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Friday, July 31, 2009

The home stretch

Thursday morning was a light group ride. We had some new blood in the group - Marissa which is good since JD and Keith have been AWOL for the last couple of rides. There was nothing crazy this morning – I think my legs are still recovering from the 10 mile run yesterday and from the race last weekend. I raced the Heart O’Dixie well but I was a little surprised at how long it has taken for my legs to bounce back – bounce back completely that is. I had a pretty good taper for the race – about a day and a half and I just think that I quickly forgot what tired legs feel like. I mean, I have had tired legs for what has seemed like months but you get used to it – until they are not as tired anymore.

We left Jackson on time, just at sun up, and headed to Sumrall. This was a chat fest and I enjoyed the camaraderie. There was lots of talking about the race last weekend and my upcoming Ironman race. I arrived at school with a good 28 miles in before work. Not too bad.

Once again I took a workout with me to the pool. I do not know what it is but with workout in hand the swim sessions are so much more productive – You would have thought that I would have caught on to this earlier. For lunch I had a strong 2900 yards of various mixed speed sets. The 5 x 300 yards with laps 4, 8, and 12 hard are really challenging to me. I think it is because for the 25 yards I am way out of my comfort zone and then I have to actively recover while swimming. This should pay dividends in the long run – like when I lose a breath in the open water due to congestion or something. It should allow for me to settle back down into my rhythm without any panic or struggle. After the swim, Jim paid me a compliment – he said that my swim stroke was looking ‘even better than in the spring’. I’m not sure what my swim looks like but he is right – I am feeling much stronger and more efficient. It is really cool to swim faster AND easier. I still need to refine the swim but I am so encouraged – I know that I have said this before but I really think that I have drowned my swim demons for good this time.

On a side note – ouch – the pool will be closed for the next 10 days due to maintenance.


Uncharacteristically of me, I went out to eat at lunch on Tuesday and I went out to eat with friends on Thursday night. Ever since my race last weekend my diet was been off and it has been reflected in my weight. For these next few weeks and especially with the taper – the diet will be even more important. I will be exercising less and that in and of itself will require even more diet discipline.

Looking at my training plan for the next month – it looks like I have a long run tomorrow and a long ride next Sunday – everything else is easy peasy. This is the home stretch and I feel like I am ready to do this race tomorrow!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swimming with a plan

I felt a lot better after taking Tuesday off. I got up early on Wednesday for an easy run. The humidity hit me like a brick wall. It wasn’t 10 feet before I was soaking wet. I headed west at an easy pace. I would not have enough time to get all the way to Eply this morning.

Anyway, I was feeling good – no aches or pains and although the legs were still tired they did not put up very much resistance. I turned around at the 5 mile point just past the beaver pond. At mile seven I decided to pick the pace up a little. I have been having trouble putting in hard efforts on the run. The hard efforts on the bike have gotten easy – it’s just running hard that is, well, hard. Most of my miles were around 8:30 minute / mile pace but I picked it up at mile seven and did a 6:46 minute / mile pace. It was a hard effort. I think that running fast should be a bit easier right now. I understand that my endurance is going through the roof but I feel so slow. Earlier this year – real early like February and March I PR’ed twice at the 5k distance with my best being 19:09 – I don’t feel like I am even close to that mark at this time. I do realize that I am not training for a 5k right now but …

I wrapped up the 10 mile run in 1:24 at an 8:28 minute / mile pace. All in all it was a good early morning run.

I made it to the pool during lunch. Learning from my past two experiences I took a workout with me. Just like clockwork – when I have a plan I stick to it! I churned out a fast 3000 yards consisting of the following:

WU: 200
MS:
1,000 time trial.
500 time trial
2x:
- 200 yd free w/ 20" rest
- 150 yd free w/ 15" rest
- 100 w/ 10" rest
- 50 w/ 1' rest CD: 300


The swim felt good and I was proud of myself for sticking to a plan. It was not hard – I have just had a hard time getting the swim in – well the last two swims any way – I have swum 35,000 yards this month.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Running - from strength to weakness?

With the racing and BIG weekend training days I have been winging my plan. I have had two swims in the last two weeks that have had no purpose – when this happens they get cut short. It is time to get back on the plan! These last few weeks the plan will be followed much more closely. However, regarding my training, I feel that I have put in the time and I am feeling good about this home stretch.

So on Tuesday I took the entire day off. The race had taken more out of me than I thought that it would. Running on Sunday and Monday following the race was a little more than my legs needed. I started to feel run down and thought that I might have a cold coming on. To nip it in the bud the day off was necessary.

So, I was looking at my resent race results – I had had some good races but it is funny how my run has gone from my strength to my weakness. Although my run time has improved in all of my races my swim and bike have improved more. I’m still not going to win any of these races but if I can make the same kind of progress with my run that I have with my swim and bike – my placing will jump up quite a bit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Post race recovery

I decided to do an easy run on Sunday. I wanted to run down to Jackson Station and do some pull-ups and chin-ups. My upper body strength training has been neglected the past couple of months. The run was easy but my quads and hamstrings were really tight from the race. Not painful but sore. I ran the 1.5 miles to the exercise yard / playground area. I was not able to do nearly as many ‘-ups as I was in the spring. However, the run was feeling good so I continued the run a bit further and turned around at mile 3. Back at Jackson Station I did another couple of sets of ‘-ups and I headed back home. It was much hotter on this morning than race day!

I had some lunch and then prepared myself for the group ride. I was only going to do the 30 mile out and back but we had such a good group that I decided to ride further. We hooped of the trail and took Rocky Branch South. The traffic was pretty bad for a Sunday afternoon but once we were out of the congestion the ride opened up. This was a hilly loop and a little more than I had wanted. But it was all managed fine. I sprinted ahead for just a few minutes with Ty. Ty is a very strong rider and just let me spin out ahead until I was done. Then he took the pull and I just held on – I was glad a junction was up ahead and we stopped for the group. I also got another break when someone flatted. Ended the day with just under 45 miles.

As a side note – remember that you can recycle your used CO2 cylinders – they are aluminum and can be tossed in just about any recycle bin.

I slept late on Monday and hit the pool for a little bit at lunch. I was really not feeling the water very well and jumped out after only 1000 yards. I was going to go up stairs and do some strength training, however, I crossed Jim and Ryan in the locker room and they were going outside for a run. I decided to tag along and we did an easy 3.5 miles.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heart O'Dixie Race Report 2009

2008 10/50 SWIM 13/50 14:27 T1 1:23 BIKE 09/50 1:13:50 22.3 T2 2:05 RUN 09/50 51:55 7:25 2:23:38
2009
13/60 SWIM 10/60 13:10 T1 1:10 BIKE 06/60 1:09:09 23.9 T2 1:57 RUN 16/60 48:21 6:55 2:13:46

I rode up on Friday with Ben for the race. We got to the packet pickup early and then checked in the hotel. We prepped everything for the next day. This is a point to point race. You swim ½ mile and then ride 27.5 miles to T2. And the race then finishes 7 miles from T2. You have to bag your T2 stuff and bag stuff for after the race. My T2 run stuff is just a number belt, shoes and a hat. Pretty light stuff when it comes down to it.

I was starting 419 out of about 435 (not sure of exact number). This is a staggered start so I would be starting about 35 minutes after the start of the race. Also my T1 transition area was at the back (however, this was closer to the exit than almost anyone else).

