Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Recap & Update

Hi Everyone,

It has been a little while since I have posted, so let me bring you up to speed. Since IMFL I decided that I needed to come way down. My 2006 season was almost 10 months long.

Post race I took 2 weeks almost completely off, then followed those two weeks with 2 of doing whatever I felt like. The only structure that I added was in the weight room.

I have also being giving free triathlon clinics around the city of Madison, which have been held at the Fleet Feet Running Store, The Trek Bike Shop and SBR Coaching Facility. The turnout for the clinics has been great, with between 50 and 65 in attendance.

On the work side of things, I moved from Starbucks to a new brewery in town. Things have started slow, but I am now putting in over 50hrs per week and the business is picking up. Hopefully, this will 'line the pockets' a bit before I head down to Clermont, FL again for 8 weeks.

Between 50+ hours per week at the brewery, 20 hours of training, coaching and running the seminars, I don't have time for much else. That being said, I am very happy with where things are at right now.

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The past year was a learning year for me in the racing world. It was my first year training 'fulltime' and I spent much of it tired. I trained with my now good friend Justin Daerr in Clermont, FL and then Boulder, CO (Colorado is my new favorite state). I also met two people who have also become good friends, Chris McDonald & Marilyn MacDonald.

I trained with Siri Lindley's Elite Squad for a month toward the end of the summer in Boulder. Boulder, CO also allowed me to meet 'everyone' that has a name in triathlon. Things I discovered: Dave Scott still trains hard, many of the women are even better looking in person, Cam Widoff is as cool as you think and the fast-lane at Flatiron Athletic Club Masters is a loooooong way off (Simon Lessing leads that one).

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This next year will have a few changes in it. I will make an announcement soon as to where I will be training after Clermont (January 23 - April 2), as well new sponsors for the year. I will drop this hint as to what is going on: think of these key words: Lance & Tick Tick Tick).

That is all for now. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Happy New Year!!

BB

Sunday, November 12, 2006

IMFL Race Report


Ironman Florida Race Report

After a chilly day at Ironman Wisconsin , I thought I would go for redemption in Panama City Beach . I flew to Houston a week out and made the 10 hour drive over to the beach with my training partner, Justin( www.justindaerr.com).

As race day got closer I felt strong, rested and eager to line up on the beach. After arriving down at the start, it was obvious that we were in for a bit of an adventure. The temperature was 43*F and there was a stiff wind that was blowing parallel to the coast. This meant that there would be swells and waves to deal with for the entire swim.

The cannon sounded and I expected to get pummeled at the start, but to my surprise there was very little contact. I managed to get into the group and the hardest part was not the pace, but just dealing with the conditions and not swallowing too much salt water. We rounded the turn and somehow my part of the group decided to head out to sea….after about 30sec or so, and finally being able to sight a buoy through the rough seas, I made my way back on course. I tried to lift the pace to catch the group that I lost, but was unable to bridge the gap. I exited the first loop just under 1min behind the group. After running across the beach I headed back out, still with thoughts of drilling it to catch up. I made my way through a few other swimmers, but it soon became apparent that I would not make the catch. I decided to back off and cruise into T1 where I saw 60minutes and change, not too bad considering all that went on.

After a transition that included knee warmers, a jersey, gloves and arm warmers(I WAS NOT going to freeze today:), I was out onto the bike with NO idea how far I was behind that pack (I found out later that the gap was only about a minute). My heart rate came down very quickly and I settled into a very easy pace that was governed by my Powertap….and the wind J

The first 80km of the ride were straight into a headwind, which made things tough. We then made a turn to the south and were greeted by a welcomed tailwind. I continued to roll steady, but in hindsight I probably should have backed off a bit and used the tailwind to my advantage. I made it to the out and back section of the course at 120km feeling great, though I was a ways back from the action. For the next 40km I had a mix of head, tail and crosswinds.

After riding over the causeway, it was a flat ride back to town. I made the final turn into the wind about 10km from T2. Boy was I tired. I never like ending a ride like this, but on the other hand I was excited to start running. My total ride time was 5:05:01.

I made my way through T2 and headed out onto the run feeling great. I held back and ran like do in training. Things felt easy, my HR was low and I was clicking off miles that put me at a sub 3hr marathon pace. The first half of the run was quite uneventful; I was enjoying the great running conditions, spectator support and continued to the turn around. I saw 1:32:xx and after 2 more port-a-stops I was quite pleased.

At about mile 14 I became very achy in the feet and ankles and within 2 miles I went from running 6:55 per mile pace to 8:30. The muscles felt good (no cramping) and my energy was great, but unfortunately my achy joints forced me to slow to a walk/run. After a few ups and downs, I decided that I needed to make the best of the day and since I had no other races left this season I would thank the volunteers and support the other athletes on my way to the finish. By the time I crossed the tape, I saw 10:35:xx.

Though my time was disappointing, I took away a lot from this race. I probably got more from this IM than any of my 7 IM's I have raced. I really enjoyed being out there and racing, even with the conditions and a sub-par time on the day, I enjoyed every minute. THAT is how it should be. This race also showed me what I am capable of, even if it was only for 15 miles on the run. I think that with a switch of shoes, being a year older and a few other small changes, I will be able to execute next time around.

This race has lit a fire within that has me excited to start working toward my next Ironman this spring. I will take 2 weeks off and then spend another 2-3 weeks "just moving" before I get back to preparation for a spring Ironman.

I want to thank everyone that believes in me. My family, friends and sponsors: Hammer Nutrition, Zipp Wheels, Saris, Oomph!, Blue Seventy and Fuelbelt. I am still planning out 2007 and will let everyone know my plans as things get closer. Also, keep an eye out for a new look to my website in the coming weeks. I hope everyone enjoys a bit of ice cream, pizza and sleeping.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"The Weatherman is an idiot!

