Ironman 2014 is now being discussed in full between myself and I, myself and Karen, myself and Maria and now with you.  When I finished Ironman Texas 2013 I was fully convinced that going back to the The Woodlands was going to be in the cards.  I absolutely love the course in terms of racing as well as being spectator friendly.  The course also plays to my strengths and weaknesses.  I can climb on the bike but because I weight as much as a paper towel going down the hills doesn't give me much momentum thus a hilly bike course has typically been shunned.  The run course at IMTX is flat and fast.  The biggest problem is the heat but for whatever reason (and if you can scientifically tell me why) I am not bothered by it as much as others as evidenced by my marathon and 15th place finish in my age group. Now that I am 4 months removed from that race my mind has wandered and I have considered 5 races for 2014 and making a decision has become somewhat impossible for me pick and why I am turning to you, the blog reader, for some advice.  I am going to treat this vote the way Major League Baseball treats their All-Star votes.  Certain percentage to each one and I can come up with a final answer that way.  I will get 25% of the vote, blog readers 10%, Maria 10% and Karen 55% because without her blessing it doesn't matter what I want to do it isn't happening.

Here are my Ironman 2014 Choices:

[caption id="attachment_8819" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMTX - Texas Ironman Texas[/caption] Ironman Texas: Pros:
  • Race takes place in May meaning I will be racing again and soon.  Good for the mind.
  • Experience with the race and thus no surprises.
  • Cost effective.  Can stay with friends and it is a car ride away.
Cons:
  • Been there, done that.
  • Hotter than the sun.
  • Extremely tough swim from start to end.
[caption id="attachment_8817" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMLou - Louisville Ironman Louisville[/caption] Ironman Louisville: Pros:
  • Race is in August giving me some more time doing what I want when I want in 2013 and early 2014.
  • New race which can lead to new experiences.
  • Hot and humid which doesn't bother me and is something I can actually look forward to.
Cons:
  • Nearly 3,000 feet in climbing with a 2 lo0p course.
  • Run is only 2 loops which some would prefer I enjoy the 3 loop course as it gives me a mental edge to know where I am at in shorter time intervals.
[caption id="attachment_8818" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMFL - Florida Ironman Florida[/caption] Ironman Florida: Pros:
  • Race is in November which gives me a lot of time to do as I please before jumping into an Ironman training plan.
  • Flat, flat and oh its flat. Less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the bike and less than 200 feet of gain on the run.
  • 1 loop bike course.
Cons:
  • Getting in is getting to be nearly impossible and the anxiety of getting in.
  • Flat, flat and flat means lots of aero position and pushing your legs to the their breaking point with no real rest.
[caption id="attachment_8820" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMTEN - Chattanooga Ironman Chattanooga[/caption] Ironman Chattanooga: Pros:
  • Brand new race so while there can be issues the idea of racing an inaugural race appeals to me.
  • Bike course has 2,100 feet of climbing where Texas is 1,600 feet and Arizona is 1,700 feet so not a big difference.
  • Run is through downtown Chattanooga.
  • I get to say Chattanooga a lot.
Cons:
  • Inaugural race so no idea about recon and asking past participants about the race course.
  • Just far enough away to fly, yet close enough to drive.
  • No known hashtag for it:  #IMChooChoo, #IMChat, #IMRockyTop, #IMManning, #IMNooga
The price point for all is the same at $650 except for Louisville which is $625 so there are no savings in the registration fee and thus the cost difference will come down to travel and accommodations (anybody in any of these areas willing to offer a home-stay?)

Which Ironman 2014 Do You Vote For?

