Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vineman Ironman 70.3 - The Experience

Friday (7/16) - Not Quite As Planned - But a Good Finish to the Day

Since I had such a hectic week with a lack of rest I took Friday off to have a nice relaxing drive down to Santa Rosa, with time to unload our gear, go swim the course in the early afternoon, and then have plenty of time to get ready for dinner.  Instead it was a hectic morning packing, making final adjustments on the bike, combined with getting out of the house later than planned.  I couldn't get the front derailer to stop making a slight rubbing sound when in a couple of the gears, so I was going to hit the bike shop on the way out of town.  Since we were getting out of the house so late, I cancelled that and just hit the road so I would still have time to swim.  On the drive I started re-planning , and decided we could still swim, and just get up early on Saturday to take the bike in for an adjustment prior to registration.  Then we ended up hitting unexpected traffic delays which turned our typical 2 hour drive into 3 hours and 15 minutes.  Now the swim was out for this afternoon, which meant I would have to do it Saturday morning.  Now I had to figure out what to do with my bike to get it adjusted. (Before passing judgment that I should have planned to take the bike in earlier and not waited to the last minute, you should know the whole story. I had just tuned my bike up a couple weeks ago, replaced the chain and rear cassette, and it was riding great at the race last weekend.  It wasn't until a training ride this week that it started making a new noise.)  As we were coming into Santa Rosa we called the "Official Vineman" sponsoring bike shop hoping they would have sympathy for an emergency adjustment.  They did.  Fritz did some adjustments and then I went out for a test ride.  Everything was good to go.  We continued over to my Mom's house in time to unload and change clothes before the reception dinner.

We originally didn't plan on doing the reception dinner but we are sure glad we did.  We thought it would be interesting to hear the Pro Panel discussion and thought it might be motivating for Sunday's race.  After we arrived we sat down at a table by ourselves.  Then another couple joined us.  It turns out they were hosting one of the Professional Athletes (i.e. free lodging to cut travel costs).  As we were engaging in casual conversation their house guest came and joined us at our table.  It was Mirinda Carfrae, Ironman Kona 2nd place finisher last year, with a host of other Ironman 70.3 wins and records. (Check her out at )  We had the pleasure of spending the next two hours talking with her about her life as a professional Triathlete.  Good Luck in Kona this Year Mirinda.  Can't wait to watch.  We also got to hear amazing stories from 80 year old Sister Madonna Buder who has finished numerous Full Ironman events and was competing on Sunday, as well as other women in their 70's who were still competing at the Half and Full Ironman distance.  One of them was Cherie Gruenfeld who is also working with inner city at risk kids through her organization called Exceeding Expectations (, using the sport of triathlon to move their life in a positive direction. Way to Go Cherie!!!

Amanda and I with Mirinda Carfrae

Sister Madonna Buder (80 years old)

After dinner we went home and I packed up my gear and nutrition stuff to be dropped off at T2 on Saturday morning.  Using my checklist was very helpful to keep from stressing about whether everything was packed or if I had forgotten anything.

Saturday (7/17) - Race Prep Day

Woke up at 6:45 to load all my T2 gear, registration information, and wetsuit to head out to Guerneville to check out the swim course at Johnson's Beach.  Made the 30 minute drive to Guerneville and it turns out that I wasn't the only one with idea as there were a number of people already in the water and others on shore getting their wetsuits on.  Amanda and I did a 20 minute swim before heading to Windsor for registration. One little issue - I let Amanda try my swim googles on the swim back.  As we were adjusting them back to my size at the end of the swim, the clip on the back fell into the water rendering my goggles useless.  Argh!!!  No big deal - we will hit a swim shop sometime today or find something at the race expo to fix them.

Following the Saturday early morning swim at Johnson's Beach

Arrived at the Windsor High School for registration around 9:15.  Got in line to pick up my 1 day USAT race license, we then walked around the expo a bit, before heading into 10am mandatory pre-race meeting.  The head race official (Juergen) was a crack up, and turned what would have been a normally dry session on course safety, etiquette, rules, and yellow and red card violations, into a short comedy routine.  Around 10:45 we got in line for packet pick up, which took us about 30 minutes or more.  Good thing I got my license already because there was a really big line for the license now, and you can't get your race packet without the license.

   Very big line for packet pick up

 Picked up the race packet, then got in line to pick up sponsor "gifts and freebies".  It is unbelievable that all of these people (myself included) who paid $250 for registration, ride bikes costing several thousand dollars, had air fares to California plus lodging, wetsuit costs, plus running shoes and a host of other equipment and nutritional costs, would stand in another 30 minute line for a free sample size box of wheaties, a sample size sport beans, a little shampoo, etc. As we stood there we complained about how long the line was and there probably wasn't anything worth having anyway, yet no one would get out of line.  I kept telling Amanda it was all part of the experience.  However, next year I am skipping the free samples, it wasn't worth the 30 minute wait.   After getting our freebies, we got in another line to test/activate the timing chip, and then went over to pick up the race t-shirt.  Walked through the Ironman clothing area, but put off any purchases of hats, jackets, shirts, etc until I actually finished the race.  I didn't want to set myself up for failure.   We then went back to the truck to drop off the race packets, and pick up my T2 gear bag.  I went over to T2, and set up my stuff in Row 8, Rack 4.  I marked my spot on the rack with Orange Duck Tape so I could find it easier on Sunday. To keep my nutrition stuff from melting in the two days of sun it would be sitting in, I brought a soft sided lunch box with ice in it which worked well.  I also used my packing checklist to mark everything off so I would have peace of mind once I was at home and  not wondering if I forgot anything.

Row 8, Rack 4

We then walked over to the finish line to get within 40 feet of the line, without crossing it.  This was a chance for me to visualize coming down the finishers chute without the pleasure of crossing the line.

