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Monday, August 31, 2009

Ironman Louisville - Race Report - SWIM

Welcome to Louisville -



Taking the bike to check in -



The beautiful Ohio River -



Perfect pre-race temperatures -



Transition -



Jim and I just before the race - notice the deer in headlights look!



I was not feeling well the night before so I took a slug of NyQuil. This helped me sleep. The walk to the transition area before the race was solemn. A large procession was moving and no one was talking. I tried to crack a joke about the silence and – yes it was met with silence. I was also very nervous at this pre-dawn hour.

I handed over my special needs bags and put my helmet on my bike. I filled the helmet with tons of pop-tarts, gels, a tube and CO2 cartridges. I was looking around to see if Jim had checked in yet and felt something hit me in the head. Was it raining? Nope, I ran my fingers through my hair and it was a large pile of poop. Way to start the day.

With an hour before the start of the race the line for the bathrooms was as long as the first-come-first-serve starting line. I met up with Jim and we talked a bit about how nervous (I mean scared) we were. They soon lined us up and we marched down to the swim start. I was freezing wearing next to nothing waiting for the swim start. I dipped my hand in the water and it was warm and this relieved me to some extent. I told Jim about the bird poop and a guy next to us said that it meant good luck – that it would be the worst thing that would happen today. What a good way to look at it. I had a roll of antacids in my pocket along with a gel. I ate about half of the antacid and took the gel 10 minutes before the swim start. The pros took off and someone had a huge lead within seconds – I mean a lead like 100 meters instantly. Once the pros were on their way the rest of the field started. I have been in time trial starts before but not like this one. In the past they have started the field at 3 to 5 second intervals. This time it was run and jump into the water as fast as you can. Instantly there were hundreds of swimmers in the water. I started my heart rate monitor and I jumped in feet first with my hands on my goggles. When I hit the water my feet went up and I kind of did a flip under water. I was a little afraid that someone would land on me. Once I righted myself the race was on and all fears subsided. It was game on and I felt great. No fear!

I quickly jumped into my steady state swim and cruised. I grabbed on to a girls hip and tried to use her for the draft. I held this draft for a good bit while we were swimming against the current. It was slower than I wanted to go – slower than my cruise speed but when I tried to pass I was not much faster – the draft was evident - getting out of the draft was obvious. The portion against the current was much longer than I had though. I knew that it was but I had not really factored that into the race plan. It was probably more like 1400 yards against the current and not the 700 that I thought that it was. The current was not strong but it was still a current. With about 200 yards before we rounded the island I entered bizarro world - there were swimmers standing in the river. The slit had built up to about knee deep at some points. There were fallen trees and stuff under the water (I hit one with my foot). I had been trying to pee for about 10 minutes while I was swimming with little success. This shallow water gave me a great opportunity. I probably lost a minute but I was relieved to say the least. I rounded the buoy wide so that I could get further out into the river with the hope that the current would be stronger. I was soon out by myself. I could see a long line of swimmers hugging the buoy line. They looked like a row of ants. In retrospect I probably should have been in this line – maybe a bit of draft and I would not have had to sight as much. On the other hand I really enjoyed not having to fight the churn. I was just swimming my own race. I was trying to stay in the moment and not look forward to the bike or the run. I was just saying over and over in my mind – STROKE – GLIDE – STROKE – GLIDE. Sighting off of the downtown buildings and the bridges was easy even though I constantly had to make adjustments. I am sure that I was zigzagging back and forth. I think the current was pushing me further and further into the center of the river and I was constantly having to correct.

Actually during the swim I was pretty bored. It was like I was water jogging – just a long slow distance swim. Not for this race or this distance but now that I am getting comfortable with the swim I should start trying to push the pace. A little bored but before I knew it I was rounding the last buoy and climbing out of the water. It felt really good. Not tired or defeated or spent. It was a pretty good trek to the transition area and I was able to sprint it. I was passing lots of athletes. I grabbed my RUN BAG and hit the changing tent. I had debated over and over if I wanted to change or not. I decided to do the full Monty and completely change. I put on my long distance bike shorts and a short sleeved jersey. It was hard putting shorts and jersey on a wet body but it was worth it. I ran out to get my bike but stopped for some sun screen on my neck. My ears got a big dollop also. I filled my jersey pockets with about 4 packages of pop-tarts, several gels and my pack of tubes / CO2 cartridges. I put my aero helmet on and immediate thought about the sun screen on my ears – not really needed.

I ran with my shoes on out of transition; rammed a pop-tart into my mouth and then stopped and mounted the bike. There would be no flying mount of any kind.


SWIM TIME: 1:15:22

T1: 6:17

Exiting the water- I'm in the blue unitard.


UP NEXT - THE BIKE

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I am an IRONMAN !!!

I worked the plan and the plan worked!

TOTAL SWIM 2.4 miles
1:15:22 1:59/100m

T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE
6:17

TOTAL BIKE 112 miles
5:48:00 19.31 mph

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN
7:00

TOTAL RUN 26.2 miles
4:02:35

TOTAL 11:19:14

Saturday, August 29, 2009

T - minus 19 hours

I met super fast blogger Ryan at an iAmTRI get together on Friday night just before the ‘welcome’ dinner. He is going to tear the race up!

The dinner was fun - I met up with Jim and we enjoyed the show – quite a bit of Ford advertisements – no big deal.

I got up and had breakfast at the hotel and then jogged down to the practice swim. The water looked fine. The buoys were already set up for the race – it really did not look that bad – sure I couldn’t see the entire course - but I had none of the fears like I did at New Orleans. Now that swim looked far!

They allowed for us to swim upstream towards one of the bridges and then back to the start. It was about 700 yards (maybe meters - I don't know what they said). I timed the out and back to get an idea of the current. It took me 15:43 to go out and only 10:04 to come back. That is a pretty big difference. Assuming 4200 yards and assumming that the against the current is only 700 yards for the race (for easy math) then 5 sections with the current at 10 minutes a section and 1 section against the current for 16 minutes - then the total swim time is 1:06. That seems pretty quick to me. I'll know tomorrow.

Less than 19 hours to go – pretty excited here in Louisville!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ironman Louisville Eve Eve

Thanks for all of the kind words. I will be pulling into Louisville later this morning. I am excited about the upcoming events!

