Thursday, 10 January 2013 13:44

Ironman Texas - The Monthly Progress Report

Ironman Texas is in 129 days and training has been going on since December 10th so I figured a monthly update on my progress was in order.  Last year I did weekly and bi-weekly YouTube videos which were fun to make but at this point I'm not sure I have the patience to shoot, edit, upload and post so I will be going with some simple breakdowns of what has changed in the month that has just passed. Last year I raced Ironman Texas as my first 140.6 and finished in 11:59:51 without knowing what I was doing in terms of racing.  There is a lot that you learn about yourself and ability with each race but especially the iron-distance race.  I took what I learned from Texas to Arizona and unfortunately experienced a bike accident that did not lead to the day I wanted but loved the day I had.  With that experience in the tank, a change of coach(s) and a new eating plan I am preparing myself to go faster at Ironman Texas 2013 than I could have imagined when I first put on a pair of tri shorts. Here is my monthly progress report and I hope John and Maria grade me here as well: Diet: Maria and John have been a huge help for me in this department.  With our goals it is important to know not just what to eat but more importantly when to eat, and thus was the basis for my previous post about changing my diet.  I know that since I started with them back on December 10 that I weighed 150 lbs and had a body fat percentage of 10.4% (thank you off-season.)  Since then I have lost 2.4 lbs and 1.7 percentage points in body fat while maintaining my muscle mass.  I will say that with the workouts prescribed and the attention to detail about my diet I feel great and will be losing the weight needed to race Ironman Texas at my optimal weight level without much trying or 'dieting'. [caption id="attachment_7049" align="alignright" width="300"]ironmantexas_progressreport_cooktraineatrace Certainly Has Been Bike And Swim Focused[/caption] Swim: As any follower of this blog knows my swim is by far my worst discipline and it seemed that the harder I worked at it the worse I got or stayed the same which is just like getting worse.  In the past month I have seen improvements in my swim and not just in time but in how I feel in the water.  I actually am feeling the water instead of fighting it.  I have recognized key failures in my technique like putting my head down too far into the water or not getting my elbow high enough that has led to a more efficient swim.  I am not competing with Phelps and Lochte just yet but I am certainly getting faster at the same RPE. Bike: Maria and John determined that for me to hit my goal times that getting faster in the water and faster on the bike were going to be imperative.  That being said my training has been swim and bike-centric.  That being said I have developed some awesome ass muscles from sitting on the bike.  In addition to that I have been chasing my friend Jeff around the area and I mean chase since Jeff is a Kona Qualifier and a beast on the bike.  He has helped me get stronger while the training 'assignments' are keeping me conscious of my form and getting me stronger at the same time.  My bike efficiency is improving and that will benefit me on the run. Run: This discipline was determined to be my best and after the 20 minute TT that was confirmed.  Running is my strong suit so there hasn't been a lot of emphasis on it with most of my runs being 2o - 30 minutes off the bike and in Z2.  What we did figure out is that my Z2 is higher up than I originally thought so I am able to run this zone at a faster pace than I had been.  Clearly my aerobic capacity is stronger than I thought it was.  Since there hasn't been a lot going on here and the only real tangible to come out of the first month of training is that I can push harder on the run. [caption id="attachment_7050" align="alignright" width="300"]ironmantexas_training_triathlon_cooktraineatrace Do You Like Pie? I Like The Look Of This Ironman Texas Training Pie![/caption] Mental Strength: I always thought I had the ability to push myself as hard if not harder than the next person.  I have come to the realization that theory was true for training but not on race day.  When race day came around I think I was hesitant because it was about finishing.  This year that changes and with the help of M&J I am going to be racing and no longer satisfied with finishing.  I would also say that experience plays a huge role in this and that is why I believe I am now ready to race the 140.6 distance instead of just being happy with crossing the finish line.  Maria and I have talked at length about goal times for Ironman Texas and I have those numbers plastered everywhere so that every training session has value.  Sharpening the mind is going to be as important as sharpening the body in this training cycle. Outside Triathlon: Last year my focus was Ironman Texas and nothing was going to get in the way.  I think anybody attacking their first 140.6 would say the same thing so I don't feel bad about it but I certainly have learned from it.  It cannot be all things triathlon all the time.  I have re-arranged training sessions to be later in the day if need be.  I have added Bikram Yoga to my training as an active recovery day.  I am being more of a husband than last year and being aware of when training goes to far.  I am also taking notice of when training isn't going right and calling it a day or pushing through.  This is probably the most important aspect of my training cycle so far.  Last year if it was a bad training day and I pushed through it I would be upset all day.  Now if it is to the point that it isn't what it needs to be then I will call the training off.  This means I am more in tune with my body and mind than in the past and this will serve my wife and Chico well.  I am not perfect at this but I am working at it. All in all it has been a very pleasurable month starting out with a new coach and a renewed focus.  Now in 129 days we shall see where we are in the progress report arena and hopefully it will be on full display as I cross the finish line of Ironman Texas.

