This week's version of Triathlete Tales involves a different type of endurance, and how my life outside of the office helped me with my life in the office.  As many of you know I work for DMNmedia which is the marketing solutions provider for The Dallas Morning News.  My role is to work with companies, both local and national, with marketing to their target market.  We have over 80 different solutions ranging from hyper-local print publications all the way through to guaranteed hires for recruiting services.  I tell you this because last week I had to be on my A game and know how every one of these solutions could work for a company trying to brand, sell widgets or hire their VP of Finance. Last week was the DMNmedia Works Print and Online Expo.  This is a one week expo that we prepared a month for.  We spent the better part of that month calling current clients, past clients and possible clients to invite them to the expo.  At the expo we meet and greet the attendees and talk to them about their business and what environments would work best for them in terms of targeting their best customer, be that in print or digital.  Once that portion was over we watched a video that contained client testimonials and then we entered into negotiations.  All of this takes place in the matter of approximately one hour.  Endurance needs to be at a high level, not to mention being able to think on your feet.  Let's compare this to an Ironman.

Endurance Sports In The Real World

Training. The month leading up to the event I spent as much time learning about our real estate section as I did with our hyper-local publications.  Let us not forget the automotive section, sports, news, business, home and garden, travel, women's lifestyle and many more.  This is just like the months you spend swimming 2500 yards in the morning and then a 2 hour ride followed by a 30 minute run in the evening.  You wake up the next morning and you go strength training.  This time after learning about real estate and how it pertains to commercial realty I would then move over to businesses that operate in the food industry.  How does our Guide publication work and who is reading it?  SO MUCH INFORMATION!!!!!  It was tiring yet simultaneously invigorating as I was learning so much that I could go to current clients and talk about how we could help them sell more, brand more and be sure to not waste their marketing dollar.  Efficiency......sound familiar triathletes? Nutrition. Don't think that nutrition is important for a week-long event?  Guess again.  I knew that I needed to eat a proper breakfast before heading off to the conference center where there would be loads of cookies, cake, candy and whatever other simple sugars people could consume just to keep their energy level up so that the negotiations could be conducted with a coherent person.  Obviously, with triathlon training and racing you do not get from the start line to the finish line without proper fueling.  What I learned throughout my years of endurance sports I applied and not only did I have a big breakfast before I brought my own lunch as well.  Yes, I was made fun of and even the CRO of the entire company laughed at me as I was eating my PB&J but I knew what worked for me and how I would be able to maintain my stamina through 10-12 hour days. Pacing and Rest. This was beyond important.  Each day we had 6 sessions starting at 9:30a and had to be at the conference center by 8:30a.  Most days I would not leave until close to 6:00pm and some beyond that.  Long days were in the mix so I had to make sure that I did not come out of the gate on fire.  I had to control myself but still be able to plug away and give the attention that each client was owed as they graciously gave of their time to us.  Not only did I have to stay well hydrated but I needed to also ensure that when the day was over I got in a good dinner and went to bed at a decent hour.  Not being rested and having to be on your A game for 10 hours does not mesh well just like trying to get in back to back long days on the weekend and only sleeping for 4 hours.  That is a recipe for disaster. This expo was unlike the television upfront negotiations I was accustomed to performing in.  During those negotiations we would present plans to our client after having reviewed them with our management.  Negotiations would sometimes take a week and be done but it was never a constant stream of negotiations with clients from business varying from non-profits to $4.5M per annum plastic surgeons.  It was all an amazing experience and one that I will lean on when the idea of doing a 2 hour and 30 minute brick seems impossible.

How Have You Applied Endurance Sports To Real Life?