I hope to see many of you when I get there!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Heading out - this is not a drill

I heard about a study where they took ordinary people and put them on a stage in front of 10,000 people. They measured their brain waves and asked them how they felt. The emotions and feelings ranged from sheer terror, to panic, to fear, to despair. They did the same experiment with Bruce Springsteen. They measured his brain waves and asked him how he felt. He said that he felt overwhelming excitement. He had almost a euphoric feeling because he was about to perform in front of so many people.

When they analyzed the brain waves and compared the terrified and panicked people with Bruce Springsteen they found that the brain patterns were the same. The only difference was how the people categorized the emotion.

I don’t know if any of that is true but right now I am feeling all of the emotions – excitement, fear, etc.

I’m leaving town today (Thursday). I am staying somewhere a little more than half way and will arrive in Louisville Friday morning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No pizza during taper!

Since I removed my cassette on my race bike (in hopes of swapping in a 12 – 17 cassette) only to find that the 12 – 27 cassette that I borrowed was a 9 speed. I needed to take my bike out for another shake down test just to make sure everything was clicking just right. I met Keith and Lance at Jackson Station at 6AM. I was only doing a short (super short) ride and I was there for camaraderie as much as anything. Lance and Keith wished me much luck and I got about 8 miles in a little less than ½ an hour.

At lunch I jumped in the pool to just mess around. Sam was in there and we chatted while waiting on Chris to show up. Sam told me all about the age group national champs – Sam finished 9th in the brutally tough 35 – 39 age group. He told me all about the tough swim (Sam’s time was 28 minutes). The city had opened up the flood gates and the race was against the current for much of the course. I had heard that you really needed to hold on to the dock or else you would end up downstream. For example, Chris is a stronger swimmer than I am – he can easily cover 1500 meters in about 20 minutes and his last ½ ironman swim time was in the low 30’s. He swam the 1500 meters in 37 minutes. The swim would have killed me – I can imagine if you ever stopped to take a breath or look around for just a few seconds then you would be losing ground – maybe even 10’s of meters. Many of these athletes took more than an hour to complete the swim.

We did some bilateral breathing exercises in the pool – this is still very awkward for me. This is something that I will need to work on this year. I ended up with a challenging 1300 yards in the pool.

After work I met up with the pinebeltpacers for the Trek on Trace. During August we do predicted time 2 mile runs. This week you had to team up with a partner and finish together. I teamed up with Ben with a predicted time of 15:45 – a comfortable pace for me. Jim and many of the other pacers were present and we had a truly fun run. Ben and I ended up a little over our predicted time (damn) and were not in contention for any prizes. Jim and I decided to run a couple more miles for fun and Laura joined us. She has her first ½ marathon coming up on Labor Day. She is super excited!

The best part of this fun run was that I did not partake in any of the goodies after the run! The pizza, brownies and other treats were tempting but I refrained. This is hard for me but I know that I am not exercising much this week and I do not need the extra calories. I do not want to go into this race carrying extra pounds. I have been eating tons of fruit and vegetables this week – lots of carrots and I am proud of myself for being proactive.

My bib number for this Sunday is 1354. Jim’s number is 1232.
You can track us at: http://ironman.com/events/ironman/louisville?show=tracker

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Easy swimming on the taper


My fingers are crossed for a Sunday - if it is anything close I will be loving it! It cannot get any better than that - I might even have to pack my arm skins!

To relieve stress and anxiety I have decided to leave for the race on Thursday at noon. I had planned on leaving very early on Friday morning but realizing that I will lose an hour due to the time change that meant very early Friday morning – like 3AM Friday morning. Jodie had a cake decorating class scheduled for Thursday that did not end until 9PM – but she graciously decided to skip the class – she make take the class again since she already had to miss one other class due to a conference in Philadelphia. I think we are going to stop in Nashville for the night.

That being said I think that we will leave around lunch time on Thursday just after my class. Yes, I am actually taking classes this year. I have been talking about taking classes ever since I started working at the university 3 years ago. I am taking a computer programming class. It has not been quite what I expected so far – but I have only been to one class. In October I am taking an ‘Adventure Training’ class. It will teach land / water orienting, problem solving, etc. – they did not have these kinds of classes when I was in school!

For lunch I just did an easy swim. It was supposed to be a day off but I really did not know what to do with myself during lunch. The swim was as much social as it was exercise. I talked with Jen and Sheryl and then just swam easy. I did not even count laps or anything – just really easy swimming. I swam for 30 minutes and then called it a day.

Even though I am not training as much my appetite is through the roof. To help combat the hunger I have surrounded myself with lots of fruit. Yesterday, during the day, I had two toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and 4 pluots (plum / apricot mix) and 4 bananas. I think I overdid it and I will try to be a little better today – actually I have to be better today – I ate most of my fruit for the week. I have a bag of carrots to take into work for today. That should help.

I went my Terry L’s house after work to pick up his 12 – 27 cassette that he said I could borrow. I always like to return things better than when I borrowed them so I was going to give his cassette are real good cleaning. I took the cassette out of the box and it had a mirror finish that you could eat off of! I thought that I took care of my equipment. Anyway I took my cassette off and cleaned each gear and went to put the 12 -27 cassette on – damn – I did not even think about it but the cassette was a 9 speed. Oh, well – the 27 gear was really just an insurance policy anyway. My 12 – 25 cassette went back on the bike. I am sure that I will be fine.

Monday, August 24, 2009

RUN / WALK BRICK

I slept in on Sunday and enjoyed the morning. The weather has really changed for the better this last week. The high was only 84 degrees and the humidity seemed reasonable. It actually felt rather cool in the morning.

I put my race wheels on my tri bike and did some last minute adjustments – lubing the chain, etc. After lunch I headed toward the trail head for the Sunday group ride. I arrived and there were just not very many people. Several of the regulars were away. There were quite a few people chatting (including me) and we got a late start. As we headed out a few minutes late the group was still not together. I was with a front group of about 8 guys and we were all soft pedaling. We were going really slowly for about the first 5 miles. At just past Jackson Station I decided to start riding at my ironman pace. I was again just feeling out the bike and the intensity level. I took the group out for a few miles and then yielded to the group. No one was contesting the lead but I did not want to hold anyone back. I dropped to the back of the pack and shifted to the left to stay out of the draft. The others continued to pull us out to Sumrall at a good pace. However, I was able to stay at the back and continue with my ironman pacing plan. I was staying up easily and staying in my zone. I did push it a few time (I know – not very smart) just because I felt like hitting it. It was fun to feel fast for a little while. I dropped back and chatted with Stephen for a few – he was not feeling well and was not able to hold the pace. I watched the pack get a good gap on me – 3 or 4 hundred yards and then put the hammer down. My heart rate climbed quickly and I caught the group with ease. It felt great.

