The Ironman Chattanooga Challenge started out with a challenge from me to KC to blog our way through a year of training for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28, 2014.  We knew that along the way we would be facing different scenarios that would force us to move training days and rest days.  We would skip parties, have to work late, sleep in all along the way to our own finish line.  Each of our travels there would be different and the point is to showcase that there is more than one way to get to the finish line of an Ironman. This week seems to showcase that we are built to crave a challenge.  Essentially we are looking at a challenge within a challenge.  It isn't hard enough to train for an Ironman but when it is so far away and you are Type A the difficulty grows exponentially.  We crave the challenge and this week it seems that KC and I have gone ahead and sort of accepted a new challenge on the way to Ironman Chattanooga.

KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

"Finally remember that God heals and the doctor sends the bills. Give nature every chance to do her own good work."    ~Tom Osler (1978) "One of the basic rules of health is, ‘Listen to your body.’ I am responsible for my health, and to respond to my body I must listen to it, learn from it.  ~George Sheehan (1978a) Those 2 quotes were taken from one of my favorite books, The Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes. Smart guy! Plus, he’s come around in his thinking when it comes to the conventional wisdom regarding endurance training with way too much emphasis on sugars and grains. [caption id="attachment_9329" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge[/caption] Those quotes hold true today as I did not do the Disney marathon. It was a hard decision to make but I knew by Friday morning there was no way I wanted to show up on Sunday and half ass it. Funny thing is, had you asked me Thursday morning if I was planning on doing the marathon, I would have said yes but then I had a little accident on Thursday afternoon, with the same foot that I have been having the nerve issues with, and that was the nail in the coffin right there. That’s when I knew, no marathon for me. So what’s a girl to do when she can’t run the marathon she’s been training for, for the last 10 weeks? She does another 100 mile bike ride. For anyone counting, that’s 2 centuries in the first 2 weeks of 2014. I’m kinda feeling a little challenge coming over me …a century a week? What the what? Is that the insane KC speaking? Why yes, yes it is and she loves this crazy challenge idea. Stay tuned to see what happens in week 3 of 2014. I plan on picking up the run slowly this week and should be back up to running speed soon, as long as I don’t pull anymore stupid human tricks while walking to my car in the parking garage at work! Easier said than done, I know. I had some fun this week. I was a guest on a really cool podcast! You should go listen to it. Not because of me, but because the 2 guys on it, Andrew and John, are awesome and are a hoot to listen to, plus you may learn a thing or two. Here is the link: That’s all I got for ya this week. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

Week 10 of ICC is also the first week of overload training for Rocky Raccoon 50.  This week was quite the week in terms of running volume.  I hit 67 miles this week for what is easily the most miles I have ever run in a week.  It did not come with its own challenges though.  Mid-week I found myself sluggish and wondering what was happening considering I had just come off of a pull back week.  As I wrote, here, it boiled down to tracking my food and making sure that I was surrounding my workouts with carbs and then lean proteins and healthy fats for my other two meals.  Since I workout in the morning this turns out to be very advantageous for my running and recovery.  Big breakfast and then some healthy, tasty and protein rich meals the rest of the day. [caption id="attachment_9328" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman - rocky raccoon First Week Of Overload For RR50 and HUGE base building for IMTN[/caption] This weekend was a breakthrough as well.  I was scheduled to run 23 miles on Saturday and 13 miles on Sunday.  Prior to registering for RR50 I had registered for the Bold In The Cold 15k which happens to be my favorite race.  This was the fourth year and I was torn about how to approach it.  Do I run prior to the race, run the race and then cool down.  Run the race then finish off the remaining 14 miles.  How would I fuel?  How would I hydrate? I took the option of running 12 miles as a warm-up first, then run the race at a steady but not fast pace and then cool down. I started at 5:15am with 12 miles and felt good.  I held a steady 8:56/mi pace with my HR at the top end of Zone 1. Perfect.  After that run I stopped and had coffee and a banana to refuel.  Walked to the start line and saw a bunch of friends.  We got in line and the gun went off.  I figured a steady 8:30/mi pace would be great to start and then drop down to 8:00/mi and negative split the race.  Well, after the first two miles and running a 7:50/mi pace I felt great and figured it was time to light the match and hang on for dear life.  Over the course of the next 7 miles I ran ~7:35/mi and finished in 11th place in my age group.  Finished off with a 2 mile cool down and 23 miles in the books. Sunday morning I went to Cedar Ridge Preserve where I ran 12 miles with 1500+ foot of climbing and cursed myself, the trail, Jeff and everything else along the way.  I was hurting big time.  I had two hours out there to contemplate what I wanted to do at RR50.  I have a 'plan' heading into the race so far but bigger than that is I think I am going to register for my next challenge. I originally thought I would be racing 70.3 Galveston in April, but with RR50 taking precedence I do not think that I can get the bike volume in that I would need to have an enjoyable and fast race.  What I will have is a HUGE running base and so the next logical thing to do is run a 100 miler.  I have the registration page open  and am ready to pull the trigger.  With running the 100 miler at the end of March I can get a couple of weeks of recovery in before entering into training for Buffalo Springs 70.3 and true IM specific training.  The next challenge is on the horizon and I think I am ready for it.