It has been a loooong while since I have posted, so I wanted to check in. I wasn't sure how training would go after my recovery from IMWI or if it would be hard to get back into things. Well, it hasn't been hard at all and I am more motivated than ever to do well.

Yesterday I had one of my biggest training days, or should I say hardest training days, of the year. It started off with a threshold morning swim and then went straight into a ride of 5hrs, the ride was 60min building to IM power, then 60min @ IM power, 10min easy, 4 x (5min Big Gear/2min LT/ 3min IM), 20min easy, 40min IM power, 10min easy, 3 x (12min IM/ 3min HIM) then steady home. Off the bike I ran 2hrs with 90 min at a HR of 157-62, around 6:30 per mile.

The ride started great, it was cool and cloudy(like all days lately) and forecast called for a mix of sun and clouds, PERFECT......or so I thought. I got about 90min into the ride and as I made a turn back into the wind, the sky was BLACK! "Awesome! 50* and rain, again!" I thought, "Well, maybe it will go around me??" (Trying to be optimistic) In the next 30min it went from cloudy, to sprinkling, to a shower, to a friggin' cold ass monsoon!!! I couldn't see a thing and the only thing I could think was that "the weatherman is an idiot!" How could they not know that this was coming???

Just when the rain started to end and I thought I was in the clear, I hear pssshhhhhhhh, a flat! "Awesome again," I thought. The bottle of coke that I was going to buy at the gas station about a mile up the road, would have to wait. I knew that it could only get better from here!

Well, I fixed the flat, got my coke and warmed back up. Just as I did, the sun came out and it turned into a great day! I guess that was a simulated "low spot" for the day :)

I just thought I would share the day! I hope all is well with everyone and I will check in again soon!

BB

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blake Defends & WINS the 2006 Muncie Endurathon

“The Becker Buzz”

July 15, 2006

Blake Defends & WINS the 2006 Muncie Endurathon

Swim: 30:09 Bike: 2:11:52 Run: 1:26:38 Finish 4:10:47

After 8 solid weeks of training, it was time to rest and then test my fitness at the 2006 Muncie Endurathon Half Ironman in Muncie, IN. This year was different then last. When I won the race last year, no one really thought that I would be in contention for the win. This year I was the defending champion and wore the number one. I tried not to give it much thought and though I had only been training at Ironman intensity I was confident in my abilities. I just told myself to trust my fitness and race my own race.

The race started off on a high note with the non-wetsuit swim. I knew that the swim was usually a bit long and thought it would be a good pre-IM test to see if I could stick with the lead group of faster swimmers by taking the swim out hard. The gun went off and I held my ground and stayed with them for about 1k of the swim. Though I lost the feet of those in the group I stayed close and exited the swim only 20sec down. After a speedy transition I managed to get out onto the bike with the group.

I was confident in my ability to ride well and with my Zipp 606 wheelset built up with a Powertap SL, I knew that I could dial into my exact Half Ironman race effort. Once onto the rolling course I had shed all but one other rider and had to make a decision. Do I attempt to ride away or do I hold my effort and just ride steady with him? Well, I decided to lift the effort slightly and started pulling away. I felt good and reached the 45k mark in just over 64min. We turned back into the wind and it was decision time again. Do I keep riding hard or do I back off a touch? I was riding in second and was up about 60sec on 3rd. I decided to hold a steady effort and then pick it up in the last 10k.

In retrospective, this may have been a bit of a mistake. I didn’t realize that I was almost 4min ahead of 3rd at the 80k mark and could have just rode steadily into T2. The lead cyclist, who is a fantastic swimmer/biker but not so strong of a runner had only gained 30sec on the ride and was about 3min up the road.




I exited T2 with a water bottle to help me stay honest through the first mile of the race. I felt good despite temperatures that were now climbing into the 90’s and took the lead at just over 2 miles into the race. It seemed that as soon as I took the lead, the cramps started creeping in. I was running alright, but spending 10-15sec in each aid station getting in the calories and sodium that I needed. I knew that I wasn’t going to run to my potential today, so it was all about doing as well as I could.

I ended up getting caught at mile 10, but hung tough. I stayed about 5-10sec behind the new leader until about mile 12. It was then that blisters and the heat started to creep in and I knew that I wouldn’t cross the line first.

However, after finishing I was surprised to learn that the athlete that crossed in first, had received a 4min penalty and I would be only the third athlete to win a second straight Muncie Endurathon in the 27 year history of the race.

Now I have a few days of recovery before I race the Boulder Peak Triathlon next Sunday. Thanks again to everyone that supports me in my racing and training. Please visit my website(www.blakebecker.com) to stay up to date on the latest “Becker Buzz” and check out the links to my sponsors. Talk to you all soon!!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Update

Well, I am sitting here in a hotel in Muncie, IN waiting, waiting, waiting until tomorrow morning when I will try to have another good race here at the Muncie Endurathon. The race organization has done an awesome job again this year in putting together what looks to be another great race. They also were nice enough to put me up in a very nice place.

This year will again be competetive with the athletes, but there is an additional challenge of heat and humidity forecast for tomorrow. I have not rested like this in a long time, so I hope that means that I will have a good day.

After the race I am hoping to be able to recover well enough to do a local sprint race on Sunday...I know, if you are an athlete you know that this is not the BEST idea, but you have to do what you have to do, for a shot at a paycheck!

I will post results and a report after the weekend. Hope all is well with everyone. Time to get some rest.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

5430 Sprint Triathlon - The Becker Buzz

The Becker Buzz

June 2006 Training Update

· 5430 Sprint Race Report
· Training Update
· Ironman Wisconsin

5430 Sprint Triathlon

Yesterday I race the 5430 Sprint Triathlon here in Boulder, CO. It is the first race in a series of three for some great prize money. Though doing well in the overall series is important, so is the big picture (Ironman). I showed up to the race at the end of a big week that included 20km of swimming, just under 700km of riding and about 90km of running.