At the Sumrall turn around we waited and waited for the rest of the group. A lone rider arrived within a few minutes. She said that the rest of the group had stopped at Epley. That is out of the ordinary. No one wanted to venture any further today (including myself) so we headed back. The pace stayed high but again it was within my ironman pacing. I got a lot of last minute advice from John P (the legend) – number one thing said was to stop and pee while on the bike. Good advice – I do not think that I will be peeing on the bike this time.

As I pulled off towards home, just before Jackson Station, I made up my mind to do a shirt brick and test out my run / walk strategy. I have talked about this but have never really practiced it – I know – once again not very smart. I did a quick transition and put my long distance running shoes on – no socks. I headed out of the garage and picked up the pace immediately. I was not really sure what intensity to run this run portion of the run / walk. I let my heart rate creep up out of my comfortable zone. It felt good. The one mile mark came up quick at 7:36 and I started the fast ‘power walk’. My heart rate dropped way down into recovery zone and then I hit the run again. One mile down but I was feeling good. I started running after one minute with a near spring in my step. Mile two (with the walk) clocked at 7:28. It was faster than the first mile and the first mile had no walking. Yes, I was running fast during the run – I doubt that I will be able to hold that for a marathon but it was encouraging. Mile three was a little slower – but not due to fatigue. I happened to run into Tony on the trace and we talked about my training and the race being so close. Tony has been very encouraging this year – it was nice to run into him. With good luck wishes I finished out mile three at 8:14 and started the walk. I was only running 4 miles for this brick and ended back at the house with the last mile being 7:35. All of these miles were much faster than I would have thought them to be with a minute walking. I know the weather played an extensive role but, with my fingers crossed, next Sunday in Louisville should be beautiful!

This brick was very satisfying! I know that the pace during my ironman will not be anywhere near this fast but it felt good today. And yes – this will be the last real session prior to the race. I got 30 miles on the bike and 4 miles running.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1 week out - the hummingbird wars have begun.

Just one of the hummingbirds fighting for control of the feeder.


I ran into work on Friday morning (Jodie would be driving so I could get a lift home). With my volume cut down so much this week I decided to push the pace. I started pretty hard and pushed the pace once I got on the trace. It is a nice, flat 6 miles from my house to the campus. I did not have my GPS watch on but I did have my heart rate monitor. I was not going to push any higher than my LT zone but I was going to try to ride this edge. The temperature was not a factor but the humidity has SKY HIGH. This would be another one of those workouts were you are immediately soaking wet. I had planned for this by wearing some tri shorts. Regular running shorts just do not perform well in this kind of humidity!

I clocked off laps with my heart rate monitor at known distances and tried to do the math to see what paces I was running. I wanted to keep it at 7 minute miles for the 6 miles. I usually run this route in about 48 minutes (8 minute miles). I was able to complete this run without incident in 42:06 – exactly 7:01 minutes / mile. Now, this is not race pace but it is a hard effort. I have been much faster in 5k races (nearly a minute / mile faster) but those are races. I believe that this is the fastest that I have ever run into work! However, looking at the pace, I am surprised that I have been able to have sub 7 minute miles in my most recent triathlons. I think my run for a standalone 10k can be much faster. I will have to try this distance out in the near future.

At lunch I hit the pool for some easy swimming. I have been practicing the swim with zero warm up. There will be no swimming prior to race start in Louisville! So I am trying to train like I race. It can take me about 500 yards before I am warmed up – during this time my arms and back really feel heavy and sore. They burn a little bit and swimming is hard. Once these first 500 yards glide by my whole upper body feels better. My back and arms just start going through the motions by themselves. There is no pain, burning or discomfort. The swimming is definitely getting easier, although, during races I am not pushing the pace. I still have that ‘panic’ fear in the back of my mind that says if I push too hard I will blow up. Therefore, I am not nearing my best race times by far. Although my swim racing has improved by leaps and bounds the next hurdles will be mental. I need to learn to start to trust my swim. Those bad swim experiences will die hard but I will be able to make them a distance memory. Spending more time in the water will see to that. The swim was one set of 3000 yards – easy.

I had planned on meeting Jim at the lake at 6AM on Saturday morning. Jim contacted me at about 5:30AM saying that he was not going to be able to make it do to family issues (he has a small daughter). I was a little bummed out but I always have contingency plans – there was a 5k race at the Oak Grove High School – put on by Robin. There would be a pretty big group of guys that I know. I would not want to race the thing this close to my big race but it could be fun to hang out. There was also the Saturday morning group ride. I chose the latter.

I left the house at about 6:40AM and rode to the trail head located at campus. The weather was near perfect. The humidity had dropped and the temperature was in the 70’s. As I rode to campus I came up on Steve, Marissa and her husband Dan. We rode the couple of miles to the trail head and just enjoyed the morning.

At the trail head I got to catch up with Jen who had just finished up a run. There was a couple of other cyclist milling around. When we headed put there was a total of 9 cyclists. A pretty good turnout.

We headed out to Sumrall at a comfortable pace. The only pull that I did was at my approximate ironman pace. This pace is between 82 – 88 % of my FTP (functional threshold power). Fancy acronyms. What this really means is that the last race I did I rode for just over an hour and I took my average heart rate for that hour (171) and multiplied it by 82 and 88 % respectively. This gave me a range that I should be able to ride at for the entire 112 miles during my ironman.

That being said, this is not a super fast pace but it is pretty quick for me – no walk in the park – a good semi-hard effort. About 5 miles out of Sumrall the group split up. I chose to ride a little bit longer and went further out with Steve, Ty, Matt and John. These guys can really push the pace. Since I was not looking for a ‘hard effort’ I just sucked their wheels. We got out to the countryside and enjoyed a few hills. It was a good ride and I wrapped up with 50 miles.

I got to do some yard work the rest of the day. I was not sure what to do with all of this extra time tapering. My perspective is funny - a 50 mile rides feels like I did nothing – feels like I have been lazy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ironman pacing on the bike

Thursday morning was the group ride as usual and we had a pretty good turnout considering that it is so late in the year. Lance is organizing a group to go down to the coast for the Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Tri – an Olympic triathlon taking place in Gulf Shores on September 19th. I do not think that I will be making this race…

I decided to try out my ironman bike pacing during the group ride. I just jumped into the heart rate zone and kept it steady. The pace felt comfortable but maybe just a little bit challenging. I was at the upper end of my zone – 88% of my bike LT – which is 149 beats per minute. The last race that I did, the Heart O’Dixie, I was able to average 171 beats per minute for 1:08:44 (27.5 miles). This heart rate average is so much higher than last year. I was pushing to average in the low 160’s last summer. however, my run average is lower this year – give and take, ebb and flow I guess.