SWIM

The staggered start really makes the swim easy. The swim was a clockwise horseshoe shape – just the kind that I like. All the buoys were to my right and that made it easy for me to sight. I have said it before: when you start at the back, the only people left in the water are people that you are faster then. I started my old Timex stop watch and I ran out into the water and just started my swim cruise mode. However, within the first 200 yards the Velcro on the watch started to slip and the watch was gone – oh well – nothing to do about it. As I swam I came upon a few people back stroking and breast stroking. I know that they were just trying to get through the swim – I can empathize. I tried to give everyone a wide berth and tried not to disrupt them. Like I said, I empathize – I have been there. I just cruise along the outer perimeter of the swim and finished faster than last. The swim was 1:17 faster. My age group swim rank was 13/50 last year – a really good swim for me. This year it was 10/60 – even better. Also, I have not yet begun to push the swim. I have a lot of time to gain as soon as I am more comfortable during the swim part of the race.

T1

I had a little bit of trouble getting my wet feet into my cycling shoes. It felt like it was taking forever. T1 was 17 seconds faster than last year.

BIKE

Starting at the end of the race there are only people to pass. I think that this is actually good for my race strategy. There is always someone that is in front of you and that you can overtake. With my personality I think that this pushes me. However, once again the traffic on the course was difficult. This is two lane blacktop and when there is a slower rider the cars back up trying to pass. You have to ride aggressively. I was passing cars and cyclist in many sections. I bet that I was passed and re-passed by the same group of 10 cars about 5 times before the road widen so that the cars could get away. I found it easy to keep my heart rate up in a high zone and keep the speed up. This course is rolling hills and it actually finishes at a slightly lower elevation than the start (a hundred feet or so). These are not steep rolling hills and you can really fly down the backsides. There were miles that I averaged 28 MPH for the entire mile. I pushed the bike hard for the first and last 40%. Reviewing my race data, I’m not sure why – probably stuck behind some cars crawling up hills, my heart rate dropped in the middle of the race. I passed Keith in the last few miles of the bike. Last year I had my best bike, here – it is a fast course and finished in my age group 9/50. This year I improved that to 6/60 and bettered my time by 4:41 and averaged 23.9 MPH. As a side note – doing the math I was about 10 seconds from the website reporting 24.0 MPH – damn. 24 seems so much faster than 23.9.

T2

I thought that my bike was a long way to run to in T1. I wish that I had a photograph to show you what a nearly 2 minute transition time looks like. I am always pretty good in the transitions – easy speed. However, I do not do a flying dismount and I run in my cycling shoes (LOOK type cleats). So I had to clip clop to the far end of a parking area before racking my bike. It took forever and seemed even longer. That being said my T2 time was 8 seconds faster than last year with a 1:57.

RUN

Last year I had to walk within the first few hundred yards and watch some of my age group rabbits pull away. This year I felt fine. I was running a comfortably hard pace. I was running a pace like a good tempo run. I could have, well should have, pushed harder. I had the overhead but I just did not push it. My cardio capacity was there but my legs were tired and a little sore. I was passing everyone (once again that is what happens when you start almost last). At about mile 2 a 16 year old kid passed me – His race number was in the 300’s – I had about 5 minutes on him. He was running a little faster than I was. He said something like – ‘Looking good’ when he passed. I latched onto him about 20 feet back. I was still running comfortable but a little faster than before. At about the 4 mile mark I caught back up to the kid. I got beside him and told him that I was not running any faster. We ran together side by side for about a mile and then I told him to ‘PICK IT UP – LETS GO!’ I surged forward and accelerated. The kid came with me and I let him get just in front of me. These were my fastest miles. The run was now becoming hard – like it should be. Once the run enters the fairgrounds you follow a white chalk line on the packed red earth. The route winds through ‘Victorian Style’ cabins. The chalk line is so old school. The race finishes on a packed clay horse track. You run about a lap and a quarter on this track. It is hard to guess when you should kick – The track is wide open and you have to make sure that when you kick you can finish it. I brought myself side by side with the kid. I told him that he did not want to be out kicked by me. He didn’t budge. A little bit farther down the track and his dad was telling him to pick it up. The kid kicked it up and finished strong. I kicked a little and finished well. Last year my run was 9/50 and it dropped to 16/60 even though I was 3:34 faster. I was looking at the race results when the kid came up to me and shook my hand. He said that he finished second in his age group and was very excited. I congratulated him. He asked me how I had done – I beat him by about 6 minutes. He said something like wow and asked my where I placed – I told him 13th and said that it was a tough age group.

Total
I was faster in every aspect of the race: SWIM / T1 / BIKE / T2 / RUN. I finished with a total time of nearly 10 minutes faster – 9:52 faster. A lot of this time gain can be attributed to the cooler temperature and different equipment but it was a very good race for me. To win my age group last year I would have need to be 12:24 minutes faster – this year only 8:09 minutes. In addition, to podium last year I would have needed 7:09 minutes and this year only 5:53 minutes. I finished 55 in males and this year 37th even though there were about 100 more participants. This is also the first time that I finished in front of Mike L. – by about 2 minutes.

Post Race

I wore my racing flat Zoot’s for this hilly 7 miles. I think that is pushing the distance for these shoes. At one of the water stops on the run they were giving out ice chilled towels. I grabbed one and put it on the back on my neck and then on my chest. It felt great for about a minute, however, my shoes were soaked by then. I started to get a couple of hot spots on my left foot. Nothing major but my feet hurt for a little bit after the race. As soon as I showered and put socks and fresh shoes on all was better. I got a post race massage for my quads and hamstrings. It felt good. We hitched a ride back to Ben's car with the pinebeltpacer gang. I enjoyed swapping race stories with Becky, Raul and Susan.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Heart O'Dixie - PREVIEW / 2008 REVIEW

Thursday morning was an easy morning trace ride. Normally it would be a group ride but it was only Robin and I that showed up. No matter. We still had a good 25 mile ride. We talked a lot about upcoming races and time trails. It seems like the boys of summer have dropped off for a little bit.

Friday morning I got a little swimming in at the pool - 3 sets of 300 yards + 200 yards with paddles – for a good 1500 yards. The swim felt good. I was really trying to over emphasize the roll – starting with my hips. A few weeks ago this felt very awkward but now it is not so bad. Starting the roll with my hips is allowing for my entire body to roll – not just my shoulders. It feels like my body is much longer and I am grabbing bigger chunks of water. Although, I have not seen any speed improvement, I do believe that I am swimming more efficiently.

From the Meridian Star:


“The Heart o’ Dixie is the oldest triathlon in the continental U.S.

This year’s race officially sold out some two weeks ago.

We normally don’t hit 300 until the week of the race and this year we’ve got 400 two weeks before the race,” said race director John David Williams. “It’s a growing sport. Everybody wants to do this race. It’s going to be a good day. I’m absolutely looking forward to it.”

I’m leaving for the Heart O’Dixie race a little later today – Ben is picking me up from work and we are heading out. This will be the 30th Annual Heart O’Dixie Triathlon – I am amazed that this race the oldest triathlon in the continental US – In the middle of Mississippi. I bet you would not have guessed that!


The start is staggered – you start every 5 seconds unless you are seeded in the top 10. Your start number is determined by went you register. I registered last week – I will start 419th. Last year I started 325. The good news is that my friends Keith, Raul and Tony will be starting 355, 430 and 431 (Tony is last) respectively – maybe we will go have some breakfast before the race (I’ll be starting about 35 minutes after the start of the race). On the other hand Ben and Mike will be starting 88 and 178 – I hope they save me some food. The race is a point to point ½ mile swim, 27.5 mile bike and 7 mile run.

2008 Heart O’Dixie Race Report
Total Time: 2:23:38
Overall Rank: 55/338
Age Group Rank: 10/50
Pre-race routine:

Ate 3 packages of oatmeal and drove to race. Set up transition.