Published in Train

Lake Martin 100 was the endurance race I signed up for thanks to the urging of Jeff and Dave.  Running a 100 mile race was never even a consideration.  I admired Emily from afar but in reality I thought she was missing a screw.  When Jeff and Dave finally broke my will and I registered for the event it was all systems go.  The training, eating properly, recovering and especially the mindset was all going to be done 100% with no short-cuts. On Wednesday evening I drove to Jeff's house so that we can get up early (4am) and pickup Caroline (our pacer) and Dave and head for Alabama around 5am.  When we arrived at our house for the week we were in awe.  This house was awesome.  Spirits were extremely high.  We were going to run 100 miles and each one of us was prepared.  Except we were not prepared for what would happen Friday into Saturday.  Rain and lots of it came down on Friday (all day) and Saturday (into the late part of the morning.)  I never once thought about how much this rain would change the course. Saturday morning we got up at 4:30am and had breakfast.  I ate two banana and peanut butter sandwiches with coffee.  Driving to the race I was a bit nervous about what was going to unfold.  Luckily for me these guys are a barrel of laughs and that helped take away the edge quite a bit.  We unloaded the car and setup our drop bag section in The Stables.  This race was conducted on a horse farm and The Stables would become the sight for sore eyes over the course of the next 28 hours. We lined up at the starting line and promptly at 6:30am the race was under way.  The first part of the race is straight uphill and right then and there we should have known that the ass kicking we were going to get all day was about to unfold.  You just keep running straight up the driveway and make a left onto as steep of a downhill as the uphill.  Within 5 minutes your quads and your hamstrings have been worked more than one can imagine.  We hit the trail and MUD.  I do not mean a little bit of mud.   I am talking ankle-deep mud.  The kind of mud you are afraid that you will pick your foot up and your shoe will be still in the mud.  This race officially entered crazy world with that. After about a mile into the race we befriended Martin.  A nice Irishman from St. Louis who chatted with us about racing 100 milers.  After a few minutes with him we came across the first of what seemed like 12 stream crossings.  The problem is that the stream was now a river from all the rain.  There was no tip-toeing over the water or looking for rocks.  You had no choice but to go right through it and so we did.  The water came up to our calf and was freezing cold.  Now soaked, cold and facing the idea of 98 more miles of this turned this race into the mental fight of a lifetime. We eventually left Martin and came up on a handful of other racers.  We chatted with them and took GoPro video with them.  It was all so much fun but that may have been the last of the fun as the course continued its soul crushing.  You were either going up the steepest inclines you can imagine, going down the steepest inclines or crossing water.  Very rarely were you able to actually run.  This was not just a physical endurance test but mental.  Nothing about the Lake Martin 100 was going to be easy. Just when you think you have done enough climbing you come to an area labeled Heaven Hill.  It is appropriately named because every step takes you closer to heaven.  You think to yourself:  this has to end soon.  The problem is it doesn't.  It keeps going up.  Of course when you finish you come across the valley and it is gorgeous.  You are above the tree line and can see for miles on end.  This is where the first aid station is.  There is so much food that you could easily spend 30 minutes there just eating. You leave Heaven Hill and run a 5 mile loop.  I say run because there are actual opportunities to let your legs loose.  It is in this section where you are capable of averaging 13:00/mi paces.  You read that right.  If you manage 13:00/mi here you are doing awesome.  At the end of the 5 mile loop you come back to Heaven Hill to check in and grab more food.  The next 5 mile loop is another area where you can run and we made friends here again.  Spoke to people and had the opportunity to laugh about the fact that the first 8 miles almost made us quit. At the end of this 18 mile loop you come back to The Stables.  Here you have access to your drop bag where you can change, eat, sit, etc.  After a few moments here it is back out for the final 7 miles of the first of 4 25 mile loops that creates the Lake Martin 100.  The 7 mile loop is just as crushing as the first 8 miles.  We were told that the 7 mile loop would be fairly easy.  The problem is that this information came from a billy-goat or somebody who likes to take pleasure in other's suffering.  Out of The Stables you walk for nearly 0.5 miles UPHILL.  You get onto the trail and it is a whip.  Again, more up and down with more mud.  More suffering and less laughing.  This race was going to test you every step of the way. When we finished the entire 25 mile loop in 5:39 I was surprised.  I could not believe that we managed to finish the 25 miles let alone in a time that I considered respectable.  I had plans of racing the first 25 miles at a 12:00/mi pace and we finished in 13:36.  The 22 hour and 30 minute goal was out the window.  There was no chance that was happening.  Time to head out for Loop 2.

Lake Martin 100 Loop 2 Highlights:

