Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 is coming. It's resolution time!

I like New Year's because people leave their Christmas lights up until after the first of the year.

I used to make what some people call resolutions. Whether it was fitness, finances, habits or relationships the moment life gave resistance to my plans my "resolutions" were thrown away. I am not the only one guilty of this. Let's review the facts.

Webster's says: Resolution is defined as: "a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something."

The root word here is resolute. Resolute sounds a bit more FIRM to me. Resolute: an adjective: "firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion; characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc."

So what's the point?

I would like us - as a country or world - to:

1) Not reserve the beginning of the calendar year to be the only time we become "resolute".
2) Not forget the meaning of the word resolution and be more resolute when we set goals.

I have and will deal with this phenomenon because I am human. Life DOES present real ebb and flow that must be handled. That said, I have changed quite a bit over the past year because I have been consistent and true to my resolutions. My resolutions were NOT made on New Year's 2011 ... but in March. The point is that if something is bothering you that needs to change and that change requires resolution ... do not wait until Monday or New Year's Day. Do it now.

I have more to change and much more to learn in life. I am not making any resolutions in 2012. What I am going to do is continue what I resolved in March of 2011. I hope that this continuation will show me more ways to improve.

Have a great 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A 10 day blog entry gap ... did something bad happen?

I am fine. I am thankful for the holidays, my family and my friends. The two week visit to the "motherland" of western Kentucky was good. I trained, visited, ate, trained, visited, stayed up way too late, trained in the cold Kentucky rain, ate some more and DROVE. I drove nearly 4000 miles in two weeks and 3200 of those miles were driven in four days. It is good to be home to the desert.

My hip flexors and gluts usally take a beating on those long driving days. This time around it was a bit easier ... except for dealing with a virus I contracted a couple of days before we left Kentucky. Sore throat, clogged ears and mucus. Lots of mucus. Gotta love the holidays!

I trained 9 of the 14 available training days during the trip. Of course I was not about to train on the days following the drive IN to Kentucky. But through the power of the human adaptation principle, I did manage to run 9 miles on the day after a 16 hour driving day and run at an 8 min/mile pace. All things considered, I am pleasantly surprised by this trip and the support my whole family showed me by allowing me enough time to train and not giving me too much grief about it. I left the desert weighing 192 and returned 14 days later weighing 192. Considering all that I ate - that is impressive.

I am planning on making my first assault on South Mountain over the weekend. I am going to do brick work on that hill so many times over the next four months that I am sure that I will begin to loathe it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trained six days in a row - during a holiday visit

So I have backed off on my intensity per my coaches instructions. My body needs to learn how to utilize energy at a lower heart rate to build a stronger base of training. With this lessened intensity comes more responsibility in the diet.

I have managed to train consistently in the first week of our two week Kentucky visit. I am a little surprised. What is nice is that everyone is supporting my efforts. I have already doubled my November's total run mileage and I still have 12 days left. I am not back to the level I was at in September and October yet, but I am still pleased with how it is going.

We had a great visit with some close friends on Friday evening. Most of the people at the gathering have known one another since 1977 or so ... needless to say everybody is fairly comfortable with one another. We laughed, joked, gossiped and razzed until a new day began. We even had an opportunity to play with a 3 week old Boer Goat. He was funny!

I will take a day off tomorrow ... and then plan on hitting it hard through Friday morning.

Be good!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back to the run

Yesterday I ran a 10 miler at a comfortable 8:25 per mile pace. This was the longest run I have finished since the SOMA 70.3. The good news is that this leisurely pace was still better than my SOMA race pace. Granted, I had not done two other sports prior to this particular run, but this was a stronger pace than most of my training runs prior to the SOMA goodness. The run is sort of rolling, but not bad. My only complaint about my home town course is that the road slope is very noticeable.

After the run and a few more hours of work ... both web design work and teaching duties, Carrie and I went to the gym to lift some weights and swim. I no longer dread swimming. I actually somewhat enjoy it. I slept like a log last night too - which is good considering I have been fighting the sinus monster again this week.

I have an interesting swim to do today - 1800 meters of drills, including 17 reps of 50 meter sprints. I look forward to it. I will probably spin a bit too if I can locate a spin bike at the temporary gym.

I have talked with two local western KY Ironman 2011 finishers this week. One was a Louisville finisher and the other was Florida. I will talk with a third tonight (also Louisville) at a gathering of friends. It is so great to hear the stories of their accomplishment. They keep echoing the same scene that is in my mental imagery ... the moment of crossing the finish line.

The holidays are an interesting time for sure. It is interesting being in town but still having to work during the day. It is what it is. Train hard and behave during the holidays. You can bet I will be doing the same.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday visit - with a twist

Time slipped away on the blog for the last few days. Busy. I am finally getting back into a groove with the training. It makes it interesting to have work, train and visit while not in my own house. I am not that organized at home - yet ... but training out of bags and suitcases makes things interesting. Hats off to the triathlon pros in the world that travel and train like this constantly.

So I have a new task for myself when we arrive back in Phoenix. I am going to super-organize my gear room. Not just triathlon gear, but all of our gear.

The change in climate has really messed with my sinuses. It seems my immunity is always teetering on the brink nowadays. I took an extra day off from training to recover from two days of driving and a nagging sore throat. I went out last night for a very nice and comfortable 5 mile run at an 8 minute pace. It felt good.

This morning I woke up at Oh Dark Thirty and headed out for the pool in Murray for an 1800m swim workout. I like that pool. It seems faster and the water seems to cooperate a little more.

I have scouted out a new bike route that I want to try here. I may do that this afternoon coupled with a shorter higher-paced run.

Happy Holidays. More later.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lactate Threshold Test #3 - The bike

I had intentions of going out early this morning to get this workout done. I had two or three big work items to complete and they were of the type that timing mattered ... so I had to wait until I completed those prior to taking off. I think it helped me. It had warmed up to about 48 degrees by the time I left for the warmup ride.

During the test, I went really hard. My heart rate monitor was screaming at me. "Heart rate too high" it kept flashing and beeping. I just kept working. 30 minutes later I had ridden 11.89 miles for an average of 23.6 miles per hour. This loop I rode was "flat" in total, but there was a rise and fall at the back of the loop that caused my speed to fluctuate quite a bit. I rode between 22 and 25 fairly consistently. I felt a bit pukish after the test. I guess that means I went hard.

So now I know my zones for training at distance. This is a big shift for me. Most of my training has been at a much higher heart rate. The idea of riding or running at my L1 heart rate zones just seems boring. I, however, being a newbie, need to stick to the plan until the plan fails me.

Holidays are upon us ... time to train harder and have some family fun too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lactate Threshold Test #2 - Run

Yes it was a bit chilly this morning. Chilly is relative ... but 30 degrees in the desert is pretty darn cool.

Back in the summer I found this middle school with a packed gravel 400m track. It is sort of tucked away - and that makes it all the more useful. I trained there one morning in June just to test its feasibility for future endeavors. This morning was the first of those endeavors.

I ran two warmup laps. All systems felt fine and I needed to generate some heat so I took off. Lap 1 - 89 seconds. Hmmmm - I wanted faster than that. I am no Michael Johnson (who has done a 42 second 400m in a relay race), but I think I can do much better than this in the future. Of course, I did know going into lap 1 that I had to do 19 more laps after that one, so I may have been my own enemy on that one. Nonetheless, the point of LT Tests is that you go all out.

The good news is that I went as hard as I could go on each of the 20 laps this morning. I ended up with a 21:36 for the 3.10 miles. My average speed was 8.6 mph. That's a 6:58 per mile pace. I am fairly content with that number considering A) There were no rabbits to chase and B) I had to drop off my run training a bit last month due to all the biking I needed to do to prepare for the Tucson and St George rides.

I am taking the afternoon off to recover from the 8 hours of training I have already put in this week. We also need to pack for traveling home for the holidays.

Next LT test ... Friday ... the bike.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lactate Threshold Test #1 - 1000m swim

So I am doing my Lactate Threshold testing this week.

What the heck is that?

The lactate threshold (LT) is the exercise intensity at which lactate (more specifically, lactic acid) starts to accumulate in the blood stream. The reason for the acidification of the blood at high exercise intensities is two-fold: the high rates of ATP hydrolysis in the muscle release hydrogen ions, as they are co-transported out of the muscle into the blood via the MCT—monocarboxylate transporter, and also bicarbonate stores in the blood begin to be used up. This happens when lactate is produced faster than it can be removed (metabolized). This point is sometimes referred to as the anaerobic threshold (AT), or the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA). When exercising below the LT intensity any lactate produced by the muscles is removed by the body without it building up. The lactate threshold is a useful measure for deciding exercise intensity for training and racing in endurance sports (e.g. long distance running, cycling, rowing, swimming and cross country skiing), but varies between individuals and can be increased with training. Interval training takes advantage of the body being able to temporarily exceed the lactate threshold, and then recover (reduce blood-lactate) while operating below the threshold and while still doing physical activity. Fartlek and interval training are similar, the main difference being the structure of the exercise. Interval training can take the form of many different types of exercise and should closely replicate the movements found in the sport.

Why is this important? It gives me the zones that I need to train in during my phased approach to Ironman.

This LT test was 1000m swim as fast as I could go. I did the 1000m in 19minutes and 02 seconds. Definitely my fastest swim ever - by a long shot. I was pretty gassed afterwards ... but managed to pull everything together and get in an hour of spin and an hour of Yoga.

Embrace the day!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

... and that's the way it was

I like race days. It's new and familiar at every start line. It's new because I get to see where my progress takes me and it's familiar because every start feels about the same for me. What is that feeling? Nervous tension or potential energy converted into a burst of freedom giving kinetic energy.