Event warm-up:

Quick dip in lake for a swim. I cut my foot on something in the mud. Decide to wear socks during the bike and run because of this. I registered late for this race. It was a staggered start - every 5 seconds. I started at number 325. I got to see many people complete the swim before I even jumped in.

Swim: 14:27 - 1:38s / 100 yards – AG RANK – 13/50

I am not strong in the swim; however, I now realize that I am better than some. It was difficult passing the many people ahead of me. Starting so far in the back of the pack meant that everyone that swims better than me was out of the water. The only people left on the course were struggling. All in all I still had a decent swim for me. Still working on this.

What would you do differently?

Try to start earlier. Continue to work on breathing, sighting and speed. I AM A MUCH BETTER SWIMMER – I WILL TRY AND JUST PICK MY OWN LINE LIKE I DID IN THE SUNFISH AND CRUISE THE SWIM.

T1: 1:23

Bike was farthest from swim exit / bike start. Had to put socks on and run through grassy transition.

What would you do differently?

Work on running bike mount. STILL NOT DOING THE FLYING MOUNT – NO SOCKS THIS YEAR!

Bike: 1:13:50 – 22.35 MPH - AG RANK – 9/50

The bike was fast. However, once all the bikes had left transition the traffic picked up on the road. These cars were all of the racers families and friends going to meet the racers at the fairgrounds. This created a lot of traffic. This is 2 lane blacktop. I was travelling faster than the cars at many places. Got held up.

What would you do differently?

Remain in the zone. Keep concentration up. This was still a very good bike for me. WITH SO MANY RACERS IN FRONT OF ME I MUST USE THEM AS RABBITS AND KEEP IN THE PASSING ZONE. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP MY CONCENTRATION UP IN THE LAST 2 RACES!

T2: 2:05

Transition placement was again poor. Legs shaky. Dropped a gel and stopped to get it.

What would you do differently?

Practice dismount and riding with feet on top of shoes. STILL NO FLYING DISMOUNT.

Run: 51:55 – 7:25 min/mile - AG RANK – 9/50

First mile was a killer. I was with a group of fast runners in my age group that were also numbered near me. I tried to hang with them but I was not doing well. Had to take two 10 second walk breaks. Choked down a gel and picked up the pace. Found someone to pace with and kept going. Walked the water stops. Got some support back from a friend that is a good runner. He came by and I was able to use him as my rabbit.

What would you do differently?

Tough out the run. Remain focused. More bricks and speed work in training. STILL NEED THE MENTAL TOUGHNESS TO KEEP THE RUN HARD – REAL HARD.

Post race

Warm down:

Stopped cold and grabbed a wet towel and a water bottle. Ate some cookies and got in line for a massage. They worked on my calves and it felt great. Ate a whole lot of pizza (I had a long drive home and did not want to get spacey). Jumped on bus to take me back to race start. Grabbed my goggles and then drove to T2 to get bike. Started to rain - a real downpour for most of the 2.5 hour drive home. I was so glad that the rain did not hit during the race.

What limited your ability to perform faster?

Still building swim / bike / run. Become more comfortable during the swim so that the bike / run do not suffer. Pick the pace up on the run and become strong at hills on the bike. HOPEFULLY THE SWIM IS BECOME A NON-ISSUE. SURE I AM NOT GOING TO WIN IN SWIM SPRINTS BUT I SHOULD BE ABLE TO PUSH THE BIKE. NOW IF I CAN JUST FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE BIKE AND RUN!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Easy lake swim -

I took almost all of Wednesday off. I slept late and enjoyed it. I went to the lake after work for a very quick swim. Only Robin and Darian were there. Darian was with his family. I had a relaxing swim out to the third buoy for an easy 500 yards or so – nothing major. The lake was empty and the temperature of the water and air was a bit cooler.

IM Course Elevation Data
1. France 11193
2. Lanzarote 10282
3. Lake Placid 7911
4. Austria 7829
5. Australia 7659
6. Louisville 7578
7. Switzerland 7505
8. Wisconsin 7353
9. Canada 6719
10. Coeur D’Alene 5851
11. Brazil 5419
12. Germany 5281
13. S. Africa 5182
14. Hawaii 4554
15. Arizona 3824
16. W. Australia 2538
17. Florida 2007

I got these elevation numbers from the RC Triathlon and Adventure Blog. Robin did Lake Placid last year and John has done Switzerland, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand. Louisville is 5th on the list and 2nd for North America. Talking with Robin and John, neither of them thought that any of the ironman’s that they have done were ‘that’ hilly. But, they are, ironmen after all.

From our 78 mile ride last weekend my gps read a total elevation gain of 5,789 – from garmin-connect. Doing the math - 78 miles is 70% of an ironman and 70% of 7578 feet is 5304 feet. It would appear that our rolling hills of South Mississippi are comparable to the Louisville course. One big proviso – as we can see from the chart below (captured from trimaven – the first 10 and the last 25 miles are either flat or down hill. That would put the all of the elevation gain in the middle 78 miles or so. I guess the rolling hills will be bigger.



To clarify about the pop tarts and trashy food in the previous post. That was what I ate during the exercise session. I ate much better post ride – streamed veggies, lean protein, etc. The pop tarts have just become an easy, cheap portable food source.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eating on the Swim / Bike / Run

I slept late on Tuesday and skipped the group ride. My legs were tired from the trail run the night before. At lunch I went to the trace with Vic and Adam and we decided to run intervals. 10 x ¼ miles with 90 rest sounded good. As always, they started out hard, but manageable and then just got harder. I was able to finish all of the intervals in the high-high 120’s. In the spring I was running these in the low 120’s but I was not as consistent. It was a good effort. My rump was a little sore from the bike tip-over the night before.

On Saturday’s epic training day I looked at the amount of calories that I consumed:

PRE-SWIM
400 CALS - 2 POP TART S
PRE-BIKE
400 CALS – 2 POP TARTS
BIKE
400 CALS – 2 POP TARTS
500 CALS – 2 PEACAN LOGS (MINI)
400 CALS – 2 SPORTS DRINKS
200 CALS – 2 GELS
PRE-RUN
400 CALS – 2 POP TARTS
500 CALS – 2 PEANUT BUTTER CRACKER PACKAGES
100 CALS – ½ SPORTS DRINK
RUN
200 CALS – GELS
POST RUN
100 CALS – ½ SPORTS DRINK
100 CALS – LIGHT BEER


TOTAL = 3700 calories

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The last hurrah -

I slept in on Monday morning. I had decided to give the legs a rest after the weekend and only do a swim. Chris was at the pool at lunch time and we had to share a lane for just a few minutes. I warmed up with an easy 500 yards. Chris wanted to do some speed work and I was game. Since I so rarely do any swimming speed work I knew this was going to be tough.

Chris is quite a bit faster than I am I would just try to keep up with him. We started with 6 x 25 yards on 30. I was able to touch just behind Chris in all of these sets – they were taking about 20 seconds. We then moved up to 10 x 50 on 60 – (originally it was going to be 6 but Jim showed up a little bit late and we increased the reps). At the 25 yard mark Chris was consistently half a body link in front of me. However, with my lack of flip turn and his huge flip turn – as soon as we turned around he was a full body length in front of me. As the set continued it got harder – this was a good swim work out. Next would be 3 x 200 yards on 3:30. The same scenario – Chris just increased his lead on me after each lap – I was finishing a couple of body lengths behind him – I was finishing at 3:00 minutes.