As we started running I noticed that Dave was not looking good.  We were chatting and he said to me that he was getting a bit light-headed.  This was not a good sign this early into the race.  I became worried and wanted to make sure that nothing happened to him along with keeping us moving forward. Near the same time I noticed that Jeff was going through the course very gingerly.  His legs just did not want to move it seemed. I kept my mouth shut because I did not want to add any stress to these guys considering how stressful this race already was. Probably 3 miles into the 2nd loop I left both Jeff and Dave.  My legs were feeling great and I was ready to keep moving.  I had told Dave that the last thing I wanted to do was spend all night out there.  The idea of racing and seeing the sun go down and then come back up was terrifying to me so I took off. When I reached the Heaven Hill aid station I ran into Gordon and it was a sight for sore eyes.  The moment I saw him my smile got huge and I gave him a big hug.  A familiar face was needed after getting my ass kicked for the previous 8 miles.  I hung with Gordon for about 10 minutes waiting for Jeff and Dave before taking off again.  It was at that moment that I knew they were not going to finish this race and I would be taking this on by myself.  As I came into The Stables I saw Caroline and we chatted.  She told me that the guys had texted her and were concerned about making the cut-off.  I left and set-out for the next 7 mile loop knowing I would see them when I got back.  I took my phone out and texted my wife to tell her that I loved her and that she was a main inspiration for me.  It was tough knowing that the guys were not going to be coming out with me.  My mind had to turn to steel and not allow me to give up. As I came into The Stables to end the 50 miles I looked at the time and I had been on the course for 12 hours.  For some comparison, Jeff and I did Rocky Raccoon 50 in under 9 hours.  This race was that hard.  To have a difference of 3 hours tells you how difficult the course was.  The crazy thing is I am in better shape today than in early February and could barely manage a 14:30/mi pace.  When I saw the guys in The Stables we chatted and they told me they were not going back out.  I felt defeated but knew that I had to finish this race for them.  I grabbed my headlamp and maglite because I knew it would turn dark while out on the course.

Lake Martin 100 Loop 3 Highlights:

About an hour into Loop 3 it got dark.  I stopped running and got my headlamp out along with the light.  I still felt really good and was able to run.  The biggest issue was the mental aspect of now being in the dark.  This got to me quite a bit.  I had to start thinking of things that would allow me to keep moving forward.

  • Susan Lacke and her MTFU mantra.
  • Emily and her SIUB mantra.
  • Knowing that at the end of the 68 miles I would pick up Caroline and have a partner to run with for 25 miles.

My body felt decent considering the lack of sleep and the physical toll I was taking.  It was during this section that I ran into Anastasia and Crystal.  They were awesome to chat with in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night.  They asked me if it were my first 100 and how I felt.  I told them I felt great and that I was going to finish this race.  They gave me the most positive encouragement and I held onto that for the rest of the race. During the night you have next to no visibility and the climbs that you knew you were coming upon during the light were no longer that obvious.  You were able to run when out of the woods but while inside the trees you could not really figure it out and had to walk when you felt your Achilles and hamstring get tight.  That was the clue to the idea that you were going uphill. As I took another step I kept telling myself that I just needed to finish the 18 miles to get to Caroline.  Just keep focusing on the goal for this loop was my mantra.  As I managed my way around the course hoping to not get hurt and just finishing.  At this point time to finish became irrelevant.  Finishing became the only goal. Upon entering The Stables I saw Caroline and then moved to the bag drop section where Jeff and Dave were.  These guys were so supportive.  They gave me so much encouragement and made me feel that I could easily do this.  Caroline and I left for the next 7 miles of the third loop.  Because of how hard this section is there was not a lot of running but having company was awesome. When we finished Loop 3 I took the time to change socks and put the Hoka One One Mafate back on my feet.  I used all three pair of Hoka I brought with me.  I started with the Mafate then switched to the Stinson and then the Bondi for the first three loops.  Every one of them was covered in mud and weighed far more than they should have because of all the water that they absorbed.

Lake Martin 100 Loop 4 Highlights:

The final loop of the Lake Martin 100 was not going to be a pretty sight.  I was exhausted beyond belief.  My body was sore and my mind was questioning my own sanity.  I had not gone into delirium but I was not all there.  This final loop became nothing but survival. Caroline kept pushing me and encouraging me to keep moving.  We came across Anastasia and Crystal throughout much of this loop.  We were moving between places 3 and 6 as there was another runner out there with us.  I kept thinking that finishing in the Top 3 in my first 100 mile would be a hell of an accomplishment. We reached a section that is road and as I was walking I could feel my eyes closing.  I would take 3-4 steps while sleeping on my feet.  Once I opened my eyes to catch where I was I would close them again.  The sleep walking was helping me as I moved through the easier part of the course. When Caroline and I reached The Stables it was fully light out.  Since the last 7 miles was going to be nothing but walking there was not a need for Caroline to join me.  I went out without a Garmin and just planned on walking.  My legs were stiff and sore.  My feet were a shredded mess and every step hurt.  This was not going to be pretty. I had a short conversation with Karen in my head about getting through this and focusing on getting in before the 28 hour mark.  As each step went by and I got closer to the finish line I was overcome with joy.  This 100 mile run was not as much physical as it was mental.  The first 8 and the last 7 miles were the toughest miles I have ever covered.  When you add up the distance that is 60 miles of soul crushing activity.  Regardless of sport or time in a race these 60 miles were bordering on the impossible. As I came down the final hill and saw the The Stables in the distance I pumped my fist and started to cry a bit at the enormity of the accomplishment.  I had goals before the gun went off.  Throughout the race the goals were a moving target.  I managed to hit each of those targets and after nearly 28 hours I can say: Lake Martin 100  ….. I Finished! [flagallery gid=27]