I skipped the gym for lunch but still had my commute home – just 6 miles. Those 6 miles just happened to be in the rain. I still enjoyed the ride!

I have been retrospective this week – my first blog post – almost a year ago (September 3, 2008) –

Pushing the envelope and way out of the comfort zone. After debating with myself all day today - I finally pulled the trigger and registered for Ironman Louisville (KY) 2009. You have to register a year in advance - these races fill up quickly. Looking over the stats for the 2008 race there were around 3000 people who registered and 2000 people who started the race. Another 200 people started but did not finish the race. From registration to finishing only about 2/3 completed their goal. My friend Jim was one of these people that did not finish. I have great respect for Jim and his fitness level. He got caught up in a tragic bout of dehydration after 70 miles on the bike. He felt much better after several IV's at a nearby fire station. This is not encouraging.

As of today I have never swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles or ran a marathon (26.2 miles.) This will be a challenge and a goal for 2009. Pushing the envelope and way out of the comfort zone.


I still have not ran a marathon but I will in 8 days

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Swim drafting is tough stuff.

I got to the gym early on Wednesday. I wanted to do a short hard run. I thought about intervals and then I remembered a graded treadmill test that I used to do – I thought it would be fun to compare these results to the last time that I did the test – August 2007.

On this test I would start at 6.0 MPH and increase the speed 0.2 MPH every minute. With my heart rate monitor I would record laps (Lap HR, Lap AVE HR, LAP MAX HR) and chart the HR at each minute. You continue until you cannot hold the pace.

This is a challenging test! While on the treadmill I noticed that guy next to me was wearing a ½ iron New Orleans shirt. I am always quick to make conversation. While I could still maintain a conversation I invited Ren out to the OWS later in the day.

I noticed that at 6MPH my heart rate was higher than it normally would be at that excretion – It is usually way low at that speed. I had looked at my last results from two years prior and new where I needed to finish – 10.4 MPH (total time of 23:00 minutes). As the speed increased I was getting worried about failing. Surely I am in better ‘shape’ than two years ago – I certainly know that I feel that I am in better shape and all of my other measurable criteria would indicate that I am in better shape.

However, not on this morning. I stopped the test at 10.0 MPH and 21:00 minutes. I was a little bit dejected. I did, however, continue on and do about 25 more minutes at a lesser pace. However, there is one inconsistency with this test (other than the fact that the treadmills are 2 years older) and that is that I did not record the slope of the treadmill. I may have had the treadmill at the default slope of zero and now I always use a slop of 1. I will attempt this test again in the near future.


At lunch I was practicing my swim stroke. Just nice and easy swimming. Jim was there and we talked about the weather, literally. The 10 day forecast showed that the Friday before the race in Louisville the high could be 78 degrees – how nice would that be? Now it shows the high on Saturday at 84 – still pretty nice. The swim consisted of 6 sets of 500 yards – I felt good the entire swim – no problems – none!

I picked my bike up from Drew at Hattiesburg Bicycle. He replaced a couple of cables and gave the bike the complete once over. The bike looked and felt great. I made it out to the lake just as everyone was gathering. We had a big crowd. There were most of the regulars (Lance, Raland, Jen) plus about 4 new guys – including Ren from this morning. I bet we had 10 people! Sam even showed up. Mike headed out and I waited for Sam to get started. I was going to try to jump on his feet. Sam blew by so fast – I attempted to catch up – he was about 20 feet ahead of me. I tried to catch him for about 50 strokes and just short of blowing up I had to let him go. I would swim the 600 or so yards solo. This swim also felt good. Later during the swim Sam practiced some drafting drills with Mike and me. Sam told me to try and keep tapping his feet. I was going full speed and his feet were just out of reach. And then I got them and he would speed up a little just out of reach again. This went on for a few minutes and then I was just done. I slowed a bit to recover and then swam at my own pace. I finished up the swim with about 1800 yards of valuable swim experience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lose ends.

I did a nice and easy bike ride on Tuesday morning. I got out to the trace a little late. I really did not think anyone would be out there today. I was doing my own thing and threw in a few sprints - just having fun. I crossed paths with Lance and Raland and made a quick u-turn. We chewed the fat for a few minutes. I turned towards home even before getting 20 miles.

On my way to work I took my tri-cycling shoes to the shoe repair place. The velcro has been starting to pull away from the shoe. These are really nice shoes that I got off of eBay about a year ago. I wear them all of the time now - I really like the carbon sole. Anyway I had gone by the shoe repair / truck rental / cemetery monument place (they do it all) on Saturday but they were closed. On Tuesday I was not expecting them to be open prior to 8AM but they were. I took the shoe in and asked if they could sew it back together. They said no problem but it would take a while. With my race in two weeks I nerviously asked how long? The guy told me that the shoe would not be ready until noon! Wow, no problem. The shoe was picked up later in the day and is good as new for $3. Can't beat that!




It was pouring down rain at lunch and I skipped the gym - no workout was on the schedule and I did not want to get soaking wet walking across campus. I will get my bike back from the shop on Wednesday - I have wrapped up most of the lose ends and I am ready to race!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Swimming PR during taper

My legs were a little stiff from the long run on Sunday but they were not bad. I slept in on Monday morning but still got to work early. It is amazing how much time you have in the morning when you are not riding 20 or 30 miles.

Chris shot me an email about swimming at lunch – I had been on the fence about swimming or taking the day off. I would always rather swim with someone so off the pool I headed. Chris was wrapping up his warm up when I arrived – he had just put in an easy 500 or 600 yards. We chatted a bit about the upcoming age group nationals in AL. I wished that I could have made this race – it is going to be huge but I have other races on my plate.



While we were talking Sam showed up – I have not seen Sam since the early part of the summer. He has been travelling the country training and racing. Sam whipped out a workout and we set to it. It is good to be with Chris and Sam – in this group I am the slowest by far – it really pushes me.