The 400m swim went pretty well. I was not at my fastest due to traffic in the pool ... but I was at my most comfortable ever at the end of a 400m pool melee. 8:55. That is a 2:13 per 100m pace which is my second fastest 100m average time to date. The thing is, I felt so strong in the water I actually wanted to swim more. Not today Bryonman. Save it for later. It is time to get on the bike.

The bike. It was cold to start. On the first lap I think I was struggling to get my breathing under control. The 55 degree misty weather felt good except on my knees and hips. I did the first 5 mile loop in about 12:30. On the second lap, things started firing. Okay, here we go. I did the second lap in about 11:55. I was showing 24:25 on my bike computer for the 10.25 miles. I have more in the tank. Lap three was even faster. On the tiny little hill that there is on the course I was RIPPING up the incline at nearly 20mph, I passed 4 cyclists just before a 90 degree right turn and started down the 33-35mph section of the course. POW! - What was that? Oh nothing just keep ... crap. I felt the WHOLE road - every little pebble because I was riding on the rim on the back tire. Well - that's it for the day. I pull off and practice a frantic but controlled tube change. A few minutes later I was back on the road. I was only about 3 miles from the run transition. I hoped my quick repair would hold. It was cool enough today that my CO2 containers were not flowing very freely so I did not get much air out of the canister. I flew down the back stretch well over 30 mph - passing the bulk of the cyclists in the area because I was no longer at the front of the pack with the faster riders. Then I start feeling shaky and unstable on the bike with each pedal stroke. It can't be! A flat on the front too ... and in a turn? Really? I slide outside the cones and into the car lane. I managed to unclip and keep the bike from going down completely. I figured I did not have another spare tube. I was wrong! I had packed two tubes for my recent assault on the Tour of Tucson and they were still in my pack! The front was a lot quicker change because I had just changed a flat - oh about 2 and a half minutes ago. I mount the bike again and pass a ton of bikes to finish up hard. 44:27 ... so I believe my two flats cost me at least 8 minutes and maybe more. Seriously, I was flying today. I felt good on the bike. I started thinking during transition how I was going to blog about this. Then I remembered that I still had to finish the race.

The run was not the best but not the worst either. The truth is that the course has quite a sustained and annoying uphill at about the midway point that lasts almost to the finish. The run was 23:23 (You are welcome Michael Jordan). That is a 7:32 pace. I admit that I did not go 100% because I knew it was a better decision to run this 5K in preparation for my next few weeks of training ... sustaining a pace at a lower heart rate.

My total time: 1:16:45. 5th place in my age group. I firmly believe I would have won the age group today and that my final time would have been down around my goal of 1:05.

I am proud of this race. I am not all that peeved about the result. I learned a ton about my ability to focus under less than ideal circumstances. I also put it in perspective ... even during the race. "Hey, Bryonman you held it together and escaped the race without injury", I said to myself on the 5K. I passed four runners that were 15 years younger than me right at the end of the race on a dead sprint.

Big training weeks ahead. The focus is now on longer distances and more controlled heart rates. I am sharpening my swords. I am ready to work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting ready to race again - for the last time in 2011

One last race - the Anthem sprint triathlon on December 3rd. It will be chilly coming out of the pool and hopping on to the bike. I am going to use that to my advantage ... I do not get cold very easily.

The training is going well this week. I have already had two weight training sessions and two yoga sessions. I had a wonderful and long swim workout on Monday and had quite a reaction to the chlorine in the gym pool. I have been itching since Monday and had a sinus flare up to boot.

I really like spin sessions. I can go hard in these sessions without worrying with traffic. I need to do my own sessions so that I can stretch out the length. I need to start doing 2 and 3 hour spin sessions followed by a short treadmill run. In fact, it is not a bad situation to be able to simulate all the sports in a non-race setting to work on strategies, nutrition and new equipment. I may also buy a bike trainer to allow me to spin at home too. Triathloning has proven to be expensive. I think I have most of the equipment I need.

There are some fresh changes / expansions coming for both the blog and my training in the next few weeks. I begin next week with some lactic threshold testing (going as hard as I can until I vomit to see what my body can handle) ... and then I begin more intense run and swim training. My next two races are not until the end of January (half marathon) and February (sprint triathlon). Here is the deal - I am motivated now that I have seen the St. George course because I now know more about HOW I need to train. Essentially, I am going to use these changes to replace my race preparation ... so that I won't miss getting ready for events.

Go! Go! Go!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I have seen St. George and it is good!

After the Thanksgiving triathlon, Carrie, Baron and I headed out on the drive to St. George, UT. The goal was to get out of town, clear our lungs and preview the Ironman St. George course.

The surrounding area is scenic. The temperatures on my ride day were awesome! I like cooler weather. 50-60 degrees is a range with which I can easily deal even on the bike at 40+ miles per hour.

I was a little tired from the drive and the race on the previous day ... but I felt better after some breakfast at the Fairway Grill in St. George. We drove up to Sand Hollow State Park and the guards let me in on the bike to see the reservoir. It is water! I snapped a few photos, reset the garmin and the bike computer. I was off to ride this allegedly "killer" bike course.

The first few miles are pleasing! I will enjoy emerging from the deeps of the water to ride downhill for about 7 miles before the road juts upward. I am trying to not become too reliant on gagedtry to run this race. At my current level of fitness, this first hill is probably a 13 mph race-paced effort. It is steep, but not super steep. This incline is followed by another great downhill.

This rolling terrain interrupted by short steep bursts describe this whole route. I have seen all of the course. The most disappointing part may be that the pavement is a bit sub par. I suppose I am spoiled by the Phoenix and Scottsdale streets.

I left St. George feeling confident that I can finish the race. If I do my job over the next few months, I can make this an enjoyable race AND have a decent finishing time. I am so happy that I chose St. George for my first Ironman.

I have some more adjustments to make to the nutrition plan this week. I have to recooperate a bit from a crazy November and move on to one more event that will conclude my 2012 triathlon season. It is a USAT sanctioned sprint race in Anthem, AZ.

Happy Thanksgiving ... how 'bout a triathlon to start the holiday?

For many years Carrie and I spent our Thanksgiving rock climbing in Joshua Tree, CA. This was already a departure from a "traditional" American Thanksgiving celebration.

For the past few years, we were close enough to our families to resume a more traditional gathering ... but this year we were back out west and in more of an active lifestyle.

-Small race report-

It was a chilly start to the YMCA Turkey Triathlon. It was in the upper 40s when I arrived at 5:15am to pick up my packet. There were 375 participants in the reverse triathlon that included a 2 mile run, 12 mile bike and 400m swim. Aside from the Solana Beach sprint race, this was the largest sprint race I have done ... some fast chicas and dudes showed up for a little Thanksgiving competition. Good! Let's do this.

- The Run -

The fastest pace I have held across two miles since I was 16 years old. I held a 6:13 pace. I believe I could have maintained it for a full 3.1 which would have put me at a sub 19 minute 5k. Needless to say this is exciting for me because I am starting my half-marathon training next week. Run time - 12:27. After my usual fast transition I was off on the bike.

- The Bike -

The bike time is good. I did not feel strong. I rode the new Specialized tri bike. It was my first race on this bike. This bike has a total of 50 miles on it so far ... I think I just need a little more time to adjust to the positioning and gearing. I averaged 22.6 mph on the bike for a 12 mile time of 32 minutes. I went to the wrong rack with the bike - so I cost myself about 25 seconds in transition looking for the correct rack. Someone had thrown their towel over top of my bright yellow bag that I always use to mark my spot. I am in 14th place overall! Let's get in the water.

- The swim -

I am glad I have been swimming so much this month - because this swim would have been brutal without the ramped up training. Two things mattered here: 1) The swim was last. 2) This is a 50 meter pool. I do not train in a 50 meter pool. This was the second time I have ever been in a 50 meter pool in my life. My swimming has been in either open water (which I still prefer) or a 25 meter pool. The swim was not awful - but my pace was slowed over my last 400m effort. 10:26.

Total time - 55:02 - 3rd in the age group and 24th among the men overall.

I have to STOP making mental mistakes when I am on the bike. This frightens me a bit. I am too focused on output on the bike to notice much else about what is going on around me. This is the fourth race I have had some sort of decisioning issue related to the bike leg. FOCUS!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 officially got ginormous yesterday ...

"Will I get a slot at IMAZ 2012?" "I heard there are more volunteers than there are slots."

After the rule change to allow the 2011 racers to sign up for 2012 the day before their 2011 race, I thought for certain that I would be left out in the mild desert temps searching for a November 2012 race other than IMAZ. (I was going to say "left out in the cold" there but for some of my friends it is never cold in Arizona).

So with my bright green IronTeam volunteer shirt and a folding chair, I headed to Tempe early on Monday morning. I was 90% sure I would not get a slot. I was wrong! I am in for IMAZ in November 2012.

So that means I have to be very wise and stick to my plans. I need to get a brief base period prior to building for St. George in May ... then I need to be super diligent about the recovery from that race prior to jumping back into a brief base mode and then build back to IMAZ. I need to stick with my nutrition plan. I need to listen to my joints and muscles. I need to keep my mental status in check. If I follow the plan, 2012 will be an epic year in my life.

What's the rush? What's the hurry? Why two 140.6 races in one year?

I suppose I am making up for wasted time. I suppose this is my release. I suppose that I feel like I want to do these now while my body seems willing to do pretty much what I ask it to do (except drop these last few pounds).

