word goals because dreams are goals without a plan.  I will have a plan and I will execute that plan to the best of my ability. Heather Jackson putting in the hard work in the middle of December for races that she will compete at in the Spring resonated wildly with me. Here is an athlete that has accomplished a lot in her career and could sit back and say: I did that and won that.  Instead she is pushing her body and her mind knowing that her competition is out there potentially doing the same.  This past week I finished my fourth week of ultra trail run training and legs felt beat up while I was under the weather.  It would be very easy for me to say to myself that I hurt and its Christmas and what would another slice of pizza or piece of chocolate do?  That is just not going to happen though.  I have to remain committed to my goals and take every possible step to accomplish them regardless of how hard it is.  I may not be racing to win, but I am racing to be better than myself. This week will be harder than the previous 4 weeks as the mileage climbs past the 60s for the week but there is a recovery week starting on Sunday after that long run.  There will be 3 weeks after that recovery week where the mileage will go be in mid-60s up to the 70s.  Those weeks will be hard and I will be able to look back at this week and say that was easy.  It is all in perspective. This week I also made the decision that I will start to see my chiropractor twice per week over those 3 overload weeks.  I want to take care of my body to get through them injury free and that starts by doing the hard things like taking 30 minutes out of your day to get your body back into alignment rather than heading straight home and flopping on the couch.  There is a lot of hard work left to do before I get to the start line of Rocky Raccoon 50 and thanks to Heather Jackson and her picture a fire has been lit under my butt to make sure that the extra cookie is not consumed and that the 'Five More Minutes' on the alarm clock are not asked for.

Thank You Heather Jackson For Posting That Picture. Motivating.

What Has Inspired You Lately?

Published in Train
Monday, 20 January 2014 12:44

Ironman Chattanooga Training Week 11

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

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 11 Recap

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

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 11 Recap

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

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

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

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

What Are You Training For And How Is It Going?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_9230" align="alignright" width="300"]swimming - endurance nation - triathlon Source: Shelton Monroe Swim Team Rapids[/caption] Endurance Nation posted an article on their site on November 19th titled: Why Swimming Year-Round Can Be Hazardous To Your A Race.  It is an enlightening article and one that all triathletes regardless of their level should read.  For those of us that are not swimmers we dread going to the pool, and especially this time of the year in the United States when the weather is not conducive to the idea of getting into a pool.  I know for me that swimming was a lost cause the moment that Ironman Texas was over.  I had zero desire to hit the water three to four days per week.  As a matter of fact it got to the point where I was barely swimming at all.  I would force myself to the pool and get in 1500 yards before calling it a day.  I had no motivation, not that there was much for running and biking either. Five months post Ironman Texas and now I can see myself getting into the pool on a more regular basis and that is what got me to thinking about this article.  Most athletes consider the winter months to be their off-season and are just not motivated to get going.  You have the holidays and all the cake and cookies, huge meals and alcohol thwarting the best laid plans.  The temperatures below your age and your bed sounds so much better.  For me, the training season began three weeks ago which would be right around Thanksgiving.  That means that I am training on a regular schedule throughout the holidays making that the focus and not the huge slice of pecan pie. Yesterday I posted about a new swim training cycle that I am starting.  I am going to the pool Monday and Tuesday morning as well as Friday evening.  My plan is to swim for 30-45 minutes and get out.  Monday will be purely recovery will very little intensity.  Tuesday's intensity will pick up and then on Friday it will be back to recovery as I prepare for the huge weekend of run volume.  Why 30-45 minutes?  It goes back to the Endurance Nation article.  In the article you read about the amount of time it takes to swim, not the actual swimming, but the time to drive, change, swim, change and drive.  Those minutes add up and I do not want to feel beholden to 2 hours of training for a simple swim. Right now my mind can process 30-45 minutes of swimming because on the easy days of running I am going 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  My easy bike spins are an hour and my strength/core sessions are 30 minutes at most.  This is breaking it down into manageable pieces for me.  Even with that setup though I can see the time-wasting away as I leave the house at 4:45am to get to the Y by 4:55am.  The Y opens at 5:00am on the dot and I am in the water no later than 5:05am.  After 40 minutes of swimming, changing and driving back home it is 6:15am.  That is 1 hour and 30 minutes for a 40 minute swim.  Luckily for me, these are not Ironman focused swim sessions and purely recovery so they are needed but the amount of time wasted can add up. When Ironman Chattanooga specific training does start-up I will have to juggle my schedule to fit in the 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minute swim sessions.  I think those longer sessions will be few and far between as I have to be home in time to get Chico off to school.  This means that in the 1 hour I have the intensity will be through the roof and I will have to be prepared for that.  How do I prepare for that?  By doing what I am doing now and going to the pool 3 times per week.  When IMTN training starts I do not want to be behind the swim eight ball.  These three days per week for the foreseeable future will help me acclimate to the water again and allow me to not fight the water but instead be friends with it. So while I agree with the Endurance Nation article in that swimming year round can be hazardous to your A race I also believe that in certain circumstances it is necessary.  I took time off from swimming but now I am back at it and the Ironman specific training has not started.  I am getting a head start on that training cycle while also allowing my body to recover from the pounding of hours and hours and miles and miles of running.

Is Endurance Nation Correct Regarding Swimming In Your Opinion?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 12:28

Treadmill Running - I am getting used to this

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

Why I Am Liking The Treadmill

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

Are You A Treadmill Runner?

Published in Train
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