Sunday, December 28, 2008

Boxing Day and Banalla

Lately, two posts in one week is pretty rare for me...but I thought I need to get better at giving updates.

The last week was a good one, both in terms of having a good holiday and getting the training rolling. After a Christmas celebration with Chris' family (which was great), we set out on a long ride the next morning (Boxing Day). Despite feeling a bit ill (from the day before) it ended up being a beautiful ride up to the mountain top town of Falls Creek. Before the day was done, we had 170+ km in the legs (30 km of which were climbing) and well over 6hrs in the saddle.

The following day, we decided to head over to the small town of Banalla, for a sprint race that started at 5pm. It is a bit weird to be getting ready for a triathlon at 3pm, but I rolled with it. There was quite a bit of fatigue in the legs, but I still ended up having a pretty good race!

Today we recovered a bit with our new favorite card game of Uno and planned out NYE Day ride and festivities. Should be another fantastic week in Albury. The time is flying and before I know it, I will be in New Zealand (Jan 13th).

I hope everyone had a great holiday and has a safe new year!

Cheers,
BB

Friday, December 26, 2008

Long Time No Blog....Catching Up

Well, it has been over a month without a post. Yes, I am still alive and kicking in Albury and I know that is a long time with out an update ;)

After a period of evaluating how Ironman has gone recently, I am going to switch my focus a little bit in 2009. Not "away" from Ironman, but will be including some specific training for some 70.3 races. You can be sure that I will be at Ironman Wisconsin, as well as possibly a few others. I will have a posted race schedule soon.

New Look. Stay tuned for a new look to my website. It will include information on my clinics/seminars that I give in Madison, as well as an Ironman Wisconsin Training Camp that I am putting together at the beginning of August.

The economy has officially affected Blake. As a result I have 2 coaching vacancies for 2009. If you are interested you can contact me via email at blakebeck@gmail.com

Daily life is good in the household of C,M,JD,Brooke & myself. I am back training and rolling pretty well right now. I will most likely decide to toe the line at Challenge Wanaka (www.challenge-wanaka.com) on Jan 17, since I will be at the race and the other guys in the house will be racing as well.

That is it for now. I hope that everyone is having a fantastic holiday season and I will see you in the new year!

Cheers,
Blake

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gone Down Under....

Hey Everyone,

It has been a while since I have updated and a lot has happened. I will try to catch you up.

Subic Bay, Philippines training is done and the experience has been one of the best that I have had. Both in and out of sport.

In sport, Brett Sutton showed me a perspective that I couldn't have gotten from anywhere else but from him. He has taught me what really matters to be successful...all I will say is most don't get it. I will be a different athlete because of it. Thank you Sutto.

Out of sport, living in a 3rd world country is very eye opening. Most of the 1st world has no idea how the rest live. While we all got use to living in the Philippines, we all gained a huge appreciation for what we have.

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I am now down in Albury, NSW Australia. A smaller town 3hrs northeast of Melbourne. I am here training for the next few months with my good friends Chris, Marilyn and Justin. I arrived with Marilyn, while Chris and Justin will come in next week.

The training here is perfect, with no distractions. There are great roads to ride on, lots of run trails, and 5 swimming complex's!!!! Yes, I did say 5. Each one has an outdoor 50m and 25m pool.

I will be able to update a little more regularly, now that I am here. So stay tuned....

Cheers,
BB

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Week three from Subic


This is one of the little guys that I see pretty much daily while riding here in the Philippines. I will try to add a few more photos, if my internet speed cooperates.

I am in week three here in Subic and am starting to get into a little better routine. I just wanted to post a quick update to say that I am back to being 100% healthy, after battling a sinus infection, flu and dislocated toe. When you have your health, life is good...no matter what the situation is. The training is going great and the time is really flying by.

I only have 8 days left here in Subic, before heading down to Australia where I will be training with my good friends, Chris, Marylin and Justin. I trained with them in 2006 and had some of my best training/fun times to date.

I will try to post another update in a few days.