That was it for the day – or so I thought. It was posted on the forum that there was a nice trail run at 7PM at Eply Station. It is hard for me to pass up group training when it is on the trace – I mean; I get to ride my bike there. I rode out to Eply and arrived just before 7 – Robin, Lance and Neil were there. Jim showed up a few minutes later – calling me out since I said I was only going to do the swim. There were also some of Robin’s cross-country students. An unnoticed dirt road was just off of the trail – that was the run for the evening. My plan was for a nice easy 8:30 mile pace, however, Neil was there. Neil was one of my old 5k nemeses. Last year we were running right around the same pace and I was able to use him as a rabbit in a couple of races last year (this year also). Neil was chasing the sub 20 minute 5k for much of last year and that was my goal also. In mid August I was able to follow Neil up to about the 2 ½ mile mark at a 5k and then pass him. I got a PR of 19:57 – I would not have been able to do it without the good pacing. Neil broke 20 minutes a few races later. Anyway, Neil has been running a lot and I went out on the trail run with him. The 8’s turned into 7 ½’s and then it seemed to quicken to about a 7 minute pace. I had to let Neil go. I fell back at the turn around and waited for Jim and Lance. It was a really good trail run for me – Jim and I also tacked on about 1 ½ miles along the trace to give us an even 6 miles.

Talking shop after the run I was circling Robin, Lance and Jim. I was doing figure eights on my bike – just tooling around. And bam, I slowed too much and leaned the wrong way. I did one of those super slow-mo falls in a parking lot. Luckily, I fell really well – not a cut or scrap or anything. I landed right on my rump and I don’t think I will even get a bruise – except for my ego – and even it will be just a tiny bruise. That was the first fall in a couple of years (I did have a crash last year – but that definitely was not just a fall).

Race update – I did end up registering for the Heart O’Dixie this weekend. At exactly five weeks out from IMKY it will be the last hurrah of summer. I will be sticking to the IM training plan exactly here on out – even if the taper kills me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hobble then Gobble in July?

Having not run much in the last week I decide to get an early morning run. I headed out the door just before 6AM on Friday morning. It was muggy to say the least – I think I was the dew point. My legs felt good after almost a week of rest – I did a 5 mile brick in the middle of that century plus bike ride last weekend and no running since then.

My legs felt so good that I was pushing the pace and I decided to do a rare tempo run. I ran out towards Clyde Station and got the blood flowing quickly – no warm up – just a quick run. The first mile clicked off in 7:19 and I pushed a little harder. This was not like a 5k race or anything but just a hard tempo run. I hit the 2 ½ mile turn around and held steady. This was a HARD effort. Nothing was easy about it but it felt good. No aches and pains – just a solid effort. I struggled just a little to keep the intensity high in the last mile or so – but it was maintainable – I think I could have run a mile or two more at this pace – my splits:

1. 7:19
2. 6:58
3. 7:05
4. 6:59
5. 7:05


This is about a minute off of my 5k pace. This was the same pace as the run in the Sunfish last weekend. Preparing for the weekend I rested the remainder of the day (bowling at lunch).

I met Jim at the lake at 6AM on Saturday. We were planning a bit longer bike and run leg after the swim. We jumped in the lake and it took me about 10 minutes to fall into my rhythm. The swim was not hard; however, it just was not as easy as it has been the last few weekends. I think that I might still be a little ‘under recovered’ … not sure about that phrase but I think you get the drift.

I did the approximate 2800 yards in about 55 minutes – I think I was a few minutes faster 2 weeks ago. I may have hit the corners of the lake a little better on this day and covered a little more distance – it is hard to tell in the water when you are using ‘soft’ landmarks. Anyway, with the swim out of the way we prepared our bikes for the day. John, the legend, was waiting for us and he would do the bike leg with us. John has 4 ironman’s (from all over the world) under his belt and his advice and camaraderie is always welcome.

We had decided to try and tackle as many hills as we could find. I have been reviewing the IM Louisville course for the last week and I am trying to determine just how hilly the bike course is. I found a couple sites that reference Garmin’s motion based website to determine the elevation. It would appear that IMKY is between 7500 – 8400 feet of climbing – I guess those rolling hills add up. I would be taking my gps with us to see just how Southern Mississippi’s hills will match up. We went west and did out usual loops and then headed towards Sumrall. After Sumrall John took us on the 5 counties loop and then we started to head back. This ride, even though hilly, was so much easier than the last couple of weeks – mainly due to the temperature only being in the high 80’s – 89 for the high. Two weeks ago it was 100+ and all the humidity you could ask for – this was a huge difference. I think we all enjoyed the ride and made it back to the lake. John offered to drop water along the course and wished Jim and I well for our run. The plan was for an easy 10 miles – as easy as you can get after swimming and riding hills for 78 miles.

Jim and I would do the Hobble then Gobble thanksgiving race loop x 2. We headed out and across the spillway. This run would be easy. I was going to do a ‘Galloway’ and was planning on walking a minute at every mile marker. I have never done a run like this – never – not in races or training. The first mile came up quick at about 8:30. I took my 1 minute walk and grabbed a cold (frozen) water bottle – John had left them out on the course for us. The minute ticked by slowly and I really wanted to get moving again – I was tempted to jump the gun – but I waited / walked it out.

As the run wore on it got much harder. I kept to my guns and only walked 1 minute at every mile – however – those miles were coming up slower. After 8 miles it got real hard. The 8:30’s had jumped to 9:30’s and by the time mile 10 rolled around they were in the 10:30’s. All in all I got 11 miles at a 9:39 minute per mile pace. I can live with that but I know that the pace is not sustainable. With another 15 miles to go I can see those walks getting much longer and that pace climbing higher and higher.

I jumped in the lake with an ice cold beer and just relaxed for a few minutes. Jim and I chewed the fat about what worked and what didn’t – but mainly about how much better the day went without the intense heat from the past few weeks.

Sunday was a nice and easy recovery group ride. I never turn back at Sumrall – I mean never – but I took my own advice and just let this be an easy 30 miles. Nothing to gain by pushing it – average heart rate for this Sunday ride was only 113 BPM and the max for the ride was 138 – that is so low for me – like zone 1 recovery low – I never ride done there.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fresh Legs? Lessons learned?

I rolled out of bed on Thursday morning for the group ride. It was still a little dark when I left the house at 5:30AM. Already the days are getting shorter. Pretty soon the group ride will not get started until 6:00AM. My legs felt great. They were completely refreshed – and they should be – I have been off of them for 3 days.

There were just a few of us for the group ride. I started to pick the pace up early on and knew that my legs were still tired – this was disappointing. I would not be able to hang with a really fast group ride. I did, however, attack Keith and Lance a few times. Keith is in top form right now and Lance and I just had to let him go – we stayed back and had a nice medium effort ride. Keith made the comment that he had just over 100 miles on the bike last week – all I could think was that that I had that many on Sunday. We are training for different distances so I cannot argue with Keith’s training – the guy is just getting faster.

Since I was planning on a trifecta day – bike / swim / run – I rode the bike to the house and drove to work. I got in a good swim session in at lunch even though I left for the gym late – I had been planning on 12 x 250 on 4:10. In the past I have always done these intervals on 4:15 – just trying to mix it up a little bit. The swim went great but do to starting just a little late I had to cut the last interval. Even though I missed the last set I was able to easily keep up with the times that I set. The first 8 sets were all within a second or two of each other then they started to creep up. All in all I felt it was a good 2750 yard effort.

In the evening I was planning on doing some speed work out at the track. Robin was out for vacation but Lance had agreed to take the helm. Robin had left him the workout – 10 x 400’s. This would be a tough workout in the evening heat. At about 4PM I started to have some kind of strange allergy attack and the sneezing would continue until about 6 o’clock. I have suffered from some allergies since I moved to Mississippi but nothing like this – I mean, the sneezing and runny nose literally left me exhausted. It was a tough workout. I was still planning on the speed session and then, thankfully, the skies opened up and the rain started to pour. This was a true WIN / WIN – we really need the rain and I skipped the speed session.