[listly id="6uK" layout="full"]  
Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_8756" align="alignright" width="211"]triathlon diet - lifestyle - training - ironman These 4 Items Belong In Each Endurance Athletes Lifestyle But Not All Are Going To Be The Same.
Source: Nutrition Translator[/caption] Triathlon diet and/or lifestyle there are those that are seeking the magic bullet and turning to sites and blogs, like mine, for answers.  I get questions and comments on all of the social media platforms that I am on seeking advice.  The problem with this advice seeking is that sometimes you can read the emotion and what they are really seeking is the one size fits all answer.  Unfortunately that does not exist because we are all different and as a matter of fact each day for each individual is going to be different. Let me provide you with an example.  That example would be me and here is how the last week of my triathlon, diet and lifestyle unfolded.
  • Monday: Tired from the weekend of training I pushed my run to the evening to go with Karen.  The moment we started running I could feel my legs weight 1,000 pounds each.  That morning I had a 3 egg omelette with mushrooms for breakfast, toast with salsa verde and poached eggs for lunch and post run I had chocolate waffles with banana and almond ice cream.  I pushed my carbs to the evening because that is when I was going to be running.
  • Tuesday: Decided to not workout in the morning as I was tired and would do a recovery spin and some strength/core at lunch.  The ride and lifting went well and I felt good throughout the workout.  So good that I asked a Facebook group I belong to if anybody wanted to swim and run on Wednesday morning.  That day I ate for breakfast: toast with almonds, raisins, banana and honey.  Lunch consisted of an Asian slaw salad and dinner was a falafel waffle with a greek salad.  All was going well to date.
  • Wednesday: Nervous about the feeling in my legs I was contemplating skipping the run.  I jumped in the water and swam 1.2 miles in 44 minutes. It was slow and sluggish but felt good enough to run.  I put in 6.3 miles at a pace of 9:30/mi.  Just about right and my legs didn't hurt too bad.  I ate a well-balanced diet that day that was based on carbs early in the morning to take care of my workouts.
  • Thursday: Wanted this to be a recovery day so I planned on riding for an hour and running for 15 minutes off the bike.  I felt better than I thought and put in a 20 mph bike ride and then ran an 8:21/mi pace off the bike.  Where did this speed come from?  I was on top of the world that in the afternoon I went and did 40 minutes of core/strength.  Look out world.  I also started tracking my meals via My Fitness Pal again and that really helped.  That day I had my carbs in the morning to again help in the recovery from the workout as well as burning off those carbs throughout the day.
  • Friday(today): I woke up with muscle soreness in my back.  The reason was that this was the first time I had done a focused core/strength workout since prior to Ironman Texas......a long time!  The always scheduled 6:30am OWS was happening and I had decided I would run 6 miles out of the water with Drum.  As I drove to the lake I could feel my back and I thought that I would wait until I got out of the water to decide on the run.  Jumped in the lake and lo and behold I was (my version of) Michael Phelps.  That 44 minutes swim was now finished in 39:10.  A 5 minute improvement which is otherworldly in my book.  I decided not to run because tomorrow I am riding for 5 hours and on Sunday running for two hours.  My breakfast this morning was French Toast and my plan for the rest of the day is to focus on protein and less on carbs.
If the people who asked me what I eat, how, why, or when were to follow this routine they may either find it too easy or too hard and the reason is that they are at a different spot in their endurance lifestyle than I.  More than that though they have different stresses in their life that can also affect their decisions on what to eat and how to get their triathlon and diet lifestyle to coincide. So when I get these types of questions I do my best to provide a response that includes some sort of disclaimer that this is how I do it or that I am not a registered dietian or a sports nutritionist.  That the answers I am providing are from my own research as well as trial and error.  Yes, there are certain 'rules of thumb' when it comes to eating for the endurance lifestyle but how one person's body reacts to a specific diet is not indicative of how another's will react.  The way I provide examples for this triathlon diet lifestyle is as follows:

How The Triathlon Diet Lifestyle Can Be Interpreted In 'Real' Life:

  • My results are not indicative of the results that you will have.  Similar to past performance does not predict future performance in the stock market.
  • There are guidelines that apply to everybody but not everybody will do it the same way.  This is similar to a golf stroke. There are certain mechanics but look at Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods and try to tell me that one is right and one is wrong and I will tell you both have won Major championships.
As you can see there is no one size fits all when it comes to training or nutrition for endurance sports especially an Ironman. I don't eat solids in an Ironman race but you may need to or have to.  I don't eat meat, but that may be something that you enjoy.  I choose not to race 5Ks and would rather train for and race for a 140.6 mile race.  Neither is right or wrong or better than the other except in that this is what works for me.  Figure out what you like and enjoy and instead of keeping up with the Joneses set the path for yourself.

Triathlon Diet Lifestyle Guidelines That I Believe Apply To All:

  • Cut out processed foods and eat real foods as much as possible.
  • Surround your workouts with carb based meals.
  • Listen to your body and if it needs to rest then rest and don't push it.
  • Recovering from your workouts is just as important as your workouts so get the proper nutrition into your system post workout.

Do You Believe There Are Universal Rules For Triathlon or Diet?