Blake

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Barber Shoppe, The Bats and The Navy


Today I have a few more interesting things to write about, so I threw together a quick blog. The body is really starting to come around and I am going better and better with each session. I have to say that this is the best I have ever felt running 8-9hrs a week. I am excited to keep it rolling.
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#1 The bats. Yesterday on our second ride of the day we heard what we first thought were monkeys, then birds...and then we looked up...what did we see? The giant fruit bats of the Philippines. The bats are some of the largest in the world and are VERY freaky to see in person. They weigh around 2.5lbs and have a wing span of over 3 feet. Wild!!!
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#2 The barber shoppe. I decided to get a haircut the other day, just to compare to what we get in the states. My conclusion...it is a MUCH better deal here...$1US for a cut. In addition to the cut, you also get shaved, coated in baby powder, rubbed with alcohol and then it is all finished off with some karate chops, a massage to head, neck, face and back and you are on your way! For some reason I can't see Great Clips or Cost Cutter implementing these services.
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#3 The Navy. In a matter of hours, the small town of Subic has gone from quiet and tranquil, to packed with thousands of Marines. We had a number of Navy Ships come into port today (3 or 4), including a few aircraft carriers. One was full of choppers and Harrier Fighter Jets. They are very cool to see up close. The Navy is also a career where you get to see a lot of the world.
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I hope everyone else is doing well. I heard Wisconsin had snow, which actually sounds pretty good right now. However, I know any of you would trade places with me in a second, so I won't wish I was there. I will send another update soon!
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Cheers,
BB

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Checking in from Subic Bay, Philippines


After 11 flights in one week, I am finally becoming numb to the hassles of traveling; the lines that never end, the shuttles, trying to get around baggage restrictions, airline food and sleeping in the seated position. I started out not being able to sleep for 15 minutes; I can now practically sleep for 6hrs straight.

Traveling gives a very freeing feeling. I have all of my physical possessions contained in a bag, bike box and backpack. At any moment I can pick up and move to anywhere I like.

It does require not having much holding you down, but part of being able to do this is luck. So many others around the world have no opportunity to pursue their passions and dreams because of where they are born, their jobs, family, or other reasons. So I feel very fortunate to have a passion and the ability to follow it. In addition to having the support of so many people, even if I am 8,000 miles away.

Traveling also brings on a sense of what matters in life; our family, our friends, our health and nothing that has to do with our possessions, appearances, money or finish times. This is magnified any time we are away from the important things and any time that you are around others that have almost nothing and are just as happy as you are.

Knowing (either by reading or experiencing) what is outside of our box that we call the United States, really gives perspective. Yes, we have a struggling economy, $4 gas, the values of our 401k’s are falling and there are a lot of other worries on people’s minds. But compared to the rest of world, we have it pretty good. Many others would love to have to worry about those things.

I am not trying to get on a soap box and I am not saying that we shouldn’t be upset at our issues, because they are important. But I am saying it is important to take a step back from time to time…pay attention to the simple things...we will all be better for it.

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I arrived in Subic Bay, Philippines on Monday this week to work with well known coach Brett Sutton. The first days of training have been pretty solid, but what really makes them tough is the heat and humidity. To give you perspective, the dewpoint, or measure of the amount of water in the earth’s atmosphere, is roughly 70* in Miami…it is 80* here, with an air temp or about 90* F.

I have been sick this first week and have been doing my best to get through it. An Ironman, lots of travel, a bit of partying and no sleep for 5 days finally pushed me over the line. I have since gotten antibiotics at the local drugstore, where you can just go in to buy them….no need for a doctor. I think I may be stocking up while I am here.

I am staying in a hotel here with a few other athletes. It is very nice and everything is convenient….except the pool. We have to ride about 20min up a giant hill to get there. After a tough morning bike session, it is not so nice on the legs. The track is across the street and we can do our rides right from the hotel.

Outside of training, the country really gives a sense of being fortunate. Subic Bay is very nice…and patrolled. Outside of SB, there is a lot of poverty and it is a different place. Over the next 4 weeks I will update my blog regularly with my experiences and pictures from here in the Philippines.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sticking It Out...