What Is Your Next Challenge?

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

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 8

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

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 8 Recap

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

KC's Toughest Week - ICC Week #9

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

Jason's Toughest Week of ICC - Week #9

[caption id="attachment_9315" align="alignright" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training Jason's Week 9 - The Toughest Week Of ICC Training.[/caption] When I went to bed on Sunday, December 29th I knew that the upcoming week was going to be different.  The training plan called for a whopping 29 miles FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK.  I had just run 23 miles on Saturday and now was facing the idea of running ONLY 29 over the course of 5 days.  This week was a scheduled pull back week for me before I enter into the overload weeks.  I wasn't really sure how I was going to handle it but I put a brave face on when the alarm went off on Monday morning and did what I have not always done.  I got on my bike with the mindset that I was going to be going to the pool 4x this week.  I made up my mind and so it was. As each day went by I found myself not making excuses to skip the pool, but instead I was looking for ways to get to the pool.  I was looking for ways to get out of work early and jump into the drink and take full advantage of this week from a pull back from running perspective and to do all I could to help my legs recover from the previous 5 weeks.  Getting them prepared for the 67, 69 ad 71 mile weeks coming up. This week was a true focus on recovery and that helped me get past the idea that I just wouldn't be running.  I took advantage of what the schedule gave me and put in place a recovery schedule of:
  1. Herbalife24 Endurance Strength ordered and stocked up on.
  2. Scheduled visits with Dr Tim of St. Onge Chiropractic and Sports Therapy 2x per week during overload weeks up to and including taper and race week.
  3. Swimming 4x per week in the evening during the next three overload weeks.  My swims will be between 1200 and 2000y with very little exertion.  That being said I hit 1:35/100y this past week……yee-haa!
I am also going to put some additional misery to the overload weeks.  On Sunday I ran at Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve and it was extremely hard.  My gluteus, hamstrings, quads, calf muscles and hip flexors felt the entire 10.76 mile run.  This course is tough, much tougher than the course at Rocky Raccoon.  Adding this on Sunday for 12 miles will make the race seems much easier.  It is about mental training as much as it is physical training. In the end my mind was able to get through the recovery week but not without adding a few extra miles to the plan.  I went for 33 miles instead of 29.  I feel mentally stronger for it already.
Published in Train
Triathlon training is what we are supposed to be doing but when you look at logs for both KC and I you see something completely different from swim, bike, run on an equal basis.  What you see is RUN, BIke, swim…….yup the two of us seem to be allergic to the pool and that is ok for right now.  As we get closer to entering into our triathlon training specificity there will be a swing in disciplines.  The amount of running will drop dramatically and the amount of biking and swimming will occupy that void. This is the beauty of the triathlon training for Ironman Chattanooga that we are both doing right now.  The focus is not on triathlon specifically and that is a great thing.  Having trained for 18 months straight to complete 3 Ironman races in 12 months I could myself to be completely burnt-out on triathlon training and the sport itself when Ironman Texas finished.  My goal was to press the reset button during the off-season and I did just that.  Along the way I had two months of huge bike blocks and am currently through 1/3 of a huge running block for Rocky Raccoon 50.  These sport specific training will help me when the time comes for triathlon training.  My base on the bike and the run will be elevated to areas that I could only have imagined a year or so ago. [caption id="attachment_9255" align="alignright" width="300"]triathlon training - ironman - ultra running November was a recovery month. December will be near October.[/caption] To the right is a calendar view of my training days from September through December.  You will see that September and October had lots of training days as I was riding 750 and 800 miles per month respectively.  November was a recovery month so to speak.  Toward the end of the month I started to ramp up the running so when December hit and the weekly training volume would start at 50 miles per week running I had put myself in position to avoid injury by having a few miles on my legs.  With 9 days to go in the month you will see the number of training sessions surpass September and challenge November for sure.