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

Hard Knocks: Lesson #1

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

Hard Knocks: Lesson #2

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

Hard Knocks: Lesson #3

[caption id="attachment_8792" align="alignright" width="225"]hard knocks - friends - ironman - triathlon Friends You Can Laugh With While Racing And Training For Ironman Are Invaluable[/caption] In the episode that I watched there was the intense life of football and even a drill called the Oklahoma drill where the intensity is sky-high and fights are bound to break out.  How does this play into triathlon for me?  With that intensity came good-hearted laughter.  Guys making fun of each other and laughing with each other. They put in the work but when the work was over they did not carry that with them to the dining room or to their hotel room and family life.  When I saw that I thought about how the previous 18 months unfolded for me and how I would tend to take one bad workout into the next instead of letting it go and laughing.  We all have bad workouts but not allowing them to ruin the next one is key to getting better.  Focusing on that workout and then letting it go and having fun with your family and friends.  Laughing about how horrible the session went instead of pouting about it.  This off-season I have been doing what I want when I want but still getting in 3-4 workouts of each sport and having a great time. I have laughed with friends via text, while riding, while swimming and while running.  I have goofed off with Karen and this is something that I am going to carry forward.  Not being so rigid in my chosen lifestyle that I forget to laugh and enjoy everything else around me. As you can see we can learn a lot from the things and people around us but we have to be open to them.  We cannot be so closed-minded and thinking that only we know best that we ignore the lessons that are around us.  Find inspiration and motivation in everything around you.
Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_8722" align="alignright" width="183"]against the odds - john pendergrass - book review Against The Odds by John Pendergrass[/caption] Disclaimer: The book Against The Odds was sent to me by the author but no money exchanged hands and I was not asked for a positive review in exchange for the book. Book reviews are not something I do quite often but one of the benefits of writing a triathlon blog and being on social media is you get the opportunity to be contacted by people and companies looking for a review from you.  The better part of that equation for me is picking and choosing what I want to review and post to my blog.  When I was contacted by Against The Odds author John Pendergrass I was in the midst of training for Ironman Texas and I figured a book would help get me through the overload weeks.  Unfortunately life took a lot of turns and twists and I never got to crack the spine on the book until a couple of weeks ago but I did get to it and here is my review. Against The Odds is the true story of a 60-year-old age grouper (John Pendergrass) who decided to race six Ironman races on six continents.  When I first read that I thought to myself that is going to be awesome because I thought that John was going to be doing it over the course of a year or two.  As it turns out it took a bit longer than that but it is none the less an inspiration story.  I know people tell me today that they couldn't do what I do and I am not 40 yet (although according to USAT I hit that number last year.)  Now take the fact that an Ironman race is just a small portion of the triathlon lifestyle and then tack on the years you need to tack on to reach 60.  Amazing accomplishment in my mind. Mr Pendergrass races Ironman Brazil, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Arizona and China.  Those locations alone are a lifetime of experiences but throw in the Ironman race and I can only imagine what those memories are like.  Fortunately for the reader John takes us not only through the races but also the sight-seeing and experiences of those far away lands.  This turns out to be the best part of the book for me.  I am not sure if it is because I have raced the 140.6 distance or because the 'race reports' are not detailed enough for me but I found myself rushing through those portions of Against The Odds to get to the travel experiences. One item that the author leaves out, thankfully, is the mundane training that takes place.  If you are reading this post then you are more than likely a triathlon/endurance blog reader and have come across the blog posts that detail every little bit of training ad nauseam.  You know the blog entries: Swam 1450 yards in 22:12 and felt great followed by 10 mile run in 90* heat with 10000000000% humidity and almost died.  I try not to do that because we are all training and we all have our own stories and thankfully Against The Odds leaves a lot of that out.  We know that it takes hours, days, weeks and months to get to an Ironman race and Mr Pendergrass doesn't touch that in his book with such great detail that you know more than you want about him. His stories of getting to the locations via planes, trains and automobiles along with people he meets are inspiring and have me thinking about taking my triathlon lifestyle abroad.  Racing in Brazil or South Africa are extremely appealing.  Finding myself in the mountains of Switzerland or the beaches of New Zealand seem feasible after reading his accounts.  Getting to know the local culture while competing in one of the hardest endurance races in the world has a special appeal for me. If you are just getting into the sport of triathlon or preparing to race your first Ironman then Against The Odds is not a book to open up and expect to get tips on how to get faster in the water or make your transitions simpler.  If you are a veteran of the Ironman races then you can appreciate what Mr Pendergrass deals with and details in the book regarding the race.  If you love to travel and want to know more about the sights and cultures of far away lands then this book will also appeal to you. My final recommendation is that this is a good read.  The chapters are short and to  the point and you can get through it in a couple of weeks but do not expect to be told anything that will help get you to Kona.  What you can expect are stories about these 6 Ironman races and their locations and to be entertained along the way.

Have You Read Against The Odds? Thoughts?

Where Is The Farthest You Have Traveled For A Race?

