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?

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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
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
[caption id="attachment_7569" align="alignright" width="228"]taper - meal plan - triathlon - ironman Have You Ever Experienced This During Taper?
Source: Drink2That[/caption] Taper week got started a little bit early as I got sick for the first time in over 4 years.  You read that correct.  I have not been sick since I met Karen which she reminded me of when I went to the Doctor's office on Saturday.  The stress in the house has been building up as I noted in my post regarding stress and cortisol levels from last week. Being sick gave me some time to think about how I would survive taper week.  Typically, taper week drives people mad because they are no longer working out for hours on end and instead having to sit by as the world passes by or it would seem.  As I was laying in my bed I started thinking about how I was going to survive this taper week since it was now going to be longer than one week.

3 Tips For Surviving Taper Week:


Tip #1: Meal Plan For The Week

This may not be something that you do on a consistent basis but during taper week I think it is imperative.  Since we, athletes, are so keen on checking off boxes making a meal plan for the week and then sticking to it allows us to continue our Type A personalities.  Also, by making a meal plan we can control our caloric intake since our training volume will be drastically reduced and what do people do when they are bored?  They eat.  If you have a meal plan then you can avoid that boredom eating that seems to take over. I meal plan every Sunday evening for the upcoming week based on the volume of training I'll be doing and extending this into taper week is not a big deal.  If you don't do this it may take some time to get used to but in the long run it will pay off.  I use My Fitness Pal as I think it is the most comprehensive database along with being able to track macro and micro nutrients.

Tip #2: Understand That Your Workouts Still Have Purpose

I have heard and seen athletes dawdle their way through the taper week workouts and it amazes me.  If you are going into the workout with such a lazy attitude you may as well skip the workout because being lazy while working out could result in injury and that would be worse than not working out at all. The workouts that are scheduled during taper week still have meaning as they are keeping your muscles warm.  It is also during taper week that your body is getting stronger as it repairs itself from all the weeks of tearing it down.  Understanding that this is what is happening during taper week may set you up for a successful taper since there is the need to know that what we are doing, or not doing, is helping us have a great race.

Tip #3: Review, Review and Review Again Your Race Strategy

[caption id="attachment_7570" align="alignright" width="400"]taper - survival - tips - ironman - triathlon Simple Graph Says It All!
Source: Fast At Forty[/caption] With the extra free time on your hands taper week is the ideal time to review your race strategy.  You do have a race strategy right?  If your training has been executed to the best of your ability then you will know how the race SHOULD play out.  Of course not everything during a triathlon plays out the way it is supposed to but if you embed the race strategy into your head there is a better chance it will play out that way as opposed to 'winging' it. During taper week I will be repeating my heart rate zones for the bike and run legs of 70.3 San Juan.  I will also be going over the swim strategy that Maria and John laid out for me.  Repeating these over and over to myself will provide me with a clear path from the gun going off to the crossing of the finish line.  During heavy volume weeks thinking about race strategy is very difficult, but during taper week there is more time to focus. Taper week can be difficult for some, especially heading into a new race.  That 'new' can be a new distance of triathlon or just getting into triathlon in the first place and the key to surviving taper week is to distract yourself as much as possible.  Setting up clear goals for your meals, focusing on your strategy and going into your workouts with purpose will allow you to get through the week without too much stress or concern.

What Are Your Tips For Surviving Taper Week?

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