Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rolling Along

There has been a lot of training talk as athletes get ready for their big late season races. In the past I might have tried to do what other athletes are doing or try some risky approach, but this year is different. I have a great coach and a program that I believe in.

Here is what I have done the past 7 days. I have built steadily over the last 8 weeks to this volume. In addition, I had another ride and run scheduled, but I had to move it to Sunday because of a wedding on Sat. This week finishes off this cycle. Next week I will race and then have a 3-4 week block that will be similar to what you see below, but with more intensity added in.

Day 1 - 8:25

Started off with a tough 5000 yd swim and then hopped directly on the bike for 132 mile ride in 6:42, all steady on a hot day. Mix of hills and rolling terrain, 30min run off the bike.

Day 2 - 3:01

3:01 Run, just under 25 miles total. Last 90min in the hills on pavement.

Day 3 - 5:05

Good swim of 4500 to start and then a solid 3:45 ride in the hills, 75 miles.

Day 4 - 4:45

95min 13.5 mile run in the morning. 10mile mainset at just under max aerobic HR. Short hard swim of 3500 LCM followed by weights. Evening 1:20 spin.

Day 5 - 4:00

Morning track session, hot and humid. Mainset was 8x600 on 1:05 rest. All in 1:56-8. Then 4x100 on 40s rest. 15-16sec for these. nice improvement. Easy swim of 2500 directly from the track and then a steady 2:10 ride of 41 miles.

Day 6 - 8:40

Morning open water swim of 4500 with mix of efforts. Directly on the bike for 7:00 in the hills. 131 miles. Tough ride, felt great throughout. Run off the bike of 40min and a little over 5.5 miles.

Day 7 - 4:00

Solid morning run of 2:40, 23 miles in the hills, followed by an easy swim, 2000. Weights

Swim 6:10 22km
Bike 20:57 404 miles
Run 9:28 80 miles
Weights 2 sessions.
Total Hours 37:56

Something new to this week is that I felt stronger as I went. I am getting down close to my goal race weight and making sure to do all the small things to make sure that i am recovering well. I believe that not many athletes arrive at their key race knowing that they have done everything that they could to prepare both physically and mentally to win....I am.

Thank you to all that support and believe with me. 7 weeks to go...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report

The Becker Buzz
July 8, 2007

Lake Stevens 70.3
Swim: 26:51 Bike: 2:21:20 Run: 1:21:17 Finish 4:11:36
10th Overall
I headed out to the Northwest on Thursday before the race to hopefully see a little bit of the course, as well as the beautiful scenery. The northwest is beautiful!! The city of Seattle itself is a bit crowded, but does have its draws. The city is comprised of “hills,” or neighborhoods that overlook various waterways and other geographical features. The backside of the neighborhood where I am staying has a view that will raise a few hairs on anyone’s neck. If you look to the left, you see Mt. Rainier. If you look right, you look across the Puget Sound at the Olympic Mountains. Definitely a “WOW” factor going on here.

Ok, onto the race. I was able to drive both the bike and the run, which was good, but it would definitely have helped to have ridden the loop before the race. No worries at all however. My race plan was to try to swim with the pack, ride my own race and then have a good run.

Race Day:

The weather was cloudy and cool at the start, with temps around 50*, so I made sure to get in a good solid warm-up. I tried a longer swim warm-up of 20-30min, just as I would in the pool, and after this race I will make sure to keep it in my routine.

I racked my red rocket (the TTX) and thought I was ready to roll. However, halfway through my swim warm-up I realize that I forgot to lay my socks out for the run. I cut across the course, cut through transition, got them out and thought I was set again (more to come on this a bit later in my report).

I adjusted my Full Sleeved Blue Seventy Helix and before I knew it, I was on the starting dock. As the National Anthem played, I looked around. “Where did all of these guys come from?” I wondered. There were over 20 male pros at the start.

My plan was to find Chris Legh and stick to him like glue. I somehow managed to lose him right before the gun went off (only to later realize he moved behind me). Gun goes off, I find feet and we are cruising. About 800m into the swim I look to my left and there is Chris. “Great.” I thought. “This is right where I want to be. We zigzagged all over the place (the pack does NOT swim straight) and things were good until about 1600m into the swim. Somehow, the notion popped into my head that I had forgotten to put my Power Tap computer on my bike. I spent the remainder of the swim debating what I should do. To add to things, the pack was going left and the exit was to the right. I decided to break off, which proved to be a bad idea. It is MUCH faster to sit in the group, no matter what! I only lost about 25sec to them, but it would have been nice to have gotten pulled through entire swim. Still, I exited in 26:51 a big PR for me.