 The Finish Line
We finally were leaving the expo around 12:30 just feeling overwhelmed from the noise and chaos.  We went over to Windsor Town Green to a grill to have some lunch and decompress.  Talked to some other athletes that had the same idea, including one guy from Arizona who's sister works for Lance Armstrong. Looks like Lance my be trying to become a pro triathlete following this years Tour de France. After lunch we went back to Mom's to get the rear water bottle cages mounted to my bike before Rich, Michele, Derek, and Sarah arrived.  I was very happy to have my brother coming up from San Diego along with his girlfriend and my friends Rich and Michele who were coming over from Folsom.  Once we were done with the water bottle cages, I needed to deal with my goggle strap issue from this morning, so we were going to head down to a store, but Amanda was nice enough to do it for me.  It was now 3:30 and I was exhausted from moving all day.  I kicked back with Zach on the patio for awhile, then we went inside and I fell asleep on the couch for a quick nap before Amanda returned with a fix for my goggles. About 6:00 Rich, Michele, Derek, and Sarah arrived from the Airport. (Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Rich and Michele for picking Derek and Sarah up from the Oakland Airport.)  After dinner I ended up packing my stuff for the morning so we could just get up and go.  I ended up getting to bed later than expected, I had hoped to go to bed around 8:30, but by the time I was settling in and setting my alarm it was around 10:30.   I had trouble falling asleep and laid there tossing and turning until 11:30 or so.  The alarm was set for 4:45, but I ended up waking up at 3:00 and again at 3:55 to see if it was time to go.  Obviously not a very restful night sleep.

Sunday (7/18) - Race Day

Alarm went off at 4:45.  I weighed in at 177.5 which puts my official weight loss from January 1st at 23.5 lbs. It is hard to believe that it has been more than 8 months since I registered for this event and all of the work and prep that went into it. As I stumble around getting ready I still can't believe it is race day!   I drank 3 Ensures (1100 calories), ate half a bagel (100+ calories), 1/2 cup of raisins (250 calories), 1 banana (100+) calories, plus coffee, water, and gatorade.   So roughly 1500 calories by 5:30 in the morning.  Not sure if it is the food or race day jitters that has my stomach not feeling so well.  I am chalking it up to race day jitters since I have trained with these food combos for months and never had any issues.
6:30 am listening to music - trying to stay calm

Amanda, Derek, Sarah, and Michele came with me to T1 early so they could watch the pros go out at 6:30am.  We arrived in Guerneville around 6:00am and walked about a mile to the transition area.  What a Zoo.  We got there 2 minutes before the pros were heading out on the swim.  I set up my transition area, got body marked, and stood in the 20 minute line for the bathroom.  Now I had 45 minutes to kill before my swim start and had a ton of nervous energy coursing through my veins.  My hands were starting to shake - I just needed to get into the water and get going.  I went for a short run down the beach just to burn off some energy. Must have checked my bike rack 3 or 4 times to make sure I had everything.  Finally the time came to get my wetsuit on and get prepared to get into the water.

7:40 am getting the wetsuit on for 7:58 start

screwing around - keeping the mood light

Mom, Jordan, Zach, Rich and Alex still hadn't made it to the start yet.  While I was finishing getting on my wetsuit Michele said they were walking down the road approaching Johnson's Beach.  They called my age group to the staging area, but  I hung back looking for Mom and the kids.  Still no sign of them. I had really hoped to see them before starting the race.  Finally they called our age group into the water for 5 minute warm up. As I was swimming warm up laps I kept looking to shore.  Finally spotted Jordan waving her arms in the crowd along the beach.  I got a chance to swim over to the shore to say a quick hello and I love you to Zach and Jordan, and they both wished me good luck.  Now I was ready for the race to begin.

The Swim - 1.2 Miles (Time 35:51) 
(Race Goal 42 minutes)

The swim was pretty uneventful and relaxed.  I kept my exertion level low and heart rate down. I chose not to battle it out at the front and was able to pick a pretty good line on the up river portion of the swim.  I probably had 5 or 6 occasions where I was colliding with others or had to readjust and find a new lane.  The river had several shallow areas where it was only 2-3 feet deep.  As I was breathing I would look up and see others walking or running through the shallows.  This was very frustrating as those that were running were going faster than I could swim.  I elected to swim it.  I hit the turnaround buoy at 20 minutes so I felt pretty good since I was factoring a 40 to 45 minute swim, so I figured I was right on track.  What I had forgotten about was the distance out was further than the distance back because you exit the swim at the other end of the beach from the start.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I exited the water at 35 minutes.

Swim Finish Video - I come in towards the end 
with an Xterra Wetsuit. I am behind the guy with a blue 
Xterra Jersey. That is my kids yelling 
"Mom there he is" and all the yelling that follows.

Swim Finish

Coming into T1

T1 (Time 5:19)
First transition went pretty well.  Biggest challenge was drying my feet and getting the sand off, since T1 was set up on the beach.  I really didn't want to ride the next couple hours with sand in my socks and between my toes.  That would be a recipe for blisters and sore feet.  The small hand towels and water bottle worked well to clean my feet off.

Getting ready to head out on the bike

 Packed up my wetsuit and towels and threw them over the fence to Amanda to take with her.  Then ran back to grab my bike and exit.  Almost dropped my bike running down the carpet to exit, but luckily recovered without embarrassment.
Exiting T1 at Johnson's Beach

 Clipped in and was on my way.

The Bike - 56 Miles (Time 3:25:32) 
(Race Goal - 3 Hrs 45 mins)

The bike starts with an immediate up hill ride out of T1.  I mean immediate, no time to pick up any speed (See video).

Uphill start to the bike course

I am very thankful for the blog posts that suggested that you put your bike in low gear before staging it in T1. My concerns about being cold and wet early in the morning with 53 degree foggy weather was immediately masked by the adrenaline.  I was moving along at 18-22 mph and feeling great, despite being passed by 100's (no exaggeration) of TT bikes.  Navigated the turn onto Sunset safely.  This is a sharp 120 degree turn going back against yourself, and downhill.  Race officials recommend not taking it more than 5 or 6 MPH, and you are coming into it at 20+ from River Road. I definitely hit it faster than 5 MPH, but I was breaking and aware of it so I was able to navigate it safely.