** If you want the R rated version just contact me.

Published in Race Reports
[caption id="attachment_9454" align="alignright" width="225"]numbers - endurance sports - meaning Is this a number that has meaning?[/caption] Numbers are a large part of endurance sports as well as my professional life.  I spend day in and day out dealing with numbers.  In the morning I am running and maintaining a heart rate within a specific numbers range.  When I enter the office I become a professor of marketing and calculate spending, return on investment, share of voice and a whole host of numbers that convey a meaning to my clients and myself.  This past week all of these numbers, specifically endurance sports numbers, were thrown at me and made me tilt my head to think the way that my pug, Ginga, does. The numbers that were thrown my way were 9 and 10.  In two separate conversations the following took place:
  • You broke 9 hours at your first 50 mile race.  Do you feel like a badass?
  • Hey man, congrats on breaking 10 hours on your first 50.  Impressive.
The two statements gave me pause.  Maybe for the first time in my life I didn't puff out my chest and say:  Why yes, I am a badass!!!  I thought to myself and then asked why is 9 hours a holy grail?  I do not consider myself a badass because the guys that went past me at miles 45 through 48 and finished 20 minutes ahead of me are badass.  The guy that was cascading down the hills like a jungle cat…..he is badass!  Me, I'm just a dude running his first ultra trying to figure out how this all fits into my life. When the second statement came I was truly thrown for a loop.  The person giving me the congratulations on the pre-10 hour finish is somebody I look up to in endurance sports.  A person who has qualified for both Kona and Boston.  Has run with donkey's in Mexico.  Crewed for friends and Leadville 100.  The kind of endurance athlete I want to be when I grow up, yet his numbers made me think why 10 hours?  Why did he not say 11 or 12?  Why was this his mystical number? [caption id="attachment_9455" align="alignright" width="300"]numbers - endurance sports - meaning Source: RunTri Even the median is nowhere near 12 hours.[/caption] I am going to go back to Ironman for a moment to talk about numbers in that sport as well.  I finished my first Ironman race in just under 12 hours and the pats on the back were accompanied by the words:  great job getting in under 12 hours.  I thanked them and thought that it was a great accomplishment.  I then did it again at Ironman Arizona and fell short of that line in the sand at Ironman Texas 2013 yet that is the race I am most proud of.  At IMTX in 2013 I battled panic attacks in the water and finished that portion is 1:48 which is extremely slow in comparison to the 1:30 I did previously.  The heat took over and with temps in the 100+ range I managed to run the 15th fastest marathon of the M40-44 Age Group yet my overall time was 12:03:58.  Running as fast a marathon as I did held more importance than the overall time of 12:04 but I ask why?  Is it because I did not break 12 hours and then again, why is 12 hours the fictional hour mark that sets people apart? I started to research average times for 50 mile ultra trail marathons and stopped almost as quick as I started because the numbers I see in another race mean nothing in comparison to the race held on February 8, 2014.  Only that day can be compared to itself.  On that day I ran 8:53:52 and finished tied for 44th with Jeff out of a total of 322 that started and 288 that finished (89% finish rate) but there were well over 400 that registered so nearly 100 did not start the race.  Where do you define the numbers?  44 out of 322 or 44 out of 288?  Besides that what makes the 9 hours the line of demarcation? Being recognized for achievements, big or small, matters to me especially when the two quotes above are from your wife and a good friend.  That being said I want those numbers to mean something.  Can they mean something to more than just me?  Is there a way to universally define what is a defining time for endurance events?  Can we grade the courses on the days that they are races so that we level the playing field and allow the numbers to mean something?  Or is it because they cannot be compared and conversation and debate can ensue allow those numbers to continue to be applied at the presenters discretion?

Why Do You Think The Numbers 9/10 or 12 Mean Anything?

