Friday, December 28, 2012

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.

So as the end of the year approaches, it’s time for a little reflection. Of course that reflection comes in many different forms. There are many areas of focus, race results, professional accomplishments, personal accomplishments and so on.

Recently I've seen a lot of talk about the definition of success, so I figured I'd start there. Almost none of this is original thought, rather its bits and pieces of what others have said. I've tweaked, paraphrased and copied until it fit with what I wanted to say. Hopefully this will makes a little sense.

Success isn't defined by winning a race, it is defined by each of us individually.  It's based on our goals and the things we hope to accomplish in life. Perhaps your goal is weight loss, a promotion at work, or athletic accomplishments.  What your goal is less important than what you do to achieve that goal.

Success is the silence and peace of mind that comes when mind, body, and soul are working together.  Every goal starts with a single step. That step, repeated consistently, becomes a process, a habit.  It continues until the goal is reached. Some people take the necessary steps, others do not. The only one that knows or cares about the step you've taken is you. "The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion...when no one else is watching."

Success is choice; it is the building of a habit. Will you complete the task that will make you stronger, faster, better, smarter? Success comes when you find love in completing those simple tasks every day. Cultivate the love for the process.  Real success is not found in a single day, real success is the cumulative effect of doing the little things right consistently.  People don't get fat by eating one piece of cake, they get fat because they eat that cake consistently.

When your brain tells you that you have every reason to skip a step, and you want nothing more than to listen to your brain so you can spare yourself the pain. That's where success is bred. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to push through? You make the decision right then, in that moment. Will you do what’s necessary to succeed - or won't you? The successful person is often times simply willing to do what the unsuccessful person was not willing or able to do. Will you give into the pain?  Will you give in to the discomfort?  Or...will you adjust to it?

Success is the journey. The challenge isn't someone else’s, it’s yours. The challenge is within us all. It's the aching in your lungs, and the burning in your legs, it's the bile rising in your throat. It’s the voice in all our heads telling us we can't. Failure occurs because we get into our own tiny little brains and defeat ourselves. Success is realizing that the only way out of hell, is through it.

Sometimes in life there is a price to be paid no matter what decision you make. For those that have set goals and succeeded in reaching them, you already know that it pays to be a winner.

The process is simple. Building the habit is simple. It's nothing more than setting priorities and following through.  Most things in life are fairly simple. Simple, unfortunately, is not the same as easy. The only easy day was yesterday.


Now I have to live by my own words.  I put on 5 pounds of crap in Mexico.  Now that the holidays are basically over its time to get those pounds off and drop down to 185.  I want to hit 350w for a 20min test, and I want to run a 10k under 40min.  Those things won't happen by accident.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tis the Season!

Well the holidays are upon us.  For many this is a time to reflect, be with friends, family, and those we love most.  For me, its time to go to Mexico!!!  Aimee and I have our 8 year anniversary coming up, so we're both looking forward to the trip.  Hopefully it gets a little colder here in the great white north before we leave, otherwise I'm not sure the trip will feel as worthwhile as it could.

My training is coming along very nicely.  My foot seems to be doing a lot better and I think the problem comes down to shoes.  When I raced that 10k I was in racing shoes without much padding.  I had run in them before, but nothing as hard as a 10k.  So my feet were sore after that race.  Immediately after the race I started running in brand new shoes and I'm pretty sure I had them laced too tight.  I'm not 100% sure that's the problem, but I was able to run hard on Monday with no ill effects.  So for the moment all systems are go.

The crohns appears to be back in remission.  Stress = flare.  That's just how it works.  While some may view the flares as a real negative, I try to take them as a sign that I need to focus on what's really important in life.  Don't get me wrong, the flare ups suck.  But there is always a lesson to be learned.  Sometimes you can't control the external stressors in your life, but other times you can.

I've come to learn that Steelhead 70.3 will not qualify for the 2014 world championships in Vegas.  The race is a couple weeks earlier than than normal so it will qualify for 2013.  As a result I won't be doing that race this year.  I'm not 100% sure what I'll be doing.  But here is a tentative race schedule.

Jhawk Early Bird sprint- April 28
Lake Mills sprint - June 2
Liberty 1/2 Ironman (Minnesota) - June 8
Pleasant Prairie Olympic - June 23 -(try to qual for USAT)
Wisconsin Triterium Olympic - June 29
USAT National Champs - Aug 10
Pigman 1/2 Iron (Iowa) - Aug 18
Austin 70.3 (Texas) - October 27th (Try to qual for vegas 2014)

I'm thinking that this summer of races will really be about having fun and trying to figure out my best pacing strategy.  I don't know that I will really have any specific goals other than going fast and placing as high as I can.  I don't necessarily care about USAT Nationals, it would just be fun.  I will care about Austin 70.3, assuming I end up doing that race.  It would certainly be my A race as it would be nice to spend the end of 2013 and 2014 specifically focusing on the WC's in Vegas. 

With my training going in such a positive direction I'm finding that I already look forward to next season.  But its a long ways out with all of Winter yet to come.  We'll see what happens. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Update

So its been a little while again.  Not obnoxiously long, but long enough.

Overall things are going very well.  After my new bike fit with John at W&S I noticed an immediate improvement in bike power, but it came with a price as my hamstring and glute started causing some problems.  I went back in and learned that my pedaling technique is partly to blame as I am pulling up with my hamstring way too much.  that was probably due to when I had my seat way to high and had to pull up.  In any case, I made some adjustments to my technique, followed those up with lowering my saddle by about 2mm and my issues are almost entirely resolved.  So hopefully we can put the quad and hamstring issues to bed.

Biking has been going extremely well since then.  In fact my last power tests showed an almost 5% improvement from September to the middle of November.  So that's pretty good news for just a better bike fit and a little hard work.

My running has been both exceptional, and really bad.  Recently I've felt extremely strong running.  My normal forget about it run pace used to be in the low 8's, and now I'm routinely running in the 7:30-7:50 pace without thinking about it.

My last 5k test had me at a vdot of 50 which is just under a 20min 5k and roughly 41:20 10k.  Both are times I could be happy with.  In an effort to improve my running I signed up for the RACC running series.  The first race was earlier this month where I did much better than I anticipated by running a 40:20 good for 14th overall.  Next step is to break that 40min barrier.

Unfortunately after the race my feet were pretty sore, and my left foot has some kind of problem.  I can run...but not hard.  Even doing something simple like a 3x2 set has my foot hurting.  So for the moment there will be no intervals for a few weeks.  Gotta roll with the punches.

As for swimming, I've discovered I'm a complete slacker.  I have no interest in the water.  I get distracted after about 300 yards with my mind wandering to all kinds of places.  Focus is usually not an issue for it is a little disconcerting.  Fortunately when it comes to running and biking, the focus is still there.  I just need to make sure my foot remains healthy.

My weight is good and slowly going down.  Last time I checked i was down to 195.  Pretty solid for the off season.

The crohns only gets an okay rating.  I've had some issues and more recently (yesterday) had a somewhat serious issue that required some prednisone.  You'd think I'm used to it after all these years, but I don't like taking days off for this kind of crap.  It feels like excuse making and drives me a bit nuts.  If I make excuses it will be for not swimming...not because my poor little tummy hurts.

Anyway, I've been asked to make my posts more funny.  Today is not that day.  But I have been doing some thinking along those lines and I hope to come up with something good in the near future.

I did manage to get myself a new bike.

Isn't she beautiful!

Lastly, USAT age group nationals will be held in Milwaukee this August.  There is a lot of chatter going on and I think its going to be a bunch of locals beating up on each other.  This is the attitude I'll be taking...assuming I decide to race it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Off Season Plan

So in past years I've gone long periods with no update.  Not this time.

Overall, things are going pretty well.  My training load really hasn't changed all that much from the season itself.  Just a bit less volume and a bit more intensity.  The other difference is trying to run 7 days per week.  So far I've only made it about 2 weeks without missing a day of running, but that's been due to life/laziness as opposed to actually needing a day off.

As far as overall progress is concerned, my running feels fantastic.  I've been doing some harder interval running as well as a lot of easier days of running and am finding that my natural run pace has improved to around a 7:50-7:55 type pace without any conscious effort.  That's a pretty big improvement as in the past my typical pace was 8:05-8:10.  And that was during the season, so not that long ago.

On the bike I've been having some trouble.  The new fit has really begun to aggrivate my glute and hamstring.  I saw the fitter and he really feels the problem is in my technique as I am pulling up on the pedal too much and engaging the hamstring/glute when I should be pushing more and using the quads more.  Basically my feet are in the wrong position thereby engaging the wrong muscles.  So for the next couple weeks I'll be really focusing on flattening my feet out and not hammering on my hamstring.  If that does not work I will be moving my seat down by about 2mm and see if that helps. 

Swimming is swimming.  I'm very unmotivated in the water.  Its not that I'm tired or anything like that, I just don't want to get up out of bed.  And when I do get in the water, I don't really want to be there.  I'm going to have to swap days so I am swimming with Scott.  If I can't motivate myself, I'm sure he can help.

My weight is doing pretty well.  I'm sitting at 197, so all the weight gain from a couple weeks off has been re-lost.  This week has been kinda bad, but I will be doubling my efforts next week.  I think part of my problem is the hamstring bothering me.  I have a nasty habit of slacking when I have an injury.  And when I say slacking...I slack in all ways.  I really get bad about things.  So I need to break out of that a little bit.