There would be no warm-up - We started off with 4 x 200 yards with 15 seconds reset. My 200’s would be challenging at 3:00, Chris would be at 2:50 and Sam would be at 2:15 – (ouch). The last time I was in the water with Chris we pulled off several sets of 100’s at 1:30 pace – 200’s would be a challenge.

Although out of breath each set was completed. In fact, while they did not get easier, once I warmed up I did not drop off the pace at all. We moved onto a single set of 500 yards. Sam would again be about 1:10 – 1:15 per 100 and Chris was going to do 1:40’s. That was my plan also – I was going to pace off of Chris for as long as I could.

The first few laps were actually kind of easy – I looked at the clock and we were right at 1:30. Chris has a giant flip turn and at each end of the pool he would gain about ½ a body length on me – I would speed up a little to maintain the pacing. This kept up for the entire set until the last lap or two. I finished the 500 yards at exactly 7:30 which is a 1:30 pace – which is a PR at that distance by about 25 seconds (Chris finished just ahead of me – just a couple of seconds).

We finished up with 6 x 200 yards at all out pace with 45 seconds rest. The first four were good – I was still swimming the same pace (1:30) however I dropped off on the last two – I dropped to about a 1:32-3 pace. This was a challenging workout for me. It tested my cardio swim fitness. My arms never got tired or sore or anything – although I did start to feel it in my back.

It was not that long ago that 1:50’s was a good 100 yard set – and I certainly could not have strung 500 yards together at a fast pace. And even more important – I am actually starting to enjoy the swim. I know that I have said that before but this time it is more than just positive thoughts!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Galloway Ironman?

I am still recovering from my stomach ailment – my normal cast iron stomach has rusted a little bit. To help compensate I have switched my diet up – a lot more fruit and vegetables as well as a little yogurt thrown in everyday. These are changes that I have needed to make anyway and this is a good time to do it!

So, I woke up Sunday morning bright and early with a stomach ache. Nothing like what I was experiencing last week but a little nauseous none the less. I did some chores around the house not really wanting or feeling like a long run. I had messed around long enough so I sucked it up and hit the pavement at 9AM. Being in Southern Mississippi in August, the temperature was not really that bad – oh, but the humidity. I was soaked from head to toe in no time. The stomach problem melted away once I got moving – I just had to get moving. This was just a long easy run – but at 15+ miles none of these runs seem easy. I have thought a lot about how to run this ironman (Galloway) and it was timely that I was listening to a podcast (imtalk – episode 172) and coach John Newsom mentioned run / walk for ironman. He said that it was benifical in ironman marathons for anyone running more than about a 3:45 – oh, yeah – that would be me! There is also a short article on endurancebasecamp.com.

Anyway, the basic premise is that if you take short walk breaks at the beginning of the run then you can save yourself long, hard walk breaks at the end of the run. You will be giving up minutes throughout the run and save 10 of minutes (if not more) at the end of the run. It will be hard to start talking these walk breaks after only 9 minutes of the run but this should save me huge of the back end. In addition, the mental aspect of feeling fresher at the end and passing people instead of getting passed could be huge!

From that article –

The biggest benefit that I had during the year using this method was during the Ironman. It was hugely beneficial going into that race knowing I would have to walk, because when I started walking that first mile, I was able to say to myself “this is part of the plan.” That was more empowering than getting to 15 or 16 and saying, “I have to walk because I don’t know if I can run anymore.”


Once again, I think that this also will be huge for me! IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PLAN THEN YOU PLAN TO FAIL. Walking early will allow for me to ‘work the plan’ – having this structure built in will allow for me to succeed when times get tough.

I did not practice this during this run since I did not start off doing a run / walk. However, I did start to add the walk breaks at about mile 13 or 14 – really too late to be effective. I ran into Becky at Jackson Station with about a mile and a half to go – we chatted for a bit as I refilled my water bottle. Stopping for a minute or two I felt refreshed and ran the last little bit home at a good clip. My shoes were soaked and my legs were tired but I felt good. I wrapped up with a little over 17 miles at a 9:31 minute per mile pace. I feel like I used to be faster than this but at this point I will take it. I have not been running much this summer and it shows. During this year of training my running has gone from my strongest event to my weakest. To be fair, my running in standalone 5k’s (from February and March – 2 PR’s back to back – my best time was 19:09) is faster and my running in triathlons has been faster as well. It is just that my swimming and biking have improved more – I worked on them more – go figure. This has been a great year (I was faster in every race compared to last year) but there is lots of room for improvement.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Water jogging

I had a big event on Friday at work and was not able to work out in the morning or at lunch. I was feeling better and a little stir crazy so I jumped on the bike trainer for a little while. It was an easy hour.

I got up early on Saturday morning and headed out to the lake. The lake was perfect. I calculated a route and headed out. I was planning on swimming about an hour and a half. It was going to be a nice and easy swim. I swam out to the buoys, about 600 yards, and then I was going to do 3 sets of approximately 1000 yards. Each set got about a minute slower. The first was 18:30 then 19:30 and finally 20:30. During one of the sets I practiced the ‘peeing on the swim’. This has not been easy. I think it took me about 200 yards to get it going and unlike other times – once it got going I had to concentrate to keep it going. However, I was successful! I swam back the 600 yards to the dock. Total swim was 4200 yards in about an hour twenty. This swim was a big success – it was like a slow, easy jog.

During the bike, I was testing my different intensity levels (either 82 % or 88 % of LT). For the 40 miles this felt easy – as it should. The only problem was on the hills – it was difficult to keep the heart rate low on the climbs. To keep it low I had to jump down to my granny gear. During race day I will have two extra gears. My training wheels have a 12 – 23 cassette but I will be riding either a 12 – 25 but probably a 12 – 27. The 12 – 27 is for insurance. Regarding the racing intensity - I will probably split the difference for race day. I want the ride to feel easy.

I have put a lot of miles on my race bike this year and the rear brake cable has started to drag as well as the front derailleur. I took my bike over to Drew at Hattiesburg Cycle for replacement and a once over. I do most of my own bike maintenance but I would rather Drew catch anything this week than have something pop up on race day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Recovered?

I truly appreciate all of the kind words of encouragement. I am feeling much better - after my run on Thursday morning I stopped at the grocery store and stocked up on peaches, bananas, and yogurt to get my system back on track.

I was still a little run down but I went to the pool anyway at lunch. I was not going to push it or anything. I ended up having a nice easy 2000 yards and felt better after the swim than before. This was reassuring! The swim is still there and my times were within reason even though I was swimming very comfortably.