Adding to the many things I have learned in 2011 through this training is that I should have always chased my given desire to be physically fit through endurance exercise. It's fun for me. I have known for a long time that I could go and go and go on things while others faded. The bike race I did on Saturday is proof that I love the punishment. I grunted and groaned for about 60 of those 111 miles, but never once did I wish I was not participating. I never said to myself "Why am I doing this?"

What are YOU not doing that you know you SHOULD be doing?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Congrats to IronPeople!

We spent the day volunteering at bike aid #2 at Ironman Arizona. It was a ton of work but fun to watch.

Congrats to Dan Quick, Ashley Robota, Bruce McHenry, Rodney Kinney, Colin Tetreault, Isabel Brady, John Landry, Adam Folts and Shawna Glazier-Folts ... you all are IronPeople!

Did my part as a volunteer


http://www.azcentral.com/photo/Sports/Other/20771/534467

Saturday, November 19, 2011

29th Annual El Tour de Tucson -111 mile "tour ride"

This was my first time to do this event. Holy cow! This is a very difficult event. Make no mistake, this is a race when you have people trying to get in under the specified time.

2:30am came early - especially with NO sleep. I tried. I went to bed at 8pm. It did not work.

I have so much to say about this race ... but I want to formulate it when I am not beat down tired.


I went for a sub five hour performance. The unofficial time is 5:00:48. Get this - they handed me a Platinum medal anyway. I suspect they are correcting for the rolling start and for the fact that it was 111 miles rather than the 109 mile standard distance.

Either way ... I have the platinum medal and I know I was sub 5! More later!




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Still buzzing with excitement after the 4 hours and 58 minutes of the El Tour de Tucson. Doing this ride in under 5 hours is a challenge. I barely made it, but I can honestly say I can look back and say "Yes, I gave that all I had." I have retraced the whole event and there was not a moment where I wasn't 100% engaged in what I was doing. Aside from losing a bit of steam on some of the sustained hill sections and cramping up at miles 91 and 103 I have no regrets or complaints.

Here is a less than brief race report.

At 2:30 am my silly "rooster" alarm on my dumb phone woke me. Time to go make the donuts. I managed to sleep from 8pm to 9pm and then again from 1am to 2:30am. Yes, that is 2 and a half hours of sleep after a long day at work and then wrangling my self down to Tucson.

Why 2:30am Bryonman? Well, the folks that are hoping for Platinum that are not already of Platinum status traditionally begin lining up in their position at the start line at 3:30am on race day. So I took my time, fooded up and drove 10 miles from my hotel over to the Tucson Convention Center. After paying $10.00 to park in a lot that I paid just $5.00 for less than 10 hours earlier, I too headed to the start line. It was 4:00am. There were already 150 people (at least) lined up waiting to begin the quest ... 3 hours from now. The outside temperature - a balmy 51 degrees. I do not get cold easily, but 51 degrees in bike shorts and a bike jersey is darn chilly. Laugh if you want, but I found myself going to the port-a-john to warm up. How pleasant is that?

BANG! Did that? Was that? It was the starting pistol. Thank goodness. Time to warm up. Except there was no warm up. Myself and 3200 of my closest friends where ripping down the streets of Tucson at nearly 30mph. Chaos!

If you have never cycled at high speed with a GIANT pack of people it is impressive, scary, intense, maddening and amazing. By giant pack, I do not mean 20 people ... I mean 200+. In fact, I spent MOST of this 111 miles with a cycle within inches of me on all four sides. I'd say my bike wheel got hit about 10 times throughout the day. I did not return the favor to the cyclist in front of me all day. Almost, but not quite.

El Tour has what they call "river crossings". Arizonans know that a river does not have to include water. These are dry river beds with packed gravel. Crossing #1 happened quickly. It caught me off guard a little. I managed to ride through it and dodge the people that fell over due to being hit by another cyclist or just choosing a bad line. Being a mountain biker helps with my bike handling abilities. Some of these road riders have never been on a mountain bike and it shows.

I rode next to major league baseball player Barry Bonds for about 15 minutes during the ride. Even traded a few words back and forth with him. He seemed happy to be there. It is hard to bag on a guy who is out trying new things. He bought his bike a year ago and he's already doing 111 mile races? Props to Barry. He finished in 5hours 47minutes.

The first 35 miles is uphill and the group I was in killed that 35 miles in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I knew this was too fast for me but thought, "hey, that is the magic of being able to draft." From mile 38 to 60 just flew by. It was the easiest portion of the course. There was a ton of downhill. I knew I had many many more miles, so I pulled back the intensity and went for consistency and body position.

Then we rolled up on the second river crossing. Again, no water ... just lots and lots of loose sand, tipped over bikes and bottoms of shoes going over handlebars. I rode most of this crossing too whilst dodging my less fortunate comrades. I did dismount for the final hill climb out of the ravine because I did not have the correct tires to climb a 30 degree sandy slope.




Then the uphill started.

That is when I found out that the 80 or so cyclists I had been riding with for the past 60 miles were the chase group and most of them were pro cyclists. Uh oh! I picked the wrong group to snuggle up to for the ride. These guys were machines on the uphill. I mean like 20 mph on a decent incline. I was fading fast. I backed off the pace at mile 62 because I had to eat and did not want do eat a solid meal in the peleton.

Then it got lonely ... except for the wind howling in my face. Great! Uphill into the wind after going out too hard for the first 62 miles. I looked down at my friend Garmin ... average 23.9 mph - for 62 miles? Are you serious? I tapped the bezel to make sure it was right. I don't know why I tapped the bezel. I just did. I did not need to average this to make it under 5 hours. What am I doing?

I am literally riding alone. I can see no one behind me. "That group in front of you is only 9 minutes back from the lead group. Go catch them.", a spectator yells to me. Thanks my friend, but that group in front of me just dropped me like Demi dropped Ashton ... quickly and without words. I am over half way through this ride and I am only 9 minutes back from the lead group. It started to psych me out. I have a history of this behavior. I get freaked out when someone mentions something that makes me realize I am actually performing really well. I start getting worried about maintaining the pace.




Mile 70 is a barrier mile for me that I have to break through every time I get there. I was in a rolling set of hills somewhere in Tucson riding alone into the wind when I looked down and saw 75.6 miles on my odometer. Holy cow, I am still in this. I can still do it.

Whoosh - a bright green tandem passes me on a slight downhill. They had about 10 riders with them too! This is my chance to really get back in this ... so I jumped in the draft line. Life was good again. Timing is everything. I had just realized that I could still finish in under five hours when a group of cyclists show up. If I had just had the realization that I COULD NOT finish in under five hours, I probably would have let them fly on by without grabbing their tail. There is a life lesson.

75 to 90 went by quickly. After a train crossing and a hard sprint to catch up to the chase group I started cramping up in my left hamstring and right calf ... at the same time. I ate a Nuun tablet - chewing it up and letting it fizz in my mouth for a moment and chasing it with water. In less than a minute the cramp went away. I managed to stay with the pack! Cramps suck. I have to figure this out before St. George, I thought to myself.

The last 20 miles of this ride are defeating. The road is rough, the scenery is blah and it is on a slight uphill and add in the wind and you have a fantastic opportunity for hostility. The pack started getting frustrated with one another. Not me. I have no business talking smack to these guys and gals that are pro cyclists. I slowly make my way toward the back of the pack and let them work out their hostility on pulling me to the finish line.




I stayed with them until the sprint to the finish. Who finishes a ride with an uphill? You stay classy Tucson! The home stretch was flat and I did get to pass a few of the pros that had emptied the tank on the last uphill. It was nice to know I could still get 30mph on a flat that far into a ride.

"Did we get it?", I asked a fellow rider. "Nope. We missed it by 20 seconds or so." Crap! All that work. About that time a soldier volunteering at the race came by and she was marking people's bib numbers. "Is this gold or platinum", another cyclist asks. "Oh, this is platinum, you all made it!" I literally wanted to eat my bike because A) I was hungry for real food and B) I was so excited that they were giving us the platinum!

I just walked around like a zombie for 15 minutes looking for water. They were out at the final aid station. I came to my senses and took my happy self over to claim my medal. High fives from volunteers. I tried to cry but my eyes were so dry from staring into the wind for 5 hours, there wasn't anything there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Changing routine without changing anything

I have decided that I like routine. Here's a new approach I am taking to help eliminate both my body's specific adaptation to my training and what some athletes consider to be the ho-hum of Ironman base training.

I decide prior to each training session how hard I am going to go and I pick out a goal to focus on for just that sesssion. I love training. I love progress. I want to keep this enjoyment level throughout the journey. I have often heard and said "attitude determines behavior". I believe in that phrase. If your behavior drives your attitude in Ironman training I believe burnout is highly likely. In other words, if you use the outcomes of your training or racing determine your attitude; the highs and lows could cause mental fatigue.

This week I have already swam 3000+ meters, biked over 50 miles and have two awesome Yoga sessions under my belt. I am trying to finish leaning out ... which is a bit of a struggle. It's working, but it is moving pretty slow. I suppose it should because it is the last 5% of body fat I want to get rid of to get to the goal. So far, I have been able to maintain my lean body mass. The point of doing this now is that I want to get lean, let my body adjust to the new state of things and then build back or build upon my existing strength and endurance.

Get up and do something. Change does not happen from the couch.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Splashed and Dashed

That was tough!

The swim started well and finished better. I had very few issues sighting or being groped in the water. Here is the big deal to me ... my 1500 meter swim time on October 2nd was 39:55. Today my 1500 meter swim time was 32:17. I love to see progress. I am still slow, but I am working my way down to more reasonable swim times.

The water temperature was 61 degrees. It felt great to me. My wet suit tore at the seam in the shoulder. I will have to take it in to see if someone will help me fix it. I have only swam in it four times. I think, given the option, I would choose a sleeveless wetsuit over the long sleeve. My new new goggles rock! They are Aqua Spheres with the larger face mask.