The crohns has been pretty well behaved.  I typically run into some issues as the off season starts up, and this year was no different.  But it was all pretty minor and didnt' cause any issues.

I am really hoping that in the very near future I will be replacing my mistress (bike).  I have been drooling over a speed concept 9 series for quite a while now.  I'm hoping this off season I'll be able to pull the trigger. 

As far as races and goals are concerned, I've signed up for the entire RACC run series.  So I'll be doing 6 10k's between now and March.  That will be more run races than I've done in my entire life combined.  I may throw in a 5k or two as well.  Possibly a half marathon or two.  Now that I've broken 20min in a 5k, I would like to see if I can get under 40min for a 10k.  I've never actually run a stand-alone 10k, so it should be fun.  November 11th is the first one.

Into next year I am pretty sure the plan will be to look for a 1/2 Ironman brand race in August to use as my A race.  If I do well I'll be able to qualify for the World Championships in 2014.  As far as other races are concerned, I'm still not sure.  I know I want to do a race in Minnesota so I can visit some friends.  Aside from that I think I'm going to look for some different races in the area that I've never done.  I may also do a very early season 1/2 ironman, perhaps Galveston TX.  I'm not quite sure yet.

Alright, that's it for now. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Season in Review

So its that time of year, time for the off season.  Time to think about the past.

So as a little recap.  I missed all of last season due to a hamstring tear.  Took forever and then some to rehab.  Despite that I was able to cobble together some halfway decent race results.  But certainly not where I wanted to be.

So, first lets review the plan.  Working with Scott made the plan simple.  Run 6x per week, swim 4x per week, Ride 4x per week.  With work I do what I can in the early mornings so my afternoons aren't too busy and I can spend time with Aimee.  For the most part minus a few disruptions the schedule worked out well.

In terms of expectations I really didn't have too many for the season due to my leg.  I was hoping for some PR's and great results.  But I also knew I might have some set backs along the way.  All in all, despite the failures I am calling this season a success.  A little more than a year ago I thought I'd never race again.  I wasn't sure I'd even be able to run/ride casually as the doctors thought I had that bulging disc in my back.  So in a lot of ways this season has been a gift, and a success.

Lets get into it and see where that leaves us. 

The negatives: 
First, the leg cramping was an obvious problem.  I shouldn't have fiddled with my bike fit.  I knew better and decided to be cheap. 

Second, run pacing.  While my cramping was a problem, it really had very little impact at Racine.  At Racine it was hot and simply ran to hard, didn't drink enough, and ended up with problems at mile 7.  It was a valiant effort ultimately leading to death. 

Third, consistency.  Overall I was pretty consistent, but not great.  I missed several workouts including some longer stuff.  In this sport consistency is king.  More is more until it is too much, as they say.

Lastly, my performance in Vegas.  I still don't fully understand why my bike split was so slow.  Thinking back I am sure that impacted everything else.  I was on the bike 10 minutes longer than I expected without nutrition.  I was more tired than I thought, and the cramping was worse than at any other race.  I'm glad I went and experienced it, it was a lot of fun.  But the overall performance was poor.

The positives:
First, I managed to qualify for the world championships despite a poor performance at Kansas.  Granted it was a rolldown, but considering how bad Kansas really was...the fact that I managed to make it is something of a big deal.  I've come a long ways.

Second, My olympic distance racing and speed has really come around.  I PR'd in all my shorter distances.  To me, this is a really good sign.  It tells me that I have the speed, I just need to do a better job of pacing.  With my bike fit corrected, I should be able to see some big improvements.

Third, run durability has improved.  Because of the base I have now built up, I am able to switch over to a plan with 7 runs per week and more speed work.  Due to injuries of old, I had not been able to do a lot of fast running and relied on volume.  This off season I can do both.  It should be fun.

Fourth, I was able to race again.  Duh.

Fifth, I kept my weight way down.  Its always been a challenge.  In college I was a chubby 215lbs until my Crohns diagnosis.  I dropped to 205ish, but put it back on and stayed around 215 for a long while.  Balooned up to 265 about 5-6 years ago, but was able to get back into athletics and triathlons and have since dropped to about 195 where I am right now. 

What's Next.
Well, I've already decided that I want to go back to Vegas, I just can't next year.  As a kid my father used to take me on some really great fishing trips in Alaska and Canada.  It is time I repaid the favor when we are both old enough to really appreciate it.  So, we're heading up to go do some fishing in early September 2013.  As that is when Vegas is, I can't go.  In my eyes, well worth the sacrifice.

So I am thinking I am going to start the season a bit earlier with New Orleans or maybe Galveston 70.3's.  Have a really fun year of doing a lot of smaller races, and then see if I can go to Steelhead in August to qualify for Vegas 2014. 

From a speed perspective, who knows.  I feel like I have a lot of gains left to make.  With my bike fit I am really hoping to get a lot more power.  But I am need to be sure my hamstring can take the pressure of this fit.  My old fit had the seat lower to take the pressure off my hamstring.  So we'll see if my new fit needs any modifications as we go.

In any case, I won't get much faster in swimming.  Not much point in trying to get faster either. Fortunately I do have that to fall back on.  Running and biking are another story.  So this off season will primarily focus on getting faster in both. 

Of course there is my weight.  Its time I got down to 185.  I've never seen my abs and want to!  Even if it is just for a day so I know that they are there.  I'm not sure 185 is low enough to do that, but its a good starting point.  The lowered weight will make my biking and running faster too!

For the moment, I think that's it. 

To bring out the geeks:  Do, or do not.  There is no try.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The 20 minute 5k

As I prepare to write my year end review post and prepare myself for the coming off season.  One of the goals that has forever eluded me is the 20 minute 5k.

I was prepared to write about my plans to crush that goal this off season. 

The good news is that yesterday during my threshold testing I ran a 5k in 19:53.  A new PR by 30s.  (My old PR was on a track, this was out on a path). 

The bad news is that now I don't know what to write about.

I've been doing threshold testing across the board, even on the bike with my new fit.  Funny thing, despite being on the fit for 3 days I was still very close to my previous 20min power tests.  If I re-did the test I am confident I could match my previous best.  And on the 3 minute test I hit a PB by 12 watts.

Interesting results.  I'm a total gym-class hero right now. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm a moron...again and again and again and again

I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.
I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.
I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.
I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.
I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.
I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.
I will never touch my bike fit without professional help ever ever ever again, ever.

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about what an idiot I am.  I really need to make it an annual or semi-annual thing.  In this case, its certainly past due.

Now that I have that out of the way, I went in for a retul fit.  It was mostly a precaution...or so I thought.  I figured my fit had something to do with my cramping...little did I know.

To keep this post nice and short allow me to say this.  My saddle was moved up an inch.  My saddle was also moved forward about an inch.  I had to bring my handle bars back over a centimeter, and bring them up a mm.  Plus my cleats were moved back and to the side.  To summarize, everything was wrong...and not by small amount.

Notice all the different things that needed moving...well guess what.  Between the last time I had been fit and this fit I had gotten new aero bars, base bar, stem, saddle, pedals, cleats, and components.  No need for concern there, right.

The fitter was pretty confident that my fit was indeed the reason for my cramping due to the very specific nature of the cramps and how my fit had me positioned on the bike.  Furthermore, I position myself differently when on the trainer and riding outside.  I'm much stronger on the trainer because of this.  So when I was riding outside...I was pacing too hard. 

Anyway, that's it for now.  Just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ironman 70.3 World Championships - Report

For those interested in the results without the lengthy report, I finished in 5:32:33. 775th overall and 117th in my age group.  Not what I had hoped for, below is the how and why.

Before the race:
Got into Vegas on Thursday night, very late. Slept until I couldn’t sleep anymore and went to athlete check-in -- It was hot! Went to the airport and picked up my parents who came in on Friday. Everything was going well as I unpacked my bike and got it built back up.

Saturday was gear check-in day. T1 was about 30 minutes away from our hotel, I woke up early to go to the practice swim and ride/run on the opening hills. Unfortunately the parking situation was out of control, and despite getting there pretty early I didn’t find parking until it was too late. So I could not swim, but did get in a nice 10-15 minute ride on the opening hills followed by a quick run.  Checked in my bike later that day.  T2 is about 15 miles away in town, so I went there and dropped off my run gear.

After being able to riding the opening hill that day, I was not nearly as intimidated by the course. If you look at the bike course profile map, it looks very intimidating. It was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I really relaxed quite a bit after that.  The whole course was longer gradual climbs.  Slower to be sure, but not as brutal on the legs, and nothing like Kansas.

Friday and Saturday were also spent hydrating. I drank a huge amount of Gatorade and water. On Saturday evening I took 3 salt tabs to get some pre-race electrolytes. I also had an early dinner which consisted of Subway at around 3pm followed by chicken and rice at around 5:30. I was feeling really good.

Race Morning:
Everything was all set, and I took in my breakfast exactly as planned. One medium bowl of golden grahams, 1 banana, 1 10oz bottle of coconut water, and 2 24oz bottles of my Gatorade mixture. And the really good news was that I had to pee right before the swim.  I had no heartburn, slept good and felt ready to go.

The Swim:
Totally uneventful and basically perfect. It was a non-wetsuit swim so I figured I’d back off a little bit and conserve some energy. I knew I wasn’t going to go a 26:30, nor did I want to. At the end of the day I consider this a somewhat lazy swim, which was intentional.  I really needed to focus my energy on being able to run. 