Published in Product Reviews
[caption id="attachment_8718" align="alignright" width="259"]competitor - triathlon - ironman Competitor: One Word To Describe Me[/caption] Competitor has been used to describe me in the past and to this day I think it is still an adjective that can be used to not only describe me but define me.  It doesn't matter what it is either.  I compete with my step-son in board games and I don't believe in the letting him win theory because nobody in life let's you win.  You win when you work hard enough.  I compete with my business partner to see who can bring in the most revenue.  I compete with myself to see if I can get better and better at all things. Today I was reading an article by Peter King on TheMMQB.com about Bill Parcells and at the end I just stared and stared and stared.  Bill Parcells was the coach of my favorite football team, The New York Giants, and I hold him party responsible for my competitiveness.  He coached the Giants the way my high school football coach coached us and that is with a no-nonsense type of approach.  You did something wrong you were corrected and told about it.  You kept doing it wrong you got replaced.  It happened to me my senior year in a game against Mount Vernon. I went for an interception and the ball slipped through my hands and the opponent caught it.  I was taken out of the game because during that week of practice I had butter fingers.  I didn't get back into the starting lineup until our championship game but the lesson was taught and learned.  Do it right or we will find somebody who can. That thought process has led me to where I am today with triathlon.  I am going to keep doing it and doing it and doing it until I get it right.  I foresee that getting it right is never going to happen because there is always something that can be done to get better.  I have no races on my schedule but I am itching to race and have started to ramp up my training.  I am doing a double today with a 1mi swim/6mi run at 630a and a 1mi swim/20mi bike at 4pm.  Why?  That is where this article from Peter King comes in.  Here is the quote that made me stare and realize that this is 100% true when it comes to my performance and Ironman:

The end

 “Winning the Super Bowl represents a great sense of satisfaction. Team satisfaction, personal satisfaction. You can’t deny that. But you know what? Bobby Knight told me two days after the first Super Bowl we won, ‘You’re gonna want to win the second one more than you wanted to win the first one.’ He was right.”

Now Parcells is talked out. He’s sat on the Saratoga patio on this postcard afternoon for three hours, and he’s getting more clipped with his answers. This game’s over.

“You ought to end the article with that, from Knight. You win one, you want to win the second one worse. Because that’s the trap. You can very seldom satisfy yourself. I was with a guy this morning. His name is Wayne Lukas. You know him? This guy won more horse races, more Breeders Cups—he’s won 14 or 15 major Triple Crown races and Breeders Cups. For the last six or seven years he’s been down. Well, this year, he comes back and he has a horse finish second in the Belmont Stakes and win the Preakness. Okay? So he’s back on top. Now this sumbitch is 77 years old, and he’s up on this horse every morning at 4:30. Every day. He’s out there this morning, this Hall of Fame trainer, at 4:30 riding a horse. He can’t stop. He can’t get enough. It’s like, you can’t win enough to make yourself happy. You win, and it’s just momentary.

“You can’t win enough. That’s the trap.”

Racing the first one was great.  It was a sense of accomplishment but I had already registered for my second.  Crossing the finish line in the dark at Arizona was even more satisfying, coming of a bike wreck during the race, but it still wasn't enough.  I raced a third this past May and while it was the slowest it was the most rewarding because of the heat and how many people DNF'd that day.  It isn't enough to have finished that race and finished it the way I did as I know that I have more in me and the last sentence above applies:  "You can't win enough. That's the trap."

I have other races that I will do but the lure of Ironman will always be there.  The thrill of pushing my body one more mile on my bike and then getting off and running will challenge me.  It will be in my face telling me I can't and I will shout back, not with words but actions, that I can and I will.  I will not back down from the race.  The miles don't scare me.  The effort doesn't scare me. The training doesn't scare me.  What scares me is the idea that I have done all that I can because when I look back at it I don't know that I can ever say that. I will always think there was more that I could do.  That's my trap.

What One Word Describes You?

Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_8610" align="alignright" width="283"]flexibility - ironman - training - triathlon Staying Flexible During Ironman Training Will Help Mentally And Physically.
Source: Work Place Flexibility[/caption] Flexibility is not a word that many, if any, would use to describe me.  I got to yoga and it has helped with my swimming, but that isn't what I am talking about.  When it comes to flexibility I am talking about training overall.  I am OCD and Type A (surprise, surprise!) and when there is a box to check on training I want to check that box and I want to check it off now.  I try to set up my day to be as efficient as possible.  The less time I spend on traveling and the more time I spend training the better it is for me. These days with no boxes to check I have been on the Matt Oravec No Training Plan, Training Plan and I have learned flexibility along the way.  Throw in the fact that we have moved and now my routine is starting all over again, especially at the pool.  I have joined the local YMCA and they have open swim starting at 5am, but the problem is getting there.  If I don't wake up and jump out of bed I am never getting to the pool in time to get in a solid workout because I have drive Chico to daycare which means being home by 7am.  That just isn't happening.  So, I am showcasing my flexibility by going to swim at lunch when there is open swim again. Part of this flexibility has been born out of the changes in my life but also out of a conversation I had with a mentor a month or so ago.  During the conversation we discussed the fact that I was finished with the 3 Ironman races and how great my body was feeling again.  While we were talking she used the word obsessed and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was/am obsessed with getting the workouts in because part of me was scared about getting to the finish line, another part of me was concerned with getting their faster and faster and the last part of me said that if I don't check that box off at that time then I would never get the workout in.  In the past two months that mindset has changed and I think that will bring a better training cycle when I begin to train for Ironman #4 in 2014.