After leaving the water ... my quads felt very heavy. I am not sure if I kicked too much or too little on the swim. My run pace was slower than normal, but I am still okay with the deal overall.

I was second in my age group to another Team Triple Sportster - Tony Christianson. He's fast in the water.

Carrie and I just got back from a 22 mile bike ride to finish the training for the day. It is so nice to not have to deal with 100+ degree heat.

BH

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day -

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." - Jose Narosky

"Think of veterans past and thank the veterans that are present." - Bryan Howell - 11/10/11.

You do not have to agree with war or conflict to show respect for those who serve. Tomorrow is an important day. Live it to your highest standard. Then repeat.


Introspection. Lots of introspection this week. When this first phase of the triathlon journey is mature I will sit down and write an e-book. The digital download will be mostly about the journey, the training and the science. I want to throw in some Kentucky-boy philosophy. I hope it will be somewhat thought-provoking for the readers. 'It is what it is' if the book turns out to be a comedy.

Swimming. Swam over 4000m in three sessions this week. The swim sessions have gone very well. This is in preparation for the splash and dash event in Tempe on Saturday. Nothing like a little 62 degree water to wake you up at 7:30am.

Running. Two fast treadmill 5Ks after my swim sessions this week are beginning to change my hatred of the "mouse on a wheel" torture device. I even ran the 5K uphill today. I am curious to see how it translates on Saturday - and more importantly how it will continue to trend for my future run races.

Biking. I learned how to replace cables and the derailleurs on a road bike this week. I even understand the dreaded limit screws on the bike components. The lift/spin/yoga session on Tuesday was awesome. We will probably bike both days this weekend so that I can rebuild some saddle time to prepare for the Tour de Tucson.

Remind me to tell the story about my NutrEval and the subsequent injections on Tuesday afternoon. I want to save that story for the book!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Swim, swam, swum.

So I swam Sunday. I swam yesterday. I swam this morning. I am swimming tomorrow. Lately, I have swum a whole heap.

So at SOMA I completed a 2000 meter swim. This is my longest swim to date in "race" conditions. Saturday I am competing in a Splash and Dash in Tempe. It is a 3000 meter swim followed by a 5K run. It should be fun.

I used to loathe swimming. Now, it is less of a chore. Is it my favorite of the three? No. I think it is clear that I love the bike. Swimming is something I could see doing long term ... if I can find a way around one big thing.

I think all the chlorine is causing me to get and stay congested. It has been almost a month now since I started fighting sinus issues. I've been to the doctor and taken the antibiotics. They helped, but I think the issue lingers. Anyone have any advice or experience with this issue? I am not going to have the luxury of swimming much less for the next year so I need to get this straightened out.

Oh and tonight is Killer Tuesday. Lift, spin and yoga.

By the way, it finally cooled off in the desert ... but we went straight into "winter". The mild temperature days were overwritten with 100 degree days. Oh well. It could be worse.

Later

Sunday, November 6, 2011

115 miles on the Computrainer - St. George bike course

Now I know a little about the famous/infamous St. George bike course.

All I had to do was drive to Scottsdale to see the St George, UT course. Joe Courtney of Sonic Fitness has the system. It is a great setup.

According to the Computrainer system the course is mostly uphill. Sometimes gradual (1% to 4%) and sometimes ridiculous (6% to 12%). There is a little bit of downhill at the back of the loop. I believe it is about 80 miles of uphill out of the 112 total miles. It took me around 6.5 hours to complete. Not as fast as I would like, but it was training and not race day. I approached it as such.

The trainer might be tougher than the real course. Here's why. Reason #1: There is no coasting. If you stop pedaling the resistance on the trainer stops the back wheel very quickly. Reason #2: If I am outside on a 6%+ downhill my max speed is around 52 mph. On the trainer my max speed in a full-out sprint was about 40mph.

The trainer might be easier than the real course. Here's why. Reason #1: The road surface is consistent and smooth on the trainer. There is no added resistance due to changing pavement conditions while you are on the trainer. Reason #2: Wind. If it is a windy day in St. George on May 5th 2012 ... this will add a giant dimension to this already difficult course.

Either way, I pedaled for 6.5 hours solid yesterday (literally no breaks) and that cannot be bad training. It gets my cycling back up to the mileage I was riding in the summer and it was a good prep for the Tour de Tucson ride (111 miles) coming up in a couple of weeks.

I have long week ahead with both training and work. Wish me luck. I have lots of swimming to do to prep for the splash and dash coming up next Saturday. 3000 meters in the water + a 3.1 mile run.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back to a normal training schedule

Welcome to November! On Monday I did the stairmaster for 3.5 miles and 165 floors. I like the stairmaster. Always will. I also ran another 2 miles on the treadmill. I am trying to learn to like running on the treadmill. I prefer outdoor running. We then capped off the day with a swim and some weight lifting. A good Halloween workout. We ate steaks and sweet potatoes afterwards.

Yesterday I went to the gym at O-Dark:30 to have a self-driven spin session. The 1.5 hour session flew by. It was the first workout where I was able and felt comfortable wearing my iPod. I never wear the iPod on outdoor workouts. I need to be able to hear traffic. I do not want to get accustomed to having the iPod because they are not race legal.

Last night we lifted weights and did another hour of spin - this time in our regular class. So 2.5 hours of spinning and another 45 minutes of weight lifting. A good training day.

I have swim lessons tonight. I am hoping that I have almost fixed my timing issues. I just need to keep thinking "relax, stretch and drive with the hips".

I have started to plan 2012's races. I am also shooting for a 1h 30 minute half marathon time in the Desert Classic on January 28th ... so the training plan for that effort starts soon.

I have a huge brick workout on tap for Saturday. A computrainer session at Sonic fitness. I am riding the St. George course in a virtual cycling session. So for at least 6 hours I will be mashing pedals on Saturday. I intend to do a short run afterwards just to see how it feels to run after 112 miles on the bike.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fast finish to a tremendous October

To recap the "Bryonman? Octoberfast" :

1) October 2nd - Did my first ever Olympic distance tri at Bartlett Lake
2) October 16th - Earned my first ever top five finish at the Seville Sprint
3) October 23rd - Did my first ever Half Iron distance tri at Soma (Tempe)
4) October 30th - Race report follows

The City of Mesa Halloween Sprint Triathlon. A fun race full of costumes, family, friends and some fast mamma jammas!

Carrie raced today! Boy, have we learned a ton about triathloning this year. This was the first race that we were both able to just sit around and relax prior to the start. I think it helped her a whole heep.

She did the mini distance due to her bum knee. 200m swim, 8 mile bike, 1/2 mile run. She earned second overall, a nice acryllic plaque and a $25.00 gift card. Her bike was fast and she was able to run the entire half mile. Her swim was great. She lets the water do the work for her. I envy that. Great job Bear.

Prior to the race, I told Carrie I wanted to be done with the maxi distance in 55 minutes. 400m swim, 12 mile bike, 2 mile run. I finished in 55:58. This was good enough for 7th overall and 1st in my age group. I wanted a top five finish again this weekend, but the swim was a bit longer and the run a bit shorter, which put me at a bit of a disadvantage to the swimmers in the group. That said, some fast boys showed up today and they went out 100%.

In May 2011 my 400 meter swim time was 14:27. My 400 meter swim time today was 8:06. Today was the first day in the pool that slower swimmers caused me to miss some seconds. I was 31st out of 56. That is a nice feeling. I am still slow, but with that much improvement in 6 months I feel like I am on my way to becoming a decent swimmer.

I was the third fastest on the bike. I felt okay, but I have had better bike sessions. I felt slow coming into T2 and couldn't figure out why. After the race I picked up my bike and my rear tire was flat. I guess my flat started prior to the end of the ride thus causing me to slow. Oh well - 3rd overall in the bike is nothing to complain about. It took me 33:34 to ride the 12 miles.

I spent the rest of my energy on the run. I don't think I was FULLY recovered from the Half Ironman because my calves were still a little hestiant to go when I asked them to take off. I still had a decent time - 14:19 for the 2 miles. I wanted 13:30 for the distance, but I will take it. It was the 7th fastest run time out there today.




+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This was an October for the recordbooks. I made sure to step back and just enjoy things too. I am still in shock about how much FUN the 70.3 was to finish. I am happy to finish all the training and racing in October without any injuries. I did roughly 55 hours of training or racing in October. This even included three weeks of "taper-like" activity. This is down from 64 hours in September, but there were only two "slow" weeks in September.

Here's to November. The first build phase for St. George begins soon and November is a great springboard into that activity.

Until next time. BH

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sidebar Thought - Information: How do you choose to use it?

In a time where we are under attack with information of all kinds it is important to keep some things in perspective. Information comes in many different costumes. Some information is demoralizing. Other information is misleading, both intentionally and accidentally. Thankfully information can still exist as fun, distracting, entertaining and inspiring.

I have been thinking about respect and trust as it relates to our new over-informed** public. To me, it makes sense to have a healthy level of cynisism, especially related to new people or new information. Okay Bryonman?, where are we going here?

I have a problem with coworkers or friends who inherently distrust most everything and more especially the people that intend to help them through life. Part of having a friendship or relationship is an understood level of trust. This is a two way street. You have to trust your coworkers and friends and they have to trust that you are not giving them misinformation. Furthermore, you have to have a mutual trust in that the answer "I don't know." is an acceptable answer.