KC's Triathlon Training For Ironman Chattanooga - Week 7

What the what? Somebody stop pressing the FF» button already! Time is out of control flying by and it’s blowing my mind. It will be 2014 before I know it. Disney marathon is looming around the corner, yikes! My bib# is 888 Isn’t that a great bib#? I thought so. Anyway, am I ready for marathon number 40 something (Yes, I’ve lost count)? I am and I’m not. I am ready to run 26.2 miles but not sure how “fast” I will run. If the marathon would have been today, 4 hours would most likely have been the outcome. About 3 weeks ago, maybe closer to a 3:30finish. Normally, this “slow down” would bother me but not this year. Nope! Since I already qualified for Boston at Disney this past January, and I’m not doing Boston in 2014, I’m still good to go for Boston 2015 with that same qualifying time. So no pressure on me. I may get out there on January 12 and tear that mouse house up or it may tear me up, we’ll see. Bottom line is, I’ll go out there, cue up an awesome playlist and have a nice, long run. Once Disney is over, then it’s time to start hitting the pool and putting together a smart training plan for the Florida Challenge 70.3 on March 22nd ( A very hilly 70.3!! Then it’s full speed ahead training for Ironman Tennessee. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the next 2 weeks of down time (down time to me means, no workouts that are over 3 hours). I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays however you celebrate it, enjoy!

Jason's Triathlon Training For Ironman Chattanooga - Week 7

If you recall from the Week 5 post that I had planned out a week that included more swimming and more biking and more strength training.  As life would have it the triathlon training I had anticipated took a back seat to run specific training, but not on purpose.  On Monday I got up and jumped into the water and swam.  I got home after work and jumped on the trainer and rode.  Things were looking up for a more balanced type of triathlon training than the first 3 weeks of Rocky Raccoon training had provided.  Starting on Tuesday the week blew up. Tuesday morning was to be a swim in the morning and run on the treadmill in the evening.  When you combine the lack of turning on the alarm with looking for those extra 5 minutes of sleep you end up with running only.  I was a bit miffed at myself but I also knew that if I slept that far past the 'normal' alarm time that I must be needing recovery.  Asking yourself how I could get an extra 5 minutes without the alarm going off?  As it turns out my body woke up at 3:59am and my alarm is typically set for 4:03 on swim days.  That notion that I could sleep another 4 minutes before the alarm goes off turned into an extra 45 minutes and thus no morning swim. On Wednesday I got up and put in the 8 miles the training plan called for.  Sometime  during the day on Wednesday I made up my mind that I was going to go swimming in the evening and I did.  It was perfect because there are classes and loads of people.  Knowing that I did not want to look like a floundering fish in the water I focused truly on form and had a terrific swim session.  Thursday was a simple 6 mile recovery run with a visit to the chiropractor.  Going back to him on a regular basis has been terrific for me getting out the door day in and day out.  I am thinking that I will add in a second day per week to my current Thursday visit because I do not stretch, use the stick or foam roll.  Visiting the chiropractor helps me tremendously and keeps my hip flexors happy. Friday morning when I woke up I thought…..uh-oh!  I felt a scratchy throat but I was awake and so I ran.  The schedule called for 7 miles and I ran 7.5 but the key to the knowledge that I was not feeling well was the fact that my HR was in mid-Zone 2 despite running much slower than I had been.  During the day on Friday the little buggers got a hold of me but I fought back.  Loads of Vitamin C, electrolytes and liquids.  I skipped the Friday evening swim knowing that the mucus would be too much in the water.  I went to bed Friday night thinking that the 21 mile run on Saturday was out. When I woke up LATE on Saturday which equaled more than 10 hours of sleep I felt much better.  I kept pouring liquids and Vitamin C and around 11:30-12:00p I felt a break in the illness as I started sweating everywhere.  By 12:30p I knew I could get the run in.  I chose to do the 21 miles on the treadmill because I would be close to home in case I had to puke, visit the bathroom or just stop.  I ran very conservatively and finished the 21.1 miles in 3:24 while keeping my heart  rate down at the top end of Z1.  It was great to get through the run and build some mental strength that I could get the mileage in.  That paid off when I ran 12 miles this morning in recovery Z1 and the 12 miles felt good.

