Wednesday, August 29, 2007

10 Days

Well, I am now 10 days out from my next big "A" race and I am getting a little bored. I have taken care of almost everything that I needed to this week and am ready for race week already. Even though I think that body has no problem resting for a few extra days:)

I gave my last seminar of the season lastnight at the Trek Bike Store, here in Madison. The topic was Ironman Wisconsin (of course) and I had about 20-25 turn up. I get a lot of reward out of doing this type of stuff. I really felt like a lot of people will have a little less stress in this last 10 days because of the questions I was able to answer. We had A LOT of left over food, so we need more to show next time.

Today I had a track workout this morning and will be headed to the pool for a short swim in a little while. Hopefully the rain will clear for me ride this afternoon. I basically have 4 days of important training left after today. From then on in, it is time to watch a little more t.v., drink more coffee, maybe read(but I never do so well in this department) and catch up on a few things that I have let go in the last 6 weeks.

Just wanted to check in and I will do so again in a few days!!!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Anyone up for a game of Packman?

THIS is how I am viewing Sept 9th. The last build has gone MUCH better than I expected and I feel like I am finally going to be able to show that I can contend...ESPECIALLY in my own backyard. I have spent the summer on this course and doing my research over every inch of it. I know exactly how to "play the game" depending on the conditions.

I have seen PR's across the board and feel that quiet confidence building as we get close to race day. Oh yeah and another small detail, I am finally HEALTHY ;)

Now I rest...2 weeks with a few hard key sessions and a lot of down time. Luis Vargas, my coach has been great in dealing with me and getting me ready for this day. From now on, it is "worry about only the controllables."


I also want to pass along a HUGE congrat's to some of my friends that raced today. Chris McDonald won his first Ironman in Louisville today!! AWESOME job!! JD had a VERY solid day at Ironman Canada and so did Marilyn(Chris' other half). Nice job to all, enjoy your recovery, Yout deserve it!

That is all for now. See you on the 9th.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Becker Buzz
August 19, 2007

"Pre Ironman Race Sandwich"

My last race seemed like an eternity ago and since then a lot has happened, so I thought I would update everyone as to what I have been up to as Ironman Wisconsin approaches. I have put all of my 'eggs' in the Ironman basket this year. My training called for me to hold back for a huge portion of the year, this was something that was new to me and was also something that proved to be move difficult than I thought. But my coach, Luis Vargas, assured me that there would be a time to go hard and that it would pay off.

Well that time came and we decided to insert two races into the schedule. The races were treated as HARD training sessions. They would follow a big training block and would be preceded by 3 easy days. Here is a results summary, with details below.

Iron Abe Olympic
July 29, 2007

Swim: 22:27 Bike: 56:58 Run: 36:46 Finish 1:57:22
2nd Overall

Pleasant Prairie Olympic
August 19, 2007

Swim: 19:13 Bike: 58:05 Run: 35:11 Finish 1:54:44
1st Overall

I found the Iron Abe Triathlon just a little over a week before I needed race. It was about a 4 hr drive south to Springfield, IL (birthplace of Abraham Lincoln…thus the name "Iron Abe Triathlon") and I seemed like a good race. Oh yeah, it gave an opportunity for a small paycheck as well. Anyway, I stayed with a friend in the area and before I knew it I was getting set up on race morning.

The water was WARM, so there would be no wetsuits. But I had my Blue Seventy Pointzero3 speed suit. Through some testing done in the pool by myself, as well as another teammate, I knew that this suit could save a few seconds per 100m. The gun went off and I found myself gapped by a few meters, at the first buoy. I really try to build my swims to allow for me to have a few options as things sort out. In doing so, I was able to close the gap by the turn and decided to sit comfortably in the group. About ¾ of the way through the swim, I realized that there was another swimmer off the front!!! I had sworn that we were the first group, but there was another swimmer about 75m up. I tried to lift the pace, but it just wasn't worth it.

I hopped on the bike and just tried to get into a good rhythm. The ride was flat, so I could see the lead rider just ahead. I was steadily clawing back time and the gap was down to about 40sec at the turn around. The roads were not all that smooth, but one really nice feature of the TTX is that the carbon really eats up the vibration from the roads. On the way back I got within about 20sec, when a car that was stopped at an intersection, decided to do a Y turn right in front of me. I nearly lost it, but managed to squeeze through. It was a bit frustrating, as the gap was now back to about 40 sec.

After a quick T2 I was out on the run about 30s down. I felt ok, but legs were just not there. I had only been doing speed work for a few weeks and I didn't have the turn-over that I needed. Daniel Bretscher, a very talented short course guy, took the overall win and I cruised in about 2min back. It was a solid day, but I knew that I could do more.


In the 3 weeks after the race I put in my most intense IM specific block of training. I was a little MIA at times, but I got through it. Ironman is so much more than just how many watts you can push and what pace you can run at what HR. There are so many unknowns that need to be addressed. This was where my focus was over these weeks and while I reached new levels of fitness, I also answered all those questions. I was now hoping for a good "fitness pop" before I start to taper.