Are You Racing Ironman Texas This Year?

What Are You Training For And What Grade Do You Give Your Progress To Date?

 
Published in Train
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, 29 October 2012 20:40

Ironman Arizona Update

[caption id="attachment_6664" align="alignright" width="276"]IMAZ_ironmanarizona_triathlon_140.6 Source: My Running Doc[/caption] An Ironman Arizona update is long overdue.  I thought about this post yesterday for quite some time and how our bodies go through the ups and downs of training, but more so our minds.  Our bodies will move as long as our minds tell us to and whether it is faster or slower than we want to go the process all begins between the ears. This training cycle has been mostly positive.  With the experience of having just gone through one cycle for Ironman Texas I knew what I had to do to have a successful trip around the training calendar this time.  I knew that if I was to run for 1 hour that if I got to the end of my loop in 58:29 I did not have to do the remaining 1:31 to fully realize my potential.  This training cycle was going to be a smart one.  One where I did not fall asleep on the couch at 8:00p EVERY single night (even on rest days.) So as the weeks ticked off the calendar and I was staying up past the witching hour of 8pm and even up to 10pm I was feeling great.  That is until the peak weeks hit. For the past three weeks my training has looked like this in terms of hours and minutes: 22:36; 20:08; 22:29 and the week prior to that was 16:37 and only because I raced the US Open Championships that week otherwise a 20 hour week would have been in order.  Peak week training is a bitch.  Every fiber of your being hates waking up, hates training and mostly craves sleep and carbs. I would get up and go to the gym to swim and lift and could not wait to get out of there.  I would get on the trainer in my garage and spend 20 minutes going through Netflix just to watch something to keep me occupied for the next 2-3 hours.  Running was my saving grace.  It was my way of getting out of the gym and off the bike, but there were days when intervals were scheduled.....and those hurt.  They hurt bad.  You just couldn't wait for them to be over no matter how long they were (mile repeats, 800s, 400s.....didn't matter.) Then this past Friday I was heading to the lake for my Friday open water swim of 2 miles.  Thursday night a cold front moved in and it was about 45* on Friday morning, but worse than that the winds were howling.  We had sustained winds of 24 mph and when I got to the lake and saw the water crashing ashore I thought twice about getting into the water as safety was the only thought I had.  When my swim training partner showed up we chatted for about 10 minutes about it and we both decided to call it a day and not go in the water.  For the first time in a few months I was taking a rest day (not really as I had gone to the gym to lift and do core work prior) and it was going to be glorious.  I ate and lounged and worked and did not feel exhausted. This Saturday I got on the trainer for a 6 hour tour of my bedroom.  I layered up the clothes and made sure no fan was on.  The heat would kick on and I was going to sweat and sweat I did.  I was pedaling as if this was my last ride forever.  I was ticking up sub-3:00 miles and smiling.  I was practicing my fueling and hydration all the while watching Food Network, Cooking Channel, CNN, ESPN, NFL Network and sending out Tweets and Facebook posts.  It was going great even for a 6 hour trainer ride.  In case you are wondering it was 34* when I woke up on Saturday morning and there was no way I was going to suffer through 6 hours in the bitter cold. Once the ride was over I laced up my sneakers and out the door for a one hour - lactate threshold run.  I had laid out a course that I would run on Sunday that should take me about an hour.  Once I started running I felt great.  The first mile went by and my Garmin said 7:20.  WTF?  I was on cruise control and not breathing heavy and the 2nd mile showed 7:10.....huh?  Before I knew it I was back at my front door in under an hour and had covered 7.85 miles.  I was on cloud 9 and barged through the door hootering and a hollering about how ready I was for Arizona.  A rest day does wonders for the body. Sunday was a 22 mile run and I just nailed it.  I setup a 7.3 mile loop with the approximate elevation of Ironman Arizona.  I also setup a water station at mile 2.6, 5.1 and 7.3.  I would stop here and take a sip of water and walk for 10 seconds just like IMAZ.  This was going to be my test run before the big day.  I carried a HoneyStinger in my sleeve and a bottle of EFS Kona Mocha with me.  I would get all my calories and water without having to carry too much.....just as I plan to do in Tempe.  I ran the first loop in 1:06, the 2nd loop in 1:05 and the third loop in 1:03.  I got faster as the miles clicked off and my heart rate was never too elevated.  I knew that I was ready and the pain and torture of peak cycle had ended. My mind only knows the ups of this training cycle.  The ideas that were in my head during those 4 peak weeks are a distant memory, one to not be remembered until they come around again for Ironman Texas. Similar to the stock market with its ups and downs and corrections this Ironman training cycle has not only lifted me up but slammed me down.  It has shown me I have what it takes to be faster, but also made me question why I was doing it in the first place.  It has proven to me that I can get faster even when I don't think I can, but it has also slowed me down when I needed to.  When I cross the finish line on November 18 I will look back at this weekend as the one that was the perfect training session, but in reality it has been every single workout on every single day with the proper recovery that will have gotten me to that point. Ironman training has its ups and downs for sure, but in the end it will end on a high note because of who I have become through these days, weeks and months.
Published in Train
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 15:49

What's Your Motivation?