Well....I finished. That is about how it went for me. I ran into the same issue that I always seem to have in Ironman. 4.5hrs into the race (about 80-90 miles) i lose a LOT of power on the bike. This is an issue that I am determined to solve.

Here is a brief recap of the day.

Swim was very easy. I started with Nina and Farris on either side of me. The cannon went off and I couldn't match Farris' speed, but staying on Nina's feet seemed comfortable. She usually makes the front group, so I just stayed put. I eventually found Hillary Biscay and stayed there for most of the race.

With about a kilometer to go, she started to move to the front of our group and I followed until i started to get beat up, so I stayed put in the middle of the group.

We got to the last turn buoy and there was a HUGE acceleration, which I found out later, was from when Hillary realized she could be first woman out. I didn't realize it, but our group then split and a gap of about 45seconds opened up in the last 400m. I now know I need to be at the front to make sure I can go with any gap that opens.

All in all, I am pleased with the swim. Many guys who were in contention, including Stadler, Beke and Marino were in there.

The Bike - Rode pretty hard through town, trying to bridge a gap to a group of 8 guys that were 30seconds up the road. I couldn't do it and they actually stayed there for most of the ride. I then dialed it down a notch once out onto the Queen K. The wind and heat started to come into play at about 30mi into the ride and got tough at times throughout the day, but come on, it is kona, what do you expect!?! I rode steady and just focused on my nutrition...which was spot on. Everything rolled well until i got off the descent from Hawi and started to climb back to the Queen K. At that point, my left side was pretty tight and I had no power.

I stayed positive, told myself it would pass. Well, it didn't really pass and then I got some major hot spots on the bottom of my feet in the last 20mi, which further killed my ride back to Kona. I got off the bike and just told myself to get out and run easy and see how I felt.

The Run - I ran my 645-50 for about 14 or 15 miles and then my pace really slowed. Eventually, about 90min later, I had Hillary run up on me....ran with her to the finish.

The Finish - This was my first kona as a professional and it was important(as always) to finish. It was not how I expected/wanted the day to go...but I learned a lot. My swim is almost there, my body is good in the heat and when I can just solve this Ironman bike issue, I will have a good race.

I want to thank everyone for their support. My friend's Erin, Nancy, Sue and Chloe for coming into town for the race. Jen and Chuck for letting me stay with them in their condo and for driving me around. My family and friends in Madison and around the country, your support is great and of course my sponsors; Timex, Infinit and Blue Seventy for the great support, equipment and gear. (Blue Seventy got my a long john Point Zero 3, the day before the race, which was AWESOME!).

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I am now heading back to Wisconsin on a red-eye tonight, before packing up again and flying out on Thursday. More details on that trip and my plans, soon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tomorrow is About...

Tomorrow is a mental race....The physical work is a given, but how we deal with the adversity that comes throughout the day, will determine the outcome of our race.

The fact that I lessened my load in the last few weeks is a huge advantage to me. I am fresh. What will make a race tomorrow is the mental side to things. The ability and willingness to severely and deeply hurt yourself. Letting negative emotions flow through and pushing through any and all pain that comes.

Our body has an ability to protect us through shutting down mentally, before we do physically. Tomorrow it is about ignoring those mental signals.

Perhaps I have forgotten how to hurt my self in that way, or just focused on the wrong things. I don't know. But I do know that at 645am tomorrow, it is about proving that I can hurt more than anyone else out there. Though it won't mean a win, it will mean a good race and that is what I want.

A stepping stone for my future.

Cheers,
BB

Dropping In Last Minute

For my 14th Ironman start, 2nd in Kona and 1st here as a professional, I decided to drop in last minute. Sometimes this yields your best result.

There is no time to let the anxieties of race week build, there is no time to doubt the work you have done and there is no time to get bored. There is just enough time to land, unpack, make sure everything is working well and then…before you know it, you are in the water waiting for the cannon.

Travels this time around were a little crazy. After a delayed start to my 3 flight adventure, I just made my connection in Denver, with about 20min to spare. I sat on the plane wondering whether or not my bike had made it over with me. I chose not to worry about it, since there was nothing I could do. Turns out this was a smart move…my bike made it over in time.

