Thursday, October 25, 2012

Off Season?

Nope, not really off season, in fact, I'm already healed from 98% of my wounds from Kona & have actually run twice already--though quite sore from it! The best thing to do now is knock out some "to-do-list" items and be consistent with at least a little exercise so the flab doesn't start to jostle around too much. It is quite early to start any training per sa of seriousness, especially since there isn't a real solid goal for 2013 other than to do some local races and have fun. Along the way there will be tweaks & changes to the schedule, but surely it is looking like a lot more family time is in order for 2013, which is great for all of us!

It has been a pleasure working with the athletes this year and seeing them come along so far performing to many successes. First, I'd like to say thanks to all the athletes this year that I've had the opportunity to guide to their most excellent seasons. Thanks for believing in my program and even more, yourself.  Thanks to my family for their support when I have had to keep away from certain family functions to either train or work with the athletes, they understand I also have a job to do also.

As we close the chapter on 2012, I welcome back past athletes and new ones. The smart ones are those who are starting early working towards their goals. I look forward to seeing more P.R.'s for you next year.
To cap off this blog entry...I'll have more time to post this fall/winter hopefully--in case anyone is up for expanded versions of the crazy details of "my world" and this sort of lifestyle. Hopefully it will all be as educational as it is entertaining!  'Til next time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 Ironman Hawaii Race Report

This season has been a series of ups & downs, starting out the season well in some short running races and a decent Boulder Sprint Triathlon. Ironman CDA went quite well for me by being able to qualify for my 10th start in the Hawaii Ironman. The Boulder Peak was only less than two weeks from finishing the Ironman in Idaho so despite being totally flat and sub-standard swim/bike AND run, I managed a podium finish in 3rd place. The big issue throughout the 5430 half (now called the Boulder 70.3) was I had a foot injury from CDA--which kept me from running throughout a large portion of the summer from Ironman CDA to Boulder 70.3 except for aqua jogging. Luckily, there was enough time to recover by Ironman Hawaii to get in a few longer runs.

Bad luck started with couple months prior to Kona, but this may have been a blessing in disguise. The lack of training either helped or hurt me. I’m not sure as there has always been a large volume training build, with a month and a half left before Hawaii. This time training looked like this:

The below are dates with hours/minutes of total training time taken directly from my Training Peaks account log.

Aug 6-12: 6:27 (still injured)

Aug 13-19: 2:10 (still injured)

Aug 20-26: 1:41 (still injured)

Aug 20-Sept 2: 8:47

Sept 3-9: 11:54

Sept 10-16: 13:09

Sept 17-23: 7:11 (sick)

Sept 24-30: 7:19 (sick)

Oct 1-7: 6:34

Oct 8-12: 3:10

Ideally this low of volume is not an ideal build up for Ironman. I also may have ramped up a little too soon but there was an illness “floating around” which many people have gotten or have now.

The race (October 13, 2012):

I placed myself far left as I could, swimming the entire 2.4 miles casually as I would a warm up training pace. It was uneventful & quite tame as there was not a lot of punching/kicking this time around. The entire plan for today was to a) spend 2/3 the race screwing around going slow, then nail the run b) make hydration & pacing the priority. The entire swim was purposefully spent going slow. Yet, my time/placing was actually pretty good without even trying. It’s hard to criticize a decent swim placing with little effort.

The bike: Lots of drafting here, but Jimmy Riccitello and his draft marshals did an exceptional job catching the cheaters this year. I raced clear of penalty & rode as I would a long training ride. Hydration, calorie ingestion were all priorities. Special needs didn’t have my bag ready in Hawi so I pulled over for about a minute until they were able to find it & get it to me. Winds were the second worse I’ve experienced on the Big Island. Those hammering the bike were pretty much going to pay the price on the run. Therefore, I rode extra slow & conservative while trying to keep the body core temp down.

T2: This was only my SECOND of two bathroom stops for the race. Vast improvement! Usually it is 4+ times that I stop during an Ironman to relieve the body. However, I took my time in T1 & T2 to sit down and calmly put on my gear, grab extra drinks and make sure I was comfortable before heading into the next leg of the race. Usually I am tops on transitions but took a more relaxed approach this time.