A few observations from this week:

  1. Emergen-C is very helpful. I give this product a ton of credit for getting me better.  That being said I am pouring Emergen-C into my HydraPak for the Rocky Raccoon 50 as it is nothing more than Nuun.  It is all electrolytes with a high concentration of Vitamin C and it is MUCH MUCH cheaper than Nuun.  I think there are 40 packs for $10.
  2. I am a Hoka fan.  I have run in the Mafate and now the Stinson.  I think these shoes have helped greatly with the amount of mileage I am putting on my legs.  I will have a full blown review of both of the models next week.
  3. With the proper mindset and planning anything is accomplishable.  I had created a schedule for myself that got blown up but since I had planned open times I could still get in a good swim, spend loads of time with my family and take care of household responsibilities.

How Are You Wrapping Up The End Of 2014?

Published in Train
Monday, 20 January 2014 12:44

Ironman Chattanooga Training Week 11

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

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 11 Recap

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

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 11 Recap

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

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

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

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

What Are You Training For And How Is It Going?

Published in Train
Sunday, 08 December 2013 19:44

Week 5 Of The Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

Uhh……did somebody not notify the calendar that it should not move this fast?  I mean seriously how in the world are we on Week 5 already?  When did this happen? Hopefully this is because the training is going well and has not been a burden on life and responsibilities (yet!)

KC's Week 5 of Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

[caption id="attachment_9201" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - challenge - triathlon KC's Log For Week 5[/caption] Not my best week but I'll claim it. I have a funky thyroid issue and have had it for at least 10 years. It comes and goes as it pleases and for right now, it's here trying to bog me down but I won't allow that to happen. I went for about the last 2 years without needing any medication to keep it well controlled but for some reason, it's rearing its ugly head now. Stress induced? Who knows! Anyway, started popping the magic pill about 5 days ago and already feeling better as of yesterday.Now hopefully, I can hop back on the running bandwagon and get my miles back up. This week kinda sucked in the running department. There's no other way to say it. I do feel that I rallied a bit yesterday and today, so maybe it wasn't all that bad of a week. I'll call today my best workout day out the week. Now to ride this strong wave into next week. That's what I'm gonna do!! We've been blessed here to be having high temps in the 80's and will continue into next week, so lots of outdoor workouts for me. It's so crazy to think we're in December and sweating out asses off still. Unreal! Besides training stuff, I've been on an organizing kick lately and have been going through closets full of clothes, donating stuff, tossing stuff, just getting rid of excess. I hate clutter! I had to step back today and admire my progress. Looks great and feels great to de-clutter. Not much else exciting happening here, so that's all I got this week. Just keeping on with forward progress. Is there any other option? I think not! Upward and Onward!

Jason's Week 5 Of Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

[caption id="attachment_9200" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - challenge - triathlon My Training Peaks Log is missing that blue of the water.[/caption] If you have been following my Facebook posts or Twitter posts you know that I have been iced in here in Dallas.  It has not been enjoyable to say the least, but it is important to not forget the goal of this training and that is to be ready for the cannon to go off and pursue the finish of my 4th Ironman race.  Along the way to training for IMTN I have registered for Rocky Raccoon 50 and that has become the focus for the next two months.  With the ice came the opportunity to run on the treadmill.  Now, I am no Emily but I will say that I actually enjoyed myself for over 4 hours and 29 miles.  What I have noticed during these past two weeks of Rocky Raccoon 50 training is that the bike block I put in during September and October has paid off big time.  These runs are sub-9:00/mile and barely above Z1. All is not unicorns and rainbows though.  After the 12 mile run of last Sunday I could feel a little niggle in my hip.  Uh-oh.  I immediately called my chiropractor and put myself on a recurring appointment for Thursday evenings.  Why Thursday?  The reason is that Wednesday is the mid-week long run and then Thursday and Friday are recovery days heading into the high volume of the weekend.  By getting my body put back together after that mid-week run and prepared for the long runs I feel as if I am doing the best I can to ensure that I avoid any injuries during this training block. One item that I am not pleased with this week is that I logged a whopping 0 yards, 0 hours and 0 trips to the pool.  Monday I had a board meeting for the FWTri Club and instead of swimming monday morning I slept in a bit and then jumped on the bike for an hour spin.  I thought I would be able to get to the pool on Thursday and Friday but as fate would have it the ice storm hit and getting to the chiropractor was more important on Thursday and the pool was closed on Friday.  I do have my bags packed to get to the pool first thing in the morning on Monday to get at least 2000 yards in. Overall the recovery issues I was facing last week are gone.  Whether it was taking care of my body from a nutrition standpoint or breaking through the plateau I am not sure, but what I do know is that my legs feel as good as you can expect them to feel after back to back weeks of 50+ miles.
Published in Train
Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:49