Published in Race
Triathlon is my chosen endurance sport.  Ever since I decided to do a sprint triathlon in Grapevine, Texas I fell in love.  The sport meant the world to me and not just from a physical standpoint.  There were the mental hurdles that had to get cleared.  There was the science behind nutrition and sleep.  The thoughts of proper recovery.  Everything about triathlon worked for me because while you measured yourself against yourself you could also measure yourself against the competition.  Then, just like the marathon of years ago it seemed that every Tom, Dick, Harry, Susie, Joan and Tina was doing Ironman.  It didn't seem to be special anymore. There were races popping up in every corner of the country.  WTC was launching new races almost daily.  Rev3 was adding their races.  HITS joined the party and Challenge Family came to the USA.  I started to question the motives of those getting into the sport.  Were they here to embrace triathlon the way I had and make it a lifestyle or were they here so they could plaster another sticker on their car right next to the 5k, 10k, 15k, 13.1mi, and 26.2mi stickers they already had.  Just a conquest to get a sticker and nothing more.  I resented these folks for trampling on the sport that I loved.  I mentioned this on a ride to a buddy of mine a year or so ago and he said:  Take your blinders off it is already happening.  I chose not to believe him at the time but as the days on the calendar were torn off the reality was setting in. Last night while sitting on the couch dreaming of what is to come from Lake Martin 100 (ok, I was watching Grey's Anatomy and Elementary) I got a text message from Jeff.  It was sent to Kevin and I so I did not read it right away as those conversations usually end up in nothing but roaring laughter and I was enjoying my removal from reality at the moment.  I finally picked up my phone and it was a link to this article titled Stakeholders on Slowtwitch about the rapid expansion and now contraction of triathlon.  I read it with a mix of emotions. Part of me was upset by the fact that the numbers were not continuing their upward climb.  Of course, the trajectory that the expansion was on could not be sustained long-term because this is a hard and also quite expensive sport but the arrow pointing upward and to the right was what I wanted to always see.  The other part of me sort of fist-pumped that those that were not serious about the lifestyle were not jumping in to 'show-off' to the world that they did an Ironman.  I think of triathlon as a lifestyle and less of a sport because of what it does for you outside of the swim, bike and run and those that were not embracing that thought were just 'in my way' when it came to the sport I love. After thinking about this though I thought:  Are ultra-runners thinking the same of me?  Are they thinking to themselves that this dude is not a true ultra-runner.  He is just jumping into our sport because triathlon was pushing him out?  They have a valid point in their thinking and I'm not sure where you draw the line.  Does the fact that I will have raced 4 ultra distance events by the end of March qualify me for being an ultra runner?  Does the fact that I am already planning on doing a 50k just one month post Ironman Chattanooga make me an ultra-runner since I am going to keep it up? Or do I need to grow an awesome beard and be more laid back as is the stereotype of the ultra runner. Obviously, mindset comes into play when we are giving titles out.  Maybe instead of calling myself a triathlete or an ultra-runner I should just call myself an endurance athlete.  After all I do not limit myself to the events I participate in and next year I am most likely going to be crossing the Gobi Desert with a 30lb backpack with Jeff and thinking:  What would those that crossed this desert before us be thinking? In the end it would seem that the sport of triathlon is bonking, but like any triathlete it may just need a shot of flat coke to reinvigorate itself.  The sport could go back to its roots and re-invent itself again to show greater growth down the line.  Or maybe this is where the sport is going to go and more people will become ultra-runners or better yet extreme endurance athletes.  I for one can see myself headed in that direction as I continue to push the boundaries of my perceived abilities.

Where Do You Think Triathlon Is Headed?