The run: The plan was to hammer the run knowing I could pull off a 3:10. Five miles into the run on the left foot, a large blister formed to the left of the ball of the foot & between the second toe. Damage control had me altering the landing which then caused a right foot little toe blister. That in turn, altered my landing again, which caused a left foot little toe blister. The blister on the bottom of the left foot popped and feet were so swollen, that the friction caused skin to peel away to raw meat. The plan for a 3:10 run fell apart although I had plenty of energy to run that fast—the pain in the feet were nearly unbearable. The shoes (Adidas Adios 2’s) were great in training, but I hadn’t accounted for the amount of swelling in the feet (plus they are not “seamless shoes”) so yes there were issues. I walked all the aid stations after that, finishing in 3:23 for a 10:00:26…only 26 seconds from breaking 10 hours. My record here is not great with the heat being my #1 enemy. Never before had I finished the bike without being at least partially “blown up” so when the finish line came along, I had the energy to go another 10 miles, but the feet were done. Raw meat, it wasn’t pretty. Still dehydrated I was a little dizzy afterwards & just wanted to sit down to rest the feet. Either way, I was disgusted with the fact there was so much energy left at the end of this race, but not being able to complete the task due to the blistering. Oh well, it’ll be a return in 2014 when I age up hopefully. Take a year off in 2013 for short course & local races, complete a few home projects…then whatever comes after that.

My hats off to my Kona roommate Robert Brink who in his fourth triathlon (first Hawaii & 2nd ever Ironman), kept me at bay until just after the Energy Lab heading back to town. You kept it steady all day and it has been a pleasure to coach you this year and making your dream a reality. At 27 years, you have a long and strong future ahead of you in the sport.

In hindsight 2012 had ups and downs, Kona was while a disappointment in many ways, was a success in other ways. I’m always my biggest critic (I think!) Whatever I do is usually not good enough for me, although this time around keeping the heat at bay/under control as well as not blowing up on the course with such minimal training, makes me think of the larger picture in how much improvement can be made over the next couple years despite aging and supposedly should be slowing. Just because the general consensus is that we “should be” slowing doesn’t mean I have to. Hard work, planning and smarter racing can go a long way to exceeding what is nothing more than an unproven age barrier.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012 Hawaii Ironman (PRE RACE)

Now that I am all packed for Kona, Hawaii & ready to leave next week, I was finally able to get out for a bike ride today with a swim preceding that. During today's ride I knew one of the things really needing to get done for a mental relief prior to leaving, was update my blog. Undoubtedly, there will be some viewing this blog because friends said they would keep an eye out for a "Kona update" from me here. What to write about though? This should not be a problem as I have plenty to say about a lot of things--no matter what subject it is.

Why so many athletes feel the need to create blog entries prior to races or after races (as in race reports), or Twit on Twitter more frequently, I think I have the answer. It may be a way to calm the nerves/inner self, or sandbag to the public/fellow competitors, brag/psych-out their competitors, or even because they have more time on their hands and do not know what to do with themselves during the taper (too much time on their hands). There could be a lot of reasons. I think one of those reasons at least, may in fact be one for this update, although writing period does seem to be an outlet for me regardless.

The summary of how the last five weeks of preparation have gone...last week was a little over seven hours total training, the week before the same at 7:11. The three weeks prior to that I was sick for the entire three weeks. There were a few short 1 hour or less workouts despite being sick, so we're looking at around only 16-18 hours total for the last month. Certainly not enough to say I'm overtrained. Post Kona-Qualifying visions for this same time period were a large volume build with some decent speedwork. It turns out I'm riding the wave early season fitness because that vision I had is 180 degrees in the opposity direction of the reality. If anything it'll be a "super taper" sort to speak. Not sure what I'd be tapering from, but it doesn't matter as there is nothing I can do at this point but put all the internal negative thoughts in the bottom of the sea. The best approach at this time is to not panic train and utilize the experience I've built over 23 other Ironman races. Pacing & nutrition are the best allies come race day, it is the one thing we as races come to realize after all is said and done--boiling Ironman strategy down to the most basic principles to follow.

Expectations? Certainly. I expect it to be hot, windy and not to my liking. However, I welcome the challenge because I will continue to keep going back (now every OTHER YEAR to Kona--should I qualify those years), to attempt to conquer the demons that meet me at this race each time. Heat has always been my biggest enemy, nope, I do NOT like the heat in any way, shape or form. This is why I have chosen IM CDA as a qualifier race for me the last three times. It is pretty much considered a "cool" to "cold" race where I excel. As the last race of the year it is my expectation to also continue my quest to become a better athlete with this race lending inspiration to the coming years of racing as well as to the athletes I coach.

Looking back on a somewhat successful amateur career and being (in the Twilight of my best race years), the age of where "decline begins" for the male endurance athlete, it has been a fun ride thus far. The goal is to continue the lifestyle & stave off age and diminishing results best I can. Taking NO for a stance to Father Time, I'll continue to strive to prove him wrong that I'll slow from this day forward. Some days I feel like this has already happened while other days it feels as if I'm still improving with all the same intensity and excitement of my younger years. Whether the little dude with horns says, "I can't" on one shoulder--or the one with wings on the other shoulder says, "I CAN", no matter what happens race day as an end result is not going to stop the future process or lifestyle. The FINISH line is not the finish/end result, ever. It is always simply a new BEGINNING that I look forward to each day my eyes open to when the alarm clock goes off before getting out of bed.