Flexibility And The Benefits To Changing On The Fly

As I mentioned above I like having my day set and having that consistency in place.  A simple look would be: wake-up, workout, day care, breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, family snack, TV, bed.  I could drill it down even further than that but that is now changing.  Here is what I have learned over the last two days with a more flexible schedule when it comes to training:
  1. Shocking The Body: I have learned in the past couple of months that my body got accustomed to the early workouts and it got comfortable.  Unfortunately, if you want to set PRs or go faster you have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I notice that when I swim in the afternoon that I am exhausted immediately after and have to work hard to be productive.  This will happen in an Ironman race as well.  You will get tired and it will be then that you must focus even more to have a successful day.
  2. Keeping Balance With Family/Friends: Learning to work with a spouse who is an ultra-marathoner seemed to be easy, until she broker her ankle and working out was out of the question along with needed my help to do everyday things.  By pushing my workouts around I am able to help Karen with items around the house and still get my workout.  The box is still getting checked and that satisfies my needs, but I am more of a husband and so I am satisfying family needs.
  3. Staying Within Yourself: By this I mean that you are not doing more than you can and should be doing.  Typically if the schedule showed a 2 hour run well then I would get that 2 hour run in.  If it said 3 hour bike I would pedal for three hours and nothing shorter than that.  Now, there are times when that 3 hour ride that I want to do has to be cut short to 2h30m and that is fine.  My body appreciates the shortened time but it does not mean that I am in less shape.  I feel that I could get out there and compete at a 70.3 even though my training has not been at an intensity level it had been in the past.  This is not to say that if you have 5 and 6 hour bike rides scheduled that you cut them short to 3 hours.  You need those hours in the saddle to be ready for an Ironman but simultaneously be flexible and you will still get to the starting line in great shape to compete.
These three benefits of staying flexible are items to keep in mind when you hit that register button.  If you can remain flexible during your training then you will get to the starting line in great shape while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I know that when I, finally, decide what my 2014 race schedule looks like that I will work with Maria and John of No Limits Endurance on setting up a training plan that fits into my lifestyle which will include flexibility.

Is Flexibility A Part Of Your Training Plan?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 17:50

A Race Is Over And Done With. Now What?

[caption id="attachment_8530" align="alignright" width="276"]a race - triathlon - training - ironman The Now What Face?!?!
Source: The Frigault Team[/caption] 'A' race is what we train days and weeks and months for.  We sweat and bleed for this A race.  We pour over data from our power meter and Garmin watch.  We watch every last calorie until that late night head in the pantry binge that you discount because you rode the trainer for 2 hours that morning and have a 1 hour run the next day so those calories don't count.  Our whole sense of being is focused on that A race and once we toe the line (do you really toe a line in triathlon?) and the cannon goes off we swim, bike and run as hard as we can.  All of those hours of training are being put to good use right at that moment.  After you cross the finish line you race to the food tent and eat everything in sight.  Three chocolate chip cookies, 2 slices of pizza, a gallon of water, maybe some beer and then you sit around going over war stories with your buddies. You may race to your blog to type your blog post about the race.  You don't want to leave out any detail, like your pinkie toe rubbing against a rock in the 17th mile of the race and having to stop to remove that pesky little rock.  People need to know this stuff don't they?  Your race recap covers a week's worth of posts because you keep thinking of things and keep adding to it.  Finally Race Recap: The War And Peace version is done and the high-fives no longer are coming your way.  You longingly stare at your medal and you can't wait for the race photos to show up.  When they do you pour over them and remember every last moment of the race.  You decide to not spend money on the race pics because none of them makes you look like Chrissie Wellington or Pete Jacobs.  Fortunately for you there will be PLENTY of more opportunities to purchase these photos because you will be reminded monthly for the next two years that it is the last chance you have to buy said photos. When the pomp and circumstance dies down and your training becomes nothing what do you do then?  This is the situation I find myself in right now.  It has been nearly 2 months since I finished my 3rd Ironman and while I have been getting in regular swims, bikes and runs in there is something missing.  That competitive drive to be better today than I was yesterday isn't there because what am I training for?  For example, this week I jumped in the pool with the idea of swimming 1,500 yards with a structured set that included 2x400 negative split swims.  I barely got through the warm-up when I cut the 1,500 to 1,000 and instead of 2x400 it became 300 and 200 negative splits with a 100 yard cool down. I know that there is another Ironman in my future and most likely will be Ironman Texas 2014 but because that is close to a year away the fire that burns is more of a smolder than it is an inferno.  In order to keep that spark going I am literally inventing competitions with myself.  I am talking about stupid things.  Things that nobody in their right mind would think of and all because my A race took place in May and that leaves me the entire Spring, Summer and Fall to think about training in the winter for an early spring race.  Heaven forbid I decide not to race Ironman Texas and instead want to travel to Boulder in August or Florida in November.  My goodness may the world have mercy on Karen if that happens. Anyway, back to these ridiculous contests that I have created over the past month or so.  They are to the point that I am making them up on the fly and creating rules along the way.  Want to see what some of them are?  Here you go:

A Race Substitutions

  1. Run for 30 minutes with heart rate between 127 and 140.  Anytime out of that zone gets added onto the end in the form of walking. GASP! Walking.
  2. Riding my normal route on the weekend and having to get to the typically 30 minute mark in less than 30 minutes or have to plank for the amount of time difference when the ride is done.
  3. This week because we are moving has formed an almost necessary contest:  Breakfast for every meal for the week.  Really?  WTF?
  4. Seeing how many straight hours HGTV can be on the television with the sound on before I lose my mind. I call this mental strength training.
As you can see it is only going to be a matter of time before Karen loses her mind with me and these ridiculous contests but this is what happens when the A race comes and goes and there is an open void on your schedule.  I have plans to race 70.3 Redman and 70.3 Oilman later in the year but I haven't registered for either.  I do have the Hotter N' Hell 100 in late August that I will be riding with Jeff and Bob.  That right now is the fuel for my fire but truth be told it is a 100 mile supported ride that if I get tired or bored I can just stop and refuel with all the chocolate and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I can stuff in my face.  Now, there is a contest I should start!

Have You Had Your A Race Early In The Season? What Are You Doing To Combat The Open Void Left Behind?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_8563" align="alignright" width="322"]talent - tools - triathlon - training - performance Talent Comes From Other Items And Improves Your Tools Efficiency
Source: Amidzic Consulting[/caption] Talent is something that you cannot buy.  Talent is something that you work at.  Talent can never be taken away.  Talent shows up when stuff fails and stuff will fail.  In the past twenty-four hours I have had two Twitter conversations and one talk with my step-son about stuff being less than talent.  The conversations started with a contest I posted on the CTER Facebook page about Triathlete Magazine giving away a Trek Speed Concept. The idea that the world's fastest bike is what is needed to take you to the next level struck me in a way that prompted this post.  I have seen and passed a number of athletes on the course that have disc wheels, aero helmets, even Trek Speed Concepts or Specialized Shivs.  You see they had all the tools but they didn't have the talent to use those tools in the most efficient manner.  As a matter of fact at Rev3 Maine I was passed on the bike by a guy wearing flip-flops.  Yes, flip-flops.  He had clips bolted onto the bottoms of them but you know that flip-flops are not as aero as the shoes I spent hundreds on.  My point is that he had the talent and didn't need to wear all the fancy gizmos and gadgets. That day was an awakening of sorts.  I have a tri bike, an aero helmet, race wheels and all of that didn't help me to avoid being passed by flip-flop guy.  I knew then that I had to work harder than I had to that point to get faster.  When I started working with Maria and John we focused on the swim and bike.  These disciplines were my weak link and getting stronger at those would lead me to be better at the run.  As each day in the training cycle went by I noticed that my talent to swim and bike faster and more efficient started showing up.  It was no longer a need for swim buoys and paddles to swim 100y in less than 1:40.  My talent was getting me there. Riding a bike at speeds of 20 mph for a long time was starting to show up.  My talent was pushing those pedals and no aero helmet or race wheels were involved.  I was going faster at a more efficient way.  The light bulb started going off about my talent at the sport of triathlon was getting better and better.  This translated to better and more efficient runs.  I stopped worrying about buying this or that to help improve my performance.  I focused on talent and nutrition.  Getting in the calories, carbs and protein would further improve my talent and so the focus was less on things and more on talent. In the past two months I have not done any organized training.  I have been going out for swims, bikes and runs as time dictates.  With no races on the schedule the freedom to do what I want has been a blessing, but also a curse.  I need the organization of a training schedule to help me keep my days organized but along the way what I have noticed is that I am getting faster even though the weather is getting hotter.  Last year in the summer I would run a 9:30-10:00/mi pace and ride at a 16-17mph pace.  Those paces transferred to 8:30-9:00/mi and 17-18mph in the cooler weather.  Today I am running sub 9:00/mi paces and riding at nearly 19mph and none of these involve any special tools but instead pure talent.  Oh, and for swimming?  I have been going on open water swims with friends on Friday mornings and the paces per 100 yards compare to those that are in the pool.  The confidence in my talent is starting to sky-rocket and making me itch to get back to structured training for a race. I am not saying that you shouldn't get certain tools like a tri bike or an aero helmet or race wheels as I have those items and those were some of the first I purchased. They do provide you with a level of confidence that can take you places.  At the same time don't be jealous because the athlete in transition next to you is racking a Slice, P5, Shiv or Speed Concept because a pretty bike does not mean faster it just means they spent more money.  When talking with new triathletes I always profess to them that they need to fall in love with the sport and find their talent before spending thousands of dollars on the latest bike, sneakers or wetsuit.