The bottom line is this: Our world is a giant steaming heap of mess right now when observing from the biggest picture humanly possible. Why on earth would you carry the trend downward into your personal relationships? If we all managed to get a little more positive about things I bet some positive change would be affected. Life is not always daisies, puppies and buy one get one free coupons. Negative things are going to happen. Why not try and be a little more positive in between those events? I bet it would make the negative moments a little easier to bear.

(Note: Over-informed does not mean that we make the best decisions based on the information we are given ... nor does it mean that the information we have is reliable. See paragraph one.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Training Resumes ... all systems go

So I forced myself to take off on Monday. I have not been sore. I was fatigued on Sunday after the race ... but a good night's rest was enough to cure that.

Tuesdays are fantastic ... and this Tuesday was no exception. I ran to the gym, swam 500 meters and ran back to work on my lunch hour. So two 5Ks and a swim in an hour without any struggle right after a 70.3. I definitely trained right. Then Tuesday afternoon we headed to the gym for a little weight lifting, an hour of spin and an hour of Yoga. What a great day!

We had to cancel swim lessons tonight because of lightining. So the coach and I sat and discussed future plans for racing in 2012. Along with St. George 2012, I will be doing at least 12 other races including an additional Ironman ... Ironman Arizona.

I am still on cloud nine following my SOMA 70.3 experience. In the end it was less about how quickly I could finish and more about the whole event. The course, the people and the variables.

We are racing this weekend. I want to do well in the Mesa Halloween Sprint to keep my streaks of good performances alive from my previous two weekends of racing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I am a Half Ironman

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Overall time: 5:22

Swim: 50 min (2:22 100m pace)
Bike: 2:34 min (21.9 mph pace - bike computer says 22)
Run: 1:54 min (8:42 mile/min pace)


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Unofficial and personal race report.

First - thanks to Carrie. You helped me so much yesterday. I could not have done nearly as well without you being there. Your positive attitude about the event helped me relax and just do what I needed to do. Love!

I was nervous and flat before the race. My stomach was doing flips. I loved it. Seriously.

Everything moved so quickly. The pros went in to the water at 6:30. Then another group. Then the 115 members of the 35-39 age group. Wow. A crazy melee of heels, hands and both incidental and purpose-driven groping. Wait! A swim to get to the start of the swim? I was thinking ... oh boy, what have I gotten myself into. There were moments of grooving. Moments of stupidity. Moments of bad sighting. I was kicked and groped during the whole 2100 meters. I would catch a draft occasionally and that was great. I would say I swam about 700 of the 2100 meters at a decent clip. The rest of it was sloppy. Swimming is a challenge ... that's one of the reasons I will get better. It will not beat me. In the end, I will become a decent swimmer. 2100meters - 50:39. After a 1:52 transition it is time for the bike.

I could drone on and on here about the bike. I love the bike. I love the speed. I love passing people. I love making up for my bad swimming on my bike. I was passed only three times on the bike. Total. For 2 hours and 34 minutes I passed bike after bike at quite a clip. I was not the fastest on the bike, but I was 91st overall out of about 1000 participants. I followed all the rules, I ate and drank like it was my job ... and I pulled back the reins a bit to save some for the run. Average speed - 21.8 mph. My bike computer says 22mph. Not a bad average considering all the turns, traffic and headwind. Oh, and it was 56 miles ... not 15 like some of the sprint races. The course was mostly flat with a little uphill near the back of the course. I am pleased. After a 1:12 transition ... time to run a half marathon.

Mile one was rough. Not awful. No walking. Just a slow jog to get my legs under me. By mile two I was smiling and running fairly relaxed. I saw coach Seth at about mile three and he reminded me to stay relaxed. Mile 3 through 6 were very relaxing and flew by. I think I ran about a 7:30 pace during those miles. Miles 7 and 8 - I pulled it back some with the plan to take off at mile nine or 10. The plan worked perfectly ... I was fast again in miles 10 and 11. At mile 12 there was a small hill and as I started to ascend my left calf said ... "Hey, what are you doing?" Then my right calf chimed in ... so I backed off and finished the race at a much slower pace. I had no salt tabs - because they must have popped out of my jersey pocket during the earlier part of the run. Either way - I had a sub-two hour half marathon. This was my first ever race-based half marathon. What better way to do my first half as part of my first Half Ironman? 70.3!

I had a blast. Carrie, Sher, Ted, Tony, Debbie, Bruce and tons of my Team Triple Sports teammates were there cheering. The course was beautifully laid out so that the spectathletes could see their favorite athlete NUMEROUS times during the event.

To my friends and teammates who raced: You all motivated me. My new friend Barry Tait played a huge role in my finish on the run. I met Jason Underwood near the end of the race - another teammate. Colin, Owen, Jason, Ashley kept me looking over my shoulder during the bike portion. My buddy Scott and I saw each other a few times on the bike. He looked strong and finished under 6 hours, which was his goal. Lastly, my friend Sally Borg took 4th in her age group with a very impressive 6:39. Way to go Sally!

I feel relatively relaxed this morning. I can resume my normal eating now to try and resume taking off the rest of my weight. I have eaten so many carbohydrates over the past week that I am feeling bloated. Don't get me wrong, I know they are essential ... I just think that I do not need as much of them as other endurance athletes ... except on race day.

A few days of recovery. I will update again soon.

70.3!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ann Teh Sah Pay Shun

That title got your attention, right? I apologize. I am loopy from sinus medication. That I and I am ready to race on Sunday.

My first Half Ironman. 70.3 miles. I was sitting here thinking earlier. I know, big shocker there. I have never worked this hard for "half" of any whole. Although it is not a bad concept. Think about this. If I would have had to have done say 20 pushups in order to get a half a piece of birthday cake ... or half a glass of Kool Aid I probably would have been a little better off. I digress.

Sinus infections suck. It is not painful enough to just lie around and rest ... but just annoying enough to have a constant reminder that it is there. Oh, and don't get me started on the side effects of the "expectorant" and antibiotics.

So this is my second consecutive taper week. I do not like tapering. I know most people look forward to it. I did manage to closely monitor my food intake this week. I have lost about 8 pounds on the scale since Sunday while keeping my calories and nutrients at a good level. I will go into the race a little under 190 lbs. I wanted to be under 180 ... but that was tough to attain when considering that I cut back on my fat burning work for three out of four weeks this month (I tapered a little bit for the Olympic at the beginning of the month).

I have had some meaningful sessions this week - despite the lessened effort. I had a fantastic "Killer Tuesday" with an abdominal session, Yoga, swimming and spin. Yesterday I swam twice, reinforcing the good pieces of my form while minimizing the continued timing issues. I also lifted weights and did 45 minutes of Yoga. I took Monday to recover from the race on Sunday ... and just decided that I am taking today off. I will do a mini-brick tomorrow at race pace or above. I will do a very minor workout on Saturday before dropping my bike off in transition leading up to the race.

I am thoroughly enjoying the Ironman journey. I have so many things planned in November that I have to start preparing for those events too. We have a sprint race on October 30th. I have a St. George bike course simulation scheduled on November 5th. I have a 3000 meter swim and 3.1 mile Splash and Dash on November 12th. We have the 111 mile Tour de Tucson on November 19th. We have another sprint race on Thanksgiving day and then a HUGE ride planned for the long weekend after Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned. It's going to get WILD after the Half Ironman.


BH

Monday, October 17, 2011

To my wife - and to new lessons to take place

Booooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh!

So you just called me and told me about your knee ... and I am shocked to hear that there is really nothing that can be done as far as surgery to repair the issue.

I never expected this news. I expected us to get the surgery and work through the recovery together. It is because of you and your drive that we found triathlon. It is because of you that I do everything that I do. I am truly sorry.

Just like everything else in our marriage, we will work through this together and come out on the other side stronger than before. There are so many other things that we can do that do not involve repetitive percussion on the knees. We will figure this out. It is not the end of the world ... so let's keep things in perspective. We'll get back on the bike when the time is right and we'll swim now that I am no longer so scared of the water. I am becoming fond of yoga and the benefits it provides. We can do that together too.

Thank you for supporting me in my continued quest for Ironman. I wanted us to enjoy that together eventually ... but with you as "base camp manager" I will have the best support that I can get.

Love B.

:-(

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Freeloaders & the Seville Country Club Sprint Tri -

It was an award-laden weekend. The little kid in me will NEVER get tired of getting trophies!

The Los Freeloaders 3rd Annual Awards Banquet took place Saturday evening at casa de Borg in Scottsdale. It is a fun team of cyclists. Check out their web site.

Carrie was awarded the Winston Churchill award - for never giving up. Her fight through the knee pain was recognized and she and I both appreciated that award. Her trophy was a re-purposed golf trophy with the date "1991" on it. So funny!

I was awarded the Lean Mean Machine award for my robotic approach to my triathlon training. My trophy is a lady softball player. Hilarious. The Freeloaders rock! Ted and Sally - good work!

At 3:08am this morning I woke and could not wait to hit the road to drive to Gilbert, AZ. I had an egg white omelette with spinach and tomatoes, two strips of turkey bacon and some coffee. I was the first bike in transition - even though I had to drive an hour to get there. Yeah, I think I was ready to race.

Carrie did not race today. We are taking extra caution with her knee. I missed her being there today.