[caption id="attachment_6629" align="alignright" width="271"]triathlon_motivation_inspiration_ironman Source: CK-MultiSport Coaching[/caption] Motivation is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit?  I am motivated to run.  I am not motivated to run.  Where did my motivation go?  I am a very self-motivated person and a lot of that comes from my competitiveness.  I am always trying to improve my standing against myself.  Last month I had 5 sales this month I want 6.  It is almost never-ending regardless of what I am talking about.  I know it drives my wife crazy and it is also how I can relate to a guy like Roger Clemens (competitor not drug user) when reports are that he brushed his wife back in a wiffle ball game.  I get it....I may not do it but I get it. Right now I am in the midst of peak training for Ironman Arizona and getting up in the morning is getting harder and harder.  The workouts are getting harder and they are getting longer.  The mental push to sustain this lifestyle through peak training can be hard.  Who am I kidding?  It is downright crazy someday.  There are days when that alarm goes off and all I want to do is say F U World I am laying here, but then one of two things happens.  Karen finally gets angry that I have hit the snooze button for the 10th time and tells me to get up or I turned the alarm off and she pushes me out of the bed and tells me to get going. At that point I am walking around the bedroom and the bathroom like a drunk on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.  I have no clue what time it is or where I am at but I know some form of exercise is coming.  As I get on the trainer for the 3rd time this week (this is true) or I pack my swim bag for 4000+ yards of swimming I start talking to myself about what I am going to do.  For example, today's workout was 1:30 on the trainer with 8x5min at Anaerobic Threshold with 1 min Recovery followed by 30 minutes of running at a steady anaerobic threshold.  HOLY SHIT!  Uhh.....Coach I'd like to make it to Arizona ALIVE! Once I got on the bike I started pedaling and my legs felt alright but I was just warming up and after 20 minutes I would start my sets.  I got engrossed in a terrible movie and when the sets started I hardly noticed the pain in my legs, that is until the last 3 sets.  It was at that point that I could have punched babies and started thinking about the run.  30 minutes anaerobic threshold just means run really fast for as long as you can, but wait it says steady.  Ok, so pull back a bit so that you stay steady but wait that wouldn't be AT.  My motivation for this run was starting to slip. At first I wanted to tie my record for running 4 miles off the bike in 30 minutes that I had set over two years ago and had not matched until yesterday when I ran 4.14 miles off the bike (yesterday's set was a steady 1 hour at Half-Ironman pace or 20+ mph).  I had my motivation for this run but then my legs started to really hurt.  Combination of a year-long of Ironman training, 5am start and just the volume from last week (23 hours of training.)  I was done and if I ran a 9 minute per mile pace I would know that it would hurt and that it would be pushing it at that point. Thing is I had sent a text to my coach a few weeks ago when she asked me how I was feeling.  I told her that I felt good (not great) and that I came to a realization.  It was going to hurt no matter what pace I went at and this was for swim, bike or run.  So why not just do it as fast as you can and the pain would go away faster.  Logical wouldn't you say? So when I started running I decided I was going to run not only hard but run a harder course than I ran yesterday.  I was going to prove I had a lot left in my tank to not only do the interval set, but also capture the 4 mile flag.  I was determined and I was going to do it.  All the sudden, Mr Motivation was back and all it took was a memory.  A memory lit my competitive fire inside me and off I went.  I hit that first mile at 7:26 and I thought that this was going to be a close call since I know that 7:30/mile would equal 4 miles in 30 minutes.  Second mile was 7:27 and I actually felt good even though I was breathing so heavy.  I was pumping my arms and legs going up every hill I could find.  This was not going to be a 4 mile run around a track.  My thought at this point was that if the training was extremely hard than the race would be cake. When I saw the 30:00 on the Garmin and I hit stop I could not remember if I had heard 4 beeps from the tell all machine.  I looked down and the number was 3.93 miles.  I fell just shy of hitting that 4 mile mark on a much harder course.  I was not happy and when I went into the garage to gather all my gear from the trainer ride I had the following thought:

Dad - I am sorry that I could not get to 4 miles today but rest assured that on November 18 I will run as hard as I possibly can to make you proud.

The motivation to get up every morning stopped being about me.  It stopped being about getting to 4 miles in 30 minutes.  It stopped about being a 2x Ironman in the same year.  It was now bigger than anything I could imagine.  I have about 30 days until the cannon goes off in Tempe, Arizona and I now know what will not just get me to the starting line but to the finish line.