I did get a little side-stitch towards the back half of the swim, but I pushed through it. I actually thought it was a good sign, that I had lots of fluids ready and waiting in my guts.

The ending was very crowded and rough as they made everyone come up and out at a small narrow pier. But I finished with a 28:23. My stopwatch had been kicked and was stopped at 24:30ish, so I didn’t really know my swim time. Knowing it now, I am perfectly content with that swim.  Yes I could have swam quite a bit faster, but it wouldn't have been worth the additional effort.

T1 is very very long (took me 4:31). First there was an extended run from the water to get to T1. Then I ran all the way through transition to get to my bike. Then after I got my bike I had to run up a winding uphill path to get out of transition. I got stuck behind an older woman that was walking up and could not get around her. My focus was on the run, so I wasn’t too worried about losing a few seconds in T1.  I have no real idea, but I think T1 was about a quarter mile long in total.

The Bike:
Looking at the profile of the bike I was very intimidated. It looked like I’d be climbing mountains for the first 5 miles. But having ridden the morning before, I was feeling much better about things. My plan had been to ride really easy in the early goings and then build it up. I’m pretty sure I came very close to that goal.

I held close to 240 for the opening 5 miles or so, 230 watts was just too low given the nature of the climbing. I was keeping a high cadence up the hill, so I wasn't really all that worried.  I was not winded and my legs felt really good. The next 5 miles or so were pretty fast with some smaller climbs. I held wattage close to the same.

From there the ride was uneventful. The course was almost entirely long gradual inclines vs. really steep climbs. And while I am slower on those kinds of climbs, they don’t crush my legs as much. Overall, based on what the Garmin was showing me, I was very happy with my ride. There was one 5 mile section where my power was low as it was an extremely fast section. And there were a couple other sections that I pushed and was in the 250-260w range. The very last 5 mile section was a litte rough and all uphill.  By then I was a bit tired, but not struggling to hold wattage at all.

I took in my 2 24oz bottles of Gatorade mixture. I had added a salt stick to the mix. Unfortunately my little box of salt sticks fell out of my pocket early in the ride. I wasn’t too concerned as I’d only intended to take a couple anyway.

About mid-way through the ride I heard my brakes rubbing. I didn't think much of it at the time, but the bike did feel a bit sluggish.  I adjusted the brakes while riding, but it didn’t help. I actually got off my bike to see what the problem was, found nothing.  After finding nothing there wasn't anything I could I just kept riding. (more on that subject later).

I finished the ride strong, and got into T2 with a time of 2:47. I was shocked at how slow my time was given the wattage I rode. But I felt really good and wasn’t going to let that worry me. I always knew I was racing myself in Vegas, and if my target wattage was only worth a 2:47 then so be it.

After the race I learned that some electricians tape holding my wheel cover onto the wheel had literally melted, fallen off and gotten lodged between my rear fork and wheel. I didn’t see it, but that was the cause of the rubbing noise I heard and probably why the bike felt sluggish. It also *might* be responsible for why by bike time was way slower than the watts I put out. There was very light wind, and given previous results and wattages I was expecting my wattage to get me home in about 2:40ish.  So  2:47 does seem kind of odd.  Unfortunately I have no real way to know what the tape cost me, if anything.

As another note, during a lot of the uphill sections I sat up off the aero bars. The reasons were simple…deep breathing and legs. I have cramped in other ½’s this year and wasn’t sure if my bike fit was partly to blame. I spent more time sitting up in this race than most if not all other races I’ve done this year.  Mostly to make sure I did some good breathing on the hills and to change bike positions.  I rarely stood on the pedals, but did a few times to stretch my legs.

I also had my HR monitor on and would occasionally check it on the bike ride. I have not seen the files yet but am pretty sure I was around 140 for most of the ride. 

Came into T2 and felt pretty good. Changed and got going.  Nothing eventful.

First off, the run course was much harder than I anticipated. The run basically consisted of a 1 mile downhill run, a 2 mile uphill run, 2 mile downhill run, repeat twice more, and then finish with about a 1 mile downhill run to the finish. We’re not talking about mountains or anything, but the climbing was a bit steeper than I anticipated. And it was almost all on blacktop…so it was like a furnace.  I believe it was in the low 80's for the race start and in the mid 90's by the time I started running.  But the blacktop really radiated the heat and it was sweltering.

I came out of T2 feeling pretty good. My fuel belt had leaked everywhere, so it didn’t have much in the way of fluids in it. But it had enough for me to hammer back about 5 oz of Gatorade and a salt stick. I took the salt stick because my quads were giving me that cramping feeling. You know the one…not muscle soreness, but the “if you make a wrong move I will go full-on cramp and screw you” feeling. I had that for the first 3.5 miles at which point I was nearing the end of the first 2 mile climb. At that point mentally I was still in good shape and felt good. I was also hoping that like in previous races the cramping feeling would go away.

But at mile 3.5 the leg cramps stopped me dead. It was both legs, quads and hamstrings. I think I was stopped for at least 2 minutes, not sure. I couldn’t move without something cramping. I literally had to stand there frozen still trying to keep both muscles somewhat stretched until they relaxed. Finally I was able to walk it off a little bit. And after that I was able to start a jog. I do not believe I stopped again except for aid stations until I started the 2nd climb. I was still hoping the cramps would go away like my other races. That was not to be. Every single step of the run I was on the edge of complete cramping. No joke, every single step, especially my right quad.

I muddled forward like that until about mile 7.5 and was generally making good progress. I certainly wasn’t running fast, but mostly running with some walking in there at aid stations and if the cramping threatened again. Again, overall I felt fine. I wanted to run and was getting pretty frustrated.  In fact that first downhill I was making some decent progress and feeling pretty good about things.  After my bike time I knew I wasn't going to hit any time goals, so I really just wanted to finish strong and feeling good.
At mile 7.5 just as I started the second 2 mile downhill section, I was actually feeling pretty good about things. I really thought that for the next 2 miles I’d be able to run down the hill, hit the aid stations, and generally feel pretty decent with only one climb remaining. My first stretch downhill was pretty good. And honestly, despite my slow times I really felt like I could be happy with my race if I was able to just run through the remainder despite some slower times.

As I was getting some momentum down the hill and running fairly decently, the worst side-stitch of my life hit really hard and really fast. I tried pulling a Macca and digging my fingers into it, massaging it, deeper breathing...nothing helped. It got to the point of being so bad I struggled to breath and was groaning/grunting with each step.

I was pissed. I’ll have to look at the files, but other than the initial cramping and aid stations I don’t think I really stopped to walk until this point. My running was slow, but it was still running.  I was also pissed off because I didn't feel bad.  I remember specifically thinking that to myself too...that if it weren't for these leg cramps I'd be doing a whole lot better because I feel pretty good and pretty strong right now.  That was incredibly frustrating.

The side stitch stayed with me down the entire hill. I tried some walk/run, but it was pretty bad and stayed with me. At this point I get a little blury as there was way more walking and a lot of cursing and frustration. I seem to remember the side stitch finally subsiding as I started up the hill for the last time (great timing). It didn’t go away, but became bearable. I did some jogging up the hill as best I could, but not being able to run down the hill like I wanted demoralized me pretty badly.

About halfway up the final climb with about 2 mile left to race I saw Aimee and my parents. I stopped to say hi and gave Aimee a kiss. Told them about the cramping and moved on. At that point I just wanted to make it enjoyable and was doing a run/walk based on how I felt. Based on the amounts I was drinking at each aid station, I doubted hydration would be an issue when I finished, but to make sure I started drinking more at each aid station. I wasn’t about to end up in medical.

I finished the run with a 2:10 and a lot of questions about this cramping. Is it really nutrition related? Is it bike fit related? It is always the same muscles that cramp, my quad (vastus medialis) Often referred to as the teardrop. (Although the Sartorius is right in that area too).

Plus my hamstring. However I don’t know that my hamstring would cramp if I didn’t have to deal with my quad. Typically my hamstring only cramps when I try to stretch my quad…not on its own.

Post race thoughts:
First I loved the race and the course. The whole area was beautiful and the race was very well run and a lot of fun. Despite my troubles I am really happy I went and would like to go back, next year if possible. 

I got to see the zip by while on the bike. Wow!! Granted I was climbing a long steady climb as they were screaming down it with their hair on fire, but those guys were hammering HARD. It was pretty cool to see.  It was like a freight train going by.

Monday my legs were still cramping with certain movements, mostly my hamstrings. The side-stitch was also sore to the touch. That’s a new one for me, side-stitch so bad it hurts the next day. My quads still hurt. Not just sore, they hurt. My hamstrings are touchy and hurt to massage.

Had the cramping not occurred my race would have been a lot different. I know for a fact that I am not pacing poorly. In Kansas it was pacing, but at Racine my power was fine, and in Vegas my pacing was fine. I've gone equally hard in training, if not harder and gotten off that bike and run a HELL of a lot harder with no cramping of any kind.  Something is causing this. Something doesn’t make sense.  I need to find out what that something is.

There really are only a few options.
It can't be my run fitness or pace because I'm getting these cramps too early.  In most cases I feel the cramping before I'm done with mile 1 and every time they have hit running paces that I routinely do in training. 

So first in my mind is my bike fit. It is vastly different from 2 years back when I never, ever cramped in a race. Waaaay more aggressive.  I'm so much lower today that while on my base bars now, I am lower than I was on my aero bars back then.  I should probably get my fit looked at again. Perhaps I am too far forward/backward on my bike and am putting too much pressure on the front of my quads. Perhaps the fit is just too aggressive. I’m really not sure.