I have been on the fence about the Heart O’Dixie race next weekend. I looked the registration page up last weekend prior to the Sunfish and the dang race had sold out. Last year I entered it the week of the race. It is a great race – a little bit of a pain because it is a point to point to point – you end up 34 miles from the start of the swim but still a great race.

Also, I am a little unsure of how a maximum effort race will fit into my ironman training plan. The race would be 5 weeks prior to IMKY and would be my last high intensity all out effort. However, I saw how my body reacted to the race last week – I got worn out. However, I actually do not think that the all out effort of the Sunfish is what got me – it was the 100+ mile bike ride and the 5 mile brick the following day that put me over the edge. Well, they have re-opened registration - so, you experienced ironmen – Let me know what you think. Should I do the race?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recovery and new site

Well, a full day off during the week does not happen often. I was thinking about going to the lake last night but the swim was called off do to many people being on vacation. I have been working on a website to better coordinate training sessions and get more people involved in triathlon – so yesterday I created Hattiesburg Multisport. There is not much there right now but the forum is live – link.

I should be ready to hit the training again full force. The high intensity race Saturday coupled with the 100 + miles on the bike the next day did take a big chunk out of me…

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A little grouchy

Tuesday I had planned on doing a long pre-work bike ride. For some reason I thought that the group was getting together for another TT. I set out all of my gear and puffed up my tires. I knew that a time trial this close to the hard work out from the weekend would not produce good results – but I thought that I might ride the route anyway.

Five AM rolled around rather quickly and my legs were not recovered. I could not climb out of bed – there was no way that I would be at Jackson Stations by 5:45AM. I ran through my contingency plans – I could still get to the pool by 6:30AM and get an hour swim. Still rather lethargic I made it to the gym at 7:15AM – not enough time to do a swim. I went up stairs and did some abdominal exercises.

For lunch I had planned on doing an easy run for 6 or 7 miles. I got held up going to lunch so I switched to another swim – my legs were not recovered anyway. As I entered the natatorium I ran into Chris who was just leaving. We talked for just a minute and then I jumped into the pool. I did 2000 yards straight – nothing tough just racking up yards. Chris later spoke with Jodie after class and said that I looked worn out. He said that I looked like I needed some time off. Chris, okay proper name is Sports Physiology Dr. Chris – who always podiums at all the races, called me later in the day and asked when I took my last day off – It was Friday before the race. I told him that I had taken it easy after the weekend. I told him that I had only swum the past two days. Dr. Chris clearly stated that swimming and weight training were not days off. Chris said a day off is reading a book during lunch and just taking it easy all day long – tough words for me to hear. He also advised me about my diet and that I need more calories – not just any calories but carbohydrates.

It is so much easier for someone outside the situation to see things that you cannot see – I know when I am overdoing it – I get grouchy but I always push it just a little farther. Chris is very knowledgeable and I respect any advice that he offers. I’m glad I have friends looking after me! So, today, I am taking the day off even though I really want to go out to the lake tonight and have an easy swim – I was also planning on getting a run in after the swim.

So, I brought a book for lunch – I’ll take it easy today and hit it hard tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Unplanned century

Jim came by the house at 6AM on Sunday. We wanted to get some uber hill climbs. Jim wanted to do 40th street and Richburg Road. We headed towards the university. We wove around the streets of the neighbor hoods until we reached 40th street – these were big rolling hills. We made it up the hills until we arrived at Richburg Road. We hung a left and went east – I think I topped out in the high thirties going down this hill. We did a short loop at 28th street and went back up the long grade that we had just come down. We had a good series of climbs. We made it back to the trace and headed west. I wanted to go north on Epley Road and turn around at highway 42 – these were also good rolling hills. As we neared Epley Jim was not feeling well. We had 30 miles in the saddle and Jim was going to call it a day. I continued and did the Epley hills and then went further west past Sumrall to the Munn Road hills. All in all I got 68 miles on Sunday morning. Talking later with Jim he ended up getting a little better than 50 miles – not a bad day.

Back at the house I did a quick change and decided to grab a brick. I thought about running for maybe an hour and a half or possibly two hours. I had a frozen 32 oz bottle of water in my hands to keep cool. I started to feel light headed after only a mile. My math was not so good. I pushed on and realized that I had not eaten enough that morning. Last week I ate 11 pop tarts – this week only 3 gels. I turned around at Clyde Station and headed home. The frozen bottle had melted in the 38 minute run – I was hot.

I made myself a big lunch and within an hour I was feeling much better. Disappointed in my run I still had time to jump on the Sunday group ride. I changed clothes again and headed towards the trail head. There was a large group and went out to Sumrall. On the way it started to rain – no one was expecting this. It has only rained once in the last 4 – 6 weeks – we are in a drought. As luck would have it – it has now rained twice and I have been on the bike both times. I guess that just means I have been on the bike a lot. The group ride split and there were only 5 of us willing to continue. We decided to do Munn Road – that would be twice in one day for me. It was still raining lightly as we left the trace. As we turned onto Munn Road Todd – the helicopter pilot for the hospital went down. I was right behind him and swerved just in time to miss him. Luckily he did not hit any joints and just had a big road rash cherry on his hip. A quick once over on the bike and he was rolling again. I have had this thought rolling through my mind – “We all have bad things happen to us – it is how you react to them that matters”. Todd did a good job.

For the day I ended up with 108 miles on the bike and 4.5 miles on the run. I was tired but nothing was sore and I was not any worse for the wear.

Monday I let the legs rest and just hit the pool for some lap time. I ended up with 12 x 250 yards on 4:15 – for 3000 yards total. The swim was good but I was tired the rest of the day.

After work Jodie and I went to the book signing for Tony. We also ran into Becky from the pinebelt pacers. It was fun to talk with Tony and get a copy of the book. As a bonus the libraries ‘food club’ was meeting and they made all kinds of pancakes – oatmeal, buttermilk, Johnny cakes plus desserts. Good times.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 SUNFISH RACE REPORT

2008 SWIM 10:52 T1 1:17 BIKE 47:41 T2 1:02 RUN 22:26 TOTAL 1:23:18
2009 SWIM 08:40 T1 0:57 BIKE 45:20 T2 1:03 RUN 21:15 TOTAL 1:17:13

Last year I remember looking out over the water and thinking about how far it looked. I swam the course the night before and it really calmed some of my fears. The distance did not look so far this time – I am amazed at how different my perspectives are a year later. I swam the course again this year and was about 2 minutes faster than last year.

I slept well the night before the race – I had almost no pre-race anxieties. I can get a little worked up prior to races but I did not feel any of the pressure for this race. I had clear cut goals – I just wanted to hammer the entire race – DON’T HOLD BACK! This is a time trial start. Robin, my closest rival, would start 40 seconds behind me – I did not want to see Robin at all!

SWIM: I jumped in the water 12 minutes after the start of the race. I picked the ‘left lane’ and just cruised through the swim. I was just using the people that I was passing to sight off of – I probably went a little too wide but the swim just clicked. I was swimming efficiently, fast and feeling good. I could have / should have pushed the swim a little faster but I was still more than 2 minutes faster than last year. I swam at my ‘one’ speed and was comfortable. When I swam the course the night before I was actually 5 seconds faster.