Do You Spend More Time Working On Your Talent Or Spending On Tools?

Published in Train
Saturday, 13 July 2013 01:41

Moving And An Ironman - The Similarities

[caption id="attachment_8541" align="alignright" width="267"]moving and an ironman - triathlon - endurance Moving and an Ironman have more than one common feature amongst them.[/caption] Moving and an Ironman would seem to have nothing in common but you would be very wrong.  Moving and an Ironman have so much in common that right now I am figuring out how to create a company similar to the World Triathlon Corporation or Challenge Family to create moving events around the world and showcase just how similar moving and an Ironman really are. Let's break down the stages of an Ironman and the stages of moving and when we are done here you can tell me if I am right, wrong or just stressed out and tired from all of these items that I should be sleeping instead of typing a blog post coming up with the ridiculous notion that moving and an Ironman are similar. The Beginning:
  • Moving: You decide one day after much conversation with your significant other that you should sell your house or move out of your apartment, find a new place to live and move.  There is excitement and joy of the new digs that you don't even think about packing boxes and unpacking boxes./
  • Ironman: You decide one day after much conversation with your significant other that you are ready to tackle the 140.6 miles and the training that goes with it.  There is excitement and joy of getting to press the register button that you don't even think about the months of training.
  • Moving: You hire a real estate agent and fill out mounds of paperwork and give them an idea of where you would like to price the house and your budget for where you would like to move to along with the location of the new place to live.  The idea of a budget for closing costs, movers, boxes, tape hasn't set in yet.
  • Ironman: You go to Ironman.com and begin to look for a race to enter all the while contemplating the budget you have which includes race fees along with travel expenses.  The idea of a budget for gear and nutrition and other items hasn't set in yet.
The Middle:
  • Moving: You have gone out and visited 50 homes but each one has something a little wrong with it until you come across the one that leads you to believe you finally have done it and selected a house to live in.
  • Ironman: You have gone out and swam, rode and ran for hours, days, weeks, months on end and each workout seems as if it wasn't perfect and you'll never become an Ironman until that one day when everything goes right and you know you are going to be an Ironman.
  • Moving: Closing day on your properties (sale and purchase) have come and you spend hours on end worrying about money and signing papers to the point that your eyes are glazed over and yet you still have packing to do. How will you get it all done?
  • Ironman: Pre-race day comes and you go to the expo and fill out paperwork that you don't read because you don't care because you are going to be an Ironman. You are feeling overwhelmed and it dawns on you that these 5 bags need to be packed and brought back. How will you get it all done?
  [caption id="attachment_8542" align="alignright" width="275"]moving and an ironman - triathlon - endurance Moving Or Ironman Which Is Harder[/caption] The End:
  • Moving: The day is finally here and you have pushed and pushed to get as much packed as possible and well at this point you are just going to have to do the best you can because something unexpected will come up.
  • Ironman: The day is finally here and you have pushed and pushed to get your training in, nail down race strategy and nutrition plan and well at this point you are just going to have to do the best you can because something unexpected will come up.
  • Moving: All of your stuff gets from one place to the other and you feel this unbelievable sense of accomplishment that what seemed so impossible one day earlier has now been accomplished. You don't know how you did it but you did it!
  • Ironman: All of those miles are covered in less than 17 hours and you feel this unbelievable sense of accomplishment that what seemed so impossible one day earlier has now been accomplished. You don't know how you did it but you did it!
  • Moving: With all your furniture in the house the last thing you want to do is cook and clean. You are tired and sweaty. Everything hurts and you are starving but what to eat. Who cares? You are going to eat everything diet be damned.
  • Ironman: With all your gear at the bike rack the last thing you want to do is walk there and get all that smelly stuff. You are tired and sweaty. Everything hurts and you are starving but what to eat.  Who cares? You are going to eat everything diet be damned.
The Aftermath:
  • Moving: After a few days of living in your new place you want to move some items around because you don't like where they wound up after the move so you do that and everything feels right. You are cooking and eating at your new house when you see on HGTV a new bathroom being installed and you think!!!
  • Ironman: After a few days of wearing your medal and writing your race report to your blog you think back to yourself and say: That was an epic journey. You go for your recovery rides and swims and you see others on their training schedule and think!!!
As you can see moving and an Ironman have a lot in common.  I am 2 months post Ironman Texas and am in the midst of moving to a new house and I can tell you that Ironman prepared me for this move as much as possible but there are still things that are coming up that cause stress and make me think.  Having moved multiple times one would think that moving again would be easier but it's not.  That is another item that moving and an Ironman have in common.....just because you have done one doesn't mean the next one is going to be easier.

What Other Similarities Do Moving And An Ironman Have In Common?