The race conditions are looking pretty favorable for a fast day on Saturday. There is a big swell on the way, but it is not suppose to arrive until Sunday, so the water is going to be fairly flat. The trade winds have been light and there has been some cloudy cover. The only negative to this has been the VOG (volcano fog)….which makes for a hazy sky and also gives the lungs a little burn.

All in all, i am ready to rip…..645am sat. http://www.ironman.com/

Thank you everyone for all the great emails and texts!

Cheers,
BB

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Just Arrived In Kona

I have just arrived in Kona and after a few minor travel setbacks, it looks like things will go a little more smoothly from here on out. I will post some pics and more updates as I get time.

For all of you wanting to follow the race, it will take place on Saturday, October 11th, at 1145am central standard time. There will be a live broadcast over on http://www.ironman.com/

Saturday, October 04, 2008

1 Week....

One week left before I will be racing for the first time at the Ironman World Championships as a professional. I raced as an age grouper in 2004, but haven't been back since.

The training has been rolling along, despite tweaking my knee when getting out of my van the other day. I think that a tight IT band is to blame. So far, it hasn't caused any issues on the training front.

I have a great mindset going into this race with zero pressure. I am racing against the best in the world and am hoping that it will bring out the best in me.

I will check in again before the race, but right now it is 30*F outside and I am trying to get my head around the fact that it will be 3x that when I toe the line in a week. Awesome!

Cheers,

BB

Sunday, September 28, 2008

2 weeks to go....

Less than two weeks to go until 'the big dance' over in Kona and I am moving pretty well right now. Besides bike numbers that are about 10% higher then the summer, I am swimming well and I would classify my running as solid.

For me and my racing, a lot revolves around the 180k ride and fact that I am feeling strong here, gives me a lot of confidence for Oct. 11. I am building each week as i get closer to the race and will just do a short rest before game time.

I am very excited to toe the line again and will check in again in a few days.

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Two weeks also marks the start of a LOT of traveling. more details to come soon. But, I am excited for the coming winter, to say the least.

Cheers,

BB

Friday, September 26, 2008

My New Philosophy......

KISS
(Keep It Simple Stupid)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Level....

Well, it seems that we have figured out a few things based on my last few rides....

#1 - I built a lot of fitness late in the season.

#2 - I was very tired out there racing at IMWI

#3 - It took 4 weeks to recover from that training

#4 - It is going to set me up well for Kona.

My long ride today was far and above anything that I have seen. Normalized power was 278 watts, with zero fading (I am 70kg's). This is is 27 watts higher than my best ride this summer, which was before IMCDA....that is about 10%...which is A LOT.

I think that I have spent so much of my short athletic career over reached, tired, under fed and focused on a few things that probably don't really matter. When I walk around shelled, 40 weeks out of the year, it is easy to think that is what is 'normal' and what I 'should' be feeling. I am not going to go into any more detail, but will just say that a few things are going to change.

I am really looking forward to having fun in kona and putting together what we all know is there.

Cheers,
BB

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Silver Linings.....

Well....I have always thought that there is a silver lining to everything bad that happens. I think that the key is to just stay positive, see the glass half full and keep working hard. The good seems to come when you least expect it.

My race at IMWI is turning out to be no exception. After the race I immediately started recovering with 2-3 short sessions of 30-60min each day.

After a week, I still kept the volume down...but started to add back intensity. I have changed a few things, am now back training full steam and seeing THE best numbers of the year. I will be in Kona...motivated and hungry for a good race.

See you out there!

Cheers,
BB

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What do you do when....