Turn onto Sunset from River Road

Soon after is a short but steep hill climb onto Westside Road which is important to be in the right gear again.  I was definitely pushing the bike harder than I planned, but I was feeling good and wanted to let it go while I had it. I kept arguing with myself that I should hold back and pace myself for a long day, and the other side of me kept want to push and race and leave it all out there.  My concern was having nothing left for the run.  I skipped Aid station 1 since I was carrying 4 bottles. By now I had consumed the raisins I brought, plus a small cliff bar and some of my GU energy gel. I hit Dry Creek Road and there was an ambulance, firetruck, and cyclist down in the road which they were loading onto a backboard.  Hope they were ok. Hit Canyon Road and this was just a long trudge uphill for a couple miles.  Not overly difficult though, but at a slower pace than before (10-12 MPH), which just killed my average speed up until then. The Top of Canyon Road was the bike split tracker which had me at an average speed of 16.7 at that point.  Fast decent down the backside to the town of Geyserville.  I was on the brakes and holding a pretty steady 31 MPH and guys were just zipping past me easily at 40+.  Stopped at Aid station 2 in Geyserville to use the bathroom (3-4 minute stop), refilled my water and was back on the road. The aid station volunteers were great. As I pulled in they ran up, grabbed my bike, helped me off, racked it for me, and when I came out of the bathroom they had my bike off the rack and waiting for me before I even reached them, they assisted back on and I was on my way. I maintained a pretty steady pace on highway 128 and was still feeling pretty strong. I continued to take GU, and another small Cliff bar and rotated between water, Gatorade, and Nuun.

Higway 128

I turned onto Chalk Hill and grabbed a water bottle at the final aid station as I went through and refilled my bottles while riding.  Couldn't refill my bottles in time to drop the water bottle before the end of the "feed zone".  Now I had an extra bottle with me and no where to put it. I couldn't drop it because I didn't want to litter and a race official was on a motorcycle behind me and I didn't want to pick up a yellow card and time penalty by dropping the bottle outside the feed zone. So I rode with it between my teeth for awhile.  I noticed the race official had dropped back and up ahead someone had left their garbage can on the road.  So I dropped the bottle within a couple feet of the garbage can as I went by.  By now I had switched to Cliff Blocks to keep my mouth from drying out and to keep taking in calories.   Then we hit Chalk Hill around mile 48.  I am usually a pretty good hill climber, but I didn't have much in the tank to hammer up it like I would normally do.  I maintained a pretty steady 5 mph up Chalk Hill, but I was still passing some people, and getting passed by a few others.  From the top of Chalk Hill to the finish is pretty much downhill to flat.  I was able to continue fueling and took some preventative Ibuprofen to let it start working its way through before the run.  Came into T2 feeling good. I almost dropped my bike again running down the carpet.  Not sure what that is all about. I have never done that before, and now twice in one day.

Finish of the bike - coming into T2 at Windsor High School

Very long run from bike finish to T2

T2 (Time 6:58)
T2 was pretty uneventful.  Came in and ran straight to my rack.  I took my time changing socks, putting on my shoes, and grabbing my nutrition items. I had originally loaded a ziplock bag with everything so I could just grab the bag and go.  I figured I could load my pockets with the contents as I was running.  I decided while I was putting my shoes on that I didn't want everything, so I started sorting through the bag for things I wanted to bring with me.  Once I had everything I was up and off to the run.

Putting on running shoes in T2. Pouring Water on my head.

Exiting T2 - heading out for Run. Only 13.1 miles to go.

The Run - 13.1 Miles (Time 2:28:48)
(Race Goal - 2 hrs 30 mins)

Headed out for the run feeling really good.  I was actually surprise how good my legs felt based on how hard I pushed the bike.

Beginning of the run leaving T2

                  Leaving T2

Passed Sister Madonna Buder at about the 1/2 mile mark and exchanged a few pleasantries. My plan was to run a steady 11.5 minute mile or a 2:30 Half Marathon.  Since I ran a 2:03 Half Marathon in May I figured I should be able to do a 2:30 when I was tired if I pushed myself.  I hit mile marker 1 at 8:47. Way too fast to start out, so I dialed it back a little bit since this was going to be a long couple hours in the sun.  I hit mile marker 2 and had done that in 9:15, which was still a little aggressive.  I was concerned with spending it all upfront and having nothing for the end.  Several miles into the run it dawned at me as I was looking at my watch and doing some calculations, not only was I on track to meet my goal of 7 hours 30 minutes, but had the opportunity to actually break 7 hours if I put in a 2:30 half marathon time like planned.  The key was to keep from breaking somewhere along the way.  Around the 2.5 mile mark there was a girl on the side of the road with bloody shins, knees, elbows, and fingers. I stopped to see if she was ok, she was crying but said she would be alright she just need to sit for awhile.  So I kept going, but then I felt concerned so I ran to the other side of the road and talked to a guy coming back towards the finish line and asked him to let the next aid station know that somone was hurt and if they could send someone to check on her.  Now I could keep going without wondering the whole time if she was going to be ok and if I should have stayed with her.  Not long after that I hit the first hill at which point my back started to have small cramps and spasms.  I power walked the top half and was still able to pass some of the slower runners that were trying to run it. I decided that I was going to power walk all the steeper hills and preserve my legs and keep my heart rate under control, particularly since I wasn't losing much ground and was actually gaining on some with much less effort. My ego said run them, but the race director in my head said "this is no time for ego".  The next aid station I grabbed a cup full of ice and put it in my rear pocket of my jersey to ice my lower back while running.  The spasms started going away.  I hit the half way point at La Crema winery at 1 hour and 10 minutes (average of a 10:36 mile).

Loop through the vineyards at La Crema Winery

Within a couple hundred yards of the half way point

 I thought if I could run a negative split that would be very decent time for me and would easily break the 7 hour mark.  Mile 7 - 11 I was feeling great and pushing along pretty well. I was actually thinking about a full Ironman and was having a great time.  Then it hit. Out of nowhere came the dreaded cramps. First the right calf.  Then the inside of my right leg.  Then the left calf, then the right hamstring.  What was happening?  I was still jazzed, had lots of energy and was feeling great, but my muscles were now seizing and I had no control.  At first I didn't panic, I took a deep breath and massaged my calf and tried to stretch it out.  I walked on it a bit and then went back to a slow jog.  Then out of the blue another one would hit.  These were so painful they would almost bring tears to my eyes and take my breath away.  Thanks to an aid station worker at mile 12 who grabbed me and braced me from falling as I went through and my right hamstring seized and I almost toppled to the ground.  As I rounded the corner with a mile to go I was now concerned my original 2:30 goal was going to slip away.  The cramping was more frequent and really debilitating, I could not will myself through it.  Once I reached the high school I really wanted to be able to run it in and not walk.  I was running with little baby steps trying to keep exertion to a minimum.  I entered the finishers chute and was only a couple hundred yards from the finish and I cramped again where it brought me to a complete stop.  I was looking at my watch and still had a chance to get in within 2:30 but I had to get going.  People along the finishers chute were yelling you are are almost there just keep going.   To which I responded I would if my legs weren't cramped up.  Finally that spasm subsided and I headed for the finish line slow and steady praying to get across before the next spasm.