Nutrition is a possibility. 2 years back I did ½ irons with 400-600 calories of Heed, almost no salt and just water. Never once cramped. That includes a rather hot Racine race. Maybe I need to get a salt study done. (Prior to this year I have never cramped in a race other than IMWI which I knew I was not in proper run shape for).

I should also point this out:  Despite all the fluids I took in the night before the race (at least 80-100oz of Gatorade, plus water and other stuff.) (I had to pee 4 times during the night) I also took in 70oz race morning, 90-100oz on the bike, and the 2-3 cups of fluids I took in at every aid station (5oz x12 = 60oz while running)…I still only went to the bathroom one time during the race, and it was midway through the run, and it was not very much. I got off the bike feeling rather thirsty as well.

To top it off, I did not go to the bathroom again until much later that night. Having said that, I felt perfectly fine after the race, helped pack up my stuff and walked 15 minutes to the car almost immediately. (in the burning hot sun)

I’m not really sure what else that leaves for consistent quad/hamstring cramping. It will be the subject of many discussions this off season.

As for what’s next, I have not decided, nor do I have any goals set for next season. I’d like a few weeks to be unstructured, although I may do a couple races for fun. Jhawk, or a half marathon are possibilities. I’m not sure at this point.

I am considering the possibility of doing a training half Iron at really challenging paces in an effort to replicate the cramping in training. A really hard non-stop swim followed by a challenging ride at 250+ watts, followed by a run. Not a half marathon, but a hard 4-5 miles to see if I cramp. In every race so far I’ve been ready to cramp at mile 1, so I should know pretty quickly.

Anyone with ideas or crazy suggestions let me know.  At this point I am open to suggestions.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

IM 70.3 Vegas - World Championships

So on Sunday September 9th I will be competing in Vegas.  It will be my first opportunity to compete in a race of this calibur.

The word for this race is: "Deliver".  It will be written on my forearms.  I'd write it on my forehead if I could read that.  From a preparation perspective, I am dialed in.  My fitness across the board is as strong as it was in Kansas if not a little better.  I am not injured in any ways that matter.  My training has been strong.  Mentally I am ready to go.  But I have not been terribly successful at this race all year, and its time to rectify that.  It's time to deliver. 

My plan to deliver in Vegas is pretty simple.
Drink way more.
Eat more.
Instead of hammering the bike early on - build into it slowly.
Instead of starting out at a hard run pace early, build into it.

Over the last several weeks during my longer training days, I've really focused on trying a few different things to see how they affect my body.  In particular, my nutrition plan has been a point of emphasis.  In both Kansas and Racine I really took a beating in the run.  As I look back at both races I came to the conclusion that nutrition and hydration were my biggest enemies.  Especially in Racine.  In Kansas I paced stupidly, but my fluids and salt were also way off.  In Racine I did everything I planned to do, it just was not enough. 

Vegas promises to be very hot, very hilly, and possibly windy.  From what I have heard, it is one of the most challenging 70.3 races in the world.  There are others more difficult, but not many and not by all that much.  Races like that demand good decision making, and I'd like to think I've learned my hard lessons this season.  So here are the details of my plan:

First, I need to really focus on hydration and sodium the day before the race.  I have not taken in nearly enough in races past.  I also need to take 2-4 saltsticks to load up.  I used to do that, but got away from it for some reason.  I'm also going to change my dinner to something more bland like chicken and rice.  We are staying in a nice condo, so we will do some shopping and I can cook my own stuff.  In all my races this year I've gotten up with really bad heartburn which has really hindered my ability to eat/drink on race morning.  I'd rather wake up starving and ready to eat than feeling bloated and nasty with heartburn unable to take in the fluids and calories that I need for the race.

Second, early on race morning I need to drink way more than I have been.  My best races have been when I need to pee during the race.  In Kansas I did not go once.  In Racine I only went once and it was very small.  My plan is to have roughly 60-80oz of fluid between waking up and racing (3 hours).  It will all have electrolytes.  In Racine I had maybe 30oz and for a hot race, that's not enough.  Having to pee in the water or on the bike is way better than stumbling across the finish line and going to medical.  I also plan to stop using ensure shakes and go back to a small bowl of cereal, banana, and liquid calories/sodium instead.  I've been burping up the ensure and don't like it.

Swim: I am going to swim like I did in Racine.  I sincerely doubt I'll be coming out of the water in the lead, but honestly I don't want to.  There should be several swimmers around my speed, and I would love nothing more than to draft the entire time and save my energy.  Saving/conserving energy is a primary concern.

Bike: I am going to build into the ride.  Looking at the elevation map, the first 5 miles are climbing, and I plan to take those miles very easy so I can catch my breath and get situated on the bike.  I suspect a lot of guys are like I was in Kansas and come charging out of the gates.  I would rather hold 230w and be feeling good.  The next 5-6 miles are all downhill and should be rather fast.  Holding power up will be difficult and I don't plan to worry about it. 
For me, mile 12ish is where the race really begins.  At that point I would like to build into 240-250w and see how that feels.  If that feels really good after 10-15 miles I may bump it up...but I doubt it.  The weather looks to be near 100 degrees, and I'll need to back off a bit to handle that kind of heat.
As I've never seen the course I really have no idea what to expect.  Looking at some people that did Kansas and did Vegas, I should be adding about 5min to my bike time.  And since I went too hard on the bike in Kansas, I will likely come in around a 2:37-2:40. 
I have little doubt the uber-bikers will crush that, so I'll have to be prepared for guys to rip past me on the bike.

Bike Nutrition:  The plan here is pretty simple and can be summed up in one word.  "More".  In Racine I put back about 75oz, and that wasn't enough.  In Vegas where it will be equally hot I need to put back about 100oz.  I also need to do it smarter.  I typically drink every 15min or so during a race.  At Kansas and Racine I waited to start doing that until the first 15min elapsed.  I need to start my changes right there and start drinking the moment I am on the bike and then drink every 15min.

My normal bottles of calories are a 450 calorie concoction.  I plan to continue with that and take in a little more water each time I drink (every 15min).  I'll be on the bike longer than I was in Racine, so I need to be prepared for that and take in plenty of liquids.  At this point risking a little stomach upset is worth the risk.  I can run through discomfort, I have not been able to run through dehydration.

Run: The run is where it is at.  And here is where I usually run into problems.  The vegas course is a little unique in that according to the elevation map, I will never be on a flat gradient.  It is a 3 loop course and I will either be climbime a 1.5 mile hill of 2-3% grade, or I will be running down that hill. 

The course starts me out in the middle of "the hill" running down it.  So I will probably come out of the gate a little strong running a normal half marathon pace (7:20's).  But I plan to really back off on the first uphill.  1.5 miles is a long way to be climbing, and I'm thinking an 8:00-8:15 pace is pretty reasonable for the first climb.  But I will make that decision once I see the hill as I am not really sure what 2-3% actually looks like on the road.  I've been running a lot of hills near my house, so I may be closer to an 8:00 than 8:15.  It will all depend.

Overall, the plan is to take it easy on the hills which I climb 3.5 times.  And to run with good form and pick it up on the downhill sections.  Ideally my pace will equate to something under an 8min/mile pace.  Obviously the heat will also play a large factor. 

Run Nutrition:  In the past I've relied on the course for fluids.  I generally hate the perform crap they serve but take it anyway.  I also mix it with coke over time.  This time I plan to wear a race belt.  I need to make sure I get in at least 4oz fluid every mile and the best way to do that is a bottle vs. a cup.  I can measure everything and also make sure adequate electrolytes are included.  Plus it will eliminate gulping all the air that comes with drinking and walking/running.  I'll have 24oz of fluid with me, and that should take me through the first 8 miles.  From there I will have to deal with the course as best I can. 

The way I figure it, if I have enough fluids in me at mile 8, I can most likely finish the race on minimal fluids and not be a complete wreck.  As always, I will have to adapt as the day comes. 

I'm not really worried about my time or splits.  Ideally I'd like to PR and come in under a 4:53.  From a fitness perspective I should be able to.  Its all about execution.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oshkosh Race Report

So a couple weeks back I did a fun little race in Oshkosh. It was an Olympic distance race…sort of. The swim was ¾ or a mile as opposed to .9 miles. The bike was 32 miles instead of 24.8. But the run was still a 10k.

The lead up to this race was a bit interesting, so I’ll talk about that first as it impacted my race in a pretty significant manner.

Friday was a swim/long run day. Nothing really special about it except the run felt pretty poorly. After about 30min of running I started to feel alright and finished the 75 minutes without any problem. What I didn’t really think about after the run was hydrating for my big workout Saturday morning.

Saturday consisted of a 75 minute harder swim, 2 hours on the bike, and a 40 minute run. As usual I following my typical nutrition/hydration plan. Once again it was pretty hot outside, and during the ride I noticed I was dripping sweat everywhere…which is a little odd for me. It’s not that I don’t sweat, but this day I was really sweating. In any case, the ride did not feel that great despite being just a zone 2 ride. I got off for my 40 minute run and felt really bad. I cut the run about 20 minutes short and went into the Y to shower up and get ready. I felt bad enough where I decided to weigh myself…and I was 8 pounds lighter than what I should have been. I was dehydrated to say the least.

At that point I realized Oshkosh was not going to be a great day for me as there is no way to rehydrate that much in an afternoon.

