April 29, 2010

gone with the wind

Monique and I got to Vegas yesterday but I was finishing up a big day of work. Unfortunately, that has been the norm the last week or so but it was a good fit with taper time. Stress in another form... By the time I got off my laptop and my phone out of my ear yesterday the wind was HOWLING!

The news (depending on what you were watching) said there were gusts between 40 and 52mph and similar weather in St George. Our brick workout was out the window so we just soaked up some more rest and ate...again. Eating is one thing I have not cut back and although I gained a few pounds I know I will have all my strength for St. George and I am going to need it!

I do understand that "training is physical and racing is mental" so I appreciate the mental switch for now. Last week, I could not stop thinking about the fact that I am going to run a MARATHON let alone after about eight hours of racing already in my body. I kinda forgot about all that now and I am just relaxed and ready to get r' done!

Some interesting facts I picked up this week too like that it takes approximately 5,000 strokes to complete an Ironman swim and about 30,000 pedal circles on the bike that should get us to "expend 8,500 to 11,500 kilocalories and lose up to 2 litres of fluid per hour". Makes me hungry even now...

When we drove into SG this morning the weather could not be better. No wind, overcast and a chance of showers. Perfect! I hope it stays like this for a couple of days. This place is beautiful!

We just finished checking in and the enormity of this race started to set in. There are lots of people here from lots of different places. We got our race packets and our numbers marked on our bodies TWO DAYS before the race. Quite a major production.

Then we ate. Ate again and now we have been resting watching TV. A major change from our usual habits. Monique got some disc wheel looking tattoos and if this town was not transformed into Ironman village they would have probably think she just escaped from prison the way she was putting away the food and talking that slang gang jive. Why are we still so hungry?

Tomorrow we are planning on an easy swim, bike, run to loosen up and then follow it up the next day with a bigger swim, bike, run. Simple right?

April 19, 2010

The Hay Is In The Barn!

Its just 13 days until my first Ironman race and all of the work is done. The hay is in the barn!!

I have been kicking around the goal of completing an Ironman race now for the last few years. . . maybe longer. I have given it a lot of thought... probably much longer and more than most people realize. I also realized that it takes a long time to make the grade and I was not going to rush it. The road along the way has been so much fun I really want to just keep climbing... but that is for another post.

I made a decision to start training for the Ironman St. George race back in November. At the time it felt like a long ways out and a few people (including myself) thought it may have been a bit early to start smashing out big training weeks...big for me anyways. By making a commitment to the race I also gave up my option for any excuse. I joined a Masters swimming group, worked on my biggest limiter (running), focused on the little things like getting the best food I could afford and stretching more and starting working with the best team of coaches for endurance . . . Gordo literally wrote the book on going long ;-)

I was without excuse to give it my all but it was still all new and unknown. Maybe I would crack....I didn't know my breaking point. Was I bound to be a February rock star and burn out by May? Could I focus for so long on just one race, one day? Is there such a thing as starting too early? Would I even like going long? There are many questions and risks along the way and its all part of the fun.

By this time last year, I had already competed a couple handful of races from paddling, snowshoeing and the like. I realized that I really love to race and race often. Switching gears to "put all my eggs in one basket" and put six months into one race was a hard choice for me to make at first. Some people jump right in and somehow manage to get fit for an Ironman race on a 20 week training plan. What I found to be the longest and hardest part about doing the training is setting up my life so that I could do the work. I am very grateful for my job, wife, friends and family that allowed me to stack some hay over the last six months or more.

stacking the hay, loading the spring, having a lot of fun!

I was also once about 215 pounds (just before Monique got married to me...lucky her!) and decided to make a lifestyle switch that just so happened to pull me into some athletic pursuits. A personal change in my lifestyle that will last the rest of my life. I wont go into detail about it now except to say that my motivation behind getting into sport a bit later in life (~28yrs old) was from within...an alignment that brings me more momentum than could be generated by an external motivation.

The last couple of weeks have answered many of my questions about my quest along the road to my first Ironman. The training "fits" ME. I love going for a ride all day long and running off of the bike. Swimming long sets are the type of mediation that sorts me out and I don't think you can ever start too early (or too late for that matter). What was once a big volume week or training has simply become the norm and I feel like I am just getting started.

I got to cap off the last couple of weeks of my training with some solid sessions on the course and around my normal training grounds. I have seen some glimpses of fitness in training that I have never seen before but saved my deep desires for race day ;-) "you bring the popcorn, I'll bring the pain"

This weekend, Monique and I joined Doreen for our first Century ride. We decided to jump into this Friday and signed up the morning of the ride. It was the first time any of us had done one of these "organized drafting buffet rides" but this one was legit. You cant hide on a climb! The girls had never gone over 100 miles and this ride boasted about 11K of climbing. They picked a good one!