Coming down the finishers chute

As I was coming down the finishers chute I saw my friends and family cheering for me and waving.  What a great feeling.  I wanted to stop and do high fives but I was concerned my legs might cramp again and I knew I was very close to my 2:30 goal on the run and didn't know how many seconds I had to waste so I waved and kept going just to get across the line.

Finish chute with Derek, Amanda, Jordan,
Mom, and Rich in the background.

Only a few more feet

Crossing the finish line.

Finished in 6:42:42

I crossed the finish line.  I had done it.  I had completed my first half Ironman and I felt great.  The culmination of months of dedication and hard work.

Cool down

Me and my brother Derek who flew up from San Diego

Now that the race was done I could now purchase my Ironman hat and cycling jersey. We then headed back to Mom's house for a quick shower and to load up all of our stuff.  Then we were all off to Chevy's for an early dinner and some celebratory Margaritas.  This broke my no alcohol since April 15th streak.  Hung out at dinner for awhile before having to make the 2 hour drive back to Sacramento to get Derek and Sarah to the airport in time to catch their flight back to San Diego.

Dinner and Margaritas afterward.

Concluding Thoughts

This experience has reinforced for me that we are all capable of far more than we believe.  I believe this is not only true in overcoming physical challenges but also in our relationships, our communities, and in the world around us.  If we dare to dream big, push beyond our comfort zone, and have the fortitude to stick with it even when it becomes difficult, we can make a significant difference in not only our own lives but in the lives of the people around us.  

We also have to recognize that the mountains we choose to climb are not solo adventures.  Yes, we are the ones that maybe getting up at 5:00am to run in the rain or go swim laps in the pool, but there are a host of others who have contributed, supported, and or sacrificed as part of the process.  I would be remiss not to recognize some of those that made this journey possible.

My wife Amanda: Thank you for supporting me in this effort.  I know it took a lot of time away and you never complained about the time or the money that was spent to get here.  You have always been there during our 18 years of marriage and always had faith in me in whatever I chose to pursue.  It was great having you there on Sunday to speak words of encouragement and to tell me that I could do this. Out of all the noise and yelling I could always pick your voice out of the crowd. I love you so much.  It is great to be able to do life with your best friend.

My Daughter Jordan: Thank you for the encouragement along the way.  Your energy and positive attitude are always inspiring.  I am still hopeful you will catch the triathlon bug so you and I can be out there doing it together.

My Son Zach: I owe you some rock climbing days. I know you got tired of hearing me say I was too tired after a long ride or run to go climbing or as I got close the event that I didn't want to risk an injury.  Well let's go break a leg or an arm. I have plenty of time to heal before next year.  Thank you for being understanding.

My Mom: Thank you for being such an example in my life. You modeled discipline, hard work, sticking with things even though times were tough, and sacrificing for others.  You are amazing, thank you for being such a great role model.  Also, thanks for coming out to the event and cheering me on and standing in the sun all day.

My Grandmother: Thank you for all of the love, support, and encouragement you provided over the years.  You were an amazing woman.  (Note: Grandma passed away while I was out for a training run on a Saturday in February. Wish she could have been there. I miss you Grandma!)

My Brother Derek: Thank you for all of the encouragement along the way. Particularly when I was injured and you were providing advice and direction.  I really appreciate you and Sarah flying up from San Diego to watch and cheer me on.  That meant a lot to me.  You are a great example of life balance, fitness, and health, keep it up and continue to lead others down this path.

My Phi Delta Theta Brothers: Thank you for the memories and friendships that were developed during our years at Chico.  I appreciate all of those that supported my fundraising for Iron Phi, and those that sent words of encouragement during my training and the days leading up to the event. Also to brother Darren Kille who came out and sat in the sun for 4 hours to see me and thought they may have seen me come by on the bike but weren't quite sure.

Iron Phi Supporters:  Thank you to all my friends and family that helped raise more than $1,200 to date for the Phi Delta Theta Foundation and ALS. 

The Continuity Consulting Team:  Thank you for the opportunity to work with and learn from each of you.  You are all great examples of character and integrity. Thank you for keeping the bar so high.  

My Friends Rich and Michele: Thank you for coming to the event on Sunday and cheering me on. Whether hiking half dome or sitting around the campfire with a little Grey Goose, you guys are always fun to be around.

My Friend Jamie: Who set the example for overcoming fear last year. He couldn't swim well so he decided to take lessons to overcome the fear of swimming in a lake so he could do a Triathlon.  He and I did our first Tri of last year together in July and did an Olympic Distance in June of this year.  Now he is training for his own Half Ironman later this year.  Way to go Jamie.

Kari from EDH Tri Club: Thank you for letting me hook up with your club for the Mock Tri's and other training event.  But mostly for your smiling face and words of encouragement and affirmation every time I talk to you.

Many Others: Brian Griffith for all the hours invested in me over the years, Walter Hutto for being such a good friend and great role model, Jurg Ramel for your kindness and gentle spirit, Mike Lueken for paving the way and providing guidance towards spiritual growth and transformation, Dave DeRoos for your wisdom and generosity, Thilak Pappu for always holding Christ out as the standard and role model and actually living it, Jason Weckworth for your sense of adventure, zest for life and for the many hours we spent together training for CIM 15 years ago.

What is next?