After 3 lighter training days, I felt ready to give a good effort. I awoke to POURING rain….which was beginning to feel like the norm. We have had almost 10 inches in the last week alone and it wasn't looking like it was going to stop for the race. I drove an hour to the race site from a relative's house and was debating turning around, just about every exit. I arrived, parked and rode my bike from the remote parking to the race site…in the POURING rain. The buzz around the race site was that they would make an announcement soon. Well, somehow the weather let up and they decided to give things a go.

After a quick set-up, I put on my Helix…aka, "Second Skin" and jumped in the water for a good swim warm-up. I jumped out and we all lined up on the beach for the downhill FAST start. The gun went off and we sprinted for the water. I went out strong to find some feet and it worked out well. I was fourth in line and we were alone. Only problem is that the two guys directly in front of me popped, one-by-one. I pulled around and worked it solo for the remainder of the swim. I held the gap of about 15seconds and hopped out in a new PR of 19:13.

I got onto the bike and didn't feel great right away, but tried to stay smooth. My Timex HR Monitor showed that I was where I needed to be, and my Powertap SL showed good power. I knew that it was just a matter of time until I felt better. I never got into a groove, but did hit the wattage that I had hoped for.

I came off the bike with a good lead, but still tried to push the pace as much as possible. I wanted to see if I could make a good improvement in my run split from my previous race. I came through mile 1 in 5:26 and felt good with a HR of 168. I knew that my training was working and pushed, but also enjoyed the rest of the race. I crossed in 1:54:44.


I now have three weeks until Ironman Wisconsin and I feel like I am right where I want to be. I have a great team, coach and support system to hopefully let everything fall into place on Sept. 9. I will check in again as we get close. Thank you to everyone for their support. Please visit my website for more info,

My Coach Luis Vargas:
Saris Cycling Group –
Timex Team Site:
Madison Trek Bike Store:
Fleet Feet Madison:
Blue Seventy Wetsuits:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hard Work....DONE

Just a short note tonight.

Training has been rolling great over the last 6 weeks and I have really built a lot of fitness and have gotten lean, while still building a lot of strength.

I am now past the majority of the hard training and feel ready to go. I am happy, healthy, fit and confident. I will now try to get quiet over the next month to really dial in. I will check in every week or so with a few updates and thoughts.

I am racing this next Sunday at a competetive olympic distance race. Should be fun.

Have a great week.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Where I am at....

The last month has brough a lot of great things on the training front. I will give you a brief rundown.

After an ok race at Lake Stevens, I went right into a tough 2.5 week training block. It was mostly volume focused, but still had some top end work mixed in. This block a few great markers, one being a 20min TT where I was able to average 342 watts.

I then decided to race an Olypic Distance event down in IL. I will post a race report soon, but the race went well. I finished second to a guy that will be known by all soon. I was able to swim with the pack and then almost closed the gap to the front on the bike and averaged 302 watts for a ride of 56:58. This included a stop for a car that made a U-turn in front of me. On the run, I didn't have my top end there(probably from the volume), but still came across in 1:57:22.

This week I am back at it with 2 big days and 2 long runs. I have seen some real breakthroughs this week. Here are the details from two of my key days:

Wednesday: This run followed a big day training on Tuesday. 16 mile run. 10 miles averaging 6:40 per mile, 5 miles averaging 5:45-5:50 per mile and 1 then mile cooldown. Route was run through the UW arb. Challenging terrain in spots.


Swam 4.5km prior to ride, in wetsuit, open water with the guys I have been swimming with late this summer. Majority of the swim was moderate to mod-hard paced with HR of 150-55. Total swim time was 1:05.

Onto the ride, rolled out with race sim transition. I waited until I was past the majority of traffic before settling in. Just kept it steady the entire time: I rode the IMWI course.

Total Bike Split 5:06. (Keep in mind that there are 21 stop signs per loop on the bike, they are pinching cyclists around here, so I believe I lost time here. Also training wheel set-up. The idea was to see if my power on this training ride would yield a sub 5hr split, as well as to see what affect it would have on my run.

Had almost zero fade within the ride, even picked it up a bit toward the end. I nailed the nutrition part of it, 2000cals over 5hrs on the bike. If you include the swim, then it is 2000cals spread over the first 6:05.

Quick transition and onto the run, ran about 7.5 miles(just over 50minutes). Felt great and ran well. Ran on the IMWI run course. 6:45-6:48 for all miles.

My assessment of the level of fatigue is this. I felt like I was car racing. I really wanted to down shift and open it up, I was holding back the entire time, just waiting adn getting more excited as the miles clicked by. Fast cadence and relaxed. I ended with the feeling of endorphins flowing and great visual images.



I will finish out this block in another 10 days and then rest and race Pleasant Prairie Olympic Distance race on August 19th. I love this race. It can be very fast.

I will then recover and finish my peak stuff for IMWI.


I hope everyone is doing well and if you race, I hope that your final late season training is going well. If not, I hope that you are enjoying the rest of your summer.

I will check in again soon.