The motivation will change between today and that day but in the end when I reflect on Ironman Arizona I will know what the underlying motivation truly was.

I also want to say Thank You to my wife, Karen, for putting up with peak training AGAIN.  I know it is not easy on you or the family but I want you to know I appreciate your ability to allow me to get out every morning to do what I do.  Without you this doesn't happen (and some mornings that is a literal statement.)

What Is Your Motivation?

Published in Train
Thursday, 27 September 2012 16:27

Adversity.....

[caption id="attachment_6524" align="alignright" width="300"]adversity_triathlon_training_racing Source: JM Baseman Blog[/caption] Adversity in a training session or a race is going to happen.  It is inevitable and it seems that today I have read three or four pieces that discussed adversity.  As I was reading them I was taken back to my big ring issue in Puerto Rico, my brake issue at Ironman Texas, the tune-up problem prior to Maine and the wheel mechanical during Maine.  At each one of these events there was a problem but rather than throwing the whole day away and really months of training I gathered myself up, dusted myself up and tried again (wait is that a Beyonce' song?) If you don't recall these issues from above let me refresh your memory: Puerto Rico:  When I got to Puerto Rico the bike looked great.  It had just been tuned up and was ready for the first race of the year.  I went on a warm-up ride with Juan and could feel the chain slipping with just about every pedal stroke.  I was distraught over this and decided to bring it to the mechanic at athlete check-in with about an hour to go before transition closed for the night. After much waiting around my bike was finally in the hands of the mechanic and after a few minutes he told me that the big ring teeth were bent and he didn't have any more big rings or a chain to replace the old one with.  I went to another place to buy the chain and while doing that Juan spoke to another mechanic there and they said they would sell me a big ring if it couldn't be fixed. The original mechanic took out a dremel and after about 15 minutes of grinding teeth he told me the bike was set and ready to go.  I quickly paid and got the bike into the transition area before it closed for the night.  At first I was panic-stricken and tried to think of how this could happen and when I realized what it was I knew that it was my fault and I had nobody to blame.  I kept as calm as possible on the outside (inside I was wreck but knew there was nothing I could do) and when it all went back to normal I was thrilled and ready to race. Ironman Texas: Again after taking a spin on the bike with Juan to dial it all in I noticed something was wrong with the brakes.  They weren't stopping me enough and I was concerned enough to bring it in.  Having been through the mechanic deal just a few months prior I was in full control of my emotions.  I knew it was nothing more than changing brake pads and so I was comfortable with leaving my bike with them, going for lunch with Juan and then going back to pick up El Diablo and deposit him in transition. While having had the experience from San Juan the biggest difference was that Juan and I went out on our tune-up ride EARLY.  Much earlier than we did in Puerto Rico.  This allowed me to not have my back up against the wall and thus allow me to relax a bit.  Better than that was seeing Sterns from my local tri shop here in Dallas working the booth and knew he would take care of my bike as he had for a year already. Rev3 Maine:  Prior to the race in Maine I had a full tune-up done with cable replacements and all.  It was about 2 days prior to me leaving that Sterns called to tell me there was an issue and the bike had to be shipped to Specialized.  I freaked out about it because there was no way the bike could head out, be fixed and be back in time for me to race.  Sterns said that he would call them and see what he could figure out on his own at the shop. In the meantime I started thinking of what I could do.  Could I rent a bike?  Maybe borrow a bike but from who?  I thought immediately of the joke that Kevin had thrown out on Twitter just a few days prior.  Mandy and I are relatively close to the same height.  I know it would not be ideal but I figured roll with it and if I had to I would ask her to borrow her bike for the ride.  It would have been uncomfortable but it would only have been for a few hours.  Fortunately Sterns called and he was able to take care of everything I needed and off to Maine I went. Well at Mile 22 a spoke decided to brake.  I was in the middle of the race and there was nothing I could do but deal with it.  I tried to bend it and then tried to flex and break the spoke but nothing worked.  I got rather mad and decided to walk it off.  I was at the base of the biggest hill to date on the ride and lifted the bike overhead and walked up that hill.  I gained composure and realized as I was flexing the spoke previously it was also sliding out.  I kept working on that and before I knew it the spoke was free and I was riding again, although not at a typical 70.3 pace. The point is that at some point adversity and issue (some mechanical and some nutrition) will affect you.  How you deal with it will determine how well the race goes.  No race is perfect.  It may never happen.  There will always be ways to improve but take those issues and turn them into lessons.  Lessons to work into your next training cycle which will in turn make for a better race the next time.  Stay focused on the task at hand and that task is to finish the race.
What Adversity/Issues Have You Dealt With?
Published in Train
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 15:09