God willing and assuming I keep my health, I have my eyes on Ironman Canada.  I don't think it will be in 2011, but maybe 2012.  As I was concluding the run this last weekend I knew in my heart I could complete a full Ironman if I trained for it.  In 2011 Amanda and I will celebrate our 20 year anniversary and we have some household maintenance that needs to be taken care of as well.  So I don't know if it will fit in the schedule for next year. We will have to see and talk about it as a family.  Although registration for Ironman Canada 2011 is in a couple weeks so we will have to make a decision quick.  In the interim I will continue this season with a couple more sprint and olympic distance events to keep my conditioning, and in October I will do the 100+ mile Levi Leipheimer Gran Fondo ride along the Sonoma Coast.  I would like to try a couple short course adventure races, and I would like to do the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon next year and I will definitely be doing Vineman Ironman 70.3 next July again. Hope to see some of you out there next year.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Final Stretch

Thursday (7/1)  - Ride 20 Miles  (1 hour 21 minutes)
Went out for a 20 mile ride with Amanda after work.  Felt good, back is feeling better.  Average speed 14.7.
Picked up race clothing for Ironman 70.3 today.  Ended up with TYR Tri jersey made of a smooth spandex like material with big pockets in the back for gels and other items.  Hoping the smoother material will be more comfortable than my mesh tri jersy over long distances.  Also got Zoot Tri shorts with thin bike pad that can be worn during the bike and run, and Under Armour thin moisture wicking underwear.  This will eliminate the need to change into bike shorts in T1 and into run shorts in T2.  However, I am not convinced that my butt is going to like the paper thin padding in the  shorts.  Jury will be out until after the long bike ride on Saturday.

Friday (7/2) - Run 3 Miles (29:37)
Went out for an easy run this morning.  Back is still feeling better.  Ran with my new Zoot shorts this morning to see if I could run with a thin bike pad in the shorts.  Surprisingly it didn't bother me and I got used to it pretty quickly.

Saturday (7/3) - Final Bike/Run Brick - (Bike 57.15 / Run 5+)
Today was the last day to go through a big workout before beginning to taper.  Went through my planned race routine including pre-race prep, clothing, race nutrition, etc. 
Met at Rattlesnake Bar at Folsom Lake with the EDH tri club to ride the bike route of the "Worlds Toughest Tri" in Auburn.  Ride duration was 4 hours and 41 minutes and included approximately 5,500 feet of climbing.  Average speed was only 12.1 MPH, with many of the climbs being down around 5-7 MPH. The ride felt great and I was amazed at how fresh and energized I felt.  Following the ride I went out for a trail run of just a little over 5 miles (1:01:15) in the heat of the afternoon.  Great prep for the upcoming race to be out in the mid day heat.  Again I was very surprised that my back wasn't hurting and the run felt pretty good compared to how my legs have felt in the past following the ride.  Today was a GREAT confidence builder since the Vineman bike route is no where near as hilly and difficult as this route was.  Today helped pull me out of my funk.

Clothing - New clothing worked out well, and surprisingly the thin pad tri shorts worked great for the bike and run.  The new jersy did rub any areas raw.  Very cool - getting the equipment dialed in.

Nutrition - Nutrition was dialed in today.  For Breakfast I had 2 Ensures (700 calories), 1 Banana (100 calories), coffee, and water.  For the race I will get up earlier and work in a 3rd Ensure, some raisens, and almond butter.  During the early portion of the bike I ate 1/2 cup of raisens (260 calories), bottle of water, and bottle of gatorade (100 calories).  At the half way point I switched to GU - Just Plain (500 calories), added a bottle of 5 hour energy to my 2nd Gatorade (100 calories).  Also, sucked on shot blocks (200 calories) on the ride back to keep from getting cotton mouth.  Went through 2 more bottles of water on the way back.  On the run I just used water and a packet of shot blocks (200 calories).   Switching from Hammer Gel to GU elmiminated the stomach cramps.  Need to repeat this routine for the race.

Lesson Learned - DO NOT pour a gatorade powder packet into your water bottle with it in the bottle cage.  I was in a hurry and just took off the lid, unfortanately the Gatorade packet tore and powder went all over my front cranks, sproket and chain.  Gatorde sticks really well to chain lube.   Also, confirming my desire to carry 3 CO2 cartridges and 2 tubes.  One of the ladies I was riding with had a flat.  We stopped to change tubes, she was out of CO2.  Gave her one of my cartridges, she fixed the tire and we were off.  1/2 mile down the road the tire blows and she doesn't have another tube. I give her one of mine and she fixes her tire, but as she is filling it with air it blows again.  These are the unforseen issues you need to prep for.  I will carry 2 tubes and 3 new cartridges on the ride.  Amanda will have 2 spare tubes and 2 cartridges on the course.

Sunday (7/4) - Lou Gehrig's Farewell Speech ("Luckiest man on the face of the earth")

On July 4, 1939 Lou Gehrig gave his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with ALS, today known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  Lou Gerhig was known as the "Iron Horse" during his baseball career, and set a number of records before being diagnosed with this fatal disease.  I have had not only the priveledge of training for this upcoming Half Ironman and am blessed with a body that is healthy and allows me to move and do the things I love, but I have also had the opportunity to raise funds for ALS.  Thank you to my friends and family who have so generously donated.  If you would like to contribute to my fundraising efforts click on the following link:  Iron Phi Fund Raising Page

To learn more about Lou Gehrig you can click on the following link:  Lou Gehrig

Sunday night our friends Rich and Michele came over for BBQ before doing fireworks.  It was difficult to watch them drink beer while sitting by the pool while I was sipping on a water.  Then they brought out the ice cream for dessert and I ended up having my greek yogurt and blue berries. Argh!!! Only a couple more weeks.

Monday (7/5 ) - The Taper Begins 
Amanda and I took Koda for a short walk by the Lake.  Had aspirations of running 11 miles after a great day Saturday but it didn't work out.  It wasn't a planned run, but thought if I had the time I would squeeze it in.

Stretching morning and evening.

Tuesday (7/6)  -  Run 3.35 miles (31:22)
Easy run this morning to ease back into things.
Just found out that the 3 mile run I have been recording for the last 6 months is actually 3.35 miles.

Wednesday (7/7) - Run 3.35 miles  (29:13)
Easy run this morning.  Another appointment for my back and hip/leg/IT Band.  Not 100% but much better than I was a couple weeks ago.