...the road gets steep? The above pic is from Lefhand Canyon, looking up at Ward, Colorado. If you know that climb, you know that it is steepest in the last mile. Now picture that climb as the road to what you want to accomplish (that being getting to Ward....or for me, going fast in an Ironman and making a living in triathlon). On a day when you have "gone to see Elvis," or are dead tired, or have had 13 bad Ironman races, you get to the last mile of the climb and it would be easy to turn around and roll home. To say "I just can't do it." What would you do?
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Well, I push like hell, until I get to that general store in town...regardless of how I feel. "Can't" is not in my vocabulary. I really believe that the road to where we want to be is not easy. It requires taking a risk or two, giving up opportunity over on easy street and going against the grain...but the rewards will be great. Just believe in yourself and your ability, every step of the way.
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It is easy to dip out and to say you tried, but for me it is different. My passion, heart and soul is in this battle and I will win it, regardless of what it takes....there are no exceptions here, just a period at the end of that statement.
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So, now...I am more motivated than ever and will win this battle. PERIOD.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

IMWI

Just a short post on IMWI.

Thanks for all the great emails, calls and texts. It was not my day out there, but I did breakthrough with a 52:16 swim and started the bike with the leaders. I rode along in 4th for a while and then slipped to 8th, then made it back up to 6th before I flatted at mile 60. After that I just didn't have any strength on the bike. I ran ok for about 15mi, before stomach probs forced me to slow.

I did finish. This is something that I believe you always have to do unless you have a medical reason. I will now recover for a week before continuing to move forward. Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

BB

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Friday....

...and only 2 days left before the I hit the line on Sunday.

The weather over last 2 days has been HORRIBLE! 55* and pouring rain (thanks to Hurricane Gustav). The upside to this rain is that it is likely to bring the water temps down...and maybe far enough to give us wetsuits...wouldn't THAT be sweet!

Anyway, this will likely be the last post before the race. My body feels ready to go and mentally I am in a good spot! You can follow along on http://www.ironman.com/ starting at 6:45am on Sunday.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Part 1: Why Wisconsin?

Some people ask me the question:

"Why do you stay in Wisconsin to train during the summer?"

I have always responded with words, but knew that it was one of those things that you had to experience to believe. This place is pretty far from anything in SoCal or Colorado, but I will argue that we in Wisconsin have some of the best bike training anywhere in the country.

Since I have more time on my hands and new camera, I will be bringing you pics that hopefully give you a better idea of what things are like here. Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Picture This....

....you have a big basement...you put a treadmill in the middle....you then invite over and pack the basement full of a hundred of your closest friends and family....you have them cheer for you as you run on the treadmill. How motivating would that be? Well that is what it will feel like for me on the run course next weekend. Like the Packers playing the Super Bowl at Lambeau Field.

The good sensations are back, I am sleeping well and can't wait to get out there again.

Good luck to all racing at IMLou!

BB

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Life Is.....

.....slooooowly coming back to me. This week is a tough one though. The body is really trying to bounce back from the big load of the last training block, but it is taking some time. I started out tired, moved to flat and am just starting to get a little pop back. I will keep you updated on my progress.

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Ironman Day 2008. I have also organized a day dedicated to Ironman at The Trek Store westside location. It will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 2nd and run from 12pm-8pm.

The Timex truck and local vendors will be on hand. There will be free bike tune-ups, free food off the grill and a lot of free swag.

I will also be leading an Ironman Wisconsin seminar that will start at 6pm. It should run about 45-60min, so bring your questions. Email me if you have any questions.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Done.....for now ;)

I have successfully made it through this Ironman build. My body is tired and I am welcoming the rest and strength that I will gain with each passing day and night of sleep.

I have a solid plan that I am going to execute in a few weeks and believe in all the work that I have done. At the end of the day, my only goal is to execute this plan. Of course there are numbers in my head, but only Kurt and I know about them.

Right now, I am focused on my taper and getting as strong as I can in the next 2 weeks.

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As a side note, I want to congratulate all at IM Canada today. Bryan Rhodes took the win after a tough year racing, my good friend Justin Daerr took 5th (only seconds out of 4th), teamate Kyle Marcotte was 6th, Lisa Bentley had a solid comeback race after an injury, Mark Van Akkeren lead the race into the marathon, while Gordo & Jonnyo also mixed it up out there after being sick most of the year.

Nice work out there today everyone, VERY impressive.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What do I do during my down time????