I am slow in the water. I admit it. I am improving. I was 33rd overall in the swim with a 7:09 for the 300m swim. I was much faster today in the Seville pool than I was in May ... four full minutes faster for the same distance. I was off to the bike. My transition was clean and fast. At the bike mount, I had a little trouble getting into the pedals. I slipped off the left pedal and by butt knocked my seat loose from the seat post. The nose of my seat was pointing at the ground. I did not have time to fix it ... so I just went with it. I rode the entire 15.4 mile bike with the seat hanging from the post. I tried to sit a few times during the ride, but it was awkward to sit on the back of the seat. I was 4th overall in the bike with a 39:19 for the 15.4 miles. 23.6 mph average. That bike course is very fast. Time for the run ... and time to see if I fixed the calf issues I had at the Bartlett Lake race. The run was a little warm because I started near the very back of the race due to my high bib number (293 of 312). I was strong on the run. It felt almost as good as the really strong run I had back in July at Solana Beach. I was 6th overall in the run with a 20:14 for the 2.8 mile run. That is a 7:13 pace. My run is coming back!

So, despite my slow swim, I was FOURTH OVERALL today! Here are the timing results as proof! My first time to be in the top five!

Thanks to Dan Cadriel for humoring me with all my questions prior to the race. Dan is the man.

Good times! No injuries. Busy week ahead. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Taper week #1 - a little stir crazy + a migraine

Yesterday was a giant flop. I woke at 1:30am and literally could not breathe. My nose and throat were closed off. I struggled for air and finally forced some mucus out of my throat. I know that's appealing, but it is what it is. I took two doses of nighttime cold medicine and tried to go back to sleep. It was brutal. I lumbered in to work at about 7:20am. I made it until 9:15am and I had to go home. Massive migraine behind my left eye. I slept from 9:30am until 4:00pm. By 7:00pm, the headache was gone.

This morning, I woke at 3:30. I drank some joe and hit the road for some L4/L5 threshold training on the bike. I felt strong. I covered 20 miles in about 53 minutes. Then Baron and I went out for about a 4 mile sprint.I could not believe I felt this strong considering the headache from the day before. Sleep is a wonderful thing, I guess.

I went to the gym and swam at lunch. I did about 500m or so. If I really concentrate, I do not slip my timing anymore. I feel much faster in the water. I can't wait to race.

I have some metabolic testing scheduled for tomorrow. It will help me understand my basic caloric burn rates. This is part of the pre-planning for the last few months of the training for St. George. I love the science and statistics behind triathlon.

We are racing Sunday! It is a sprint. It is a fun course. Carrie may do the mini sprint. I am doing the longer race.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The creaking and popping is mostly silenced!

I took yesterday off! My first "full" day off in quite a while. I was jonesing to workout. That's a good sign, right? That means I am enjoying myself. That and it does highlight that I am a create of habit.

I am obsessed with time and efficiency on everything. Some people (Carrie) find it annoying. It's gotten to the point where I prefer liquid meals because they are faster and include fewer dishes to wash.

I have a couple of friends that are doing the SOMA Half Ironman that are nursing injuries. I am publicly wishing them the best of luck ... and I am being super cautious. I do not want to go into the race with soreness or injuries. I made it to the taper weeks without injury. I hope I can cruise up to the 23rd without any drama!

This has been hard for me to keep in mind ... we have a sprint race this weekend in Gilbert, AZ. I like the course. We did it back in May. The run is a bit longer this time - so any comparisons in my times will not be apples to apples. I never want to overlook a race and I always want to go 100% ... but I do have to be cautious. I refuse to mess up my "A" race for 2011.

Carrie will likely not race this weekend due to the knee swelling and pain. The MRIs found some sources for the swelling. We are consulting with the surgeons. We believe these issues were completely overlooked in her first knee surgery in 2009.

I did 10 miles on the bike this morning ... in interval mode. 1:30 at race pace, followed by 2 minutes at easy pace. It felt good. The creaking and popping is all but gone. I lubed my quick releases, my stem, my seat post and seat rails. One of those must have been the problem. At least it wasn't my bottom bracket or cranks. My battery died on my headlight so I had to take extra caution. Sunrise is so late nowadays. I am done working out and showered well before daylight on my short workout days.

It's Killer Tuesday! I am headed to the gym at lunch for swim drills and some weight lifting. Then more weight lifting tonight followed by 24Cycle and an hour of Yoga. I will be ready for food and sleep by 8pm.

Be safe!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Training hard and enjoying it

I have covered 257 miles in the last 7 days. 41 of those miles were running miles. I have no injuries to complain about. It feels good. I am ready for the half ironman. I will finish. I might not be as fast as I had once hoped, but either way I will finish and it will be a great stepping stone on the trail to St. George.

My bike is creaking and popping like crazy. I have taken it to the shop about the issue like 3 or 4 times over the past three months. No one can find the problem. I even had some know it all cyclist to snarkily tell me to "trim out your front chain ring - because its rubbing." I told him "nice try". "That's not the problem sir" ... as I let him eat my dust. If my creaky bike is that big of a problem to you - why did I just wax you like you were sitting still mi amigo? People are people. I like to train alone or with Carrie. She doesn't care if my bike is creaking.

My taper activities over the next couple of weeks will include lots of abdominal work, Yoga, massage, key "sprintish" like workouts and many swim drills.

Cheers!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ramping up the mileage and intensity prior to taper

I have had a good couple of days.

Killer Tuesday. I love Tuesdays. Seriously. I swam, did the stairmaster and lifted at lunch on Tuesday. I mostly did swim drills in the pool. I guess I am damned to do drills forever due to my poor coordination for swimming. I liken it to my non existent dancing skills. When my timing is on in the swim I feel like I generate a fair amount of power without much effort, so that is great.

Tuesday evening we did a hill session in spin class with Ms. Penny. She is a good cycling instructor. We are lucky to have stumbled into her class in February. Immediately after spin we did an hour of Yoga. Surprisingly, I pulled off most of the poses in that session.

Wednesday was probably the highest intensity training day I have had in a while.

At ODark30 - I did speed work on the bike. 10 miles in 25 minutes ... and that included being stopped by traffic lights. I was mooooooving. My hips were a bit tight as I hopped off the bike, grabbed Baron and went for a 3.5 mile run. No calf cramps!

At lunch, I helped Carrie get to and from the imaging facility. She had another MRI on her knee. A fancier MRI than before including draining and dyes. We are getting aggressive in trying to figure out what is causing the swelling ... and it is NOT the running because she has NOT been running. She is also getting a full blood panel done to check all her levels to see if maybe her blood is acidic. We will figure it out.

In the afternoon I had swim lessons. We worked on drills and my timing and breathing. Every session in the pool lately has shown marked progress. The sessions are not as mentally painful as they once were. I think I have some sort of deep-seeded fear of water that is just taking me a long time to get past so that I can relax in the water. I am getting there. Like I said - I am pleased with my swim time from the Olympic considering that in May I could not swim 100m without almost passing out/drowning.

After swimming, I went for my long run. 13.5 miles in a little under 2:00. I simulated race day conditions by only having liquid calories prior to and during the run. It went well. I was a little tired around mile 8 and again at the end. I could tell I was a little calorie low. Either way, I ran 17 miles yesterday. Oh, and I swam and biked too. Yes, I am having fun. Yes, I feel great today.

I am taking today off from training because the doctor took quite a bit of blood from me this morning. It was only for a blood panel to see where my levels are right now. I want something to compare to as the training gets crazier in November. My blood pressure was 110 / 79 - my resting pulse was 54. Oxygen level - 99%. Reflexes strong, breathing clear etc. etc. My new doctor is cool and she supports my training. She works with other endurance athletes and understands that some people are just nuts.

I have some major brick-laden mileage charted for the next three days ... and then it is time to start the taper.

I will update again on Sunday or Monday. I am trying to make these posts less frequent and more informative.

Get up and move!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Things leading to advancement

Rest and recovery are real aspects of this whole journey and I have recently been raving about it. I took some time away in September before my last big push into October. Thank goodness I made that decision.

The "Bartlett Oly" was tough. The further I get from that race the more proud I become. Not a boastful "look at me" pride. The right kind of pride that will drive me through to the finish of any race I start.

I escaped the olympic with a third place finish in my age group and a new understanding of my mental and nutritional challenges. I learned that I can push through calf cramps without injury if I just listen. In the past, I would have ignored the cramping and kept pushing which would have led me to a familiar encounter ... shin splints. I also learned that 48 ounces of water, a Lara Bar and a gel pack are not the right combination for my nutrition. I think I needed more water. I had some intestinal bloating during the run. I think that was the Lara Bar. I definitely needed more sodium / electolytes. I promise it wasn't lack of training or effort. My calves just stopped firing on the steep uphills. If it were more tame ups or downs on the course (there were no flat parts) I was moving at my normal 7 minute mile pace.

I went out last night and did 32 miles on the bike - including hill repeats on a notoriously steep hill called Hummingbird. Guess what. I have suspected for some time that this hill is not enough for training for hilly courses. I was right. I did a repeat and rode that hill faster than I have ever ridden it. It was still a challenge ... just not sustained enough to solid training.

Killer Tuesday is today! Spin, yoga, swim, lift!

Let' do this.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My first Olympic Distance Tri

All summer we looked forward to the challenge of the Bartlett Lake Olympic Distance Triathlon ... put on by TriFamilyRacing.com. "This is the most difficult triathlon in the state of Arizona." This was the recurring quote we heard during the months leading up to it.

Guess what. It is a very difficult course.

I am going to do a full race report because I think a first Olympic triathlon on a course of this magnitude deserves a write up worthy of it's size and relentlessness.

The lake level is down to 43% capacity. Last month it was at 93%. Why does this matter? Because the run from the water to the transition area was up the shore for over a quarter mile in loose, steep and sharp gravel.

The first lap of the swim was rough on many of the swimmers - not only because of jostling for position, but also for sighting the buoys around which we were directed to swim. Carrie and I both had trouble sighting marks to swim toward due to glare... and probably inexperience :-). We both swam quite a bit extra ... me I would say I swam probably an extra 150 meters, which adds up when you are already swimming 1500 meters. So my mile in the water was within my range of target times at 39m 57sec. I am pleased. I did wear the wet suit. I think I am glad I wore it. It was a little hot, but the added buoyancy probably helped.