This was key for me to realize just how much "the norm" had become for me. Prior to November I had only ridden over 100 miles two times (once on the road/once on my mountain bike). The century ride on Saturday marked my 10th time riding over 100 miles since November for me and I did over 100 miles the day before. It was just another "session" on the bike for me at this point.

It was inspiring to watch these girls grind out the ride with a smile the entire time. There is something lasting about suffering together in the highs and lows of a ride. As much as it was a grind we loved it and realized it was not as hard as we imagined. Monique just got stronger the longer we rode. Good stuff and there is a lot that fits into that theme.

I banked WAY more training that I ever thought I would have along the way to this race. Many times working towards a goal without excuses does that to you... somehow you always end up doing more than what you intended and the goal moves towards you as well. I never got injured and burnout is far from a reality. I started posting my training miles on here because I kept banking a solid week and didn't quite know if I could repeat it... Week after week, month after month. I exceeded what I dreamed about..I crushed my dreams!..ha..ha. It almost scares me to see the numbers of my miles/hours.

In the 180 days ending 2010-04-18:

activity # timemileskm+ft

Road Bike92 211:42:18 3467.3

Swim112 110:51:00 190.29

Mt Bike36 83:00:33 688.93

Trail Running63 62:47:28 455.1(8:17) 732.41(5:09) 56323

Road Running55 40:54:08 312.82(7:51) 503.43(4:52) 23219

Strength25 15:23:00

Yoga21 11:00:00

Trekking5 10:45:00 32.15(20:04) 51.74(12:28) 10224

Paddle2 2:13:00 11.93

Total177 548:36:27 5158.53

Now is the time for me to be thankful and soak up all of those miles and smiles. It has been such a fun experience and I can honestly say I enjoyed every mile along the way.

My expectations for the race has not changed. I want to finish. I want to enjoy it and take it all in. They hay is in the barn and its time to taper. "Maintain, but don't expect to build. That's what tapering means"

see ya out there

April 10, 2010

IMSG recon. . . take 2

Monique and I just got back from Utah where we got to spend a couple of days with our buddy "Sully" and check out the Ironman St. George course. I got to attend the EC camp last November but never got to see the run course and it was a good time for Monique to see the bike course and ride it on her 3 day old bike.

She opted not to go with that saddle for the new rig

We picked up her bike the day before we left and in the first three days she got to ride it in 3 different states and put just under 200 miles on it. A good start on the new rig!

Once in SG territory we hit up the pool for a nice long set and then we rode through the Snow Canyon Park (i recommend checking it out of you get to SG early) and got some pictures for the Team Duke Children's Healing Art Project. We are honored to be a part of this and hope we can do more with Team Duke in the future. These kids and the program are rad.

I had some goals for our "mini-camp" and I was interested to see the progress I made since last time I rode the bike course. However, as much as we had some recon to do we were also taking a bit of a vacation. I had banked some comp-days from working weekends and staying with Sully in the mellow town of St. George was a welcomed relaxing weekend.

BTY...My friend Sully has been living here since January and is in TOP shape...He qualified for Kona last year with a 4:11 at a 70.3 and he has just been getting faster and faster...too bad he aged up to my AG! I have no doubt that he will win our age group and probably be the top amateur. He is an animal but one of the nicest guys that I know. It is just exciting to see my friends get ramped up for a big race. Its going to be one good party AFTER the race!

Anyways...Back to the recon. I posted some pictures up for the EC team and data files and maybe it will be a help for you if you are doing the race? They are posted over here. Let me know if you want any data files, etc and I can email them over to you.

We finished up with some solid training and relaxing. I did get to see and run on the course and it is the real deal. It is not that steep hilly and for sure most people will be able to run the entire course if your pacing sets you up correctly on the bike. I hope to be in that camp! I kept thinking that this is just like a big Xterra course and I am happy that I still have that "ignorance is bliss" having never done an Ironman before because I have nothing to compare this course to except an Xterra. I went through an entire tub of Grape Vitargo over the weekend. Race fuel and recovery to the next level! This stuff works so well I never felt depleted during or after the trip. Love it!