Published in Uncategorized
Mental fitness or physical fitness was a conversation I had with myself as I ran the trails on Sunday morning.  It was cold and windy out.  I was facing the last long run of the weekend and the end of week one of taper for Lake Martin 100.  I began by going through the routine of whether or not I was ready for this race.  As the first mile ticked off I began to lose myself in the race strategy as well as what the pain would be like at mile 78 of the race.  Why mile 78?  No clue, it is just what popped into my head. [caption id="attachment_9525" align="alignright" width="300"]mental fitness - trail running - endurance sports Ego was bruised but mentally I got stronger after the fall.[/caption] Not long after that I was making a right turn on the trail and planted my foot.  Before I knew it I was falling to the ground with a thud and a gasp.  I got up gingerly and looked at my right leg now coated in mud and bleeding.  My right arm was covered in dirt as were my gloves.  I took inventory and other than the small cut on my right knee everything seemed to be in working order.  I walked for a few steps and then started to run again.  Every step became more and more focused and that is when my left ITB, reacting to the fall, began to ache.  I was going to run 10 miles but after 2.5 miles I knew I would just turn around and make it back to my car for a total of 5.  I was not going to take any chances on this muddy trail with the race two weeks away. As I progressed back toward the car I realized how important these 2.5 miles were.  2.5 miles over the course of the training to date which has totaled near 1000 miles would seem to be nothing.  A small percentage of the overall total but they might have been the most important to this point.  My left ITB was tender.  My right hip was sore and my right knee was achy from the cut.  I was not running fast but I was running.  I put myself onto the race course and realized that if push came to shove I would finish that 100 mile race even if it took me the full 30 hours.  There is no way that I will not get to the finish line and it was then that I started doing the math. Dave, Jeff and I will represent 3 out of 39 competitors at Lake Martin.  Statistics tell us that 50% will not finish that race for a myriad of reasons.  With those numbers there will be approximately 19 finishers.  Of those 19 we WILL represent 3 or approximately 15%.  That is an amazing feat.  I will not let either of them quit unless there is an injury so traumatic that it will not allow them to continue.  This is where the mental fitness means more than the physical fitness to me.  Being able to survive a race that does not unfold as we envision is how one displays the courage and the mental stamina to keep on moving. If I were blessed with the ability to complete a 100 mile race in 18 hours or an Ironman in 10 but did not because I just did not have the ability to coax my mind to push my body to that level I would consider it a failure.  There are plenty of great athletes out there that cannot endure because they do not have the ability to push through the pain and hurt.  I do not consider myself a great athlete, but rather average at best, but I do know that nobody will work harder and get the most out of their ability.  Each and every morning I wake up and put my Hoka's on and head out the door.  It is not a blazing fast workout or impossibly hard but I am getting out the door day in and day out.  The body has its limits but the mind does not and when the mind says we can do this the body keeps going. I have a goal for Lake Martin 100 and I have shared it with Dave and Jeff.  I would consider us fortunate if we hit that goal, but I also know that regardless of achieving our set out times we will finish.  We will find away when others take to the 'crying chairs' and decide to throw in the towel because they cannot go another step.  We will dig deep and push each other along the way.  We will tell jokes and stories and make the other person forget about the pain that is ravaging their feet, ankle, knees and hips.  We will keep each other in line when it comes to hydration and eating so that when night falls there is little chance of delirium setting in because we were not prepared.  We will cross the finish line with arms raised high knowing that we got the most out of our physical ability but relishing the fact that our minds would not allow us to quit despite the many obstacles we will come across. Endurance sports are by definition the ability to endure while performing an athletic feat.  During Ironman Arizona in 2012 I crashed around mile 10 of the 112 mile bike course, but unless there was something wrong with my bike I was going to finish that race.  As a matter of fact that race was my fastest Ironman finish.  During Ironman Texas 2013 I had a panic attack during the swim and had the worst swim of any Ironman race to date.  I got out of the water with a determination to finish as best I could.  That determination and mental strength led me to the 15th fastest marathon time of my age group despite temperatures reaching 110* that day.  These events will be ready to be pulled on when the going gets tough, and it will, at the Lake Martin 100 but I have zero doubt that this daunting and unbelievable race will be finished and finished with a smile.

Is Mental Or Physical Strength More Important To You?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:52

Streaming Live TONIGHT (December 19th)

[caption id="attachment_6917" align="alignright" width="290"]cooktraineatrace_youtubechannel_televisionshow_triathlon_ironman I Wonder If I'll Need One Of These
Source: The Guardian[/caption] Streaming live tonight (7pm EST, 4pm PST) will be our first show on the Cook Train Eat Race YouTube Channel.  Today's show will feature Katie Ingram of Run This Amazing Day, Maria Simone of No Limits Endurance Coaching and Ryan Chapman of B.A.S.E. Training and we will be discussing their role as endurance coaches as well as being athletes still competing. I have yet to come up with a name for the show so I'll take suggestions from you.  So far I have thought of the following:
  • VO To The Max
  • High Cadence
  • Today In Endurance Sports
That was all I could come up with as I have hit the wall in terms of show names.  I appreciate all the help I can get in this category. Speaking of help I will also gladly accept any questions that you would like me to answer.  I have a list of 6 questions that I would like to get to in this show but that will be dependent on how the show flows.  Right now the plan for the show is to ask one of our panelists a question and provide them with 2 minutes to answer and then each of the other panelists will get 1 minute to respond.  This will allow me to ask each panelist 2 questions and giving them the full two minutes to respond but it will all depend on how well the topic gets discussed. As I put out in an earlier post I am looking for people to participate in the show as well.  I am looking for dietitians & sports nutritionists for a panel as well as first time 140.6 finisher, first time at attempting the 140.6 distance in 2013, Kona, Vegas and Boston Qualifiers.  I would also like to talk to families who participate together in the endurance world.  If you have any interest please let me know in the comments box below. Please submit your questions for Katie, Maria and Ryan in the comments section below and I will try to get to it on the air. Here is a bit about our guests: Katie Ingram blogs at the site Run This Amazing Day.  She is an endurance coach who has recently begun a career with Training Peaks.  Katie completed her first Ironman at Coeur D'Alene in 2012 and is going to be racing at Ironman Lake Placid in 2013. Maria Simone is a Level 1 USAT Triathlon Coach and runs the business No Limits Endurance Coaching with her husband John Jenkins.  Maria is a 2x Ironman (Lake Placed 2011, Mont-Tremblant 2012) who is getting ready to make a run at a Kona slot at Lake Placed in 2013. Ryan Chapman is a Level 1 USAT Triathlon coach and certified Total Immersion Teach Professional whose business is B.A.S.E. Training and recently competed at Ironman Arizona.
Published in CTER TV
Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:55

Where Is The Love?