Time for the bike. We did the Bicycle Tour of Colorado in June. Good thing. At least we knew a little about what to expect. It took me about 20 minutes on the bike to get my legs under me ...

Steep and sustained was the rule of the day. For 12 of the 24 miles, the bike was uphill between 6% and 8% grade. My speed varied between 7mph and 51mph on the course. Overall, I am pleased with the bike - because it was challenging AND it started getting HOTTTTT while we were finishing the bike leg. 1hr 47min 11sec on the bike. Averaging nearly 14mph on that course is a badge of honor for me. I'll take it.

So after a 1650 meter swim, a 25 mile bike (which is what my computer showed) all I needed to do was run a 10K. A steep and HOTTTTT (98 degrees) 10K. The first 1.25 miles was about an 8% incline. The next 2 miles was a steady downhill. At the turnaround I took a bath in the drinking water. Then all I needed to do was get up that "steady downhill" I just ran down. That steady downhill had sections of 6%+ grade on it. I was so happy to get back to the water tent at the 1.25 mile mark. I ran the last section quite fast because it was downhill and I was ready to be done.

3hrs 43min 20sec -- Total time.

On a regular Olympic course, the time would likely be a sub three hour performance. The outsider might see 3:43 and scoff. Since I was there and I did the race, I am just happy that I finished it. I am pleased with my swim and bike. I think the heat zapped me on the run. Calf cramps were the tell-tale sign that heat was the enemy.

Carrie was second in her age group. I was third in mine. It was a solid day.

This week is going to be harsh in regards to training. I have one more week of serious work before my taper begins for the SOMA Half Ironman in Tempe.


BH

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A new approach and it is working well ...

Moderation. Yes, I said it. Moderation is the key. I was BOMBING my workouts up until mid September and my preparedness for races was decreasing with each effort. Backing off a bit and reassessing the nutrition has worked like a charm. My speed is back "on the on ramp" and my knees and shoulders are no longer bothering me as much as they were. I had three fantastic brick workouts this week.

Why am I training for Ironman? What is my motivation? What do I get from it?

I began training for Ironman to realize a dream. I am starting to realize that the process is the dream and that May 5th, 2012 is just the day that I get to experience the full joy of realizing and managing that process to a milestone. This effort is much larger than swim, bike, run. It is much larger than most efforts I have pursued. It is much larger than a participation medal or a tattoo. By the way, I think I have my tattoo design and location figured out.

What is my motivation? Simply put, change is my motivation. I am not changing who I am as a person. I am changing the way that I interact with the world. From all of this I hope that my life choices will be more controlled. I want the sense of calm I feel on a long run to bleed over into my real life. My motivation is that I am changing my motivations, if that makes sense.

What do I get from it? This is so deep that I do not even fully understand it yet. On the surface, I get competition. I thrive on that. A little deeper, I love the science involved in the process. Further, I get a real charge out of progress ... no matter how slight. At the deepest or perhaps the most simple level, I get a chance to see if I can survive and thrive in extreme conditions.

I am not going to update the blog until after the Olympic race on Sunday. October kicks in and I get to participate in four races in one month! I am stoked!

BH

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thank goodness for my training schedule

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my wife for signing us up for that first triathlon back in April. A whole new world is open now and that is because of you.

SIDEBAR -

I despise big city traffic. I guess I am still a small town guy at heart. If you are not on your way to work or have somewhere to be ... stay home until 9am or so to allow the working populous to get to work without having to dodge you. Oh, and while I am at it - if you are not hauling butt - stay out of the left lane.

- END SIDEBAR

I took yesterday morning off from training. Why? Because I wanted to and needed to recover. We had a good spinning session last night after we lifted some weights.

This morning we went to Mr. Cadriel's spin session. I like having two different spin instructors. It keeps my legs guessing. That was one heck of a hill workout.

At lunch today I ran 3 miles to the gym, swam 500m and then ran back to the office. I have dubbed this the UTI Splash and Dash. I have asked my coworkers to join me but have no takers yet.

Tonight I have swim lessons. My form is getting better. It is still not perfect and it still takes a tremendous amount of mental focus to get through a session ... but it's better.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Back to the routine - learning daily - the Grand Canyon

The last week or so was fun, busy, crazy, educational, tiring, invigorating and well-timed in relation to my training.

So my reduced swim.bike.run schedule from last week is still bearing new fruit. The rest was NECESSARY. I am seeing much faster times than ever in both my bike and run workouts. I feel consistent and strong with no nagging aches. Recovery is just as important as training. No question.

I learn something about training and life on a daily basis. Today I learned that if I focus on relaxing my leg that is on the return path - that leg gets a good break from strain. I think I have always fought against gravity in my run by being too tense. This weekend I learned that my minimalist hiking shoes beat my toes to death and they are not worth the savings in weight. (No they are not toe shoes.)

What am I doing hiking ... errr backpacking in the Grand Canyon a week before my first Olympic triathlon? Because the Grand Canyon rules and that is when the park service gave me the back country permit. This was my third trip to the bottom in 2011! A new personal record. My friend Neil and I walked approximately 22 miles on Saturday with our packs. We camped remotely out near Cremation ... then walked out the 6 miles yesterday. Yes, my quads are burnt. Yes, I will recover. Yes, the triathlon training is already resumed.

This week's focus is on getting caught up with work, traithlon-related mental imagery, nutrition refinement and swim technique. I feel good. I feel like I could be fast at Bartlett. I hope so.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Current Points Standings - Tri Family Racing Age Group Series

Carrie is first in points ... by a long shot.



http://o2raceseries.appspot.com/agegroupresults?id=agxvMnJhY2VzZXJpZXNyGAsSCEFnZUdyb3VwIgpBRzIwMTEtMDEwDA



Bryan is in first - but the dudes are closer to him --



http://o2raceseries.appspot.com/agegroupresults?id=agxvMnJhY2VzZXJpZXNyGAsSCEFnZUdyb3VwIgpBRzIwMTEtMDI5DA

A Few Days North and East

Greetings from Boston Logan Intl. Airport. Free wi-fi still amazes me. I'll get over it some day ... but let me continue to be amazed for now.

So this week has been more about re-centering mentally and slowing the training pace down a bit from the efforts last week. The plan worked perfectly. The wheels did not fall off. No blown diet. No ill-timed incidents. Two surprise workouts ... and lots of walking.

Vermont. Good job! We did the Ben and Jerry's tour. We went to visit Green Mountain Coffee. Lake Champlain is very nice.

New Hampshire. Good work! We stopped off in Concord and Bath. We visited some covered bridges and met some great people.

Montreal. Wow. You shocked us. My French is awful ... and it turns out most of you speak that language. Oh well. It was our first time outside of the continental US and it was educational. I even managed to figure out how to recalibrate the speedometer on the car to Kmh so that I could see how much I was breaking the local speed limit. You all should really consider cutting back on smoking. Do you not know about the harmful effects? Is it just that cool to "smoke a fag" or what?

Boston. There is so much history and educational opportunity in this city that it is a little overwhelming. We went on a bike tour (of course) with a tour guide whose full-time job is a professor of animation at MIT. Yes, that was an educational and fun bike ride. We visited the maparium. Look it up. We also went to Fenway to see the "Sawks" play a game. It is the best park in which I have been. No question. Keep that.

A few break through lessons in the water over the past two weeks have my confidence in the water increasing and I cannot wait to do the Olympic and the Half.

If the plane ever gets here ... we'll be back in Phoenix for 24 hrs and then I am off to guide a noob to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Are my calves ready? Tune in next week to see.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fatigue is real ...

I can admit two things. One: Tuesday and Wednesday's awesome training sessions absolutely murdered Thursday's and this morning's workouts. Two: I am not taking in enough calories to support my expenditure. This is by design. I am trying to get lighter by October 23rd.

That said, I still completed my training sessions. Granted, they were not at the pace I would have liked, but I am still VERY pleased with the Olympic + simulation I did this week.

Next week I get to back off just a little bit before the final push into October's heavy race schedule.

My friend Sally Borg is competing in her first triathlon. She chose to do an Olympic distance with an ocean swim as her first. Freak! Go Sally!

More later - BH

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wow - what a great 24 hour span of training

Yesterday morning I headed to the gym at 4:05am. The pool was crowded. I was both proud and shocked that people were out in force on an early Tuesday.

Swimming is still my least favorite, but it is no longer a chore like it was back in May when we first started the triathlon journey. It is actually very enjoyable when I am near the end of the workout and I KNOW that I can go further than the set distance.

The bike workout was in the form of Spin. In Spin, I tend to go extremely hard and last night was very difficult. We did lots of hill work. I estimate about 25-30 miles in that workout.

Immediately after Spin, I headed out for my run. I could have just done 6.25 miles and accomplished my goal of simulating the Olympic distance. I could have settled on 10 because it fit my schedule. Instead, I went for the 13.5 mile distance. Why 13.5? My turnaround point is at 6.75. I am a simpleton. I like order among chaos. The run felt great. The pace was very manageable. It was not race pace, but I was consistent and I felt like I had a negative split (the last half of the run was faster than the first half).

Then I watched the movie Hot Tub Time Machine. It makes me giggle. We finally went to bed about 11:30pm.

4:00am was early this morning. I had a little trouble rolling out of the rack ... but once I was up I was ready to go. So we headed out to Dan Cadriel's Spin class over in the west valley. What a great workout. I averaged about 90 rpms and 170 watts this morning. Once again, this was a hill-laden Spin session.