 
Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_8459" align="alignright" width="180"]instant gratification - cookbook - ironman Instant Gratification Does Not Come Easily Or In An Instant
Source: GoTengo.com[/caption] Instant gratification is something that we all want and in today's world of the 24 second news cycle we want it even faster than ever before.  We put on a pair of running shoes and we should be qualifying for Boston.  We slip our feet in the pedals and all of a sudden we are racing Contador up the Alps in Le Tour De France. Once those goggles are sitting on our face we have visions of looking to the side and seeing Michael Phelps a half-body length behind us.  Contrary to all these dreams and ideas that those that are GREAT at what they do happened overnight, I am here to tell you that it takes work.  Lots of work.  Lots of hard work.  You don't become an overnight sensation no matter who you are. Maria wrote a blog post that had me thinking immediately and I wanted to do a sort of follow-up to it because at the current time I am going through the want for instant gratification but I know deep down when I can't sleep at night that for me to become that overnight sensation it is going to take hours and hours of work.  Lately, I have been up late tossing and turning for a number of reasons.  First is that we finally sold our house as well as purchased a new townhouse.  We chose to downsize because with two active people in the house and a child that spends time with his father there was no need for all this house, not to mention the money we spend to live here.  Second thing to come along at the wrong time was a family tragedy (those that know me on Facebook know what I am talking about) and it has consumed us since the day it happened.  We will heal and get 'past' it but it lingers there.  These stresses have created a desire to become the best cookbook author I can be.  Problem is it is not happening overnight. When I, finally, started down this path of becoming a cookbook author I was expecting nothing.  A follower of mine on Twitter posted a link to a contest.  The contest was to take place while I was in Puerto Rico racing 70.3 San Juan so I did what anybody in my social media marketing shoes would do.  I scheduled the tweets that were necessary to enter the contest since I would be pre-occupied with swimming, biking and running.  Sure enough out of hundreds of entries I made the Sweet 16.  Again, I put together a series of scheduled tweets since I knew I was not going to have the time to type them not to mention I was with friends in Puerto Rico.  I did not make the Elite 8 but I had a new-found desire to get this cookbook off the ground. I was contacted by a couple of literary agents and that fire started burning deeper and deeper.  I became a maniac in the kitchen with creating dishes and dishes.  I was asked for recipes and told those that were asking for them that I had to hold onto them for they were going into the cookbook.  Foolish me thought that a tweet here and a Facebook response there would result in a contract and an advance.  It is now July 1st and the cookbook still has no publisher but the fire to continue down this path is still raging although on some days it is more like smoldering.  Each time I step into the kitchen to create a meal I think about how it would play out in the cookbook.  I think about the fact that somebody may ask me for the recipe.  These days I readily provide more and more recipes either through my Instagram account or through this here blog (look at the top you'll see a link for recipe -- go ahead click it!) Just as Maria points out, in regards to endurance sports, we are not able to generate instant gratification for something that is such a BIG dream.  Some may say make your dreams smaller, but what good is that?  Chasing lots of small dreams leaves you empty and void of the big goal accomplishment.  I want to race in Kona and be able to go there with a signed copy of my own cookbook that shows that endurance athletes can compete with the best in the wold on a plant-based diet.  That may not seem like a big deal to anybody but me, but this is my dream and when you work hard enough dreams become reality.  Today this post will go out to hundreds, but tomorrow it will go out to thousands than tens of thousands and eventually millions.  Will it happen overnight......only if you close your eyes and wake up years from now and say:  Hey, I remember when Jason started his blog as Baha70.3Ironman.com. If all we have is instant gratification how can we ever savor the moments when we finally accomplished something?  I remember crossing the finish line of my first Ironman and knowing that I had just worked 6 months to get there.  When I crossed the finish line of Ironman Arizona 6 months after that the moment will never be forgotten because I had suffered a bike crash and still managed to get through that race.  As Ironman Texas 2013 came to a close I think I was happier at that moment then the two previous finishes.  I had just battled the heat and humidity, the awful swim and was finishing off my 3rd Ironman in 12 months.  The accomplishments are something to talk about but what I am most proud of is the work that went into them to get there.  The hard work of daily training. The sweat rate tests.  The monitoring of macro-nutrients to ensure proper recovery.  All of that took place over 18 months and today I sit here with the accomplishment of being a 3x Ironman. Transferring that mindset to the cookbook is what I am doing now.  I am still training but I am using the Matt Oravec book of No Training Plan, Training Plan for the time being.  My focus is on my family and new house but also each night before I go to sleep I write down a recipe to try.  I have notes upon notes upon notes that seem to be in my face all the time (I guess that happens when you have an iPhone, iPad and Mac Book Air that are sharing all of your items.)  This is a good thing for me as it allows me to tweak and edit the recipes as I go along.  My overnight success and eventual cookbook will be the result of lots of hours of hard work.

Instant Gratification Comes To Those That Work Hard Over A Long Time.

 
Published in Race
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