ICC - Week #6: And The Hits Keep On Coming

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge (ICC) entered and completed its 6th week and with that KC and I are one week closer to the toeing of the line and jumping into the river to float downstream.  We will not really float but with the amount of swimming the two of us are doing that might be the best solution for us. Remember that the ICC is to showcase how two seasoned triathletes with multiple Ironman finishes train for the race.  Since we are in different areas of the United States, different genders, different family/friend/work responsibilities you will see different types of training volume.  We also have different strengths so while I may spend more time in the water, KC may spend more time on the bike.  We are crafting our own way to the start and finish line of Ironman Chattanooga.  I do not compare my volume to her's and she is not comparing her training to mine.  We are our own athletes with our own goals.  This is true for you, the reader, as well and so while there are rules of thumb when it comes to training for an Ironman like make sure you swim, bike and run there is no one way to get there.  Keep that in mind as you read what we are putting ourselves through and looking at your training schedule [caption id="attachment_9225" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning KC's Training Calendar. Gotta love the simplicity of tracking her training volume[/caption]

KC's Week 6 Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

Some of you may have already read part of this post on Facebook today, sorry for the repeat. Week 6 proved to be much better than last week. I felt stronger and better rested. I took it a little slower on the runs this week and focused on building up the miles during the week. I also felt like I redeemed myself with today’s long run. I can erase last week’s crapiness from my memory bank now. Today’s 20 mile run that turned into 22 miles was brought to you by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I also claim the title of The Running MacGyver. That wrapper you see in the picture above, saved my run too. My body Glide and jogbra failed me today folks, so around mile 7, I realized things were gonna get ugly, particularly in one spot. My quick thinking MacGyver skills kicked in (my Dad would have been so proud) and I began looking for a remedy, which turned out to be the candy wrapper. I carefully placed it between my skin and the jogbra and threw down the next 15 miles, no problem! For those not in the know, here is a link about MacGyver: Overall, this week was pretty good. I’ll start throwing in the swimming in January. For now, until the end of the year, I’m enjoying the running, the night biking and the crossfit stuff a lot. Upward and Onward! [caption id="attachment_9227" align="aligncenter" width="224"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning Who needs Body Glide or Trislide when you have Reese's Peanut Butter Cups[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_9226" align="aligncenter" width="224"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning 20 Miles Turned Into 22. Yeah, that happens!!!!![/caption]  

Jason's Week 6 Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

This week was the week from hell when it comes to driving.  Dallas was hit with an ice storm on Friday of last week and with the temperatures being below freezing that means that ice did not really go away until Thursday.  In 10 trips into the office I was stuck in traffic on 9 of them thanks to poor driving on the ice.  It was horrible and with each passing minute the anger in me grew to rage.  I had not planned on doing so many doubles but I needed a stress relief and when I would get near home I would either choose to go swimming or go and lift and do core.  The benefit is that this gave me a way to structure my training for Rocky Raccoon and allow me to get in the pool, jump on the bike trainer and do some lifting and core work. [caption id="attachment_9224" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning Jason's Colorful Training Peaks Calendar For Ironman Chattanooga Week 6 Training[/caption] My training plan for Rocky Raccoon 50 is very run heavy with 6 days per week of running.  The majority of the runs during the week are low mileage with Monday off.  Wednesday is the long run day mid-week.  Saturday and Sunday make up about 60% of the miles I put up.  For example, this week I ran 57.4 miles with 31.45 between Saturday and Sunday.  Trying to make sure that I am getting proper recovery I devised the following plan:
  • Monday (Rest day from running):  AM Swim; PM Bike Trainer.
  • Tuesday: AM Swim; PM Treadmill run.
  • Wednesday: AM Run; PM Bike Trainer
  • Thursday: AM Run; PM Strength/Core
  • Friday: AM Run; PM Swim
  • Saturday: Long Run
  • Sunday: AM Long Recovery Run; PM Strength / Core
My swims will be structured and between 1500 and 2200 yards because I am only going to be in the water for 30-45 minutes. I need to keep the structure of the swim this way because right now I am in no mood to get in the water but I know that I can do anything for 30-45 minutes and that will keep me motivated.  The bike trainer sessions will be one hour-long with my heart rate in Zone 1 and not much more than that.  Just pure spinning to keep the legs fresh. My long runs on the weekend I am hoping to do on the trails.  There will be days where I have to run them on the treadmill, like this past weekend.  On Saturday do to responsibilities I ran 19.32 miles on the treadmill.  You would have thought I shot the President the way people reacted to me on Facebook.  When I thought about it I realized that these people are telling me not to run on the treadmill had no real reason for telling me not to run on the treadmill.  I enjoyed running for three hours and getting lost in my own mind while also watching two movies.  Had the people proclaiming that I should be outside could provide me with scientific evidence that running on the treadmill is WAY WORSE than running on the road then I would have delayed the process but in the end it was what I needed to do to get in the 19 miles and enjoy the day with my step-son having our Saturday morning breakfast before leaving to cut down our Christmas Tree. Overall I am very happy with the way training is going so far. I had some issues during the first week of Rocky Raccoon training but have broken through that plateau and am now on my way to some very large volume weeks. As the volume increases I may have to make some adjustments to my training but that is what this is all about. Keeping your eye on the prize and making adjustments to get there.