I had originally planned for the volume to drop off a lot this month but for the intensity to increase. Well, my body is not going to allow me to increase the intensity but I have dropped the volume down. I honestly know that my training has been in order and that I should still be able to tap into it on race day. I still have 2 weeks to get everything in order and I know that I will not build any additional fitness this month - I am just hoping to restore a little bit of my prior fitness.

This has been a very frustrating "taper" but I bounce back quick and I am sure I will be ready by race day. I am just going to have to manage my health more closely - like they say - it is better to go in __% under trained than __% over trained (you can insert what ever percentage you want - I have seen them quoted all over the place - I like 20% under and 1% over).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sick and tired - and weak

From my last blog post: “My goals for the rest of the month are to stay injury free and fresh - both mentally and physically.” - I wish.

I woke up Monday morning feeling fine from the weekend events. Maybe I was just a tad tired from the weekend. I decided to sleep in and hit the pool at lunch time. I only got to swim once last week and really wanted to hit the pool hard this week – give the legs a break and really fine tune the swim.

I swam about 600 yards and then Chris joined me in the pool. He had some challenging workouts. We started with a couple of 50’s on 60 then moved on to paddles. We finished up with 5 sets of 100’s on 1:40 – that is fast for me. The first couple were okay and then they got hard. Chris said that I completed each 100 at less than 1:30 – it would have had to be close.

I’m not sure if it was from the pool or what but my stomach got just a little upset during the afternoon. I am so big on talking about never getting sick – well this year has been a big exception. Anyway, Jodie and I went for a drink after work. She had a glass of wine and I had a couple of drafts – nothing major but we had a good time just chatting. We ran some errands and then made it home by about 8:30PM. My stomach was still a little sour but no big deal. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and some iced tea.

However, I woke up around midnight in intense pain. It felt like Mike Tyson had punched me in the gut – not some simple upset tummy. It was like I did about 1000 sit ups and crunches times 100. Being completely still in bed my torso from the bottom of my rib cage to the top of my pelvic girdle ached. My stomach was bloated and I needed to throw up. I made it to the bathroom and everything came up – the beer, the sandwich and the tea.

You would have thought that I would have felt better but the aches were still there. They lasted all night. All of the next day I continued to have difficulty keeping anything down. I tried to keep my fluids up but they even came up sometimes although I was able to keep urinating so I knew that I was not dehydrated. This lasted all of Tuesday and Wednesday. Since Monday I have lost 7 pounds – not really they way that I wanted to get down to my goal weight.

Feeling better on Thursday I went for a short 3 mile run before work. It was very hard starting out but it got easier. I am not back to 100 percent but I think I will bounce back just fine.

Last week I thought that it was good to get the back pain out of the way before the big race – now this week the stomach bug. What will next week bring – a broken clavicle – lord I hope not.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2008 IMKY - bike video preview

Simplystu #71: Louisville Iron Distance Route Preview

I had touble embeding the video - here is the link - it's an hour long -

Louisville Iron Distance Route Preview

Monday, August 10, 2009

King of the Mountain

Friday was a rest day. I was pleased that after the long run on Thursday night nothing was hurt, sore or damaged. I had no aches or pains. Sure the legs were a little tired but nothing much.

There were a couple of groups of riders meeting early Saturday morning. I hooked up with Lance, JD, Keith and the gang first. We did the Cain Brake loop and then headed to Epley Road. Lance wanted to do a ‘King of the Mountain’ type race. I was looking for a tempo ride –but we headed out. This was a full, all out, draft legal race. The Epley out and back is a very rolling hills total 10.5 mile out and back. The out is much faster than the back. Keith took off with a long hard pull with Lance and Raland on his wheel. I was sizing up the situation – I had a long day planned and did not want to crack early on racing with these guys. However, being 20 yards behind the group was not the place to be. I did a hard acceleration and pulled up their wheel – why not grab the draft if it is available. Lance tried a hard pull to form a breakaway but Keith only grabbed his wheel. When Lance was expecting a hard pull from Keith, to create a gap, it did not come. The rest of the group eased back up on Keith’s wheel. At the turn around point everyone had cracked except for me and Keith. I had not done a single pull up to this point. So that we would not have to worry about the others Keith and I did a series of hard pulls. The gap was now insurmountable – no one could catch us. We eased off of the pace just a little bit and were jockeying for position. There was a lot of posturing. I tried to only pull on the up hills to limit the draft advantage that Keith would have on me. I’m still not sure how it happened but at the last hill I managed to out kick Keith to the finish (He must have given it to me – but he said he was done).

This was the first of the hilly Epley Road loops for the day. I soon met up with Jim and we added a lot more miles. I felt really strong on this day. On the second Epley loop, about 20 miles later, I time trialed it by myself and finished only about 90 seconds off of the group pace. Another 20 miles later and I did the loop at my projected ironman pace – another 90 seconds off of the pace. I went from averaging 23 to 20 to 18 on the back half of the loop. This allowed me to put my pacing in order for the ironman. 18 seems like it will be about accurate for the bike in Louisville.

Jim wanted to do a brick after riding the 90 miles. I was not planning on running but it seemed like a good idea. Jim said just an easy 3 miles. I challenged him to a 5 mile run / walk. Although the run was not easy it was very manageable and Jim and I walked away with a confidence inspiring 6 miles (no walking) at 8:36 pace. We had a good day. I was especially satisfied with the different exertion levels during the bike. I was able to recover and still log the miles. During the group ‘King of the Mountain’ my heart rate maxed out during the last sprint – 188 beats per minute – this is way above my LT for biking (and running for that matter).

Sunday would be an easier day – I ran 3 miles with Jodie and hit the jungle gym equipment at Jackson Station. The heat was oppressive but I did about 40 pull-ups / chin-ups and quite a few push-ups and sit ups. I felt heavy and weak – that is what a lack of strength training will do for you.

Later, I left the house to meet up with the group ride at 1PM. I took my running shoes to grab an easy brick after the ride. On the way to the ride my left pedal spring dislodged or something – this has happened once before. My foot would become disengaged easily if I was not careful. Not a big deal because I would not be riding hard. However, this ride would be much more challenging than I anticipated. Michael, an ultra runner that I have not seen before, pulled the group out the 15 miles at a break neck speed. The group got split up several ways and it was a pretty hard ride. I was riding out of the draft for most of the way.