To hopefully compensate for my high volume, I started the day with a long warm-up that lasted almost 2hrs. In hindsight, it may have been a bit too much.

The race started and I missed the group I would have liked to swim with. As a result I didn’t have a swim to write home about. Whoops! You have to play with the cards you’re dealt, right!?! I got on the bike and rode hard up into 4th and entered T2 about 20sec down on 2nd and 3rd. I pushed the first hill and managed to move up into 3rd, with just 2 Pro’s up the road. That is where it stayed as I crossed the line.

I thought that I had finished third overall and the first age grouper, but an athlete from a later wave got me by about 60sec. Even so, with the exception of the swim, I am really happy with how I was able to perform, even when I was a bit fatigued.

Results are here: http://results.timberlinetiming.com/results/index.cfm



Training Update

Well, the race report above gives a good summary of how things have been going. You can also check the log on my website to stay up on the latest (https://blakebecker.com/january_training.txt) I have another 2 week volume block before I race a bit in July.

The tentative plan is for Justin and I to do a bit of an epic camp of our own at the beginning of August. We will have 9 huge days of training spread over 10 days where we will cover almost half of the state of Colorado. I can’t wait for the “fun” to begin.


Ironman Wisconsin

Some of you already know, but I have decided to race Ironman Wisconsin as my first professional race. The race date is set for September 10 in Madison, WI. I choose the race partly because of how my training is going and also because I thought it would be great to have my first pro race be in my hometown.


As always, thank you to all of my support which include family, friends, training partners and sponsors. You make it all possible!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Becker Buzz...

The Becker Buzz!
http://www.blakebecker.com/

This Edition:

- 2006 Apple Duathlon -
- USAT Coaching Certification -
- Training in Boulder -
- Upcoming Races -
- Season Sponsors -


2006 Apple Duathlon

I headed back to Wisconsin for Memorial Day weekend to visit family and to race the highly competitive Apple Duathlon in Sartell, MN. After getting food poisoning, missing my flight and sleeping in the Chicago bus station overnight, I finally made it back to my home town of Madison, WI…..3hrs before I had to leave to drive to MN. “Control the controllable,” I thought. You can read more about the fun if you visit my blog. http://blakebecker.blogspot.com/


I drove with my buddy Brian up to the cities where we stayed with another friend, Jesse, for the race. We arrived just in time to catch a bite to eat and head to bed. I woke early and ate my usual pre-race breakfast of coffee, Boost, a banana, Hammer HEED and did I mention coffee? J I have found that a liquid diet the day before and morning of a race alleviates all GI Issues.

The race was a 5k, 33k, 5k Duathlon. The gun went off and as usual the whole world took off at 5min/mile pace. Luckily there was a hill early in the run that separated the field nicely. I held a comfortable, yet solid pace of around 5:20/miles and arrived into transition 10th overall in a time of 16:42.

I got on the bike and rode hard from the start. This was the first race on my new set of Zipp 606’s that were laced with a Powertap SL rear hub. Thank you to the guys at Cycleops and Zipp for the awesome pair of wheels. I rode hard and about 20k into the ride I was in second, with only Kiwi Pro, Will Smith, up the road. At about the 25k mark, I made my move into a strong headwind and managed to ride into the lead. I came into transition with a ride of 48:28 and headed onto the second 5k with about a 15sec advantage.



I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold off will, as the guy has ITU type speed. I relinquished the lead at about 1mile into the run, but was very pleased with my second place finish. Official results are posted at:

http://www.pigmantri.com/jmsracing/results06/appledu06.html


USAT Coaching Certification

In other news, I completed the USAT Level I Coaching Clinic this past weekend in Colorado Springs. I am now USAT Certified and InsuredJ


Training In Boulder

Training here in Boulder has been great. Besides the altitude, which has taken a few weeks to get acclimated to, the people are great. In particular, I have met two outstanding athletes, people and now friends. Chris McDonald and Marilyn MacDonald (got it right guys :). We have had a few great rides up in the mountains and an ice cream cone or two. They are a few years ahead of me in the racing perspective, but are always willing to share their knowledge and experience in the sport. Visit their websites: http://www.trimacca.com/ and http://www.marilynmacdonald.com/.

In other news, JD is still with his dad in the hospital. I want to send my best to their family.
Upcoming Races

- Boulder Stroke & Stride Series(every Thursday)
- Big Sky Duathlon (June 10)
- 5430 Sprint Triathlon (June 18)
- Prospect Lake Triathlon (June 25)



2006 Season Sponsors

I want to thank my 2006 sponsors again. I also want to thank my family and friends for their unconditional support!

- Superspokes.com Online Bike store (http://www.superspokes.com/)

- Oomph! Sportswear (http://www.oomphsports.com/)

- Hammer Nutrition (http://www.e-caps.com/)

- Fuel Belt (http://www.fuelbelt.com/)

- Zipp Wheels (http://www.zipp.com/)

- CycleOps (http://www.cycleops.com/)

- Blue Seventy Wetsuits (http://www.blueseventy.com/)

- Rudy Project (http://www.rudyprojectusa.com/)

- Brooks Shoes (http://www.brooksports.com/)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Where Do I Start???

Ok, firsts I want to apologize for being terrible about posting my blogs. There has been a lot going on in the last month, so stick with me and I will try to summarize the best that I can.

#1

First off, I have been doing most of my training solo as of late. JD, my training partner, had to go to be with his dad who is having some difficulties in the hospital. It looks like everything is going to come out alright, but my best goes out to their family.

#2

Training has been going really well. I have gotten in 500 - 600 km on the bike, in the mountains, in each of the last 4 weeks and have been running 85-95 km each of the last 5 weeks.