T1 was short and sweet with no incidences. Jumping on the bike there is a large hill immediately out of transition. I just stood up in the pedals and powered right up – no big deal. I passed a few people that were struggling. The first half of this bike course is VERY challenging. A big hill once you leave the park. Last year I dropped down to my lower crank and my highest gear and just spun up the hill – it was hard. Last year I got blown away by Mike L. and Chris – they just powered up the hill and left me in the dust. Not this time – I stood up in the cranks and took the hill – I would do that for all of the hills. I was not going to hold anything back – I was redlining the entire bike. On the down hills I was flying – there were a couple of occasions where I was spinning out – no more gears to grab. Post race I noticed that I topped out at 42 MPH! I did not let up the entire bike – I flew into transition and my legs were shaking. I was only passed twice during the bike leg – and one of them I passed back. Unfortunately one of them was in my age group.

I fumbled for a few seconds trying to get my running shoes on - I was having trouble balancing on one leg. I charged out of T2 with a goal of not letting my run pace lag. My heart rate was in zone 4 and I was not going to let it drop. I passed a couple of people early in the run and then two guys in my age group came by me – the first one had started about a minute fifteen in front of me – I had to keep him in site – the other was running much faster than me and had started after me – no hope there. The run really came down to me just trying to hang on at the intensity that I was running. I was getting hot and the run was getting hard – I am not sure why this flat 5k is so hard – it must be the hills on the bike. I ended up losing ground to both of the age group runners. Heading back up the levy with about a half mile to three quarters of a mile to go Robin comes by me. He taps me on the back and tells me to pick it up – I dig deep and try to stay on his heels. I remember that I have 40 seconds on him – with my bonky mind I think I just have to keep with in 40 seeconds of him – how wrong could I be? I NEEDED to beat him by 40 seconds. This is not going to happen. Robin finished 11 seconds ahead of me at the line for a total time of 51 seconds in front of me. However, I really appreciate Robin – he forced me to run better and harder at the end of the race – I love the competition.

I ended up meeting or almost meeting all of my goals for the race:


Swim a good race – better, faster, stronger – DONE - better by 2:12

Bike a hard race – DON’T LET UP – DONE – better by 2:21

Run a better than 7:00 minute pace – ALMOST – my watch indicated a 6:53 but race results showed a 7:03 – STILL – better by 1:11

Finish faster than last year by 5 + minutes – DONE – better by 6:05

Last year I finished 36th overall - this year 24th.

Beat Robin - Not a good goal - I can only control myself - CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR – DEFEATED BY 0:51 seconds



CHEESY VIDEO - (Jodie took the photos and the video clips)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Longleaf Trace Companion


My close friend Tony has written a book- “The Longleaf Trace Companion.” In my opinion, The Longleaf Trace is the jewel of the Hub City. Chances are if I am not at work or home I am somewhere along the trace. It was a deciding factor of where I live. This rails to trails provides a ribbon through the piney woods for all of my recreation / training needs. I am excited that there is now a reference that will provide the history of this scenic trail.

Tony is a fellow athlete (He did Kona a few years ago!) and has been gracious in his training knowledge and is always so encouraging. He is doing a couple of book signings this month. I’ll be checking him out Monday, July 13 at the Oak Grove Library – and getting my signed copy of the book.

If you would like more information: The Longleaf Trace Companion

Friday, July 10, 2009

My mother 1946 - 1999


So, I was talking with my sister the other day and she commented that yesterday would be the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death. My sister could not believe that it had only been 10 years while I feel like it has been forever – I guess my sister and I were at different points in our lives and different things have happened since that time.

The death was tragic and sudden – my mother was only 52 years old. I have always been very date oriented – I do not forget birthdays, anniversaries, special dates, etc – and this event – this date was so significant. This was the first true death that I had to experience. It really drew a line in the sand for me – it was one of those dates where my mind catalogs everything as either before or after.

Before my mother’s death, looking back, I was really in poor health and I did not care. I was just like everyone that I worked with – everyone that I hung around. Everything was super sized and the more fried or the more bacon the better (I would have loved the baconator!). My favorite places to eat were the “all you can stand” variety – the more food the better. I also had been smoking since high school. There was no exercise in my life – none – I didn’t even make excuses. I would drive the 1/2 mile to the gas station to buy my cigarettes.

So, when my mother died, I was 27 years old, I was about 50 pounds heavier, I did no exercise and I smoked heavily. I also put back a lot of beer. My mother was in better shape than I was – she walked her dog daily and was more active. However, she also smoked and believed that everything went better with a stick of butter. I also, for the first time, realized that I didn’t have any grandparents anymore – heart disease runs in the family. The writing was on the wall - I was headed down a road to disaster.

I took my mother’s death at such a young age as a wakeup call. My health was deteriorating – I would not be able to maintain this unhealthy lifestyle of a 20-something much longer. I was scared. I took responsibility of my actions and within a few months I had successfully quit smoking – it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I rewarded myself negatively with food but I was fighting one battle at a time. Once the cigarettes were out of the picture I had to drop the weight. I had ballooned up –the last straw was when I had to stop on the way to a bar-b-queue to get a pair of 40 inch shorts.

I started to make small adjustments to my diet. Just by cutting out the very worst parts of my diet I started to see results. I cleaned up the diet even more and the results were so encouraging. Then the exercise started. There was a park near my house that I started to jog around. It took months but I remember the immense gratification I felt when I could run around that park without stopping – it was only 8 tenths of a mile!

I started to run 5k’s and ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors. I started to play sports at work – softball, volleyball and soccer. I was feeling great and my self esteem was sky rocketing. The TV set was never on anymore – fast food was a thing of the past. I was in the best shape of my life and just getting better – just feeling better. I hate the fact that it took something so tragic to make me wake up and evaluate my life. I miss my mother – but I have gained tremendously from her death.

I cannot imagine where my life would be without the changes that I have made. I believe that exercise and a healthy lifestyle saved my life. Years later I would once again use these life skills to overcome huge obstacles.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

5k (yards) swimming

The legs needed a little rest after Tuesday’s bike TT – so I slept in. I went to the gym at lunch for a swim. Again, I had no set plans, and that is ALMOST always a mistake. I decided to swim long again but this time with a purpose – that makes all of the difference. However, I did not have a set distance and kind of winged it. I started off at my normal pretty good pace and just kept it up. I took split times at each 1000 yards. I was holding my approximate 16:00 / 1000 yard pace and only dropping 5 to 10 seconds. This swim was more of a mental confidence builder than anything else. It was the longest straight set that I have ever swam. I ended up with 4000 yards in 1:04:45 @ 1:37 / 100 yard average. My pace was dropping but I was pretty happy with that swim. My splits are below:
4000 x 1
SPLITS
15:55
16:05
16:17
16:26
After work, the lake was much cooler than it has been. Jodie and I were going out to a play so there was not much lollygagging. I swam out the post line (about 500 yards) recovered and chewed the fat with JD then just swam straight back – my times were 8:34 OUT and 9:06 BACK. Jen gave me one of her thrown bowls for my birthday – perfect for oatmeal! The lake swimming is really paying off for everyone. Jen and Terry are improving on a weekly basis – they are looking strong.

A third of a mile is the distance of the swim for this Saturday’s Sunfish Triathlon. This swim last year was the best swim I had ever had – comfort wise. I did not struggled and just allowed myself to swim. My swim time was 10:52. This was one of my fastest bike splits last year at 47:41 @ 21.2 MPH. The 5k run suffered at 22:26 @ 7:26/mile. I finished this race 6th on my age group out of 35 with a total time of 1:23:16.
2008 Sunfish Race Report
Pre-race routine:

I arrived the day before the race and was able to swim the course. A good confidence booster. Hotel was noisy and did not sleep well. Arrived early and got a very good transition place.

Event warm-up:

I swam a couple of hundred yards.

Swim

This was my first good swim. I kept my breathing under control and at decent pace.

What would you do differently?

Keep practicing open water swimming. I am seeing improvement. I AM GETTING BETTER!