Race Day
Got up and had my normal race nutrition…couple ensure shakes plus a couple other things. Made sure I also took in a bunch of fluids and electrolytes. Got to the venue and noticed right away that it was really windy and the lake was whipped up pretty good. Got my whole transition area set up, chatted with a few people, did some warm up and got ready to race.

I was in the first wave, which was really nice. But in a sense I was a little nervous. I did not know the course and also knew there was a chance that I’d be leading the race. I was in wave 1, and being a good swimmer could put me up front.  I wasn’t sure if there was a lead car or anything to help with navigation.  I had looked over the map…but that’s only mildly useful.

Anyway, the horn goes off to start the first wave and off we go. My basic plan was to hit the swim at a pretty reasonable pace and go based on how I felt. But that plan was destroyed very early on as a rather large guy immediately to my right hit me upside my head to start the swim.

Now open water swimming can be a bit rough. And despite some pretty big talk on my part about gleefully hammering through crowds of newbies and being rough and all that, I really do try to be nice in the water. There isn’t any need to be mean, especially with new people.

Back to the race. So the fatty to my right hits me upside the head. We’re swimming next to each other, so maybe he didn’t realize I was so close. *whap*….he hits me again, in the back of the head...again. Okay, two times is a coincidence. *WHAP*. Okay, third time is no coincidence and I’m a little more than upset at this point. Keep in mind; we’ve only had the chance to take maybe 5-6 swim strokes. The race literally just started and he's hit me 3 times in the back of the head.  The head (even mine) is a fairly small target.

*WHAP* -- THAT’S IT YOU FAT B*STARD. Four times is enemy action, no doubt about it.
I was downright mad. There is no call for hitting someone in the head 4 times. And frankly if your stroke sucks so bad that you’re swinging that wide accidentally, you don’t belong in the elite wave. Certainly not at the very front of the pack on the inside line.  In any case, I came up out of the water like a great white shark coming for a fat seal. Put my arm in his upper back and took him underwater.  I didn't hold him down or waste any time, just made sure he knew I wasn’t going to take that crap. 

About 10-15s later the oddest thing happened. He swerved HARD left, right in front of me. I literally swam over his lower back because it was so unexpected. It was so odd that I actually thought I was off course for a second and had to look up for sighting before I realized it was him and not me.  I was breathing to the left and I could literally see him swim right across and in front of everyone. Seriously, it was crazy as he swam at 90 degrees to the direction he should have been going. 

After that I scrapped my plans to take it easy and dropped the hammer. I wanted out of the crowd...badly. The course was a big triangle and by the first buoy I was all alone and in the lead. From that point on I could not see another person anywhere around me.

I finished up the swim in 19:05, and as I got out of the water I actually heard people gasping and saying “holy sh*t, he’s already done swimming.” Looking at the final results, there was one person in another wave that beat me by 7 seconds. Except for him, the next fastest time was about 2 full minutes slower than us.  So that's why people were talking about it...I was that far out in front of the elite wave.

The Bike:
I got on the bike and found out that there was a lead car. Keep in mind, this was a new experience for me. I’ve never led out a race before. As I was riding I very quickly noticed my legs were dead. Instead of holding 280w or so, I was averaging way less…embarrassingly so – 240w. I held onto the lead for almost the entire ride. But at mile 27/28 one biker passed me. I didn’t know it at the time but he was on a relay. The course was really nice and it was a pretty fun ride despite my case of dead legs.  In hindsight its pretty obvious this was caused by dehydration. 

I came into T2 and immediately saw the guy who passed me standing around and taking pictures. That’s when I knew it was a relay. So for the moment, I was actually in the lead. Hit the run and quickly realized I had forgotten my Garmin on the bike. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I am tied to that thing, there is a biological connection between me and my Garmin. I rely on it for pacing and comfort. But I was already too far to go back and get it. Fortunately I had a stopwatch on my other wrist…so I used that for pacing at the mile markers. I really had no idea where others were on the course however.

The run:
So I started off, and kind of thought I was running pretty slow. I just focused on keeping my stride short and fast. I was fully merged with the sprint race at this point, so I had no idea of who was who. I just kept on running. At mile one I saw my split and was actually happy as it was close to a 7:05. Considering how I felt, I thought that was pretty good. I was still in the lead.

Mile two was roughly the same at 7:05ish. Still in the lead. At that point I was on an out and back section of the course for the Olympic distance only. I could see the relay runner a ways in front of me. A biker came by and told me I was in the lead, which I knew. At mile 3 there was a turnaround…and the mile marker must have been off, because my split was like a 7:40, and I did not slow down that much. But it was here where I got my first look at the guy right behind me.  And he was gaining pretty quick.
As I saw him, I knew my time in the lead was coming to a rapid close. I picked up my pace as best I could, but he was running considerably faster than me and after about half a mile he passed me. We talked for a moment and I told him to enjoy the lead as the guy in front was a relay. He then picked it up with no problem. I stayed with him until about mile 4, but if you look at his splits, his 10k time was faster than mine by about 5 minutes. So he was a full minute per mile faster than me on the run. Not much I can do about that unless my plan is to finish the race in a ditch gasping for air.

My 4th mile was a lot faster, 6:10 or so. But I am pretty sure that was a function of the mile markers since the previous mile was a 7:40. Put the two together it is just under a 7min/mile pace. The next two miles I merged with the sprinters again and had no idea who was who…but one person went ripping passed me REALLY REALLY FAST. I didn’t even catch his bib number he went by so quickly in the crowd. It turns out that he was from a later wave and was the overall winner of the race. He ended up running almost 10min faster than me.  I'm not sure I could run a 5k at his 10k pace.

I finished up and took 3rd overall and 1st in my age group. I was a little lucky as one guy from my wave finished 4 seconds behind me and I had no idea he was there due to all the sprinters.

Overall, I was happy with the result, but not so happy with my performance. But hydration is a big part of race preparation and I screwed it up. So there isn’t anyone to blame but myself.

The next race on the schedule is Vegas. Training has been going well.  I had to spend a week in Texas for work.  I had no pool or bike, so I put in about 50 miles of running that week.  For those that don't know, that's a lot of miles when you're used to running 30-35 miles per week.  But overall it was a good experience.  My legs the following week were very very tired and needed an extra day off.  But imaginary or not, I feel like a stronger runner for having done it.

I'll post my thoughts and plans on Vegas in a few days.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Racine 70.3 - Top Gun

As I was thinking about this race, I realized taht everything that happened could be captured within the movie Top Gun.  So in an effort to keep myself sane, I am going to dedicate this race report to Top Gun.

For those that need a reminder, here is the opening scene.

Overall, here is a high level summary of my race:

That about sums it up.
So the plan for Racine was easy. Take the swim out fairly hard, but not crushing. Relax on the bike and hold around 250w. Maybe lower if the day called for it. And then the run...

My race preparation was pretty simple. The day before I started hydrating with Gatorade and water. I did not take any salt-sticks as I was taking in more than enough electrolytes with the Gatorade perform.

Overall I was feeling a little lethargic about the race. I don’t know exactly what the problem was. I’d had some good workouts leading into the race and two years ago really enjoyed the race overall. I suspect that recently I’ve just put too much pressure on myself to perform at a certain level. And in doing so am setting myself up for failure.  Quite frankly I suspect the level I expect is a level I am not capable of...yet.
Anyway, the day of the race came and I got up pretty early to get prepped. Roughly 4am. I had a small bowl of cereal, two ensure shakes, and some digestive enzymes to settle everything down. Overall I was feeling good and had taken in about 800 calories. I topped it off with a bottle of Gatorade, carbo pro, and gu of about 400 calories. So pre-race I took in 1200 calories and 900mg sodium in preparation for the hot day.
The Swim:
We had a long wait for the start of my wave as I was in the dead last age-group. In any case, the race start came and I put myself into the front of the pack this time. The horn sounded and we had a fairly lengthy run in shallow water before swimming. A couple guys ran out REALLY fast, but within about 10s of swimming I went right past them. By the time we hit the first bouy I was well into the lead, or so I thought. After the first turn, some guy went ripping right past me. My first thought was to draft, but he was swerving all over the place and it was tough to stick with him. He ultimately went into the crowds of people and I lost him, but knew he was ahead of me.
Right at the final turn bouy I found him again and tried to draft with some success. Ultimately we hit the shallows together, but he was dead. I took a quick glimpse at him and literally ran right past him in the shallow water. Hit the timing mat in about a 26:30. I had the fastest swim in my age group, and was 18th overall. I beat out all but a couple age-groupers and many of the pros.

I would sum up the swim like this...

I'd also like to add a little shout out to Jeremy Angle who had a great race and a great swim.  But as far as the swim goes I'm Maverick.  (For some reason the remaining videos can't be embedded)

Look at the birdie!

Remember Jeremy...If I didn't like you I wouldn't poke fun.  You may have beaten me on the day, but I was leading out of the water and off the bike!!! 

I'm coming for you!

That's right, Ice Man...

Much longer of a run than I remembered. My T1 time was over 4 minutes…which was slow. But as usual I got my socks on. I also had some trouble with my bike shoes and helmet. A roll of electrical tape had fallen into my bike shoe, so I had to take it off, pull it out, and put the shoe back on. In any case I lost 15s to crap like that. I was also situated in a spot where I had a long run with my bike both coming in and leaving.