Watch 100's of videos like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nda_OSWeyn8

The best part is that almost 7 million people have viewed this one!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Training Update

For those of you that are interested, here is what I have done over the previous 17 days. I am now pretty tired, but the numbers are still good. Just a few more days of tough stuff and then I get to ease off a little bit. The first week of tapering still has some tough sessions, but it will feel like a piece of cake....hopefully.

Day 1 - 6.5k swim, 1:30 ride

Day 2 - 5:30 ride, 50min run

Day 3 - 4.2k swim, 1:30 ride, 1:50 run

Day 4 - 4.4k swim, 4:50 ride, 50min run

Day 5 - 4.1k swim, 3:30 ride, 1:35 run

Day 6 - 4.4k swim, 2:00 ride, 40min run

Day 7 - 2.5k swim, 6:00 ride, 30min run

Day 8 - 4.1k swim, 2:30 run

Day 9 - 4.4k swim, 2:00 ride

Day 10 - 6:00 ride, 45min run

Day 11 - 4.6k swim, 4:30 ride, 15min run

Day 12 - 1:30 ride, 2:35 run

Day 13 - 4.7k swim, 1:35 ride

Day 14 - 3.5k swim, 3:00 ride, 40min run

Day 15 - 4.6k swim, 1:40 run

Day 16 - 3:30 ride, 45min run

Day 17 - 3.8k swim, 6:00 ride, 50min run

All of the training was in zones 2 & 3, with harder swimming:

Total Training -

Hours - 85
Swimming - 56k
Cycling - 54 hrs - 1,640 km
Running - 16 hrs - 212 km

3 weeks until I get to go play in my backyard!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

1/100th.....

WOW.....I am going to keep this post short, so my my limited grammar and spelling skills don't come though :)

Michael Phelps is amazing!!!

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Track starts tonight. The 100m qualifying races are on right now and some of the guys are wearing aerodynamic sleeves. Maybe I should get some of those??? If they are making a difference in the 100m, imagine what they would do for 26miles????? Oh wait, I couldn't run a 9sec 100 if my life depended on it. Actually, now that I think about it, I couldn't run a 10, 11 or 12 second 100 meters.

+++++++++

Training update: I am still working very hard so I don't get crushed and embarrassed by everyone on the start list in a few weeks. I am spending a lot of time starring at the ceiling (inside joke).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Scoring

Each night, probably like everyone who is reading this, I have watched much of the Olympic coverage. In the past, I have usually just paid attention to the events that I am familiar with. Most of the time I have stuck to swimming, cycling, track, etc.

This year I have made an effort to watch everything from water polo, to synchronized diving, beach volleyball and gymnastics. In watching these events, I have listened to interviews, learned the rules and know how the scoring works.

Honestly, the way that some of these events are scored is rediculous. It makes sense to me that events/skills/sports in the Olympics should be scored objectively. Meaning, there are clear guidelines as to how you win. This also leave almost no room for subjectivity or the possibility of "tainted" results / cheating.

Here are some examples of objective scoring.

- Fastest time
- Highest jump
- Most goals/points
- IN or OUT of bounds

One event that is NOT scored 100% objectively IMO, is gymnastics. Yes, there is a start value for each routine, jump, etc....and there are clear necessary deductions if you step out of bounds or fall off a beam, but then there is something called "execution." Execution is subjective and is what makes up most of the competitors score. It is how the judges "thought" each performance was executed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

If you are an athlete, you may train your whole young life to be in that one moment. You may "think" that you did your routine perfectly...but your score is mostly how someone else, who you don't even know, "thinks" you did.

Now let's say you did the above routine and for a reason, the judge has a bias toward you, your team or coach. OR, what if the judge missed seeing something? OR what if they thought they saw something? Whatever....resulting in a deduction that costs you the medal that who have worked your whole life for???

I am not claiming to be an expert in scoring and maybe my million hours of training in the last few weeks has made me crazy, but events that are scored this way should be, IMO, left out of the Olympic Games. Including them just invites scandle and controversy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Half Way....

I am now halfway through my 24 days and things are rolling...