T1

Good spot and was able to run through T1 because of the good swim.

What would you do differently?

I must work on running mount on bike. STILL HAVE NOT DONE THIS!
Bike

Comments:

I had to drop into the lowest gears and spin up them. I died up each and every hill and then roared down the backside. Got passed by a couple of friends that were able to power up the hills

What would you do differently?

I need to strength train on hills for hills. I HAVE DONE THIS! – MIGHT STILL NEED TO SPIN UP THE HILLS THOUGH.
T2

Felt good off of the bike. I had a fast transition - no socks. A hill right out of T2 did not present a challenge.

What would you do differently?:

Learn to kick cycling shoes off and flying dismount. STILL HAVE NOT DONE THIS!
Run

Comments:

The run got hard and I was lulled into a slower pace. The first mile is always tough. I was able to pick the pace up a little in the second half but not by much.

What would you do differently?

Practice mental skills and running speed work. WE WILL HAVE TO SEE HOW THIS WORKS OUT!
Post race

Warm down:

I stopped on the spot. It got hot! I ate lots of cookies and water.

What limited your ability to perform faster?

Need to hit the run harder with a solid kick.

Event comments:

This is a great race!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cycling TT - DON'T HOLD BACK

Tuesday was the first TT of the season. There were 6 of us that met at Jackson at Station 5:45AM. It was me, Keith, Lance, Todd and Raland – Robin was also present but just along for the ride. Todd and Raland were new to the TT format.

We warmed up a bit by riding to campus and back – about 10 miles. We would start out at 30 second intervals. It is challenging to try to pass the rider in front while not being passed by the pursuing riders. Keith was the fastest all last year and is the man to beat again. Last year he would start last and pass many of us in the 11.85 mile out and back. This year, it was decide, since he is so much faster than us that he would start first and record our times at the finish – there would be no fear of him getting passed by any riders. Keith also posted a PR of 29:54 about a week ago – a couple of seconds better than last year.

I also posted a PR about a month ago – a 30:26 which was 1:34 better than last year. So, Keith took off followed by Todd and Raland. I was next and Lance would be last (Robin had started a few minutes before all of us but he was just riding a tempo ride – no TT for him).

I know from experience that my best times are when I start a little slow and build. This works in everything short – 5K’s and these TT’s for sure. That went out the window instantly. Within 100 yards my heart rate was in zone 4 – the 170’s. I have never been able to sustain that high of a heart rate on the bike – running is another story. I passed first Raland and then Todd in the first couple of miles. Then there was no one in my reach. Anyway, with my new race mantra running through my head – THE TIME IS NOW SO – DON’T HOLD BACK!!! – I just held my heart rate and continued to push on. The effort was hard – VERY HARD but I continued to hold. Nearing the turnaround of the out and back I saw that Keith was a little more than a ½ mile ahead – this meant that I had not lost too much time to him – he started 90 seconds ahead of me. I caught a 1 or 2 second break at the turn around and saw that Lance was hot on my heels – right at 30 seconds behind me. I am just a little competitive and I did not want to see Lance’s wheel at all – I pushed on.

With the slight (very slight) uphill over I was able to push a bigger gear on the back portion. I kept the intensity up and persevered. There was another cyclist on a TT bike out on the trace that was not with us – he was pushing a good pace and this gave me a target to pursue. I passed this cyclist and still continued to not allow the heart rate to drop. This was the hardest that I have ever ridden. Passing Clyde Station I knew that there was only 2 miles left. The stop watch indicated that the time trial was nearing 30 minutes. I could not let the intensity fade. The last 2 miles my mouth was hanging open and my breathing was much labored. I could not continue this much longer.

I crossed the finish line completely spent. I slowed down and came to a stop. My stop watch indicated 30:40 (Keith clocked me at 30:38) – 14 seconds slower than last month. I was a little disappointed but I knew that even though this was not the fastest that I have ridden it was the best that I have ever ridden. I chock up the slightly slower time to the hard weekend. I was pleased with being able to maintain that high of a heart rate for that duration. The last TT that I did (my PR run) my average heart rate was only 164 – for this run it was 172. I will try another time trial when my legs are fresher and try to maintain that same intensity – I would like to see a SUB-30 for this TT route.



Keith put up another PR – 29:40 – 15 seconds faster than last week (that is what competition does for you). Lance finished about 30 seconds behind me – about a minute faster than last year. Todd and Raland put up good bench mark numbers.

Lunch was an easy recovery run out on the trace. Vic ran with me and it may have been a little much for him. His pace slowed dramatically in the second half of the run. I did not mind the slower pace and I enjoyed the conversation.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Triathlon Anniversary -



Oh, the ups and downs of ironman training. I was going along great. I really had a good holiday weekend. Monday was to be a rest day – well a rest day for me is usually just a swim. I made it to the gym just fine but had no real workout in mind. This usually does not work well. I started swimming and wasn’t really counting laps – just swimming. Without a plan in place I soon got bored. I think that I am a little tired from the weekend. I called it a day after 20 minutes. I passed Jim going to the pool right after I had left. I still was not motivated enough to turn around.

July 7th marks the 2 year anniversary of my first triathlon. I had wanted to do a race for a while but was very intimidated by the swim. Anyway, I drew a line in the sand and signed up for the 2007 Sunfish in Meridian – it also happened to fall on my 35th birthday. I wish that I had a race report from back then – the swim was my limiter and my biggest fear. And it was warranted. I struggled with the swim and just wanted it to be over – I wish I had a race report from back then. Since that first Sunfish in 2007 the distance and venue have changed so it is hard to compare year to year but my first year results are below:


Overall - Age group 6/14 - 2:08:55
SWIM –
10/14 19:53
T1 - 2:50
BIKE – 7/14
1:07:24 18.7 MPH
T2 - 1:23
RUN - 5/14
37:26 7:30/MILE


Monday, July 6, 2009

SWIM / BIKE / RUN - FIREWORKS

Busy long weekend. Jim and I met at the lake at 6:00AM on Friday. There were no boats out at this time so we swam across the lake and then hugged the shore. I swam the loop but also swam the buoys twice. I think I ended up with just about a mile and a half (I mapped it out on one of the mapmy sites – so give or take) in about 50 minutes. It was a nice conservative swim.

We mounted up and hit the road. We did the same hilly loop as last time but just added a little more hilly loop. Nothing fast – just working on seat time and mileage. At about 25 miles in Jim remarked that the hills seemed easier than last week. I just told him that we were simply becoming bad-asses. 25 miles later on the same hills I did not feel so much like a bad-ass. Oh- well – We ended up with 62 hot miles.

Off to the run – it was boiling hot at this time. I was not going to run the big hilly route today so I kept it more flat. I was going to try and get about 8 – 10 miles. Jim dropped off on the run at just after a mile and I kept the pace up. I would start to fade soon enough. I ended up with only 6 miles at about an 8:30 minute / mile pace. Only slightly faster than the previous week and on a much easier route. Last week, I got bloated from the poweraide drinks so I tried to stick to mostly water. I packed a bunch of pop-tarts with me – easy, portable, CHEAP. I ended up eating 11 of them for 2200 calories. I did not have any stomach problems but I am sure there are better alternatives – but at less a than $2 for the day they are hard to beat.

Saturday would be a long run, again with Jim. At about 6:30AM I got a text message that his legs were dead and he was skipping the run. I shot back that I was probably not going to run the original 15 miles but that I would get a run in. I think I have just gotten used to training on tired legs – I do not know any better.