The Bike:
The plan was to hold about 250w, maybe less. Leaving T1 there is a small hill. In order to get away from the crowds I cranked up that hill. But its so short I didn’t feel like it had any real impact on me. Once I was out of the crowd I got aero and took off at my pace. Overall the first 10 miles I was right on target but noticed a little burn in my quads and some real soreness with the saddle and in my glute/hamstring.
The next ten miles were pretty similar, but overall I was questioning myself a bit.  For the power I was holding, I expected to feel a lot better.  And then for 5 miles after that I bumped it up 5w. Ultimately for the rest of the ride I dialed it back. I really wanted a strong run, and pushing the bike hard isn’t how to do that on a hot day.

I got off the bike in about a 2:25. Looking at the results I’m a little surprised. I know I am not an uber biker like some of the studs out there. But I was in first place getting on the bike and 11th place getting off the bike. I lost 10 spots and rode a fairly strong time. I had no idea that was the case at the time, just a little retrospective surprise.

In any case, I got off the bike and was feeling reasonably good. I wasn’t overly fatigued. I was worried about my glute, but that soreness usually goes away when I start running.

Overall getting off the bike I felt like this:

Volleyball Remix
So the goal was to PR the run. A couple years back I ran a stand-alone 1:36. I’d like to think I’m faster than that today but have no real proof.
In any case once again I hit mile 1 and both quads cramped.  I have no explanation for this.  I was running fine at a 7:30ish type pace.  Slower than the 7:15's I originally planned.  Things were going well, and then wham.  I stopped twice at the first aid station, once for fluids and once to stretch and massage my quads.  I started running slowly after that and things seemed to be doing okay.  But they held me back the rest of the day.
After that the run seemed to be going okay.  My first 6.5 miles were around a 7:40ish type pace.  Considering the conditions, not bad.  I passed Scott around mile 2ish, but we missed each other because I was running so fast.
Around mile 7 I hit the first of the two minor hills on this course.  I made the decision to walk the back half of the first hill and then walk most of the 2nd hill to save my quads.  After that I started running again. 
Sometime very quickly after that....

On the last leg I came across Scott and his family again.  Here is what was going through my head...
Take the shot Mav!!

I think what frustrates me is that had I held back at the beginning of that run and simply held 8min miles, I really think I could have held that for the majority of the race. In doing so I would have saved 12 minutes and probably not suffered nearly as much.

Overall my race position was fine.  I was 15th in my age group.  Even if I had run well, I probably would not have broken he top 10.  I could have gone from 104th overall to around 50th, which is a fairly big difference.  But realistically not a big deal. 

My problem right now is confidence.  Espcially running.  I've had a couple bad races now, and am not sure what to think of the situation...
  You have a confidence problem.

 I need to get some good races under my belt.  I suspect I need to re-evaluate how fast I really am as compared to how fast I think I am.  There appears to be an obvious disconnect.  And I need to get ready for Vegas. 
 You're going to Top Gun

If I'm not careful I'll go in feeling like this:
Cougar's lost it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Race Nutrition and Racine 70.3

So training has been going well the last couple weeks, other than the heat. Last week I did a 90min run in the heat and thought I fried my brain. When I left the house my thermostat read something insane like 110. That was of course in the sun on my deck, but as I run in the sun, with very little shade 110 was probably somewhat accurate when you consider the blacktop and humidity.

In any case, aside from a couple bumps along the way, things are going very well. The last couple weekends I’ve decided to try a new nutritional approach. For the past several years I’ve been taking Hammer products, and not been terribly happy. It’s not that anything was wrong, per se. But I always seemed to really fade at the end of races. With last year being wasted due to injury, I noticed that a lot of my stuff has expired. So in talking with a few people and reading a lot on Slowtwitch I decided to try a new line of products and a few different approaches.

In the past I’d use Heed, Perpeteum, and some form of saltsticks. My bike was always littered with nutrition and gear and getting it all in during a race was a huge pain. I have little doubt it slowed me down as well.

Here is my new and improved plan for the half Iron distance. Right now this is based upon a 2.5 hour bike ride.
  • Bottle 1 – 3.25 scoops of Gatorade Perform, 1 scoop of Carbo Pro, and 1 powerbar gel (tangerine with caffeine). (20oz total)
  • Bottle 2 – 4 scoops of Gatorade Perform, 1 scoop Carbo Pro, and 1 powerbar gel. (20oz)
  • I also take in another 35oz of plain water throughout the ride.

That’s it. I don’t have to do anything special other than take a few sips of the Gatorade mixture, and a couple swigs of the water every 15min or so. It does mean I carry 3 bottles of fluids on the bike, but seeing that I can stay aero much longer without having to screw with bottles, pills, gu’s and other stuff, I am pretty sure the bottle between my aero bars does not cost me anything.

In total this equates to 760 calories and 1900mg sodium. This is way more calories per hour than I am used to, but based on what I’ve been reading this is the more effective way of racing. And the lack of calories in the past may be part of why I tended to fade so badly in longer races.

Two weeks ago I tried a slight variation of this plan with 4 gel in a flask and took that between the Gatorade. The problem I have with that approach is that I don’t tend to take enough water when I take gels. So they always left me feeling bloated and nasty. And that test was similar with a little bit of side stitch added in.

This past weekend I tried the plan laid out above and for the duration of the bike ride I felt great from a nutritional perspective. After my 2.5 hour ride I started running and noticed the difference right away. I felt like I was starting to fade a little bit around mile 2-3, but unlike my past attempts, that feeling went away pretty quickly. And I took in no fluids or calories for the 40min run. So I suspect the added calories and sodium really helped me out. Overall I was very happy with the results of this test.

The added benefit of this plan is that Ironman events, as well as many others, serve Gatorade Perform on the race courses. So when I hit the run course I only need to take a cup of perform at every station until about mile 6 when I switch over to coke. I couldn’t have made it any simpler. And for me, the easier the plan is, the more likely I am to succeed at it.

I cannot take any real credit for this “plan”. It is essentially stolen from Slowtwitch/Jordan Rapp/Brian at Personal Best Nutrition/other. Once Racine 70.3 is over, I will continue to tweak this a little bit in an effort to get things perfect.

Onto the upcoming race.
This coming weekend is the Racine 70.3. I’ve done this race in the past, and the course is flat and fast. The swim tends to be a little bit slow with currents and a long transition run, the bike is dead flat except the hill coming out of transition, and the run is flat except for a minor bump about a mile into the course.

Right now the forecast is for a high of 89 degrees. My wave starts essentially last at about 8:15. If all goes well I should be finishing a little before 12:45.

As far as my plan is concerned. Everything about this race is to set myself up for a strong run. Ideally, assuming it doesn’t get too hot too fast, I’d like to run a personal best half marathon. If I do that, I set myself up to go under a 4:30. That depends on a host of other things, but in order to make it happen I need to put myself in position to make it happen. We’ll see what race day brings.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pleasant Prairie Triathlon

Sunday was the Pleasant Prairie International Distance Triathlon.
My goals were fairly simple:
1 Don’t hurt myself.
2 Don’t break my bike.
3 Swim: 18min
4 Bike: anything below 59:59 (24.8mph)
5 Run anything below a 43:29 (7min/mile pace)

I was a touch nervous for this race as it is my first “fast” race since I tore my hamstring. It isn’t that I haven’t been training, but running hard has been somewhat challenging with the hamstring. A few months ago I started into some hard running, and the resulting problems with the hamstring and left leg left me unable to run for 2 weeks. So instead of focusing on speed work, it’s been more of a push for volume and consistency.

Pre Race:
I am not exactly sure what the problem is…but there is something about waking up at 4am or earlier that really screws with my stomach. Keep in mind, my alarm is going off at 4:40 almost every morning. And if it isn’t going off, the cat is. So one way or another I am up pretty early. It goes back as far as I can remember, including fishing trips as a kid with my dad. But I wake up with a generalized heart burn that remains persistent for hours.

In any case, I took in a couple ensure shakes, 500 calories. I took in some electrolytes, water, and a gu all prior to the race. Everything was normal and fine…no major emergencies. Happy Days!!

I was a tad worried about the swim start because 2 years ago I sprained my knee fighting for position. The beach is very steep, which led to a slight hyper-extension. Fortunately this year they started us much further up, basically on the edge of the water.

I started in the middle of the pack as all the “alpha” males felt like they should have the inside line in the front row. I was chatting with one other guy who was also a collegiate swimmer and made a few loud comments about having to swim over all the guys who think they’re fast, but really aren’t. (Yeah, I was a bit obnoxious.)

In any case, the gun sounded and everyone went out hard just like I expected. In this swim you go out about 10 yards and make an immediate hard right turn and follow shore. There was a TON of congestion at the turn, at which point the pretend swimmers essentially stopped in their tracks. I had a couple choices, wait until it cleared, try to swing outside, or go over the top. The choice was obvious. I took 3-4 really hard sprint strokes and rocketed myself over the top of about 4 guys all swimming on top of each other. I am pretty sure I looked like a salmon trying to climb a waterfall. After a few seconds, a couple kicks to my gut and some slapping, I made it over the top and into clear water. I quickly located two guys swimming pretty fast and latched onto their feet. I swam behind them for the first 3rd of the course and then decided their pace was too slow. I went a little wide and made my pass, and never saw either guy again.

The rest of the swim was uneventful. I finished with a time of 20:43. While the time is slow, I was the top male out of the water by a fair margin. One girl beat me by about 20s. To this day I have only had the fastest swim split at one race, Lake Mills 2010.