Thursday (7/8) - 2 mile walk
Walk two miles with Koda after work.  Was going to do the 11 mile run I thought of on Monday but I got home too late and was tired and hungry.  Was going to go to the lake to swim, but really wasn't motivated.  Feeling guilty that I haven't done the 11 mile run.  Amazing how an unplanned run for fun has turned into a task I failed to complete.  Where is the logic in that.  All the coaches and forums say a week or two before the event the biggest mistake people make  is to start to panic and try to squeeze in a couple more long workouts for good measure, but they only end up fatiguing their muscles and really don't add any additional conditioning.

Stretching morning and evening.

Thursday night set up my rear mount bottle cages so I can test them on Friday morning ride before the Sprint Tri on Saturday.

Friday (7/9)  - Ride 5 miles
Heading out for an easy 20 mile ride to test my new rear mount bottle cages.   Came out the driveway and the bracket slipped.  Had to go back and tighten the screw.  Headed out a second time and ran into my neighbor picking up TP from the yard.  Talked a few minutes.  Finally got going on my ride and really wasn't feeling it.  Not good 1 week before the big race of the season.   After a couple miles I turned around and called it quits.  I am feeling very flat.  This is not a good sign.  Something needs to change.

Saturday (7/10)  TBF Sprint Distance Tri - last practice run before Vineman Ironman 70.3

Went out today to practice my transitions, test all equipment, nutrition, setup, and mainly to draw energy from the event, the athletes, and the crowds.  Very successful day.  Transitions went very smooth.  My rear mount bottle rack slipped again during the ride (not good).  I will need to figure something out on that during the next week.  Came away with a lot of energy, it was perfect and exactly what I need going into next weekend.

Total Time - 1:38:15  compared to 1:42:44 on the same course last year.
  • Swim 1/2 mile (14:57) - Held back 22 seconds on the start to let the wave get ahead of me.  This was a test for next weekend. I use a lot of energy in the first 5 minutes fighting with everyone for position, gasping for air and choking down water.  Then I find that once it starts to thin out I am tired.  I thought this time I would let the frenzy go ahead of me to conserve energy and then just get into my zone.  Worked really well.  Was able to swim my pace and pass a lot of people in my division as well as the division that went 5 minutes ahead of us.  Also tried out some new Nike Tri goggles.  They were great and will definitely be used next weekend.  Talked to a number of athletes who thought the swim was longer than a 1/2 mile. I think my time last year was  12:58 and I know my swimming has improved, so I was shocked that it took me almost 15 minutes to finish.
  • T1 (3:09)  - No issues getting wetsuit off or getting ready for the bike leg.
  • Bike 16 miles (51:29) - Was trying to push hard since it was only 16 miles. Average speed was 18.7.  Rear bottle cage slipped again around mile 4.  
  • T2 (3:06) - No issues.  A little difficulty changing socks trying to get new socks on wet feet.  Normally wouldn't do this, but next weekend I want new dry socks for the 13 mile run, and I am willing to give up a minute in transition for a little comfort on what will be a painful run.
  • Run 3 Miles (25:27) - My goal was to do the run in 30 minutes (10 minute mile).  I went out and felt like I was pushing myself, but not going fast - although I would pass someone once in awhile.  Then there wasn't a 1 mile marker so I wasn't able to judge by pace.  Then I hit the turnaround point (mile 1.5) at 13:06 which means I was doing better than a 10 minute mile because I expected to hit there at 15 minutes.  After coming around the turnaround I decided to see what I had left in the tank and decided to challenge myself to doing a negative split on the run.  So I started pushing a bit harder to where my legs were burning, and I was sucking wind.  Ended up with a second half of 12:21 (about an 8:15 mile) which is pretty good for me, although it certainly didn't feel like I was running that fast.  Overall run pace was an 8:30 per mile.
Great Day!!! Perfect Confidence builder.  If I can only carry the momentum into next weekend.

Race Results Comparisons for July 2010, July 2009, and July 2001 on the same course.

July 2001 - Time 1:43:02, 29th out of 35 in the 30-34 age group, and 289th out of 420 entries.
July 2009 - Time 1:42::44, 27th out of 35 in the 40-44 age group, and 213th out of 424 entries.
July 2010 - Time 1:38:15, 11th out of 25 in the 40-44 age group, and 109th out of  412 entries.

* Moral to the story: Never say can't or if I were younger, or If only.......(fill in the blank)   I just proved to myself that I could be 9 years older, starting out 40lbs + heavier, and still work my way back to putting in a better time than 2001 and a significant move up in overall standings.  
If I can do it, you can too.  Pick your goal, write it down, develop a plan to get there, and stick to it.    (note: July 2009 was the first Tri I had done since 2001.)

Sunday (7/11) - Rest Day

Today I will be building my race plan, nutrition plan, packing list and doing my shopping for next weekend so I am not running around all week next week in the evening after work.

Monday (7/12) - Ride 20 Miles (1:22)
Really easy ride today, average speed 14.3 MPH.  Just went out to enjoy the ride, not to push myself.  Stopped to take pictures along the route which I have done so many times in preparation for this weekend.  I thought it only fitting that since this might be one of the last times until Sunday I should stop and smell the roses.

                                Folsom Lake 6:00am                         Rainbow Bridge / American River

American River Bike Trail

Tuesday (7/13) - Busy Day at Work
Only stretching today.  Client deliverables due and we are behind schedule.  This was not part of the plan.  At work early and was here until 11:30pm.  This was supposed to be a restful week.

Wednesday (7/14) - Another Busy Day
Only stretching this morning again.  This is only fitting. Most of my planning hasn't gone perfectly and has caused me to make lots of adjustments.  Today I had to cancel my Thursday appointment for my last neuromuscular therapy prior to the race due to client commitments.

New adjustments.  Taking Friday off so I can get out of town before the traffic hits.  I will move my Saturday morning swim to preview the course, to Friday afternoon before the athlete reception dinner.   No swim early Saturday morning so I can sleep in and go straight to the mandatory pre-race meeting at 10:00am.  Amanda booked me for a 1.5 hour sports Therapy Massage tomorrow night at 7:30 in lieu of my other appointment.