I left the house at just before 7AM for my ‘house to Epley +’ run. I was running at a comfortable pace in the low 8’s. Just churning out the miles. As the run got longer and the temperature increase everything got harder but I was still feeling good! I ran right past Epley – the just over 6 mile turn around and kept up the pace. Feeling strong I continued to the 7.5 mile turn around – I guess I would be getting 15 miles after all – one way or the other. I stopped at Epley to refill my fuel belt – this would kill my low 8 average pace – oh well. It was now much hotter! Terry pasted me on his bike about a mile before Clyde station. I would have to refill the fuel belt again – only about 4 miles from Epley. Terry was racking his bike and asked what pace I was running and if he could join me. I told him I was running 8 ½’s and that I would welcome the company. Running with Terry, these were my fastest miles of the day – a great way to finish a long run – mile 14 was at 7:45 minute / mile pace. I finished the run (2 water stops) at 15 miles in 2:09 for an 8:38 minute / mile pace. Not bad for a hot training run – but I can be much faster – just not on that day. Beside, this was not a race. I just don’t have time for the recovery necessary for a fast 15 mile run.

Saturday Night - There is a guy named Ron in our neighborhood that puts on a wonderful fireworks show each Independence Day. It really is something. I mean from my front yard it is only a few hundred yards from the launch site. These shows also last from 30 – 45 minutes – WOW. There was some speculation that the event would not take place due to the extremely dry conditions that we have been having in Southern Mississippi. I just have to say that Ron is the man – he had a fire truck parked in his yard for just such an emergency. The fireworks were fantastic as usual. I grilled out for the event and we had several of Jodie’s grad students over to celebrate with us. I grilled chicken breast, hamburger and black bean burgers. This was the first red meat that I have had in a while. It was a fun evening.

Due to the festivities, I sleep late on Sunday morning. I had the option to take this as a recovery day but it is hard to ‘waste’ a weekend day. I decided to join the afternoon group ride. I rode my road bike again and truly enjoyed the ride. There were occasions to sit back and occasions to push the pace. I ended up with another 50+miles for the weekend.

With all of the training I may be gaining any speed but I am please with the amount of training that my body can absorb. I put in a little over 11 hours this weekend and I’m not any worse for the wear.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Group ride break aways

Just a quick note – it is Friday and I have the day off and I am heading out the door for a BIG training day.

Thursday morning was the group ride. It was Robin, Lance, JD, Terry and me. For some reason I decided to ride my road bike. Don’t get me wrong, my tri bike is faster but my road bike handle better and is so much quicker. JD took us out. Being on my road bike I just felt like sprinting. I settled in behind JD and when he finished his pull I got in the drops and stood on the cranks and just let loose. It was fun. I was spent in just a few hundred yards. The group went past and it took just about everything to just grab the back of a wheel. I repeated this couple of times during the ride. Lance was a little under the weather and Robin is just too smart to play along. But JD, who – when it comes to cycling is just like me, traded pulls for the entire ride. By the time we were done I was cooked. It was a fun morning ride and I felt my legs all day (the hill run the night before did not help).

I got 2500 yards in at the pool during lunch by practicing a lot of bilateral breathing and weak side stroking. Nothing major – just logging yards. I remember when 1500 yards was a big deal…

The commute home was a scorcher. I rode home with Jodie and we were both beat – defeated by the afternoon heat.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

swim x2 and hills AGAIN

Since I would be swimming after work on Wednesday, this left a hole in my training schedule and would allow for me to sleep in! I turned the alarm off and would enjoy the extra 1 or so of sleep. I am such a creature of habit – I always wake up at the same time – well, maybe I got a little bit more sleep but I was still drinking coffee by 5:30 AM. Without the swim / run / bike – I’m not sure where the morning went.

Even though I would be swimming at the lake in the evening I still was going to get a good swim workout at lunch. The pool sessions are valuable. I decided to do an old standby swim routine of decreasing distance sets with increasing intensity. These are tough on me. During the 800 yard set, Jim joined me in the next lane. I’m just a little faster than Jim in the water and he would challenge me – especially the 100 yard set. He took off about 15 seconds before me and I tried to catch him – it was close but no cigar. With the warm up and cool down I logged 3500 yards in 1:02.

Progressively faster with 60 sec RI
1000 - 15:55 (1:35 / 100)
0800 - 12:27 (1:33 / 100)
0600 - 09:23 (1:33 / 100)
0400 - 06:12 (1:33 / 100)
0200 - 02:59 (1:29 / 100)
0100 - 01:24 (1:24 / 100)

I felt good after the lunch swim but I was not looking forward to the lake swim. The last two weeks the water has been so hot that I have really felt like I was being boiled alive. I think the swim the previous week actually hurt me a little bit – I just could not cool down from it – when we were finally out of the water it was a relief to stand in the 95 degree blazing sun. So, I approached this swim with some apprehension. I was also planning on running that horrible hilly road after the swim. That road proved to be a super tough brick on Saturday.

Luckily, the lake water was much cooler than it has been. There still has not been any rain and it definitely has not been much cooler – but the water temperature was comfortable. There were only five of us and we decided to head out past the third buoy. We guestimated this distance to be 500 yards. This was a relaxing easy swim for me and the first 500 took a little over 10 minutes. The way back 500 took a little under 10 minutes. Nice and easy – there was a little chop to the water and some swells from the boats but just good easy open water swim practice.

Jim was going to be riding his bike to the lake after work and running the hills with me at 6:00 PM. I got to talking with some friends and still no Jim. I was about to call it a day and I see a bike. Fortunately, it was not nearly as hot as it was on Saturday but this road is hard no matter what. We took off at a comfortable pace but my legs were tired. It actually seemed a little harder than it did on Saturday – I know that this is foolish – it was harder Saturday when it was hotter and after the 42 mile bike ride. But still – it felt hard. I was wearing my heart rate monitor this time and trying to keep my HR in my comfort zone. That was hard on the uphills. My heart rate crept up as the run went on – but Jim and I finished this run a little faster than I did it on Saturday and we finished with even splits. The 6 miles were covered in 51:38 with an average pace of 8:37 minutes / mile (Saturday was 8:50 minutes / mile).

Looking at the calendar – half the year is over. I had made some rather generic mileage goals at the start of the year and I thought I would check in on my progress. I wanted 300,000 yards swimming, 5000 miles biking and 1200 miles running. Looks like I am right on schedule but I am sure that my volume will drop off after Louisville.

2009 totals
Bike:-----139h 51m 34s - 2544.06 Mi
Run:------84h 03m 12s -- 590.46 Mi
Swim:-----51h 35m 35s - 155,560 Yd
Strength:--23h 30m

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Heat acclimation - working on it!

I got up early Monday morning for a 2 hour easy ride. This would be my longest ride during the week. Weekends are no problem for the long ride but during the week they have been difficult. With the sun rising around 5:30 AM it has now become possible. I packed my bag with my work clothes and left them in the garage. I headed out towards Sumrall. This would be a comfortable pace. Knowing that the OUT is slightly up hill I went out for 50 minutes and turned around at the 15 mile mark. I swung by the house and grabbed the back pack and continued to work. I ended the ride with 37 miles at just under 2 hours. I believe that this will be pretty close to my Ironman pace at the end of August. The ride has comfortable. At that pace it would put the Ironman leg at just about 6 hours – plus KY has hills.

I met up with Chris and Jim at lunch for a trace run. We wanted about 5 miles. It was still hot – damn hot – but the humidity was just a little lower. Chris said it was miserable. I did not disagree; it was miserable, just not as miserable as the past weekend. My legs were tired but I was able to keep a solid pace. I got ahead of Chris and Jim a couple of times and I stopped to wait for them. I probably should have just run my own pace – either faster or slower but without the rest intervals. All in all we finished up in 45 minutes with the 5 miles.