I need to do something about the orthotics I wear. They have a leather-ish/slipper finish to them which makes running barefoot not ideal. I lost 20s in transition putting socks on.

The bike is flat and fast. Ultimately I held back a little bit (nPower was 280w) in order to set up a strong run. The run course was also short. They announced this very often as construction forced a course change. The course was 21.3 miles instead of 24.8. In retrospect I could have biked a little harder. But after 2 years away from racing, I am finding that I need to re-learn how to properly pace my races. Especially the debacle at Kansas where I crushed my legs on the bike and had a horrible run.

I got passed by a few people on the bike, two of which I passed back. The third went off the front never to be seen from again. There were multiple instances, especially on lap 2 where I had to coast and/or slow down due to congestion into a turn or other obstacle. Not much to do about that other than scream “on your left”.

Came into transition, which was nothing special. Looking back at the time splits for everyone, had the race been a mass start I would have come off the bike in 2nd or 3rd overall. My bike split was around 12th best for the day.

The Run:
As has been the case for years now, a lot of work needs to be done on my run. I went in with the goal of running hard and holding it. I’d never broken 7min/mile in a 10k, today was going to be the day.

I went out pretty hard at a 6:50ish type pace, held it for a couple miles. Slowed a little bit around mile 4, but mile 4 also had multiple turn-arounds which Garmins hate. And then I did what I could to hold it together. I ended the run with a 42:37 which is about a 6:52 pace. My watch had me at a 6:56 pace, so the course was measured pretty close, not perfect. But that could have been because all the turn-around points. In total the course had 4 turns of 180 degrees.

That sets a new 10k PR for me, so that is very good. Considering it comes on the heels of an injury that has prevented most hard running for the better part of a year is also very good.

I am pretty sure this also sets my 5k PR for the year. Prior to the injury I was quite a bit faster at a 5k, approaching the 20min mark. But I have not been able to run that hard without causing problems…So this race sets that benchmark as well.

Overall, my hamstring and glute didn’t cause any real trouble. I noticed a little tightness around mile 3 of the run, but it worked itself out. A little more rehab should help get rid of all that.

All of that is very good.  The bad part is that I got off the bike in 2nd or 3rd overall, but finished 11th.  That means about 8 guys ran past me.  And I can honestly say, the ones I saw run past me...were considerably faster than me.  Like 4-5min per 10k faster than me.  Work needs to be done!!

Anyway, if you extrapolate my bike speed out to the 40 distance, my overall time would have probably been in the 2:06-2:07 range. I am pretty happy with that. The swim was almost 3 minutes slower than I anticipated, despite leading out of the water. And my bike split would have been closer to a 1:01.

Essentially all my major goals for this race were met. First and foremost I did not do anything to incapacitate or decapitate myself. Always a bonus. I raced strong, and finished with a strong run. I almost broke the top 10, and was top 5 in my age group. I also set a 10k PR. So it was a good day.

Next on my race radar is the IM Racine 70.3. I will get the chance to redeem my 70.3 skills on a flatter course. Given the nature of this course, it should be much easier for me to control myself on the bike and set myself up for a solid run.

2 years ago, in good conditions I rode a 2:28 on 240-245 watts, with a crappy position. I ran pretty well after that…so I am thinking this year I’ll ride slightly harder than that, maybe 250ish, and set myself up for a strong run again. Given the changes to my bike fit, assuming similar conditions, I should ride closer to a 2:25 with similar wattage. If conditions allow for a 2:25 on the bike, I think a low 4:30 is possible. Unfortunately M35-39 is in the dead last heat of the race.

We’ll see what the day brings.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pleasant Prairie Coming up!

Well the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon is this weekend. I added myself to the roster a couple weeks back thinking I needed to get some racing in this year as the only races I had scheduled were Kansas and Racine 70.3’s.

Overall I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve had a couple training snafus in the last couple weeks, mostly self inflicted – 6 hours in the 95 degree heat at a brewers tailgate and then sitting in left field for the game without enough water. So I’ve struggled a bit with hydration, and just post-race general fatigue. I haven’t done anything terribly challenging since the race, so Sunday will be a good opportunity to open up the engines a little bit.

The weather for race morning looks like perfection. Close to 60 at 6am warming up to maybe 70 by the time the race is complete. Little to no wind.

From a goal standpoint, I want to finish top 10 and be in the top 3 for my age group. It’s tough to say what my time will be as I have not raced fast since the hamstring tear. So it will be very interesting to see what I can do in a shorter event.

Assuming the course is measured accurately I’d like to do the following:
Swim: 18min
Bike: anything below 59:59 (24.8mph)
Run anything below a 43:29 (7min/mile pace)

We’ll see what ends up happening. In the past I’ve put out enough watts on the bike to break an hour in a 40k, but have still not broken through. I have little doubt this was due to aerodynamics, bike handling, and general I am hoping my bike fit is more aero than it was 2 years ago (I know it is) and that I grow a pair and ride pretty aggressive.

If I can do the above, I should be finishing around a 2:01.30 plus transitions…so 2:03 roughly.

I would be very happy with that time. We’ll see how things go and how the hamstring holds up.

Ideally this time I won’t sprain my knee running into the water like I did 2 years ago!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ironman Kansas 70.3 Race Report – The race that almost never was.

Hello all,

I am going to do my best to run through this race in chronological order as best I can remember it. Due to everything that happened, I may get things a little muddled.

And for those of you not at all interested in the details of triathlon racing but want to know how I did…I placed 115th overall, 20th in my bracket, got a horrible time of 5:06. But because everyone else had a horrible day I managed to get a roll down slot to the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas. Had I executed better, I could have been top 10 in my age group.

Also, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Roy. I was waiting in the roll-down line after the race and he’s a spot or two behind me. He heard the announcer call my name, knew who I was and said hello and that he read my blog. Imagine that, someone reads my ramblings!! Roy, drop me a line, we can meet up in Vegas.

Pre Race:
The week prior to the race started like any other. The taper was moving forward and I was starting to feel pretty good. Unfortunately Tuesday came and I caught a head cold. Tuesday was fairly bad with headaches. Wednesday I skipped my swim, but was feeling better. The rest of the week I continued to feel better with a bit of a persistent cough and some really sticky, nasty phlegm. I didn't miss any of the workouts.  Overall my body felt fine, so I was hopeful it wouldn’t impact race day too much.

I drove down to Kansas with Adrienne who has an uncle in the area. And everything about the trip was uneventful and peaceful. Got to the hotel, got everything setup and ready to go. Fast forward to Saturday and we got in a nice pre-race ride-run and then checked in our bikes and everything else. Everything went well and despite the remaining cough and phlegm, everything was going well. I was hydrating and taking in salt as normal.

Race Morning.
Got to the race site, no problem. Walked into T2 to set up my run gear and everything was set to go. No issues. We walk the ½ mile down the hill into T1 and the swim area. Announcements are already going out about closing transition…this sucked because it was 15 min earlier than they had advertised in the packet. So we hurried up, started pumping tires…and quickly realized that Adrienne’s pump didn’t work and had some kind of odd leak. I took it over to my bike to give it a try and fiddle with it a bit. I push it onto the valve and next thing I know pssssssssssssssssssssst…my tubular goes dead flat, apparently pushing the pump on it punctured the tire. CRAP!!!  Not a good start to things.

Well, I’ve gotten pretty good at changing tires. I go to pull of the rear wheel and am having all kinds of trouble. It won’t come off and is really aggravating. Much swearing is happening now. Finally it comes off…next thing I know the whole free-hub falls off the wheel.  WTF is this??!! I can fix a number of different things, but this is not one of them…certainly not in T1 with 15-20 minutes before getting kicked out of transition. Shit, shit, shit, shit!!!!!!!!!

Me being me, I calmly walk over to Adrienne and say – Well I think my race just ended. At which point she looks up and sees the wheel in one hand and the hub/rear cassette in another.  Her reaction was similar to mine...WTF?

It was pretty hopeless and bleak, but I ran over to tech support. She took one look at the mess in my hands and was like “SHIT, my tools for that are up in T2 a half mile away”. She’s very busy pumping tires…and it looks more hopeless. Eventually she says, “I’ll tell you what, I have to help all these people. I’ll make some calls to get a new wheel or tools. What’s your race #? I’ll do my best, you go get ready and if there is a wheel on your bike when you get done swimming, you know I fixed it.”

I figure that’s about as good of a deal as I am going to get anywhere…so I get her my number, go get as much ready as I can…but T1 is already closing and I’m getting yelled at. I sprint to my bike, get everything on it I can remember, get my stuff out of my bag and ready for a transition and move out.

I walk over to the line of the port-o-poddy and next thing I know I see the tech with my wheel in one hand, and the hub/cassette in the other being raced up the hill to T2 in a golf cart. I can’t do anything but hysterically laugh out loud. People around me are gawking at me, so I explain what I just saw and what it means and everyone around me is like HOLY SHIT, good luck.

I get out of the nastiness that is a race-morning port-o-poddy and try to get my mind right, look over and the tech is already back. And she’s putting a new tube onto my wheel. I start freaking out trying to get her attention to see if that means the hub is fixed, she sees me and gives me 2 thumbs up and tells me to get myself to the start line as I’m about 2-3 waves away from starting.