Glycogen Depletion Training

Glycogen depletion training is a phrase that I heard from the Great MissZ about a month or so ago.  At the time I thought to myself:  Why would you do this?  Why would you purposely not use carbs to help fuel your workouts and races.  It wasn't much prior to that message from MissZ that Jeff Irvin said he was going into carbohydrate control so that when he took in the carbs on race day his performance would peak because of the extra energy. Both of these sounded somewhat absurd to me.  I am of the belief that if we take in carbohydrates on a routine basis that our bodies will be fueled for our workouts.  And by routine I mean eating a diet that consists of 60%-65% carbohydrates and not going for that midnight Snickers bar.  Routine meaning that you are getting your carbs on a consistent basis throughout the day so that you are burning what you need when you need it. [caption id="attachment_6518" align="alignright" width="300"]glycogendepletion_triathlon_ironman_training Proper Recovery Will Allow Me To Continue Getting Out For My Workouts.
Source: EAS[/caption] After reading MissZ's report about glycogen depletion training I decided to give it a go.  Last week was my first full week of doing it and I have to say that there was not a loss of performance during the training and maybe even a slight pickup.  The rules I laid out for myself were to have nothing prior to working out and only consume water during the workout.  The key rule though was nothing longer than 2 hours.  If I was going to go longer than two hours than I was going to take in my Prolong/Prepare mix during the workout.  The other rule was on a day with 2 sessions (1 in the morning and 1 at lunch) that I was going to eat lunch 1 hour prior to the workout.  Also, recovery was going to be key to this test.  Without the proper recovery all of this would be for nothing. After the second day of being on this newly discovered training plan I had lost 4 pounds and could feel myself getting stronger.  Now the change is not the only difference in my training, we also have to take into account the fact that I am getting stronger and faster because of the volume of training I'm doing.  The weight loss coupled with my body learning to use fat as fuel was a spark for me.  It has led me to be able to focus on my efficiency and not worry about the timing of the clock for when to take in a sip. Here is where the rubber met the road for me.  I decided to take this weekend as a race weekend.  This means that on Thursday night I am doing my big carbohydrate meal followed by a huge breakfast on Friday (1,000 calories of waffles, pancakes and toast) with tapered eating the rest of the day.  Saturday morning consisted of a typical race day breakfast (toast with homemade nut butter, sliced banana and honey along with granola and coconut milk) and then off to ride for 5.5 hours and run for 30 minutes. The results of the ride were great.  For 5.5 hours I felt terrific and never felt like I was struggling.  This was a training ride so we weren't going at race pace but I held an easy 18 mph ride in comparison to the week prior where I was around 17 mph.  In the end I rode 90 miles and in 15 minutes faster than the previous week (wind, terrain all play a factor of course) but I felt better.  The 30 minute run afterwards was 'easy' as I held 8:30/mi paces for the entire time whereas the week prior I came out at 8:30 but soon slowed down to close to 9:00/mile. On Sunday I had a 15 mile run with the first mile as a warm-up and the remaining 14 miles at tempo pace.  I ran the first mile in 9:30 and then held 8:15s until the last two miles which ended up closer to 8:30.  I ran the entire 2 hours and 5 minutes with nothing but water and two sticks of Hydrate, which is an electrolyte mix with only 4g of carbs.  I felt good the entire time and never had that feeling of this is just horrible I want it to be over. This type of glycogen depletion workout has worked for one week and I am doing it again this week to see how my body adapts to using fat as fuel and to make sure that I am recovering properly to enjoy my workouts.
Have You Ever Done This Type Of Training?  What Were Your Results?
 
Published in Train
Monday, 24 September 2012 13:41

Why Ironman Arizona?