One thing that I have learned about altitude is that is NEVER gets easy. I am realizing that you just have another set of numbers up here and that you are always slow! :)

#3

This last weekend I headed back to the midwest for a visit to the family and to race the Apple Duathlon in MN. I was scheduled to fly out on Thursday morning in the middle of the morning. The plan was to get up, swim and then head to the airport. Well, I woke up and felt a bit tired. I thought it was just normal training fatigue and headed out the door to the pool. As I walked to my lane, I knew something wasn't quite right. I got in a attempted to swim, but after 300 meters, I had to get out with cramping so bad that I could barely stand up straight. I hobbled back to the locker room, now feeling sick to my stomach and not sure what was going on. I felt like I had the flu, but left anyway for the airport. I made it 8 miles on Highway 36 and had to pull off into and stop at a Starbucks and Subway, where I deposited most of what I ate that morning. I was in so much pain that I was forced to go home and cancel my flight.

I got home, visited the "porcelain god" again and went to bed. After sleeping for a few hours I awoke feeling fine...actually good. What I thought was the flu, was food poisoning.

I called the airline and was issued another ticket for that night back to Madison, only at $400 more. A big thank you to my mom and stepdad for help on that one! I arrived at the airport and arrived to find that the ticketing agent issued me a ticket for the next night. Normally thiss isn't a big deal, but it was Memorial Day Weekend and ALL flights were booked. I managed to get to Chicago at midnight flying stand-by. I arrived thinking I may be able to take a bus, rent a car, or just "figure it out" when I get there. NOPE! So, I had the pleasure of sleeping on the floor of the bus station at the airport.

In the morning, I took a bus back to Madison and then had a few hours to get in a short workout, build up my bike and pack for MN. I arrived later that night at a friend's place and went to bed to race in the morning.

Well, I can let you read the race report under my Schedule/Results link, but in short, the went great. After a solid first 5k run of 16:41, I rode to the front of the race and led off the bike, altitude seems to have a significa:). On the second run I was caught and passed by New Zealand Pro, Will Smith. I finished about 25sec back happy with a pacheck and a second place finish.

This is a great example of just taking things as they come. Just race(or do whatever it might be) with no excuses. Go out and give it everything that you've got and you may suprise yourself. I did.

#4

Ok, now onto number four. After a great weekend with family and a lot of hours on the bike I returned to Colorado to attend a USAT Level I Coaching Certification Clinic. I had the chance to stay at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. That place is AMAZING! It is a fenced in complex that is like a small town. It has dorms, training facilities, an athlete center to eat (whenever they like), access to coaches and trainers 24/7. The athletes have everything taken care of so they can focus on their training 100%. As I walked through the center I couldn't help thinking, "if I could only swim faster."

Back to the clinic. I learned so much valuable information, as well as met many great people who are great resources, including Bobby McGee (the world's best running coach). Along with the OTC, Colorado Springs seems like a pretty nice place to live (less expensive than Boulder for sure).

#5

Coming up I will be training lower volume and higher intensity with hopes of doing well at the shorter races I have coming up. My next race will be the 5430 Sprint Distance Traithlon here in Boulder. Besides that, I am also doing a local Stroke & Stride on Thursday's.

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Ok, enough for now. Time for bed. I will check in again MUCH sooner!

BB

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Boulder Baby!!!

Well, I made it. I am finally in Colorado and it is everything that I thought it would be...So far. Since I haven't written for a while, I will cover a few different topics.

Before I left Florida, I raced St. Anthony's in St. Pete. This is one of the largest Olympic distance races in the country and it was a great test to test my fitness. In short, we had 3 foot waves throughout the swim that made many turn back, I had to fight to keep from getting sea sick on the first leg. I came out of the water just under 21 minutes and crossed the timing mat, just over. I was very pleased with how things were going thus far. The bike was windy and I felt strong, I knew that I wasn't riding my best, but I came off feeling pretty happy about things. Onto the run. I just couldn't get it going, I felt a bit flat and that my blood sugar was low. I just pushed through and ran the best that I could. I managed to snag the 5th amateur spot overall and a solid race before leaving Florida.

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The drive to Boulder was, well, lets just say it was over 2000 miles and took 4 days. On day two I drove through the area of the south that was slammed by hurricane Katrina last year. It was very eye opening to see the lack of progress in their recovery. Businesses are closed, there is debris everywhere and there are more trucks than cars on the roads. Some areas are still completely demolished and other neighborhoods have blue tarps on half the roofs. I really hope that this area can get the help that it needs to recover and that it is spared another hit from a hurricane. The season starts in only a month.

As I continued on through Texas on day three I had the fun of trying to navigate through severe weather. I managed to miss the weather, but not the Texas State Troopers. 81 in a 70 and only 10 miles from where I was staying the night. I tried to make small talk and explain that it is hard for an older car to hold a steady speed when it is fully loaded down and has a bike on top. He wasn't having it and told me to "have a good night" while handing me my $175 speeding ticket. Oh well, nothing I could do, except not speed on the final day of my trip.

I left on Monday afternoon and after stays in Tallahassee, FL, Shreveport, LA and Amarillo, TX I arrived in Boulder on Thursday afternoon. It was GREAT to be here! The mountains are awesome, there seems to be 1000's of people(literally) that are living my same lifestyle and the community reminds me a lot of where I grew up in Madison.

The only "downer" came after being here, literally 10 minutes. I was parked at the curb in our parking lot, unloading my stuff. As I unloaded, I noticed the parking enforcement driving by and didn't think anything of it. After I had just carried in my last box and was standing in the kitchen, I heard JD shout something from our front porch. The security officer had snuck up to the back of my car, were JD couldn't see him and slipped a boot on my tire. Talk about being out to get people. Oh well, I had to pay $65 cash to get the boot removed. Yeah I know, it seems shady to me too. I am contesting the fine and will keep you all posted on the outcome.