The Swim:
This was easily the most challenging swim I have ever done. First, no wetsuits were allowed. That’s no big deal at all, but the conditions were also very choppy. I’ve seen some people on slowtwitch talking about 3ft waves with whitecaps.  I think that’s a bit of an embellishment. But the swim was very rough, I took in a fair amount of water including one mouthful of what tasted like gas/oil slicked water which I immediately threw back up and gagged a bit. Fortunately I am a good enough swimmer to do that and continue moving forward without breathing a bit. But I did get a pretty good side-stitch shortly after that and had to dial things back a bit. I had some struggles with sighting due to the waves and all the people.  Otherwise there were a couple people in my wave around me...both pretty strong swimmers.

I ended up with a 29:5x. While this is much slower than I had anticipated.  Considering the conditions there wasn’t much I could do. I ended up with the 22nd fastest swim of the day including pros, 4th in my age group. Not fantastic, but not horrible.

The Bike:
Got into T1, there was my bike, WOOHOO!!!. It had a rear wheel, WOOHOO! The brakes looked good, it was in a good gear, WOOHOO!! IM Kansas 70.3 Bike Tech girl – YOU RULE!!!

Get myself situated and pull the bike off the rack and make my first mistake of the day. I hit the start button on the Garmin which was on the bike. My Garmin averages in 0 watts, and does NOT show nPower. I get on the bike, rip out of T1, look at my power and am at around 100watts because it took 30-45s of running my bike to get out of there. So now my power is going to read really low for the first 5 miles/15 minutes. So those first 5 miles were challenging on the pacing side. I also noticed that I did not put my saltstick onto my bike. Nothing I could do about it at that point, but I had a pretty good inclination that the run was going to hurt as a result.

I’ve taken a look at my power file, and gotten a note from my coach…here are his comments with the numbers:
“You came *storming* out of transition – you spent the first 5 minutes averaging 293 watts, and you averaged 270+ for the first 10 or so, with a NP of 288 for those 10 minutes. Those are some *serious* match burning minutes – especially that early in the ride. Your first 60 minutes was NP 270 or ~88% of threshold, with the second hour being a NP of 260 and the last 30 minutes being a NP of 246. There is also 7 separate occasions where you punched out in excess of 300 watts for 1 minute – one of them is nearly 380 watts for a minute (not to mention your 1 minute power was 397 watts). The 2 hour sim ride you did a few weeks ago, brings up 0 stretches when doing a fast find by the same criteria.”

Scott tends to be fairly gentle when I do stupid things, so let me translate this into what he really means…

“Eric, moron. You were practically at threshold for 5 minutes and then hardly brought it down. Next time shoot yourself in both legs and save us the trouble. Moron. What happened to slowing down in the heat??”

In any case, conditions on the bike were easily the hardest I’ve ever had to deal with. I am a very poor judge of wind/temp when I am actually racing. So I am taking these numbers off of slowtwitch. I suspect they are exaggerations, but conditions were still very tough. 20-30mph winds all day with stronger gusts. There were only small sections where the wind was at our backs. The temperature was in the 90’s, I heard 95.

I was passed on the bike by 4 guys in my age group. One of them was Adam Zucco who eventually won the amateur race. To say he went past me with a certain amount of zeal and gusto would be an understatement. It was like a rocket ship went screaming past (and I was 45th overall on the bike). Of the guys that passed me, I reeled 2 back in and played leap-frog with one of them for at least 15 miles.  He out-ran me.

As I got up to the last hill of the day, I stood up on the pedals to stretch and try to get up the mountain, my quad gave me a light cramp. Not good. But that’s the price of no salt on the bike and stupid pacing.

In any case, I finished the bike in about a 2:31. Considering the day it was a very good split. I had the 4th fastest bike split in my age group – so I held my position. And I was 45th overall on the bike.

In hindsight, that was too fast.

The Run/Walk/Crawl:
Got off the bike, ripped out of T2 and was holding pace. I was nestled right into a 7:30-7:40 pace trying to keep things under control and hoping to not cramp up. Got to mile 1 and immediately cramped as I started down a really light decline. First the quads in both legs, then hamstrings. I stopped right there, hobbled a bit, and tried to stretch a bit. This of course is very challenging when it’s both the quads and hamstrings.

I had packed some extra salt for the run just in case…very smart decision. As I hit the first aid station I promptly took 2 saltsticks and tons of water.  It's more salt than I’d normally take at one time, but as they say…desperate times. I hobbled a little bit to work out the cramps and started a real light jog. I was really hoping to not have to DNF after everything I’d been through. Made it to aid station 2 and was doing alright, took 2 more salt sticks. Now I was taking in way more salt than normal. My thought process was simple; if I continue to cramp I’ll have to DNF. Either the salt will stay down and help me continue, or it will make me puke and I’ll DNF. Either way I’ve lost nothing. My biggest complaint at that time was that I felt perfectly fine. Breathing was good, overall I felt just fine…except my legs.

I was fortunate and able to continue on…and in fact was able to manage a fairly decent jog. But I had lost all the snap out of my legs and the 7:40's became an 8:30 pace. But the problem I was running into at that point was no calories. Because I took in so much salt, I wanted to hold off on calories and stick with water.  So for the first 4-5 miles I didn't take in any calories.  At mile 5ish I took in a sip of coke that was not de-fizzed and threw it up right away. I figured it was the carbonation, but wasn’t willing to risk trying to get in more calories for a while. It wasn't a full on hurl, just a little gagging reflex.  So for that first half I only took in water and was dumping water and ice all over myself. It was burning hot out there and almost no shade of any kind. Eventually all the energy was sucked out of my legs and I just wasn’t able to hold pace and started to walk/run.

Somewhere around this point I noticed that my left foot/big toe was KILLING me. Around mile 7 I actually took my shoe off and hobbled without it because it hurt so badly. Looking back, I am pretty sure it is due to the elastic laces. I’ve run in them, thought I had them dialed in, but I clearly did not. The pain went away quickly with the shoes off, but returned quickly as well. It started to cause some limping and was a real annoyance for the remainder of the race.

In any case, the last 6 miles were at 10 minute miles. Stupid slow. But, I did not have to DNF.

Looking back, while this was a poor overall performance and execution on my part, I am going to take a small amount of pride in it. First off, there were around 400 people that DNF’d. Considering this was just a half, which seems like a really high number. The conditions were brutal, this was my first race back in 2 years, and my first full half iron since Racine 70.3 back in 2010. So it’s clear I have some kinks to work out.

Furthermore I managed to work through a lot of race-day adversity. Not just the bike issues, but the cramps and nutrition as well. Overall I managed to keep my wits about me and finish up in good enough position to get a roll down to Vegas.  I'd have preferred actually qualifying, and in the future I doubt I'll take a rolldown...but this year, after all the rehab and everything else, I'd like to go.

Overall I was 20th in the age group, had I raced smarter I could have been top 10. The race was run in a spectacular fashion. It really was a pleasure despite my troubles. I will go back, if for no other reason than to redeem myself.

Lessons Learned:
1. Funny enough the biggest mistake that I made was hitting the start button on that Garmin too early. By doing that, I was playing catch-up on the bike in the first 15 minutes. And it was those first 15 minutes that more than likely did most of the damage. Riding in Z4 for extended periods during a half Iron does not lead to a good run.
2. Pay attention to the details. Make sure you have salt and nutrition on the bike. Literally ON THE BIKE. Sitting in my transition bag doesn’t help.
3. Don’t be a moron on the bike. Granted I have a small excuse here. First off, hitting start screwed things up so I didn’t really know where I was at with my power. But second, my Garmin does not show normalized power. On a very hilly course like Kansas, nPower is an important metric. With all of the coasting on this course (bombing downhill), average power including zeros was giving me a number that was too low, making me think I was being a puss, when in reality I was being too aggressive.
4. Must fix race running shoes. I don’t know what that pain was all about, but I don’t get it in normal laced shoes, only the elastic laces. Perhaps they are too tight in the toe box.

Ultimately the cause for my poor performance was pacing on the bike. Yes I was sick, and that may have played a role. Yes conditions were tough, and that did play a role. Yes, I heaved up some lake water. Yes my bike disintegrated in my hands. But putting all that aside, had I been smarter on the bike and ridden a 2:35 or possibly even slower, I would have easily made up those 4 minutes on the run. Everything else is just an excuse. On that day, in those conditions, I should have been trying for a time in the 4:40s-4:50’s instead of pushing for 4:30’s or even faster. If I had been smart, backed off, and played it smarter on the hills I could have easily come into the top 10 with a 4:50ish type race.

30 swim
2:35 bike
1:45 run
3 min Transitions
Total = 4:53

Those splits would have had me racing for 9th place at a major Ironman event. They are splits I am more than capable of even in those conditions.

Overall my end-goal was met. I have a slot to Vegas which will now become my next “A” race. I have plenty of work to do as Vegas should be just as hot and just as hilly as Kansas was. I am hoping much less wind. There were several times when I was bombing down some hill at what seemed like 50mph with 30mph crosswinds catching the rear disc I was running on the back. All I could do was pray.

Next on the docket is the Pleasant Prairie Olympic Distance race. That is in about a week and a half. After that I have the Racine 70.3 where I will try to get a little 70.3 redemption. If there was ever a race built for me, it was the Racine course. I am a flat-lander.

As for right now, my quads have been ripped to shreds and are very sore. Sitting in the car for 10hrs may not have helped that.  I am taking in my bike for a major overhaul and tune up, the rear wheel certainly needs some professional work.

Until next time.