I will probably rest tonight. I reserve the right to hit the pool for some swim drills though. We have to go to the grocery. I am eating everything in sight.

BH

Monday, September 12, 2011

Controlled Extremes

I generally like to wait at least two workouts before posting to my self-centered ramblings.

Today is no exception. Yesterday was a first - I think. We did the sprint race in Prescott, ate lunch, drove back to Phoenix, unloaded the car and then headed up to the gym to lift weights and swim.

Then, this morning, I did a fast 20 miles on the bike followed immediately by a 5 mile run. I actually felt pretty darn good. I have a little soreness in my left knee from all the climbing on the bike yesterday, but it is not bad.

I intend to go to the gym at lunch. Today's menu just includes some weight training.

Speaking of menus ... I left my food at home that I had intended to bring to the office. Sometimes what little brain I have completely goes away.

I am going to get super strict with my nutrition over the next four weeks. I need to be 180 lbs or less prior to the half Ironman on October 23rd. I am currently 192 lbs. That's 12 pounds in four weeks, you say. I know. Do not remind me. I'll make it happen. Don't you worry about it.

Rant #1: If I am on my bike at 5:23 in the morning riding at about 20mph and following all the rules of vehicular traffic with a head and tail light ... and you are walking in the street wearing all black with NO headlamp ... feel free to simply yield to me rather than scream "hey hey hey" while you walk down the middle of the street. You are lucky I saw you at the last second. You are also lucky that I didn't swing around and explain the rules to you rather than simply saying "excuse me" really sheepishly. I go out of my way to follow the rules of the road when I am on my bike because I want to live.

Rant #2: Please fit your bike to your height and ride it properly if you do not want me to pass you. And when I do pass you and your "wonkiness" keep your snide comments to yourself. So let me get this straight "Ms Thang" it makes you mad that I pass you but yet your elbows stick out about 14 inches from each side of your body ... and your knees flare out even further ... but yet it's my fault that I pass you and you feel it necessary to call me a "jerk" when I go by. All I said was that I was passing "on your left."

Rant #3: Good morning to you too Phoenix. So it cooled off a little bit and the fair weather exercisers came out in droves this morning. I think the previous rants have something to do with this rant. I've been training 5 or 6 days a week since January - no matter the weather. I should be faster than you. I should sneak up on you and startle you. I am fairly quiet and I mind my own business.

Please do not mistake this blog entry as arrogance. I really do want people to get out and train. I know I am not the only person out here working hard to get into and stay in shape. However, if you are going to play the game ... feel free to know the rules and do some homework before you jump in head first. There are some of us out here that are truly trying to accomplish something bigger than walking around the block before work.

Thanks!

BH

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fun triathlon in Prescott - time to get serious

The bike is my strongest event ... and it turns out that I have NOT lost my ability to climb at altitude on the velocipede. This was a fun race up in Prescott, AZ put on by TriFamilyRacing.

150m swim, 15 mile bike, 2.5 mile run.

Overall time: 1:15:38. 7th place overall and 2nd place in my age group. (35-39)

Before the race, there was a nice tribute, a Dan Candriel-sang national anthem and a moment of silence for the victims of 9-11. It was emotional.

The swim was better than usual for me because it was short. Rather than giving up minutes in the swim ... I only gave up seconds. Nonetheless my 3:18 time for the 150m swim was probably my fastest pace ever. I did not work super hard in the pool because I knew I was going to leave it all on the 15 mile - super hilly - bike course. I don't have topo output of the course, but it was a fair amount of climbing. I still averaged 16.4 mph on the bike. My run time was okay (6:51 mile pace) - but I was a little hindered by a stiff mid-back - on which I am getting some work done tomorrow. To perform this well at 5000+ feet is a confidence boost.

This week's training will be intense and I have been looking forward to it for about a month. I am going to try and do some sort of brick workout every day this week. On Tuesday, I am going to simulate the Olympic distance triathlon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The weekend is here!

After the brick on Wednesday I took a little time to recover and try and kill this sinus / cold thing once and for all. The training resumed on Friday night. Date night now consists of a visit to the gym. We lifted weights and then swam. It was not the best workout of the week, but it was beneficial.

I have tweaked my left shoulder and it is annoying. I don't think it is training-limiting ... but I think I need to be careful. It maybe neck or upper back related. I am going to the chiropractor on Monday to see what he may can adjust.

Baron and I went for a 6 mile job this morning. My calves have almost returned to normal. I ALMOST over did it with them this week. We are going to swing by Bartlett Lake for a quick swim prior to leaving town.

We are headed up to Prescott this afternoon. We get to race again tomorrow! It might be a bit chilly at race time. I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures because I perform better when it is cooler ... not cold but cooler.

Until next time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pushing out the distances

Monday's long swim set the tone for the week ... just like I had hoped. I am still stoked about that workout, but last night's was pretty darn solid too.

I mentioned that I lethargically joined the human race yesterday. The good news is that I can work from home one day per week. It used to be two, but at least it is not zero. I took advantage of being at home. I used the recliner all day. I kept my legs elevated while I worked. It must have been beneficial.

I think there was a "mid-level" breakthrough last night at swim lessons. A drill that we have neglected a bit is called "swing/switch" in my coaches' terminology. It is under switch mixed with finger-tip drag. For some reason when I do this drill the timing issues on my breathing stroke are greatly reduced. The coach estimates that when my timing is off I am missing about 30% of the power in my swim. Yeah. I have to get that fixed.

Feeling good after a successful hour in the pool I headed home to do my long run for the week (we are racing this weekend, so I had to move my long run around a bit). So I did a full 13.1 in about 1hr 48min. The pace was manageable and I even stopped twice and refilled my water bottle. I purposely held back a bit just to make sure I didn't agitate my knee that was bothering me earlier in the season. This was my second longest run of the year. I did a 16+ mile day at the PF Changs in Tempe. I was a "race bandit" I just ran along side my friend Sally as her support.

My calves were still a bit angry this morning ... but I expected that. They'll get over it. I am still waiting from them to turn from veal to mature beef.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday's are good.

Last night our spin instructor kept saying -- "Gonna do some damage control from the holiday weekend!" I was thinking "Girl, you don't even know!" In her defense, I guess most folks do let things slide for holidays. I do too. Nevertheless, Carrie and I trained like it was our job over the holiday weekend. I like it that way. It's the triathlon lifestyle. Tri it. You will likely get addicted.

So I rode a fast 30 miler yesterday morning ... beginning at OhDarkThirty. At lunch I went to the gym and blasted the legs with squats, hamstring curls and calf raises. For good measure I threw in some abdominal work. Last night, we lifted with the upper body and did the spin class. The amount of sweat generated in a spin session is often ridiculous and last night was no exception.

Enter Wednesday. Tired this morning. I had designs on doing my half marathon distance run this morning but could not shake the cob webs from my brain. It really was a lack of focus rather than just fatigue, right?

I have my 12th or 100th swim lesson tonight. I can't keep up. I am improving. It is just so slow. I'll have to come home afterwards and do the run that I intended to do this morning. Oh well, it will be a good brick workout, right?

Monday, September 5, 2011

3000 meter swim + 31 mile cycle brick

Yes! Finally. A truly great workout. Sure, there have been other good workouts but this one is top five for sure. Why?

1)   3000 meters is my farthest swim in my life. I may have been able to go another half mile.
2)   Doing 31 miles on the bike afterward - and having it feel good is a confidence builder.

All this training ... and appropriate rest is paying off. Plus, I think my weightlifting surge in the last couple of weeks is paying off.

I am hoping for a solid week of training. I am going to focus on the bike this week. I will probably ride every morning.

I am planning a long run this week too. Maybe a half-marathon distance on Wednesday. On Thursday I will probably run a zone 3 5K at race pace. Those two runs should prep me for the triathlon in Prescott on Sunday.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Missed self imposed goals - still had a good race

Alright - so I wasn't completely healthy for this race. I was still hacking up stuff late into the evening ... after the race. Not fun! It is not an excuse but rather a lesson. Listen to the body.

The run was good. I think I conserved too much. I found a dude running at a reasonable pace with some of those toe shoes. I decided to study his running mechanics for a while and forgot I was in a race. I was at mile two before I resumed running hard. Dummy! I think I ran about a 20:00 5K. The timing chip system messed up so we'll never know.



The bike was good too. I went harder there than I did on the run. The course was easy as far as terrain but there were several 90 degree turns. Getting into a good rythym was not as easy as usual. This was my first race with my aero bars and I used them quite a bit. They make a difference. My throat got really dry and sore on the bike because 48 ounces of water was apparently not enough.




Swimming last was a challenge. I learned that I definitely would rather get the swim out of the way early. I was tired enough that it affected my swim form ... what little I have anyway. I do think it was my fastest 400m swim yet but it was still slow. How do I know? I got in the pool fairly early and got passed by at least 10 dudes in the water. I did pass two guys. That is rare for me. I rested at pretty much every wall and had to adjust my goggles once because they got scraped off my face by a phantom foot from the lane beside me.

1:10:33. This was our first FULL LENGTH legit sprint triathlon. I was 29th out of 114 dudes. My percentile of finish keeps improving. In my age group I was 5th out of 21. Not bad. I wanted better. I really wanted to be down around 1:05. The reality is that I raced hard, had more left in the tank and left the race without injury or regret. I cannot complain.




We are going to Bartlett Lake tomorrow for some endurance swimming work and some biking. The olympic distance triathlon is less than a month away. I will not accept "DNF" as my time in that race. I am wearing the wetsuit to get the practice in it.

I am going to start experimenting with some different nutrition because my mileages and intensity are increasing and I need my fuel to keep up with my output.