[caption id="attachment_6803" align="alignright" width="264"]endurancesports_media_news_triathlon Source: Powerbar[/caption] Where is the love from the mainstream?  Where is just a simple article or mention of the sport of triathlon from the big guys?  For some reason last night I was going through ESPN and clicking on different links when I thought to myself:  Does ESPN have anything about triathlon?  How about coverage of Kona or the fact that Challenge Family is announcing a new race every other day? Here is what I found out when I went through,, and ESPN:
  • Clickable links to the following sports: recruiting (that's a sport?), poker, cricket, rugby, bowling.
    • Call me crazy but none of these sports is really that much bigger and certainly not better than triathlon or endurance sports in general.  If we were in Australia or New Zealand then yes Rugby but it is certainly not a bigger sport than triathlon here in the United States.
  • ESPN does have a twitter account for their Endurance section.  The twitter account is: @ESPN_Endurance and has only been around since May of this year.  A following of 1,145 and a total of 103 Tweets.
  • No writers for their endurance section or blog.  All of the posts on this section appear to be syndicated from, and
  • Clickable links to Bowling.  I guess this sport is bigger in the US than I originally thought.  I know I watched it on ABC's Wide World Of Sports as a kid.  I was a county doubles champion when I was 12 and joined a league last year for a few months but I find it hard to believe this would generate more interest than an endurance section.
  • Cricket.  Really?  Cricket is so popular in the United States that it gets a link over endurance sports?  I am sure there are stories about cricket players over-coming pain and agony but endurance sports is built on them.  Talk to anybody in the transition area of a triathlon and they have a story to tell.  One of over-coming alcohol or drug dependence.  Others looking to lose weight and still others wanting to challenge their bodies and minds.
  • Air Racing.  I have not clue what this could be and did not even bother clicking on the link because my patience had been fully tested at this point.
I guess kudos should go to ESPN for having the most coverage of the sport of triathlon and endurance sports in general but it is a fairly weak section.  All of the information there is just re-hashed and nothing new or poignant.  I bring up the poignant part because this morning while watching SportsCenter there was a story about a boy with autism who is on his high school football team kicking field goals.  Maybe its the offseason and my body is all out of whack or maybe it was just a touching story but I got choked up watching this boy and his parents talk about playing football and what it means.  Yesterday, ESPN carried a story about Justin Tuck wearing a bracelet in honor of a kid he met who died from cancer.  It was touching and I thought what about all the stories of people racing for others. If you read Susan Lacke at all you will know that she has a friend (Carlos Nunez) who is battling cancer.  He is the one that led Susan into the sport of triathlon and clearly he knew what he was talking about because she is an Ironman and a tremendous author in helping us Age Groupers stay grounded in the sport.  Recently, Susan was training for a Boston Marathon qualifying time but has now scrapped that so that she can race with Carlos at Ironman Arizona in 2013.  Carlos is a 13-time Ironman and is an inspiration to me even though I have never met the man.  His ability to fight the good fight and live his life his way is incredible. Read a few articles from Susan about Carlos:
ESPN, CBS, FOX, CNN please stop skipping over triathlon and endurance sports and find somebody (even me) to focus on writing the inspirational stories that exist.  In a world full of obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, etc we need to have those feel good stories that lead us to do things that we once thought were impossible.  Endurance sports gives people a shot in the arm, and not just the athletes.  Go to an Ironman race and watch the spectators and volunteers.  They are just as excited as the athletes.
Published in Race
Thursday, 08 November 2012 15:22