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My post is getting a bit long, so I will post more in the coming days, including a few pictures. Here is a quick summary:

The pool is ok, but nothing is nice compared to the National Training Center in Clermont. I have met Michael and Amanda Lovato on deck, both are extremely nice people. I have also gotten to swim next to Dave Scott(an Ironman Legend) who I found out, warms up with paddles!!!!

I have only had one ride up in the Mountains, but managed to find the snow(brrrrr!). The views are incredible and I even got to avoid cow elk on the descent back into Boulder, phew!!!

Nothing special on the run to write about, except that it is hard at altitude! I have been told that it will get better as the days go by.

Thanks to everyone that supports me. My family, friends and sponsors.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Testing Where I am at....

The title of my post could represent many different things. Since it is late I won't go into detail about where I am at in my life and I'll just stick to racing. I will tell you that I am in a great place. Meeting many new people, seeing....well, so far just FL(not awesome), but I am leaving for Boulder on Monday. I am sure there will a lot to write as I drive 2,000 miles across the country (any takers:). I will get to drive through where Katrina hit last year. I am looking forward to a first hand experience of where that part of the country is at. Anyway, I get one life...and I am living it. I just have to remember the stories to tell my kids someday.

Where am I at in my racing and training? I'll get to find out this weekend against some of the best. I am racing at St. Anthony's (www.satriathlon.com) this Sunday. I have had a good start to the year down here training with JD and with only a few weeks of speed work in me, most of my fitness will come from base miles and the races I have already done. I had an over training issue with my right knee, something that acts up if i don't stay on top of massage and ice, but I don't think it set me back too far (I hope).

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Also on the training side of things, I have connected with CycleOps, www.cycleops.com who is out of Madison and an awesome company. I will now have a Zipp 808 rear wheel build with a Powertap SL hub. I am very excited to race with it at Memphis toward the end of May. No more guessing my power output during races. (In the past I have had to ride a training wheel in races if I wanted power data.

+++++++++++++

I have a few other posts that I am anxious to get out there. Look for those, as well as a race report, in the coming days. The next time I write will be from the road.

Signing off from the Sunshine State!

BB

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Keeping it all in perspective...

I was having a conversation with my mom the other day (one of many, as we are pretty close) and we started talking about various things going on in our lives. After a few tangents in our conversation, I said something like, "Ok, now on to a brighter subject..." (If you know me, then you know that I sometimes avoid conflict, something I am working on.) We both laughed and agreed that our lives are Pretty_Damn_Good compared to most in our world.

Then, we somehow found ourselves talking about how easy it is for people in general to complain about life, people love to tell you how terrible things are for them. More specifically, about things that are out of our own control. Topics that I have heard more than once, include; the weather(heat/humidity), events that have taken place in the past, not having a lane at the pool, traffic jams, competition at races, flights being cancelled, missing an opportunity, etc., you get the point...

Sometimes, I find myself complaining to others about certain things in my life and then I take a step back(sometimes not right away) and gain a little perspective. I could be in an abusive or poverished situation, which I saw while student teaching last fall. I have good food, clothing, opportunity, I don't have cancer and I have family and friends that love me. Things could be A LOT worse, I could have had my house destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, or as my stepdad always says, "You could be away at war."

Now I am not saying that we need to dwell on the negatives in the world and give less importance to things that are troubling in our own lives. But thinking this way from time to time is very humbling. Incorporating doing things for society and the greater good inour lives can be very rewarding and fufilling. This is something that I am also trying to work into my life.

To wrap it up, for me, I think the best way to deal with things that are out of our control or aren't "real" problems is to acknowledge whatever is bothering you, talk about it with someone if you need to and then move on.

I don't know all and maybe I am just rambling, but for me it helps to be reminded of the things that really matter in life.

Enough serious blogging for today, the next post will be a bit less deep! I am racing St. Anthony's next weekend and should get to see a few friends that I haven't seen in a while.

Later Gaters,

BB

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Few Early Season Training Pic's

Here are some early season training pic's from Clermont.
Marc & I before Escape From Ft. DeSoto.
(Marc kicked my ass!)
From left to right: Marc, JD, BB. Pre-swim at the Training Center.
(That is Tim in the background, he the Ironman North America Swim Course Director).
"It's BLUE I tell you, not pink!"
(JD and Marc giving me crap for my drag suit)
I was forced to wear it after losing my square legged suit. The suit blue, until the chlorine bleached it pink!



Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Becker Buzz....

The Becker Buzz…

April 11, 2006

As the 2006 season is getting underway, my time here in Clermont, FL is quickly wrapping up. Starting in May I will leave my home here and travel to Boulder, CO where I will train for the rest of the season.

I have been and will continue living and training with another athlete, Justin Daerr (www.justindaerr.com). Justin and I decided to get together to train, not only because we are close in age, but also because we have similar athletic backgrounds, goals for the future, as well as the same drive and determination to be the best athletes we can be.

Training started off great, I have been setting PR’s in the pool and have over 100 training hours logged in both February and March. Along with the great training, racing has also gone well. I pulled out a win at a local 10k, a 5th place finish at the Tampa Bay Half Marathon, and a 3rd place finish at the Escape From Florida Triathlon, a race that draws hot competition!

After the good start, I encountered a little turbulence in the form of being slightly over-trained. I was forced to drop my weekly volume from 30 hours, to around 20, maybe a blessing in disguise. After making a few minor changes to my schedule, I felt that I was recovered enough to race at the Powerman Alabama Duathlon (www.team-magic.com).

The number one goal for the race was to finish with no signs of any injury. I accomplished that goal and turned out a very solid result as well. Results can be viewed by visiting my website at www.blakebecker.com.