Are You Racing Ironman Chattanooga? If So, Share Your Training Story With Us

Published in Train
ICC (Ironman Chattanooga Challenge) is already into its third week.  Where does the time go?  I can now understand how those that are preparing for their first Ironman can feel as if they did not get everything in because the minutes/days/weeks/months fly by and before you know it the cannon is going off.  This reminds me to say to those of you that ARE preparing for your first: cherish all the moments, even the bad ones.  These training sessions and cycles will not be able to be done again so embrace all that they are.  Embrace the suck, the great, the good and the recovery/rest. In addition to KC and I charting and giving you the good, bad and ugly of our  training for Ironman Chattanooga we have a new addition to this challenge.  Liz Young used the Contact Me form to ask if she could participate in the challenge.  As I want this to be an open and honest discussion about what it takes to get to the start and finish line of an Ironman I said yes.  The beauty is that Liz has a different story than KC and I so you, the reader, will benefit from a third perspective on what the Ironman training is and what it means to different people. ____________________________________________________________________________________

Jason Bahamundi - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Wee k#3

[caption id="attachment_9157" align="alignright" width="300"]Ironman Chattanooga - ICC - triathlon - training Lots Of Pink Signifying Lots Of Running Coming Up.[/caption] This week started with a trip back from Ironman Arizona and ended with the longest run I have done since Ironman Texas.  After October finished with the cycling mileage I knew that I wanted November to be run focused and it has in a way but it has also been more of a step back MONTH or so it feels.  When you run for one hour compared to a 6 hour bike it feels as if you are not doing a lot.  That is all about to change. Coerced, inspired, or fooled by Jeff to run the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile trail race my training is about to take a big turn.  Weeks of 25 miles of running are going to be replaced with weeks of 50 miles of running.  Months of 4000 yards of swimming are going to be replaced with weeks of 4000+ yards of swimming as I will need it to recover from the pounding my legs are about to take.  Spinning on the bike is going to be included but there will be nothing hard about those hour-long sessions.  My heart rate will barely break Z1 on those spin workouts. What I am most excited about is getting my nutrition back on track.  With the turn of the calendar to a new week I am going back to a no sugar diet for the month.  I will be avoiding all added sugars outside of the recovery shakes that I use since recovery is going to be the key to getting my legs prepared for the next days workouts. If you take a look at the picture to the right you will see lots of pink for next week.  Those are all running days.  The light green are the spinning days and then the blue.  Oh the blue and how I have avoided you.  Maybe the running will push me back into the love of swimming. ____________________________________________________________________________________

Kristie Concepcion - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Wee k#3

[caption id="attachment_9158" align="alignright" width="300"]Ironman Chattanooga - ICC - triathlon - training Swimming. It is still part of the IMTN race day right? Not if KC had her choice based on her training calendar.[/caption] Wow! It feels like Ironman Florida was 3 months ago, not 3 weeks ago. Remember that cold bug I said kept trying to get me for the last few weeks, it finally settled in for the first half of the week. I still got my training in though and it never got any worse. I finished off the last half of the week feeling much stronger.
Here's a little tip for you that I learned the hard way. If you are starting to catch a cold, how do you know when you should back off the workout or keep pushing on? The answer is ...if your symptoms are from the neck up, go for it. If the symptoms are from the neck down, fuhgetaboutit!
Ok, back to the training, so this morning called for a 12 mile run but I felt so good, I took it an extra 1.5 miles and cranked up the speed a bit on the last 3 miles just for fun. I also hopped on a trail for a while for the peacefulness that running on the road less traveled provides.
Looking forward to Thanksgiving week. No, not for Thanksgiving but for all kinds of free time to train like a beast! Maybe I'll get a little crazy and swim! Imagine that? Seriously, the best part about next week is that I'm doing a 5K, on Sunday, with a newbie runner. She's doing her first ever 5K and I am doing it with her. Let's see if the running bug bites her.
Hope everyone has a stellar week! Upward and Onward!