[caption id="attachment_6512" align="alignright" width="300"]ironmanarizona_triathlon_inspiration Source: Guardian[/caption] If you have not been reading this blog for a while you may not know why Ironman Arizona is as important to me as it is.  I figured that with 7 weeks left until race day I would let you in on why this race has more meaning than any other race I have ever done. Back in 1995 during graduation week from SUNY-Oswego I was given the news that would alter my life forever, yet at the time I didn't realize it.  I was more interested in grilling, drinking beer and playing beach volleyball at our frat house than I was in allowing the news to sink in.  Crazy thing is I remember this day very vividly but I probably could not recount it for you a couple of years ago and I think that is because I mentally blocked it out. On this day I was told by my parents that my father had cancer.  My father grew up poor in a poor neighborhood in Puerto Rico before moving to New York and growing up under not the greatest of circumstances.  So he picked up cigarette smoking, and if I remember correctly that started at 9 years of age.  When I got to high school I practically begged my parents to quit smoking and they actually did.  They both went cold turkey and it was great and I was so happy for them. When I got the news and found out that it was throat cancer from smoking I found it so ironic.  Here my Dad was telling me he had cancer from smoking and yet he hadn't smoked in years.  The questions swirled through my head as to how, why, when, where.....you name the question it went through my head but again it was with the thought that he would beat it. My father would go through chemo and be in and out of the hospital more times than I could count and then he finally succumbed to the disease.  In a way it was the most peaceful thing that could happen to our family.  We struggled to watch him suffer as my father was very tough and this weakened state was not him.  My mother spent years sleeping on a pull up bed in his hospital room and I was in charge of taking care of my younger sister. My father passed away one week prior to his 50th birthday.  Imagine not making it to your 50th birthday.  It is impossible for me to fathom, and yet it happened. When I got into endurance sports I had never run a race in honor of my father.  It wasn't until a 15k that I chose to dedicate to him that I started to lean on him during the hardest of times during races.  When the pain in my legs would get to unbearable points I would think about my father and what he endured and realized that I could go further. As I began training for long course triathlon I pointed to Ironman Arizona in 2013 as the race I had to do.  I knew the difficulty in getting into the event because it sells out so quickly but I was going to go to this race no matter what.  Along the road I noticed my training was going well and chose to race Ironman Texas as my first 140.6 race and I am glad that I did. Ironman Arizona is in 7 weeks and with this being the second one I am less nervous about the training and the race and more focused on hitting the sessions and being prepared for race day.  Race day is November 18 or in my world.....my father's birthday. I had to get into this race this year because it would have been another 7 years before I could race Ironman Arizona on my father's birthday.  When registration opened up the blood surged through my body as I answered every question and clicked through it all until I got the notification that I was in.  The adrenaline left my body almost immediately and I went and took a nap.  When I woke up I smiled and thought that I would be racing on November 18th. When this day rolls around I hope to keep the tears from filling my goggles and I hope that when mile 24 of the marathon comes around I can think about the strength my father had and hope that it transfers to me. This is going to be an emotional day but I will be doing it not for myself but for my father.  I am going to give him a birthday present he never would have asked for. Thank you for everything Dad.  I will make you proud.
Published in Race
Thursday, 13 September 2012 14:48

Ironman Arizona Update

[caption id="attachment_6488" align="alignright" width="300"]ironmanarizona_triathlon_training Source: Ironman Arizona
If the roads are that paved I will be one happy person[/caption] Ironman Arizona is a tad over 9 weeks away and the training is entering its peak phase for sure.  Coach doesn't provide me the schedule in advance so I only know what I am doing for the week on Sunday afternoon/evenings.  I like it this way, and she plans it this way, because I can't look ahead as to what might be hard and so I lose the focus and purpose of the current days training.  For me every training session must have a purpose otherwise I feel as if I am wasting my time and I hate wasting time. My overall impressions of this training cycle, in comparison to Ironman Texas, are that it is going better.  I feel stronger at this point of my training cycle than I ever did for IMTX.  The workouts that have been prescribed are harder because there is a lot more interval and hill work but it has certainly been paying off.  When I raced Rev3 Maine a few weeks ago I felt strong in the water (the wetsuit didn't hurt) and very strong on the run.  I had the fastest run split at the 70.3 distance at that race and this is coming off of 8 months that included 70.3 Puerto Rico and Ironman Texas racing and training. I received some great news from Rebecca when she rode the course last week.  Her feedback was that it can be a course that I spend the entire time in the big ring on.  She said I MAY have to go to the small ring when I get out toward the turn-around of Loop 3 but otherwise should be more than OK in the big ring.  After the sh*t show that was last weekend's ride into the 15-20mph headwinds my biggest concern is not the course itself but more mother nature and the winds.  I know that there is nothing I can do about it and that we all will be dealing with it, but that wind can play havoc on your mind. In addition to Rebecca's first hand scouting I asked Aimee about the course since she raced IMAZ last year and she gave her impressions.  Again the bike wasn't the biggest deal in terms of the course but more a concern when it came to the wind.  If it's there it's there but that is nothing I can concern myself with as I keep pushing forward and adding miles and miles to my tires and legs. My runs have been outstanding and my hope is that I am not peaking too soon with that discipline.  I ran 17 miles on Tuesday at a 9:37/mi pace and kept my HR way down.  The cooler weather is helping out tremendously with this, but so is the fact that I was running smart in the 100* days here.  I took it slow then and now the pay-off is here with faster run splits.  Yesterday I was scheduled to run 50 minutes at LT pace and when I first saw the schedule I was thinking how painful it was going to be.  Running with an HR of 155-165bpm coming off a 17+ mile run was not going to be pleasant, or so I though.  I got in the pool first and swam a hard but enjoyable 3800 yard set and then set out on my run.  Surprise, Surprise!  I held an 8:00/mi pace while keeping my HR at 151bpm. [caption id="attachment_6489" align="alignright" width="300"]ironmanarizona_triathlon_training Source: Ironman Arizona
I'll be sure to point out who I am when they take the pic this year.[/caption] My goal is to run a sub-4 hour marathon and if I am able to hold an 8:00/mi pace at 151bpm then holding a sub-9:00/mi pace at a 140-145bpm level is certainly feasible.  Aimee mentioned that the course was flat outside of the ramps going up from the lake.  If they are short then there is plenty of time to recover on the flat sections and run fast to make up for lost time on the uphills. I have also changed up my nutrition plan and have been using it in training and raced with it at Rev3.  For Ironman Arizona I am getting rid of the water cages on the back of my saddle and using only a torpedo and a down tube cage (read that as no speedfil.)  In the torpedo mounted bottle I will have 400 calories of EFS Liquid Shot watered down (Kona-Mocha of course.)  In the down tube I will have 400 calories of Herbalife24 Prolong and Prepare mixed (Mango flavor for that brunch feel when combined with the Kona-Mocha.)  In the side pockets of my jersey I will have two HoneyStingers (1 vanilla, 1 chocolate) and I will start the bike with a lemon flavored honeystinger.  When you add up all the calories you are looking at 1280.  For a 6 hour ride that comes out to 213 calories per hour.  If I need to I will supplement with perform on the course (used it on a training ride and it didn't bother my stomach so we should be good to go.)  I will also take a water bottle and drink and toss at the aid stations every 10 miles. Out on the run I will have a tiny handheld in my shorts pockets.  The racing kit I have has shorts that have a pocket that is perfect for holding the mini-handheld and you don't even realize it is there.  I will have them filled with 400 calories of EFS Liquid Shot (vanilla to change-up the flavor) and I will have 2 HoneyStingers (vanilla) in my jersey for at the 1 and 3  hour mark.  This will give me 720 calories for a total of 180 calories per hour. My plan is to take 10 second walk breaks every two miles at the aid stations to get water in me.  If I am on target I should be hitting the aid stations approximately every 18 minutes which is perfect timing for a swig of EFS and a swig of water to wash it down, then keep on going.  I have been having success with this practice on my long run and hope that it continues on race day. So all that being said the training for IMAZ is going well.  I feel strong and mentally ready.  I know that I am only going to keep getting stronger in the next 4 weeks and I have to be smart to stay on top of my eating and sleeping habits.