Here is quick recap of the race. I had been told by many to “not go too hard on the first run.” With this in the back of my mind, I probably ran a bit too conservative, but still came into t1 in a very solid time. As I headed out onto the bike, I pushed hard to get to the front of the age group race. I was not able to reach the front, but was very pleased with my ride over the 53km bike course. I ran hard on the second run and split only 21 seconds slower than my first. I crossed the line in 2:23:38, 9th overall and the 3rd age-grouper.

I want to congratulate Justin on an awesome race in his first official professional start.

To finish up this update I want to thank my friends, family, sponsors and everyone who supports me and my racing. For 2006 I will be racing for the Oomph Core Team and also be sponsored by the following companies: Superspokes online bike shop (www.superspokes.com), Hammer Nutrition, Blue Seventy Wetsuits, Zipp Wheels, Fuel Belt, Brooks Running and Rudy Project.

Until next time, visit my website for the latest training and racing news (www.blakebecker.com).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Back on track...

Well, I am finally back on track...and online, for that matter. I had to be fairly cautious with my training for about two weeks, due to an old overuse injury. Lots of ice, stretching, epsom salt baths and massage have gotten me back to my usual training self.

Anyway, time is flying by here in Clermont. I have about 4 weeks left until I head to Boulder, Colorado to train for the summer. This is something that I am really looking foward to. Boulder is sort of the Hollywood of triathlon. This is where "it" is at. I am looking forward for the opportunity to meet as many people as possible and learn from the best.

For the rest of my time here I will race quite a bit since my overuse injury didn't allow me to race the past few weekends. I am heading to Birmingham, AL this weekend for Powerman Alabama, it is an event that every multisport athlete would like to do at some point in their career. It has been around for a long time and has some history that goes with it.

After racing there, I will race on April 15th over in St. Pete. for the Escape From Ft. DeSoto Traithlon with my good friend Marc Bonnet. The following two weeks I will be in St. Augustine for a sprint race and then at St. Anthony's for my big early spring event.

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Ok, some good advice to all of you out there that may clean your own carpet some day in the future...DON'T!!! Justin and I have a few "easier" days this week to recover and we decided to spend yesterday cleaning the carpet of the place where we are staying.

We drove over to Home Depot and rented a carpet cleaning machine and came back expecting to transform our worn/soiled carpet into something that had a much nicer look...or at least a clean look. After it was all over and we had spent the entire day(actually afternoon) in our 90* house, it was hard to tell that we had actually cleaned anything at all. Sarcastically, we declared that cleaning carpet was our new favorite way to spend our easy days and that maybe we should start up our own carpet cleaning business to bring in income on the side.

Actually, the 24hr rental + cleaner was $54.23. I think that a better option may be to just spend the $100 to have a company come do it....or better yet, don't have carpet!! Bu then again, we would not have had as fun of an afternoon, nor the stories share!

Time to go swim. I hope that everyone is doing well and hope to see you all soon!

I want to get in a quick CONGRAT'S to my good friends, Matt and Ellen. I introduced the two of them back in college and they call lasts week to let me know that they are engaged!

Until next time(sooner, I promise;-)

BB

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Patience My Friend...

Sorry that I haven't written in a while. Between training, racing and traveling, time to write has been limited.

This last weekend CJ(Justin) and I raced the Gate River 15 k in Jacksonville. I have come off of 3 weeks pretty hard training and racing every weekend, so needless to say, I didn't have the legs that I wanted. I did manage to run 53:22 and considering everything, I have to be happy.

CJ had a great race and came in under the time goal that he had set for himself. Even more impressive was the fact that he set his time goal based on a "flat course." The race would have been flat, except for the 2 bridges that we crossed. Now most people might say that a bridge is not a big deal to run over. Well, those people should run the bridge that came at mile 7 and I would bet that their opinion might change a little. The climb was almost a mile long and was fairly steep for the last 800m.

Other highlights of the weekend included watching the elite runners participate in the equalizer competition. The elite women got a 5min headstart on the 9.3 mile run, then the men had to try to run them down. There was prize money for both genders and the first athlete to cross the line got a nice bonus. It was really close, the first male caught the first female with about .2 miles to the line. All I can say is that both the top men and women can really run!! For those of you that are wondering, there is a HUGE difference in open running speed between elite runners and elite triathletes....Triathletes are SLOW!!! That is why we like the swim and the bike before the run, it gives us an excuse :) The results can be found at: www.gate-riverrun.com

After the race, CJ's cousin's (whom we stayed with), treated us to lunch at a sportsbar on the beach!! It has been a while since I have been to the ocean...still as awesome as i remember!

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On Friday night, I got a chance to catch dinner with a good high school friend, Anne Claridge, who I had seen 1x in the past 5 years. It was really good to catch up, while also grabbing a bite to eat on the waterfront. It is funny how sometimes we think that when a friend or significant other moves away, we will never see them again. Time passes and the next thing you know, you getting together to hang out again....Small world!

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On the training front, things have been going great, besides being tired about 23 hours out of the day, the first hour in the morning is usually ok ;-). I am starting to finish up my base training(higher volume), before I move into my build to Age Group Nationals in July.

Mark and Justin have helped me "raise my game" in the pool and I feel like I am starting to swim a little better. I have gotten into a few track workouts and will follow Daniel's 10k running speed plan through my build (a little modified(a.k.a - cut down) of course).

The riding is going well and i was actually suprised to find that my AeT is higher than I once thought, I think just over 245 watts. CJ is teaching me patience and how to hold back, which will be important in Ironman racing. It has been tested a few times in group riding situations and so far, so good.

I will try to race well this spring at Powerman Alabama (April 9),
St. Anthony's (April 30) and Memphis In May (May 23ish). Otherwise I will just keep up the consistency and work hard in the water!

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I hope everyone back in America's Dairyland is doing well, not too much longer and the warm weather will make it up to you!

BTW - I saw my first alligator on Sunday morning...now there is zero chance of me swimming in the lake accross the street!