Liz Young - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Wee k#3

I am currently 3 weeks out from IMFL. That was my 4th IM distance race. I would have to say that consistency is my theme. While one always strives to get "faster" at these things, I remain constant. All of my races are within 35 minutes of each other. So as always, for the past 3 weeks I have been mulling over every detail that I can remember.
This time period is really difficult due to 1. rest and recovery (something that is difficult for most, especially when we have our next race on the calendar) with my age of 50, people are telling me I need to take time off, but I really don't feel like it.  2. I live in NW Ohio, it is now 15 degrees and the high is going to be 26 today (I like it hot and muggy) Chattanooga should be great weather. 3. Training in the dark! Just a bummer.
I am excited to begin my winter strengthening though. Yoga is a must for me this year. (I hate yoga because it brings to the forefront all those weaknesses and imbalances that our body has. We like to train the stuff we are already good at).
 As you can see training for an Ironman will come in all shapes and sizes, just like the athletes that race this distance.  You can also see that not everybody will follow the same type of plan.  I am training for a 50 mile trail race in February. KC is racing a marathon at the end of this year. Liz will be doing strength training and yoga throughout the winter.

The point is that not all people are created equal and neither should their training be.

Published in Train
Sunday, 10 November 2013 17:34

ICC (Ironman Chattanooga Challenge) - Week 1

Ironman Chattanooga is a while from now but I issued a challenge to KC of the blog 140 Point 6 Mile Journey about her and I blogging our way through the year with the finale coming on September 28, 2014.  The point was to show how hard Ironman training is when you are balancing job, family, friends and well just life.  I have had a feeling over the past few months that there is a movement to the sport and yet at the same time the lack of understanding regarding the amount of training and money that goes into this sport.  Yes, I take it seriously but when you are laying your body on the line for 8 hours to 17 hours you had better take it seriously. KC is working on Ironman number 5 and I will be working toward Ironman #4 so we are seasoned vets but that doesn't mean that it is any easier for us and that is the whole point behind this weekly series.  You will get an in-depth view into what we are doing and how we are feeling.  Was it a good week or just terrible?  Did we skip workouts or nail them all?  Did we feel compelled to get something done because we were going to blog about it or did we stay focused on our goal?  My hope is that by following this series those that are considering participating in a training cycle as well as an Ironman race they know what they are getting themselves into. ________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9121" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - KC[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - KC's Week

So I'm 8 days post Ironman Florida and feeling pretty damn good. Not much soreness, just a little mental fatigue. With that said, I kept my cardio workouts easy and short this week. I can't even think about doing anything over 2 hours right now. I have no interest at all in long workouts but this will quickly change tomorrow, as I begin an 8 week training plan for the Disney marathon. So, for the next 8 weeks, I'm using Hal Higdon's Multiple Marathons Training Program for back to back marathons. I used this last year after Ironman Florida and it was perfect. Not too much but just enough training to get me a Boston qualifying time at Disney without any injuries. I hope to better that qualifying time come January 12th.
As for Ironman #5, Chattanooga, not even really thinking about it too much yet, but be sure, all of these training weeks ahead, all 40+ weeks left, I will be laying down the strong groundwork and will continue to share what I am doing each week to reach that goal. 
Upward and onward always!
________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9120" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Jason Volume[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - Jason's Week