If You Have Raced IMAZ What Are Your Tips/Tricks To A Successful Day?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 14:52

I Love Carbs

 I love carbs and I will not lie.  Carbs give me the energy I need to power through these workouts.  I hear athletes talking about avoiding carbs and it surprises me because I just don't know where they are going to get their energy from if they don't take in carbs.  A solid diet of 60%-65% Carbs, ~15% Protein and 20%-25% Fat is ideal for an endurance athlete. A couple of days ago I came across an article on Active.com talking about the 5 best carbs for athletes and it made me smile.  I didn't care what the carbs where I just loved the fact that it was saying that there were great carbs for us athletes.  I could list out the carbs for you and tell you why they are good for you, but rather than do that I am going to give you a recipe based on the 5 carbs.  Here are the carbs first:

  1. Sweet Potato
  2. Oats
  3. Wild Rice
  4. Banana
  5. Chickpeas

The recipe I am going to provide for you will be for a sweet potato burger with a side of rice and chickpeas.  Very easy to make and very good for you too. Ingredients: 1/2c Lundberg Black Japonica Rice, 1/4c Dry Chickpeas, 100g Sweet Potato, 100g Banana, 1/2cc Rolled Oats Nutritional Breakdown: 740 calories, 156g Carbohydrates, 8g Fat, 21g Protein Servings: 1   [caption id="attachment_6482" align="alignright" width="275"]cabohydrates_athletes_diet Source: Path For Life Food[/caption] Directions:

  1. Soak chickpeas in water overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 405*
  3. When ready to cook pour chickpeas and soaking water into pot and add another 1c of water and bring to a boil.  After water boils lower heat to low and allow to simmer.  Should take about 40-45 minutes for chickpeas to become soft.
  4. While chickpeas are boiling bake sweet potato for 30-40 minutes or until soft.
  5. Remove potato from oven and scoop out flesh.  Smash the meat of the potato with the banana and combine with oats.
  6. Form 2 patties with the mixture and place on plate and refrigerate to allow to set up.
  7. While the patties are setting up cook rice in a rice cooker according to manufacturer's directions.
  8. Remove patties from refrigerator and place in a smoking hot pan (cast iron preferably) and allow burgers to cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.
  9. Plate the rice topped with chickpeas and then sweet potato burgers on the side.
  10. Top with mustard and lettuce, red onion, avocado and spinach.

Enjoy!

What would you make with these 5 great carb ingredients?

Published in Lunch Recipes
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:40

It Finally Happened!!!!