At the turn around I was riding with Jim and talking. Not really paying attention we got dropped. I knew that I could probably catch the group if I wanted so I just let them ride away. I waited too long – I think that guy Michael was pulling them back. So the return trip turned into a pretty good tempo ride – not the recovery ride I was wanting. I met back up with Ben after the ride and we did an easy 3 mile brick. I picked his brain for more ironman tips.

After the exercise we headed over to Kily’s house for a pinebeltpacer meeting. There was so much good food and drink – not to mention the pool. I had a great time hanging out with everyone but especially Charles and Jim and Eric – we were rocking the pool with cannon balls and preacher seats.

My goals for the rest of the month are to stay injury free and fresh - both mentally and physically.

Friday, August 7, 2009

hot and humid and hard

I arrived at Jackson Station on Thursday morning for the group ride. I brought my backpack so that I could continue the ride to the university. I usually put my bag in someone’s car because riding with a backpack – especially in a pace line or sprint is not much fun. Well, I hung out at the Station for a few minutes and it was deserted. Mike’s car was there but he is an early morning rider. He probably got there about an hour earlier. No one showed, not a big deal but that meant that I would have to ride back to the house to drop off the pack. Even before I got home I had already made up my mind to scrap the ride. I 86’ed it! I really did not have purpose for the ride other than camaraderie so I poured myself that second cup of coffee. No regrets – I had a long run planned for after work.

Having done strength training the day before and the run planned for later in the day and the pool being closed this week – there was nothing to do at the gym for lunch. Jodie and I went for a walk and ran some errands around campus (checking book prices for classes). I had a good time at lunch.

I met up with Jim shortly after work. With the heat and humidity I have discovered that my running shorts (the ones with the liners and stuff) get completely saturated during a long run. This can cause some chaffing to occur – not fun at all. So, on occasion, I will wear some tight compression shorts underneath the shorts. I have had these compression shorts for years – they are white and tight and keep everything in order. I originally got them for softball and for a cup – short stop – necessary protection. But for this run I pulled on some triathlon specific shorts from Zoot. I don’t wear these often – they are a nice blue silver color but the color of the fabric darkens with water. You start to show exactly where you start to sweat – kind of gross – kind of reveling. This would not be problem on a longer run – the shorts would have a uniform color by the time I was done.

Jim and I left campus along the Long Leaf Trail and we were looking for anywhere between 12 – 18 miles. We would pass my house at mile 6 and continue on – If I were running by myself this would have been difficult. My legs were so heavy during this run. We were running at an easy pace – my heart rate was in my low-low recovery zone but the perceived exertion was much higher. I think that this was because of the heat and humidity and also the accumulated fatigue of the past year (I am really hoping for this super compensation thing with my taper this month). Jim was looking strong.

A couple of months ago I was strides ahead of Jim but tonight he was stronger. A couple of months ago Jim would challenge me and he would turn around a mile or so from a station and let me go on. I cannot back down from a dare. I would sprint out hard, reach the turn around and then catch Jim. These were some of my best runs – throwing a hard tempo run in the middle of a long run – valuable.

Well, I had to turn the tables on Jim. Jim was a bit stronger than me at this point and he was starting to run a little faster. I was not willing to hold his pace – I was starting to fatigue and there were still miles to go. Between mile 10 and 11 (1 ½ miles from Epley) I turned around. I did not walk but I took a gel and continued my pace. Mile 11 felt like the longest mile even though it was not any slower. At mile 12 I felt better – instead of the long gradual incline to Epley I was now on the long gradual decline home. I was running just a bit faster but it was much easier. I took another gel at Clyde Station and looked back for Jim – he was nowhere in sight. I really did not expect him – He was running 3 extra miles and I was not walking. There was no way he was going to catch me.

I got home having clocked 15.5 miles and cleaned up and had a blue berry smoothie. Jim arrived a little bit later with 18 miles under his belt. He was a little stronger than me tonight but we were both successful – no joint or muscle aches or pains. It was hot and humid and hard but manageable.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Off day - swimming and strength training - lol

Following the Tuesday 2 a day (bike AM – run PM) with the evening bike kicker I took Wednesday morning off. And with a long run planned for Thursday evening and the pool being closed I did not have much to do at lunch. I decided to do a little upper body strength training. I have missed the strength training for the last couple of months – my strength training has been very sporadic. I had to cut it out for time constraints but even more importantly I just was not fully recovering.

I hit my core and back and chest. I’ll be a little sore tomorrow but I am okay with that. After work we got together at the lake. The water and air temperature were perfect. We swam out the 500 yards and then swam from buoy to buoy. I have had to miss the swim for 5 days it felt good, however, it took about 400 yards to warm up. Once I was warm I felt like I could swim forever – a good sign. I was sighting off of Mike and we were making good time. I was practicing changing my pacing and I was swimming hard for 10 strokes and then swimming easy for 10 strokes. This is a good drill for me – it pushes me out of my comfort zone but not far enough out to prevent a quick recovery. Total swim was only 1200 yards or so but the OWS is so much more valuable to me.

I am still contemplating the road bike for the ironman – I know I will be much faster on the race bike but I am starting to think of this race as an event. I really want to do well but I also want to be in the moment and soak everything up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ironman pacing

Only very minor back pain remains! I went on the morning group ride on Tuesday. We had a good turnout but we really did not all ride together. I was riding in a narrow heart rate range – just testing out my ironman pacing. The range was 20 beats per minute less than my ½ ironman pace and about 30 beats per minute less than my average on my last triathlon (27.5 miles). I was expecting the pace to feel easy. While it was not hard it sure was not easy. I am going to re-evaluate my ironman pacing for the next few weeks. I really want the bike to be easy. I have read so many stories about killing the bike to just walk 5, 10 or 20 miles of the run. As the saying goes, I would much rather have an easy bike and have the entire marathon to make of time than have a wonderful bike and suffer the run. I ended up with 20 miles in just over an hour.

At lunch Jim and I braved the heat. It was so damn hot and humid – about 15 degrees warmer here than KY. Jim and I discussed the ironman – special needs, eating, drinking, etc. I finished up with 5.6 miles (I had a little warm-up ½ mile waiting for Jim). We were soaked – I mean, my shoes were soaking wet when we were done. That does not usually happen on such a short run. An extra pair or two of socks will be in my special needs bag – maybe even an extra pair of shoes.

