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.


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.


Monday, October 17, 2011

To my wife - and to new lessons to take place


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.


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 "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.