Thursday (7/15) - And Again Another Busy Day (Easy 2 miles)
Did some stretching in the morning and ran an easy 2 miles.  Not exactly the week I had planned.  Tonight I had a 90 minute sports Therapy Massage to put the week behind and loosen up the muscles. Tomorrow begins the journey to Santa Rosa for swim Friday afternoon, reception dinner Friday night, registration and prep on Saturday, with the event on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June Training Log

Total Days of Working Out = 20 days (9 days with double workouts)

Miles Running: 61.6 miles (up from 54 in May)
Miles on Road Bike: 188.3 miles (down from 279 in May)
Swimming: 9676 yards (up from 7200 yards in May)

Starting Weight: 187 lbs
Ending Weight: 182.5 lbs

Spent most of the month nursing a nagging lower back and IT Band pain.  I was actually able to put in more total miles running and swimming (not as much as I had hoped), but cycling really suffered.  I wasn't able to put together my planned long runs and rides, and was only able to put together a couple small bricks.  Maintained a positive attitude most of the month and continually readjusted my workout plan to account for my back issues.  Started getting discouraged and frustrated the last couple days of the month. This was probably the realization that July was just around the corner and very disappointed that I haven't been able to do the intensity of training I had hoped for in June. I am still in the process of realigning my race plan, when I will begin my taper, and how to best use my last week of training.  At least I lost another 4.5 pounds.
Saturday (6/5) - Run 3.5 Miles (43 minutes)
3.5 miles, easy pace to stretch hip and lower back. 43 minutes.
20 minute run, 6 minute walk, 12 minute run, 5 minute walk. Sunny and
80 degrees. Need to move training runs to the afternoon and evenings to start to acclimate my body to running in the heat in July.

Sunday (6/6) -TBF Olympic Distance Triathlon - (3:02:26)
(.9 Mile Swim, 24.8 Mile Bike, and 6.2 Mile Run)

What a great day.  Enjoyed a wonderful morning with my wife and good friend Jamie who completed his first Olympic Distance Tri today.  Swim was very frustrating as many people could not swim in a straight line and I expended a lot of energy trying to avoid the zig zaggers that kept cutting me off and kicking me in the face.  At least I shaved 4 minutes off of my swim time from last August.  Bike went well, but I need to learn to hold back and not race.  My original plan was to lay back, but as soon as a couple people passed me I couldn't handle it anymore and had to step it up.   The Run was disastrous.  The transition and first mile were great.  This is the first time I have come off the bike and felt good about running.  However, by mile 1 my lower back started cramping again.  I had to slow down significantly to deal wth it.   I still finished a couple minutes faster than my August 2009 time even with a bad run.

Nutrition: Was able to consume two bottles of water on the bike and take in 4 ounces of Hammer Gel.  However, I had stomach cramps on the bike and run.  Need to work on this.

Changes:  Ran with my cycling socks. No good - too thin and my feet started to hurt.   Ran without carrying water.  No good - need to carry a water botte for psychological reasons.  Tri Jersy - No good - it is fine for shorter distance, but it is a mesh fabric that starts to rub you wrong after several hours.  Need a softer fabric.

.9 Mile Swim - 26 minutes
Bike 24.8 Mile - 1 Hour 22 Minutes
Average Speed 17.5

Run - 6.2 Miles - Too Long

Comparison Times - Folsom Olympic Distance Tri (August 2009)
Swim -30:08
T1 - 5:45
Bike - 1:21:42
T2 - 5:13
Run - 1:02:43
Total - 3:05:33

Monday (6/7)- Run 3 miles (no timer)
Taking it easy to heal my back.
Tuesday (6/8) - Run 3 miles and Swim
Ran an easy 3 miles (29:10) in the morning.
Swim 15 minutes in the evening to try out the smaller size on the Xterra westuit.  Fits much better.

Folsom Lake Sunset following Swim

Wednesday (6/9) - Run 4.5 Miles (39:08)

Thursday (6/10) - Bike 13.2 miles (55:22)  / Run 4 Miles (39:45)
6:00am ride, average speed of 14.3 MPH.  Felt sluggish, starting to leave the iPod at home to get used to training without music.  Rode at higher cadence in small sprocket to keep from stressing my back.

8:00 PM run 4 miles.  Legs still feel fatigued.  Could be nutrition oriented because I have had an easy week.

Saturday (6/12) - Mock Tri Training Day
Worked out with the El Dorado Hills Tri Club today.  Overall had a great time.  For anyone looking for coaching or help achieving their Triathlon goals I would highly recommend Kari Duane.  She  is a very positive and encouraging Tri coach.  Swim went great (5th out of the water) although sighting and tracking was difficult and drank quite a bit of water in the chop.  Bike went well, although  I don't know what Kari was thinking setting the bike course with two trips from rainbow bridge to Beals point.  The run course included a couple miles of trail running, and trip down the bike trail from Beal's point and back up the hill (Thanks alot Kari), and then the psychological killer 4 laps around the parking area of Beal's point (that was a miserable 15 minutes of running).

Swim 1.4 miles - 44:58
T1 - 5:09
Bike - 25 miles - 1:32:24
T2 - 5:05
Run 6.9 miles - 1:19:21
Total - 3:47

Monday (6/14) - Stationary Bike 8.4 miles (30 minutes)
Rode 30 minutes on the recumbent stationary bike.  My back and IT Band are killing me.  Thinking this may take some stress of my back.  Average speed of 17.2 MPH, program "Rolling Hills - Level 5"

Wednesday (6/16) - What to do?  What to do?
Lower back and IT Band still very painful.  Really not sure what to do.  No workouts yesterday or today other than stretching and situps in the morning and evening. Icing IT Band, heat on lower back.  Researching whether I should push through and risk further injury, and hope to recover and heal during my taper, or should I rest now and extend my training period and eliminate part of my recovery.  Creating a lot of mental stress.  This was not part of the plan.  This is supposed to be my peak training period through the July 4th weekend before beginning to taper and rest. I know it is not wise to push right now, but feeling concerned about time left to get in my workouts.   Leaning towards a middle of the road strategy to give my back more time to heal.  Move to stationary recumbent bike, eliptical trainer instead of running, and continue swimming.  This way I continue to get some workouts in, but take the stress off of my back.  Time will tell if this works.  I just don't feel comfortable sitting completely idle, and I don't think it wise to continue to push hard. 