I did make some big improvements from riding the loop back in November and somewhere around an extra ~60watts for the same heart rate but I realized when I got home it was more about "the big picture". My perception had changed and my understanding about what it takes is very different from what I thought that Ironman training is all about. I got some big sessions in but more importantly I absorbed them. Working with the Endurance Corner Team has been HUGE! There is now over seven coaches on the forum and plenty of great athletes who provide a good example. There is no easy way but there is a better way!

I cut back from my planned camp as far as volume and let go of some of the things I thought that I had to knock out before the race. Why do we feel like we NEED do complete some things before we are really ready...? Sometimes a growing checklist. I have yet to run over 20 miles and had to let go of some other "things" I had wanted to put a check box next to...but I had to let it go. I just have to trust my training and know that I am saving the good stuff for race day.

run course profile

I got a message from Gordo about mission accomplished for the camp. At first I was bummed because I had my growing list that i didn't knock out. Then I realized that it was successful and I was not destroyed. I had a great swim, bike and run session the day I got back and the numbers looked really good and I felt even better. Consistency. That was enough prove to me that a transformation was made in the way I was thinking and working.

This is my training log entry the Sunday after we got back from SG and about sums it up...

I was starting to get bummed that I didn't destroy myself this weekend. This was suppose to be my BIG push before the race and I dont even feel wiped out. I pushed it a bit more on the last downhill and let my quads have it...They are not sore at all today. I dont feel tired. I dont feel overtrained. I had so much fun swimming and I want to do that workout again..now. The bike ride was just "another session"... t-run off the bike is just what i do after a long ride... the long run the next day was just progressed from what I have been running but it was not over the top. I was thinking I would even be fully recovered in just a day or two. Then... I had to smile. OK. This is the "mission accomplished". My proof from the puddin'. It was smart to not try and do the extra loop and push a 10hr ride. It was smart to not get fixed on a number and try and hit 20 miles on my run. This is NOT what I would normally do and still doing the IM distance over 3 days would have killed me before. THIS is all the confirmation that i needed mentally and physically that i needed. Not running 20 miles but backing up a big weekend...week after week and now month after month. This was just another training week and at ~20hrs this is a normal week of training for me now and just loaded on the back end. Something I will ABSORB and recover from quickly without getting injured and staying HIGHLY motivated. I cannot take credit for the "smart" part. I am grateful. The rest of the workouts today was a bit more confirmation.

I'm Ready!

April 07, 2010

back in the saddle again

Busy couple of weeks and I have been back at work balancing the "life" stuff. I am really grateful I have a job that I can focus so much energy on training when it matters and it worked out well for Oceanside and my lead up to St. George so far. Its not always that way and sometimes I get buried behind weekends of work but it just makes me appreciate when it all works out.

I was interested to see how I would recover from the Oceanside race. It proved to be pretty motivating to see what paces I ended up with and to know that I saved some good stuff for race day. The week after I basically took it easy and stayed off of the running for a few days and soaked it up in the pool.

I had to head to Fresno for work on the next Tuesday so I got to hit up an old pool I use to swim at in Bako and ride the bike path. So nice out there right now and cleared my mind!

By Friday, I was feeling pretty good and jumped back into the EC training schedule with a "Strength Brick" workout. I had some huge gains since the last time I did this workout and knocked out a swim and some core work too. I was back! ...and stronger too! Here is my training time including the O-Side race until today.

In the 12 days ending 2010-04-07:

activity # timemileskm+ft

Road Bike9 16:56:30 262.7

Swim10 8:58:00 16.76(32:05) 26.98(19:56)

Trail Running6 4:38:58 35.7(7:49) 57.45(4:51) 5005

Road Running1 1:35:00 14.0(6:47) 22.53(4:13) 1080

Yoga2 1:30:00

Strength1 55:00

Total12 34:33:28 329.16

The next day Monique and I joined some friends for an "easy" 5ish hour ride. I didn't really plan on it. I was trying to keep the volume low but just rolled with it. I felt great running off of the bike and just got back to my normal training patterns. Open water swimming and some fun runs in the trails with friends.

Then our good friends were heading for THE summit. Literally... After reaching 6 of the great summits, Karen, Paul, Jordan and team left for Everest. A few of us got to catch up for just a bit over lunch before they left. This has been such a treat to witness. They are some amazing people and I am honored just to get to hear all of the stories. Huge inspiration. You can follow the adventure over here http://www.jordanromero.com

Here is a pic of some BBQ pizza that we made with Ryan and Sarah the other night. The girls did some cooking, Ryan took care of the refreshments and I burnt the chicken and did my fare share of eating. I love team work!

So from here it is back in the saddle and back to the journey that has become Ironman in the making. Such a fun trip!