Surviving Taper Week

[caption id="attachment_6714" align="alignright" width="244"]taper_triathlon_tips_ironman Source: Fast At Forty[/caption] Taper week(s) can be stressful for some as they feel that they are not at the fitness level for the upcoming event.  They may feel that they need to do more in order to get to the starting line and thus taper week can cause such a big stress.  The scenario doesn't have to unfold that way.  Taper is something that should be embraced and looked at as the opportunity to get stronger and faster and mentally ready for the race. I have been through 3 tapers this year and am in the process of going through my 4th major taper.  I will say that as this year has gone on and my experience in triathlon has grown my ability to accept taper has increased.  Through trial and error I am able to truly enjoy this taper and I am going give you a few points of what I am doing to enjoy this time.  I would be grateful if you provided your tips and tricks to surviving taper so that I can continue to get better at it. Surviving Taper Week Tips:
  • Embrace it.  You have put in days, weeks, months of hard work and now is the time to slow down and get the body ready to go on race day.  The race is the icing on the cake and should be enjoyed but if you get to the race as a bundle of nerves always questioning whether or not you did enough you will not enjoy the race.  Getting rid of the nerves, as much as possible, occurs during taper so embrace the change in structure.
  • Plan to do something for yourself during this time.  In these three weeks of taper I have had my mother visit for a week, been to Grand Rapids, Michigan to hang out with Kevin and Jennie and attend a Notre Dame football game, gotten a massage, getting a haircut and pedicure and finally going to a movie in a theatre and staying awake the entire movie.
  • Stay in the shower for an extra 5 minutes and relax.  Let the hot/warm water run over you and just relax and let go.
  • Do your workouts at different times of the day so that it is not something you are chasing.  Get it in on your schedule instead of creating a schedule for everything else around your workout.
  • Call the family and friends you haven't spoken to in months.  Catch up and DON'T talk about your race unless they ask you about it and then defer it with answers like:  I'm ready and it's going to be fun.  Bring the conversation back to them since they probably know everything about your training from your Twitter and Facebook updates.
  • Read a book.  Read a magazine.  Read the newspaper while drinking coffee/tea on the front porch (and read a real paper and not on your laptop/iPad)
  • Taper your calorie consumption to match your training.  It is not unusual to gain 2 pounds during this time but if you are worried about it use a journal or online tracking (My Fitness Pal) to keep track of your calories consumption.
These are a few of the tips/tricks I have been doing for the last couple of weeks and will continue into next week when I travel to Arizona on Thursday.  Obviously, experience plays a huge role in being able to embrace the taper.  I am not the ball of nerves I was prior to Ironman Texas and more in a relaxed state with a focus that is also greater than it was for IMTX.

What Are Your Tips And Tricks For Surviving Taper?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 16:36

USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

I am just beside myself right now.  I am so out of breathe, and my HR was be through the roof but what just happened in the World Cup will not be justified by the words on this blog.

The US HAD to win this game against Algeria in order to advance.  See, some will read that and say well they could have tied, but that is not how I roll.  I like to take situations into my own hands and take control so the only outcome would have been a Win.  Yes, a tie could have done it too, but why leave it to somebody else to move you along.

So, through 90 mintues of pure pressure and one fortunate bounce off a post the US was tied 0-0 to Algeria while England was winning 1-0.  If the games end that way the US boys are coming home.

In extra-time Tim Howard made a great play to advance the ball to Donovan.  The Great Lando pushed the ball upfield amnd then it all turns fuzzy for me until Landon puts the ball into an empty net and give the US a 1-0 lead and a shot at advancing.

Just truly amazing.
Training notes --- thankfully I'm in shape so that my heart could take that game, but today was a swim day.

Since today is Wednesday I had to make sure I'm home in time to bring Jackson to daycare.  Karen usually leaves around 6:15a so I know I need to be in the pool by 5:00am the latest.  Well, since I now want to get at least 5 to 10 minutes in the hot tub after the swim it means that I need to be in the water by 4:45am.

With that in mind I was up at 4:03am and out the door by 4:34am and at the pool by 4:45am.  Way to start the morning with a 2200 yard swim.

Warm-up was 200, then followed by 8x50 drills then just pure endurance swimming after that.  I was to do set s of 300, 200, 300, 200, 2x100.  I got through those sets and moved onto 4x50 followed up a cool-down that I requested from Coach.

Coach originally had me stop after the 4x50 so I emailed her to ask if that was the ONLY amount of swimming I was going to do.  So she added the 2x100 cool-down.  Well, I was doing the cool-down but figured I would ask in case there was a reason to stop swimming.

I really had to focus on form as I was getting fatigued on these long swims.  I really pushed my elbows up and then getting my arms back in the water just above my head with my hands turned out before extension and pull.  I never pushed myself to go fast, but really had to focus on form and with good form speed comes.

I am very happy with where I am after 8 weeks of swim training and if I am able to make the jump that I just made then in another 8 weeks the swim could be my best part of disciplines.  Since I had so much improvement to make the swim  is clearly the one area that I'm happiest b/c I know that every time I am getting better.

Published in Uncategorized