[caption id="attachment_6471" align="alignright" width="186"]mentalstrength_ironmantraining_traithlon Source: Runner's High - Paul[/caption] I finally had a day where I wanted to get off my bike, pick it up and throw it in the lake as I was riding over the bridge.  This happened to me on Saturday late morning and had I not had a great run after the bike and another on Sunday I am pretty sure I would be a grumpy muppet right now.  Here is how it came to be that me and El Diablo almost got divorced. Saturday morning Karen does her long runs and so I start my rides later in the morning and typically ride through the afternoon and tend to take it easy because during the summers here in Texas the temperatures can reach 105* and the heat index easily up to 110*.  On Saturday though we had a cold front come through and the temps were in the high 70s when I started.  Here is the kicker......just before I left the house I checked Weather.com for the winds and where were they coming from.  I do this so that I can get a jump-start on the mental aspect of the ride.  If they are coming out of the South then the ride at the end will be hard since I head straight South toward the end.  If they are coming out of the North then the start of the ride is going to be brutal. For this ride the wind decided to come out of the North and so I knew it would be tough sledding to start but that meant that I would finish with a tailwind and oh happy days.  What stood out like a sore thumb was the number 17.  Yup, 17 MPH winds to start the ride.  AWESOME I thought with a hint of sarcasm.  As I was leaving I mentioned this to Karen and she said that it was just gusts going that high on the run and the ride should be fine.  What we both failed to realize is that where Karen ran and where I ride are two different areas of the Metroplex.  She runs where there are buildings and trees.  I ride where there are farms and the only structures out in the pastures are the occasional oil derrick. As I started out heading North I immediately noticed that I was basically pedaling in place.  I can beat this I kept telling myself and then the chain slipped.  I changed gears and it slipped again.  I put it into the big ring and no slipping.  I finally reached the 8 mile point of the ride and this normally takes me anywhere from 24 to 27 minutes.  The longest being 28.  On this ride......just over 30.  I fiddled with the rear wheel and that is when I noticed that the chain was extra loose.  I then thought back to Maine and how the same thing kept happening.  This must be because of the travel that the chain got so loose because I had just had a thorough tune-up before the race. I chose to push on and would just ride in the big chain ring the entire time.  So now I am out on Route 377 and headed due North.  This is normally a good time to open up the bike and push.  This day just was not going to be that day.  I reached a marker on the route that would be around 1 hour and I got there at 1 hour 30 minutes.  It was right before that as I was crossing the bridge that I looked at the lake and had the following thoughts:
  • Get off the bike and call Karen to come get you.  You can walk to the gas station and get some water and gum and wait for her to get here.
  • Get off the bike, pick it up, throw it in the lake and then run home.
  • Keep moving your legs dude because the return home is going to be a blast.
I kept on pushing and pushing and cursing and cursing.  I finally made it to the next marker where I typically text Karen from.  Normally at this spot at 2 hours and on this day I was there in 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I had a decision to make.  Go the extra 12 miles that could take me 45 minutes based on the winds or head south and finish in less than 4 hours of a 4 hour ride.  Physically I felt fine, but mentally I had been beaten so I decided that coming in under 4 hours was going to serve me better than coming in over 4 hours with another 30-45 minutes of brutal headwinds.  As soon as I turned South I knew I made the right choice.  The speeds immediately went up to 27-30 mph.....oh tailwind how I love thee! I got closer to the car and made a bet that if I were under 3h30m that I would do a side road for a few extra miles/minutes.  As I made the turn to add the extra on I was headed right back into a headwind and I knew I made the right decision because this was only going to last 10 minutes while had I done it earlier it would have lasted 45.  After the ride was done I went out on a 30 minute lactate threshold run.  I got my HR up to 155 within seconds and held it between 155 and 160 bpm and the run felt great.  I was coasting at just under 8:00/mile and immediately felt awesome. As anybody who has ever trained for anything will tell you:  there comes a time where you want to quit.  There comes a time when none of it makes sense.  This did not happen to me during Ironman Texas training and that is probably because it was all so new.  Now that I am going through my second cycle and in the same year it finally happened.  I have never wanted to quit a ride or run before the way I did on Saturday.  The best part was that I didn't quit.  I did not give in to the mental barriers my mind was putting up.  I forged on and when that tailwind hit I was like a kid in a candy store.  Smiling from ear to ear.  I was having a blast again.  The next day I went for a 1h30m run and it was so effortless and fun.  It was as if that bike ride never happened.  It did not linger and just left my conscience. There are going to be ups and downs during training.  How you deal with them will dictate how you race with them.  If you give up during training you can guarantee that you will check out during the race.  I for one am not a quitter and when these tough mental days hit me, I choose to hit them back.  I will not be a punching bag for anybody, but especially my own mind.  I will put my nose to the grindstone and push ahead so that come race day when the going gets tough and others decide it is too hard I will keep going.  I am competitive and this is one way I will win.  I may not be the fastest or the strongest but I sure as hell will be one of the most determined.

Have You Ever Wanted To Throw Your Bike In The Lake?

What Did You Do About It?

 
Published in Train
Page 6 of 15