I am coming off of having ridden my bike for 809.75 miles in October and decided that I would focus the month of November on running with more swimming and strength training.  I have been extremely unmotivated about getting into the pool and it has shown.  I found myself crossing over as well as having a deeper pull than I am accustomed to.  My fitness is there which gives me some hope but I really need to get close to 4000-5000 yards of swimming per week in during this off-season so that when I start to do specific Ironman training I am not starting from scratch. With going to the gym to swim I might as well take the time and lift as well.  During Ironman training there is little to no strength training so I need to take advantage of the time off from specific Ironman training while I can.  This past week I went to the gym twice to do strength training and while it felt good to throw some steel plates around I cannot even describe how sore my upper body is.  I forgot about how sore you can become from lifting.  This is just a sign that I need to continue to do this so that soreness doesn't happen over and over because I stop.  Might as well throw in some core work while I am at it. The bike volume took a huge hit this week.  I just did not have the desire to sit on the trainer for an hour per evening.  I am putting together a schedule that has at least 2 days of trainer rides and a longer ride on the weekend. That brings me to today (November 10) and the long ride I had planned.  I scheduled myself for 4 hours but once I got on the bike I immediately knew I wasn't going that far.  I was cold and unmotivated.  After 30 minutes I started re-designing the route and wound up with a 2 hour ride covering 37 miles which game me just under 74 miles or what would have been a nice Saturday morning in October. So let's talk about my focus for the month and that is running.  I have been pleasantly surprised with my running in the past week.  My heart rate has been in Zone 2 or less and paces have been around 8:30/mile.  Normally that is around 9:00/mile at that heart rate.  Clearly the fitness I gained on the bike in October is paying dividends now.  On Saturday I went for a 12 mile run and wound up averaging 8:30/mile and held that pace consistent throughout the 12 miles.  The biggest problem for me on the run was the stomach cramps.  I literally used Valley Ranch and the Cowboys facility as my toilet.....take that Jerry Jones! Go GIANTS! This coming weekend for me will be a lot less training and a lot more smiling.  I am heading to Arizona to cheer on a bunch of friends including Susan Lacke as well as hanging with Emily of Run EMZ fame.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Is On!

Published in Train
Thursday, 07 November 2013 08:33

Social Media And The Triathlete Pros And Cons

[caption id="attachment_9114" align="alignright" width="300"]social media - triathlete - triathlon - daily mile Daily Mile Is An Endurance Athlete Specific Social Media.
Daily Mile[/caption] Social media is where I make a living.  I work with companies on how to leverage the size and power of social media to engage employees as well as help in recruiting the best talent to their organization and then how to keep them since the costs of recruitment, on-boarding, lost revenue and many other factors are far too high to want to repeatedly be hiring.  Social media is also where I made a lot of friends and also find inspiration and motivation.  The medium is perfect for getting that little extra kick in the pants but social media also lends itself to wanting to pull your hair out.

Benefits Of Social Media For The Triathlete

  • Joining a group on Facebook that revolves around your upcoming Ironman race can help alleviate your anxiety because you will see other athletes going through the same type of stress can help.  You can find people who are dealing with what you are going through and form a 'team' to help share tips and tricks about overcoming that particular scenario.
  • Twitter is a treasure trove of triathletes.  I am not sure why, but maybe the 140 character limit allows us to quickly send messages and then be out on our bike or run.  Search for hashtags such as #triathlete or #triathlon.  A tremendous list of tweets will come up and from there you can pick and choose who you want to follow, who you want to converse with and who you think will provide you with what you need to get through the next training cycle or race.
  • Google+ communities are very active when it comes to triathlon.  You can search for these communities and ask questions and within moments you will have answers to your questions.  I haven't done a deep dive to see if there are communities setup around particular races like I have seen on Facebook but I would not be surprised one bit if there were.  The one trait about G+ Communities that I have found so far is that they are managed very well.  Spam typically does not get through so the posts and the conversations that follow are genuine and helpful.

Drawbacks Of Social Media For The Triathlete

  • There is SO MUCH social media that a triathlete can follow and almost every piece of content will be contrary to the one you read previously.  Somebody may post that eating 10g of protein within 60 minutes is ideal for recovery and another might post that 15g within 30 minutes is ideal.  Which is right?
  • Triathletes are Type-A and a lot of them (us) are also OCD.  We have a way of doing things and while that way works for us there are times when we post on social media that it is the way that will work for everybody which is clearly not true.  My alarm goes off at 4:02 AM every morning and depending on the workout I am eating a solid breakfast by 4:30 AM or am out the door working out.  Does this work for everybody?  Of course not, but if I post that to Facebook there is bound to be somebody who reads it and changes their structure to match mine and vice versa.
  • We are competitive and if we see that Bob or Nancy just rode 40 miles then we want to ride 60.  If John or Sue ran 10 miles, then we want to run 12.  Avoid the competition because being a Pre-Season All-American means nothing on race day.  You cannot win the race in your training cycle but you can certainly lose it.  Follow your training plan and listen to your body because on race day Bob, Nancy, John or Sue will not be wearing your bib.

Social Media Can Be A Big Help Or Hindrance To Triathletes. What Do You Think?

Published in Train
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