Until next time....

BB

Monday, February 27, 2006

Off and running...(not skipping)

Well, another week of training has gone by down here in Clermont and everything is coming together pretty well. Here are some highlights of the past week:


***On Wednesday I rode with Joanna Zeiger and had a blast. Hopefully we'll do it again this summer, when I get to Boulder.


***Earlier in the week Justin and I had our run workouts at the NTC. I just worked out that we were there at the same time as a few local cheer/dance teams who were doing their thing on the track to the tune of "YMCA." After my workout of an hour of aerobic running, I came back to the track and asked how Justin's skipping and sprinting drills had gone, he said that the sprinting went well and that he couldn't bring himself to skip in front of the little girls. I told him that they would have loved it...if those girls had seen an elite athlete skipping around the track, he would have been the coolest runner that any of them had ever seen. In fact, they may have even come out to join him! Oh well, I'll have to take up the skipping duty next time out, my kindergarten class gave me plenty of practice.


***On Thursday I was out running in the orange groves again, this time alone with some tunes playing in the iPod. It was fairly warm and about 4miles in, I looked ahead on the road and saw what I thought was a stick. As I got closer, I realized it was a snake. At probably 5ft long, it was the biggest snake that I had ever seen. Turns out it was a Pine Snake which can actually grow to almost 90 inchest in length.

At mile 8 of my run I looked ahead off to the side of the road and noticed some smaller white boxes. "Wonder what those are?" I thought. As I got closer I noticed more and more "bugs," only to realize they were bees and the white boxes were hives. My dad once had an apple orchard, so i knew they probably would bother me, as long as I didn't aggrivate them. After maxing my heartrate out to get over the next hill, I managed to get past with out any stings.


***On Sunday we raced the Tampa Bay Half Marathon. We drove over in the morning before the race in pouring rain and thunderstorms. The rain finally eased a bit and after a 30min delay, we were off in the sauna like conditions. I didn't rest much for the race, but was still happy will the result. I finished 5th overall in a time of 1:15:50. Results can be found here: http://results.active.com/pages/searchform.jsp?rsID=6323

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In other news, I want to say congrat's to my brother, Eric. He is one of the most disciplined people that I have ever met. I has a passion for academia and it is paying off. He found out that he got into Yale Graduate School today, he hasn't decided on what he will do next year, but WAY TO GO MAN!!! I owe you a few beers next time that I am in town! I miss you!

That is all for now...

BB

Monday, February 20, 2006

Thankful for...

This afternoon was really the first "easy" ride that I have had down here since I arrived about 10 days ago. I really took notice to a lot of things.

First, Florida can be really beautiful when you are away from the sprawl that seems to be everywhere. It seems as though there are lakes in every direction and down every road. If you are away from traffic, it is actually quite peaceful. There are citrus groves ALL_OVER down here, it adds a color to the country side and an aroma to the air.

I have also notice other things that really make me thankful for what I have. Florida, is probably one of the hottest and most uncomfortable places in the country for much of the spring/summer/fall months. There are some houses here that aren't any larger than some people's living rooms. The houses are falling apart, the yards are not kepts up and I doubt whether many of them have even a window air conditioner. I remember growing up and feeling uncomfortable(sleeping with a washcloth on our forehead) though some of the warmer summer months in Wisconsin, and we had a window air conditioner downstairs. These people have heat and humidity that is far worse and they have to deal with it for months on end. It is really humbling.

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On the training side of things, I kept it rolling today with a hard swim in the morning which was my fastest day to date in the water. It is really encouraging to see. Swimming with Joanna Zeiger a few lanes down and having a former Russian National Team swimmer on deck helps things alot! Maybe tomorrow we will be able to swim without feeling like we are in a cloud(due to fog).

I will have pic's posted in the next few weeks.

From the words of my stepdad, John, tonight:

"Eat well, sleep well, stay healthy, and don't sweat the small stuff."
BB

Sunday, February 19, 2006

One Week Down...

Well, I just finished up my first week of training down here in Clermont with a little over 33 hours in the books. I have to say that I was bit tired through a lot of it, but have started to feel better as the week went on.

On Saturday, JD and I decided to race the Clermont 10k. We both ended up having good days for racing through a higher volume training week. I took first in 34:21 and Justin came across second, making it a solid 1-2 finish. We decided that going 1-2 as often as possible throughout the season, regardless of order, would be pretty sweet. After a post race bagel or two we found some nice trails that we will definitely be back for. Results for the race can be found at:

http://www.buttar.com/events/results/index.htm

Coming up I have the Tampa Bay Half Marathon next Sunday and then Florida's Great Escape Triathlon on March 5.

Let The Games Begin...

BB

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ohhh The Sun...

...finally I feel like I have arrived in Florida. Our hardest day of training so far, but the pain was eased a bit by sunny skies and temp's in the mid 70's. The morning went well even though my arms were no where to be found during our 3,000 yard time trial as our mainset. When you aren't swimming well, it is NOT a fun workout...but you don't think, you just swim.

After an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins to help the re-coop, we had a 14k run which ended with a few strides. Our ride this afternoon was flat and I actually felt quite good. About 90-100 minutes of steady (230-260 watts) riding inserted in the middle.

Tonight we took a trip to Outback Steakhouse to use some of Jeager's (Justin's) b-day goodies. It was a nice mental break in the middle of our week. Also nice not having to cook on a night when you a tired. Tomorrow the fun begins at St. Leo University with the swim team. It is nice swimming with faster swimmers and a coach on deck.

Not much else to write, but I hear everyone back in the Mad-city is bracing for a snowstorm...stay warm and speaking of, I miss everyone and hope you are doing well.

More to come soon.

BB

Monday, February 13, 2006

Clermont, Wisconsin ?????