Thursday (6/17) - Stationary Bike 14.6 miles (60 minutues)
Recumbent bike.  367 calories burned.  Lower back seems no worse for wear. 

Saturday (6/19) - Stationary Bike 10.1 miles (40 minutes) / Run 3 miles (30 minutes)
Rode 40 minutes (273 calories) on the recumbent bike at home while watching the world cup. Ran 3 miles on the eliptical at the gym (326 calories).  This is very boring and too much like work.  What I may be losing in intensity and "real world" workouts I am gaining in mental strength.  About two minutes into it I am ready to quit.

Friday night Amanda and I took class #1 of the Advanced bicycle maintenance class with Casey at Bicycles plus.  Turns out my chain was stretched out and needed replacing, which also led to the replacement of the rear cassette.   The good news is that while replacing the rear cassette I was able to move to the Ultegra 11-28 from the 12-25 that was currently on there.  This will give me two new climbing gears that I didn't have previously.  This will be particularly useful for the Gran Fondo in October, but certainly won't hurt to have for Chalk Hill which comes late in the race during the half ironman.  Looking forward to getting back on the bike and hitting Costco Hill, Beatty Drive, and Serrano Parkway with the new gears.  Although I still may have to wait a couple weeks.

Sunday (6/20) - Ride 20 Miles (1:21:43)
I just couldn't stay off the bike, it was calling me out into the sunshine.  I really wanted to go ride hills, but my back is still not any better and IT band is screaming.  I decided to exercise caution and not over do it.  I rode 20 miles and kept in on the small front sproket to keep from putting too much stress on the legs and back.  Average speed was 14.6 with very little exertion.  May want to consider a higher cadence strategy for the half ironman and do most of the ride in the small front gear to preserve my legs.  I got a chance to try out the new gear ratio and it definately made a difference.  I used it on the long uphill coming back over the new bridge and was able to maintain a similar speed as before (10 mph), but at a higher cadence (95) which definately caused less fatigue on my legs. 

Monday (6/21) - Run 4.3 Miles (40 minutes) on eliptical / Ride 25 miles (1:46:25)
Spent 40 minutes (386 calories) on the eliptical this morning at the gym.  Still boring, but doesn't seem to be negatively effecting my back.

9:00pm rode on my recumbent stationary bike in the garage for almost 2 hours while watching a training webinar.  Average speed 14.9 mph - burned 619 calories. 

Tuesday (6/22) - Run 3.6 miles (30 minutes) on eliptical  / Swim 1.8 Miles (57:50)
6:30 am ran on the eliptical at the gym again.  Lower Back and IT band still sore, but aren't getting any worse.  286 calories. 

6:00 pm did a 1.8 mile open water swim tonight at Folsom Lake.  Ended up running into a guy from EDH Tri Club (Dave) and ended up swiming together.  Very tired.  Need some sleep.
Keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to run by Saturday when we go back to preview the vineman course.

Wednesday (6/23) - Stationary Bike 7.5 miles (30 minutes)
Ran one time around the block very slowly to see how the lower back was doing. It seems to be healing.  Keeping my fingers crossed for Saturday.

Thursday (6/24) - Run 6.6 miles (60 minutes) on eliptical

Saturday (6/26) - Run 6 miles and Ride 19.25

Today the EDH Tri Club met in Windsor to ride and run the Vineman course.  Since we had the kids with us and my Mom is travelling we didn't feel right leaving the kids alone for half the day at grandmas house.  I already rode the course last month so I stayed with the kids while Amanda did a 72 mile ride.  I dropped her off at the Windsor High School at 8:00am to meet with the club.  As they rode away my muscles were twitching - I wanted to be on my bike so bad.  I went back to my Mom's house in Santa Rosa to wait to pick Amanda up.  While the kids were sleeping I decided to test out the lower back and IT Band.  So I went for a 2.5 mile run (23:16).  Things felt fine and no significant pain. 

I then decided I would go for a short ride while waiting for Amanda to finish.  So I parked at Windsor HS and decided to ride the Vineman bike course backwards until I ran into Amanda.  I came up the backside of Chalk Hill, and as I was decending I passed Amanda on her way up.  I went all the way to the bottom so that I could ride back up Chalk Hill for training purposes.  The new 11-28 cassette is a winner.  Made going up Chalk Hill much easier.  Met up with Amanda at the top and we finished out the ride together (19 miles / 1:18:47)

We then set out for a dreaded run in the heat.  I didn't carrry any water, so I decided to limit the run to about 40 minutes.  Ended up running about 3.5 miles (39:28).  Rethinking my ride strategy.  Even though I only rode 19 miles my legs still felt a little sluggish.  I may be better off pushing my bike exertion to reduce the time as much as possible since it looks like my run will stink no matter what I do. 

Sunday (6/27) - Ride 20 Miles (1 hour 17 minutes) / Swim 1 Mile (30 minutes)
Rode 20 miles this morning with Amanda.  Went around Lake Natoma, up hill towards Beals Point and then up hill again over the new Folsom Bridge.  Legs felt really fresh.

Went for a 1 mile open water swim at Folsom Lake this evening at sunset (8:00pm).

Monday (6/28) - Run 4 miles (40:39)
Went out for an easy run this morning.  It was great to be out in the sunshine again rather than the eleptical at the gym.  My back is starting to feel a little better, but I still have to run cautiously to keep from going backwards.

Stretching 45 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

Tuesday (6/29) - Run 3 miles (30:39)
95 degrees out.  Prepping for running in the mid-day heat. 
Stretching 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. 

Wednesday (6/30) - Run 3 miles (30:34)
What a difference a day makes.  The day started out feeling very frustrated with the nagging lower back pain and IT Band issues.  Likely triggered by the fact that it is the last day of the month and I haven't been able to put in the volume and intensity that I had planned.  Went in for some neuromusculor therapy for the first time. Was very helpful in pinpointing some of my issues and relieving some of the pain.  Left with some specific stretches to include in my regimen to loosen up the hips, glutes, etc.  Went for an easy run afterwards and felt much better than the last couple weeks.
Stretching 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.