After work we had a good group of cyclist – Charles, Terry L., Dawn and Jim. It was still hot but the little bits of shade helped. Again, I decided to test my ironman pacing. It was a lot easier this time – but still not easy. We arrived at Eply Station and turned right onto Eply road. This is a rolling hilly road that is about 5 miles until the turn around. Going out I was easily maintaining 30 + MPH on the down hills – but you have to turn around and ride right back up them. The cassette on my training wheels is a 12 – 23. My race wheels have a 12 – 25 cassette. I have been thinking about getting a 12 -27 for the hills in KY. The last hill coming back to Eply Station is not huge but I was forced to drop into my small crank and spin up the hill – this was to keep my heart rate in the zone. I mentioned wanting to get a new cassette just for KY to Jim and Terry said that he has a 12 -27 and that I was welcome to borrow it. It is good to have friends. This is exactly what I am hoping for with a multisport club – we all have gear around the house that others can use – if we can tap the collective everyone will benefit!

Speaking of hills – I have noticed that it is much easier to climb on my road bike. I am contemplating putting my extra aero bars and race wheels on my road bike just to see if it is the best option. I know that my race bike is faster and the 78 degree seat angle might save my legs more – but with this long of a race comfort and ease might trump speed. Not sure on this one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Case closed - or at least settled.

Jury duty is over. The case was settled before anything really happened. Either the jury looked too tough or the jury looked too easy – I guess we will never know.

The weekend ‘off’ day helped the back immensely. I went from my back hurting 90% of the time to 10% of the time. It was much easier for me to find comfortable ways to sit and sleep. It was hard to feel really good except for my back. The weakest link I guess – frustrating. While my back was sore I did do some bike maintenance. I put a new chain on my old road bike and now it is road ready. It had been scaring me a little bit with the chain popping off.

I forgot how hard it is for me to ride the trainer. I set up fans and stuff to watch and the whole 9 yards. 30 minutes was about all I could muster. I tried again in the late afternoon and only got about 15 minutes. I was trying to ride at a good tempo pace but it was hard. I should have just ridden outside but I was still babying my back – I thought the trainer would allow for me to pick a position and not have to move at all.

In addition, I have been riding my road bike a lot recently – almost exclusively except for races. I have been riding with groups and I have not done much solo work. When I switch back to my race bike I always feel it in my legs. The race bike just uses my muscles in a different way. I have decided to mothball the road bike until after IMKY. This is the home stretch and I think specificity rules.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jury Duty - a pain in the back...

It was hard lounging around the house but better for me in the short and long run.

I rode 30 minutes on the trainer this morning - the first time that I have been on the trainer in a long while. I thought that it would be better for my back - I could control the environment. The good news is that the ride was easy and my back felt fine. The bad news is that it is not completely better - running might have to wait for a few more days.


This morning - Jury Duty - more time off from the plan.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Must need more supermans...

On Friday we were to wear out ‘dirty clothes’ to work. We had a lot of cleaning to do and also move a lot of heavy equipment in our data center. I was planning on getting an early run in before work but I just could not get out of bed – stayed up a little later than usual the night before. So I got to work early and knocked out my routine tasks. The rest of the morning was dodging the rain while we had to move large heavy things from one side of the building to the other side. With Vic out this week that makes me the next biggest guy – kind of sad – I’m 5’9” at 160 pounds. The other guys I work with are in the 120’s and 130’s. However, we did have some help from Kyle who was able to put his back into it! I took my hex weight set home – we have not been using the much at work but I had 5 / 20 / 30 / 35 / 40 dumb bells in my work area. I also recycled the 20 or so ‘whey protein powder containers’. I had been collecting them and I was going to make a raft. We determined through minimum math and lots of trial and error that it takes 3 containers to float 20 pounds. I would need 27 containers to be successful in keeping me and the vessel afloat. But alas, the raft will have to wait for another day.



I took a late lunch and with all of the rain and storms and such I decided to get my run in on the treadmill. I was going to run a fast 8 miles in about an hour but I wimped out. I warmed up slowly and did the first mile in 10 minutes – real slow warm-up. But, like I said I wimped out on the last mile – I’m not sure why I wimped out but I ran the next 6 miles in 42:xx so I the total run was 7 miles in 52:xx. It would have been easy to wrap up the 8 miles in 7 something more minutes but I just stopped. It was a hard run but not that hard.

Back at work we finished up the cleaning and moving. I often preach about functional strength and I am pretty strong for my stature. In the bench press and doing body weight exercises – I am – pound for pound – about as tough as any of the guys I work out with. But when it comes to maximum lifts, etc I top out pretty quick. Now, back to this functional strength – I always say that it really does not matter how much weight I can lift or pull or anything else – I just want to be able to pull myself up, run up some stairs, carry something around the yard, swing an axe or even climb a rope – this would be functional to me. And I think that I have done a good job achieving this goal. I have also always tried to keep the whole body strong – this means a strong core as well as extremities and cardio. I am fortunate that I have had very few injuries and I think that this balance has a lot to do with.

However, Friday night my lower back was killing me. I have never had back pain. This was not spinal pain just one of the muscles in my lower back was very sore. This would not allow for me to rest. I had trouble laying down, sitting up, rolling over, etc – there was no position where my back was not hurting. If I breathed deeply it hurt. I took some ibuprofen and suffered though the night. I always thought that I never had back pain because I lifted properly and I did back exercises (pull ups, chin ups, superman’s, and back extensions).

I had plans for Saturday afternoon so Jim was coming over at 6AM for a 3 – 4 hour ride. I was questionable about my back. Funny enough my back felt fine on the road bike – even in the drops. There were a few positions that it would sting and feel sharp but I tried my best to avoid those situations. Jim and I rode towards Jackson Station and we picked up Terry L and Marisa. We then headed out of Jackson Road to Classic Drive and ended up in the hilly section of the avenues to tackle 40th street and Richburg road. Terry proved to be a strong climber and Marisa easily held her own.

We had a few fast pulls when back on the trace but all in all it was a fun easy ride. We did cross paths with Robin and crew. They were doing a broken brick – bike 10 / run 2 REPEAT. I think that they said they did this 3 times for a total for 30 bike miles and 6 run miles. It looked tough. I split off from the group and ended my bike at about 52 miles. Jim eventually got over 100 miles with a short brick thrown in for good measure.

Saturday night was not much fun. My back was much worse and I used a heating pad, aspercream stuff and more ibuprofen. I did not sleep well. I think that I am going to have to 86 this entire day. I don’t want to but I know that a couple of days off are better than a couple of weeks off. Friday morning I was ready to do this ironman – now I am having trouble just standing.

Things sure change quickly.