If you would have told me that after I left Wisconsin I would still need my arm warmers on the bike, I would have laughed. It is a good thing that you didn't, becuase I have had to wear them the last 2 days. We rode 100k yesterday with the temp in the 40's and winds that were gusting well over 40mph. Our ride was a bit better today, but tonight the temps are suppose to dip down into the 20's. No worries though, 80*F may be possible by Thursday.

I am starting to get into the swing of things and feel like I will be able to get a routine down by the end of the week. The National Trianing Center's pool will hopefully open in the next day of two, I should know a few solid bike routes and the orange groves are becoming my favorite place to run.

In other news, I met Joanna Zeiger and Sheila Tormina lastnight at the neighbors. For those of you that don't know them, they are both olympians and training here in the area for the season. When you see athletes of that quality, you know you are in the right place. There aren't many top tier triathletes in Wisconsin, especially in February.

That's it for tonight. I'll write more soon....

BB

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Orange, oranges and more oranges

Today we had a long run on a dirt road that ran through endless groves of oranges, really refreshing...literally. It was fairly windy and probably about 65* when we finished our run. I made the comment to JD that the back stretch seemed a bit warm. He gave me a strange look and said something to the extent of, "that isn't warm, just wait dude." 65* isn't warm, but it is 60* warmer than the running I had been doing in WI.

After our run we met a few other local athletes who are going to join us on our long ride tomorrow. It is going to be cool for FL, probably 50's, but anything is better than the 30* I had to deal with back in WI.

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After a few days here I am starting to enjoy things more and more. The National Training Center is just up the road and it cool being able to train close to athletes that are currently at the top of our sport. As soon as the pool at the center re-opens I have a feeling I will meet many others...as many as I can, this is a goal of mine that I have for 2006. There is also a coffee shop that may have a few hours available for PT work that I am going to check into. My job previously as Starbucks may turn out to help me in this situation. Every penny counts right now.

I am getting use to a pace in life that is a little slower than what I have been use to. The Olympic Games, reading and napping have been some my favorites during recovery hours.

I hope everyone is doing well and that is all from the Sunshine State which is cloudy at the moment!

BB

Friday, February 10, 2006

Chocolate Milkshakes and Unicorns

Sorry to anyone that has tried to call...the first morning that I woke up down here my phone died. I have to send it back to Wisconsin and wait for a new one to be shipped down. Until then, it is email.

Yesterday was a JD's 25th and we went to Universal for a little roller coaster entertainment. We went with 2 friends of Justin, Stacy and Sara. It was quite entertaining with highlights that included cramming into a unicorn roller coaster car that was designed for 6 year old girls. The idea of going to Universal was to get to know J a little better, which was good...but next time we'll leave out the unicorns. The second highlight included returning to our car only to find a chocalate milkshake poured over the entire left side by a guy who decided that he didn't enjoy the fact the Stacy had pointed out he parked a bit too close in his tank. The best part was that he was there with his wife and two kids.

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Today was the first day of training which included an 8k aerobic test at the track. Very monotonis, but I am finding that having a training partner makes the workouts that are mentally challenging a little bit easier.

The afternoon consisted of a swim TT of which I screwed up a bit by breathing bilaterally during the final 500, I didn't realize I should TT it and swim as fast as I could reguardless of my breathing pattern. The swim workout was 5x400 on 5:30 steady and then a 500 hard. I was pleased with how I didn't fatigue through the 400's. Followed the swim up with a strength session and then watched the local Y diving team rip off some impressive dives, some from the 10m platform. Tomorrow is a long run and long ride on Sunday with 2hrs of AET work.

That's all for now...

Monday, February 06, 2006

A New Beginning

Well, I have finally made it to "Land of the Palm Trees." I am living in Clermont, FL with elite triathlete and friend, Justin Daerr(www.justindaerr.com). We will be here until May 1, when we will leave for Boulder. After a short homestay there we will go up high, and I mean high as in the house is at 9,550ft, in Crested Butte, CO with Justin's parents. We are both in similar situations with similar goals and should be able to contribute to and push each other to the next level. He told me once, "This sport is hard enough, we are better off working together, than against each other." BTW, thanks to Justin for setting things up.

So that is the plan...and how do I feel about it? You know how you felt before something really big in your life? Your first Ironman, or your first day at school or on a new job? That's where I am at. Excited, anxious and nervious, but also confident, calm and relieved put together.

This is new for me. I have always done my thing solo. Never really talked at length or in depth with others about my passion, except online or through emails. I have never trained with a swim squad, never ridden with others regularly and never shared a place with someone who has a lifestyle that mirrors my own. Now I get to do all of it and I am really excited to see what it is all about.

I am also relieved to have gotten to this point. I graduated with my undergrad in December and through the last year I have jumped some through some hoops to get here. I experienced my first (hopefully last) injury, I got Lyme Disease from a hunting weekend last spring, I had a major crash on my bike and went through times when I doubted if this is what I wanted in life. By no means are these things hard or even "hoops" for some that are far worse off, but they were all things that I had to deal with (Just keeping perspective here).

I have high expectations for the year in some reguard, but I am also viewing this year as a learning process. It is a year to network, listen, learn and set things up for the future.

This is what I have dreamed about for so long, I have nothing else to worry about. I don't have too much on my plate and I have the support from those that mean the most to me. My mom and step-dad especially realize that I feel this is my calling in life and they are contributing and enabling me to pursue my dream. I owe them so much for this.

Thank you to everyone that is believing in me and I am dedicating this season to those that have infuenced me the most. John Bailiff, who has taught me so much of what I know....most importantly that little part called swimming! Tom Wencel, who got me bitten by the triathlon bug and basically gave me my first bike. Also, of course my mom and stepdad!

I am anxious to get rollin'. I have a few fitness tests and a longer ride and run before the first big week of 35 hrs or so. I looking forward to updating you on how things are progressing.

Off to bed...