I got to my bike and decided to leave the computer in my bag. I didn’t know exactly where it was and I was supposed to ride by HR anyway. I got on and just couldn’t get things rolling. I was cautious about going too hard on the first of two challenging loops, but the legs were just not there and my HR was beginning to fall. I had a few cyclists go by and just tried to keep my head in it. At about 25 miles, things started to feel a little better, but my HR was still low. Then I just decided to DRILL the first 10miles of climbing on the second loop to re-pass and pull away from a few others. I got back to transition less than happy about my ride, but I did manage to negative split the loops by about 3 minutes.

As I headed out on the run, I was told I was in 12th. I could see a few guys up the road, but didn’t make any progress as I the first two miles were a bit slow. Then at mile 2, Jordan Jones, a great runner from Boulder, came by. I made a decision to stick to him and to my surprise I did. We were clicking off miles just under and just over 6min pace. My HR was not as high as I would have liked, but I just focused on hanging tough.

I managed to pass Jordan back and catch Adam Jensen, who was just sixth as Ironman Coeur D’Alene and Brent Lorenzen in the final miles. I came across with a solid run of 1:21 and in 10th overall.

I was a bit tired from all of the IM training, as was indicated by my low HR’s, but I was satisfied that I went as well as I did. The main focus is September 9th. Now I am taking it easy for a few days, before starting the next block of training.

Thank you to my great host family, my friends and family, as well my sponsors who believe in me. Here are some related links as always:

Lake Stevens 70.3 Results:

My Coach Luis Vargas:

Timex Team Site:
Madison Trek Bike Store:
Fleet Feet Madison:
Blue Seventy Wetsuits:

Friday, July 06, 2007

Drawbridges, Evergreen Trees, Hills and Coffee Shops

The title of this blog comes from the three features of the Northwest landscape that I noticed the most. I am staying out in Seattle, WA for the Lake Stevens 70.3 race on Sunday. This is my first time out here and it is beeeeeautiful! I am staying with the family of a friend and they have been great in making me feel welcome in their home!

The landscape is covered with trees. Most of which, are tall evergreens that tower over the houses. In fact, there are so many that at times, you wouldn't even know you are in the middle of a major city.

I have only been here about 24hrs, but I thought I would give you an idea of what I have seen thus far. The area of town that I am in is VERY hilly. I am not talking about Midwest hills, I am talking about hills that are a half mile in length and have a grade of 20-25%. It is a good thing that it doesn't snow here very often, because you could not get around.

A few other unique features of the area include coffee Shops EVERYWHERE (yes Starbucks started here, but there are a million others to choose from) and drawbridges that can significantly impact your ability to be punctual.

I am sure most of you thought I was going to mention rain somewhere in this blog, but believe it or not, there is NO (that is right, ZERO) chance of rain in the next week. WOW! I guess this is the healing time for those that easily get depressed from the rainy, sunless weather.


As for the race on Sunday, I am headed up to check out the bike course this afternoon. I have heard that it is challenging and I will report back my thoughts before the race. I am anxious to get out there and test my mid season fitness. Training has been rolling along really well and even though Ironman Wisconsin is priority number one, I hope that I can put together a good day on Sunday!

More to come...


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Where is Blake????

I have been getting a number of emails asking what I have been up to and how things are going. So I thought I would post a short note letting everyone know that things couldn't be better!

I am into week 6 with my new coach Luis Vargas( and things are going well. Things are pretty similar to what I had been doing in the past, but the structure is different to allow for better recovery.

Each week I have a HARD ride and run, while everything else is just steady(HR's of 143-163). This is actually more challenging than I thought it would be...especially when riding 130-150 miles or running 23-26 miles.

I have just finished up an 19 day block of about 85hrs total volume. 67k in the pool, about 1400km on the bike and about 240km of running. The volume and intensity left me pretty tired at some points, but by doing all the small things, my recovery has been great and I have been able to train hard day after day. I have also been using my morning HR and weight as measure of how I am assimilating all of the training.

I am now in rest mode for about 4-5 days before my next test out at Lake Stevens 70.3 It looks like a tough field, but I believe that I can hang. More to come from Washington!