Sunday and Monday included solid swimming and running, along with over 200 miles of riding, then today's key session was a VERY steady 2hr30min run at race pace.

As I am "backing up" my training, day in and day out, things seem to be getting easier. I am not getting broken way down, infact my body is accepting the work and growing stronger and more fit, this is indicated by rising power numbers on long rides and faster paces in the water and on the run.

Yes, there are many hours of the day when I simply stare at the ceiling because that is the only thing I have energy for. Infact, I haven't shaved for over a week and I needed to buzz my head about 2 weeks ago, but then again what do I need to shave for??? I don't see any women ever right now. Plus, I will have plenty of time during the taper. All of my time outside of training needs to be used to conserve energy and recover.

Monday, August 11, 2008



Well, I knew that I would start to get tired eventually, but luckily I have something that keeps me going out there. Coffee's Of Hawaii makes some pretty strong/great stuff that I REALLY look forward to each morning.

Infact, I have given up sugar and alcohol in these last 6 weeks and at first I missed them, but now I only look forward to my HUGE pot...i mean cup of coffee in the morning and a big bowl of oatmeal. Mmmmmmmmmmm! The above picture is probably what I look like if you seem me out training right now, except my form isn't as good as the coffee man

Not much to post, just an update that things are going well. 10 down and 14 days to go in this build!!!!

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Oh yeah, a quick post on the Olympics. Amazing is all I can say. From the opening ceremonies, to Phelps, to the 4x100 relay lastnight....just awesome. I helps me get out the door!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"Backing It Up"

I am now 8 days into my 24 day block and I have been putting in some serious volume. I have decided to rename the training block to the "Backing It Up Block." This means that I will not only be putting in long hours, but backing those long hours up with more long hours.



As the days go by, the body still feels good. I love working hard, but the only thing that allows me to do it is the fact that I have almost no training above half ironman pace and have zero distractions outside of training. This means that I am doing everything I can to recover on a daily basis.



My daily routine follows below, feel free to integrate them into your own training and see what they do to your recovery time:



- 2-3 self massage sessions of 20min

- An ice bath

- Compression socks all the time

- A water bottle that doesn't leave my hand

- Naps

- Lots of sleep at night

- A LOT of good food.

- Fueling myself WELL during all sessions



I am one third of the way through and so far I have just over 45hrs of training banked with 31km in the water, 24hrs of riding(almost 800km) and 8.5hrs of running.

Take that volume, triple it...then add in two weeks of taper and you have our plan going into IMWI. Oh yeah....I will racing IMWI about 5-7lbs lighter than IMCDA..that should help the run a bit as well.



Train hard!



BB

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The "Bubble Block" of Training

After a few days of unloading, Kurt has put together what will likely be my biggest training block of the year. The block of training is 24 days long and the focus of it is ironman pace re-enforcement. Almost nothing out of zone 2/3, which is my biggest limiter.

I am officially labeling this block of training "The Bubble Block," b/c during this time I am keeping myself on a short leash, in an attempt to get that extra 1 or 2% from my training. Ironman Wisconsin is a race that means a lot to me and I would like nothing more than to finish up front.

As the block rolls along, I will post training updates and a few workouts, if you are interested.

I hope everyone's training is going well. Stay cool.

BB

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Going Well...

Just a quick update to let everyone know that things are rolling along really well. The last 3 weeks totaled about 90hrs, with some very solid sessions. I am now easing off for a few days, before hitting it again.

This last training block has really put a new perspective on training to me. I am now working toward my 3rd of 4 or 5 Ironman races this year and I am loving the training more than ever. My job is to just be out there working hard each day...every_single_week. Some days are good and some days hurt a lot, but that is life as an athlete.

In the end I believe that this is what gets you to the top. Consistently being consistent, day after day, month after month and year after year. For ohhhhh, about 10 or 12 years. ;)

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

Oh, a few weeks ago i posted something about news regarding a passport/visa. Well, I will be going to Australia to train from November 24th to March 17th with my friends Chris and Marylin. I trained with them in 2006 and am really looking forward to getting back out training with them. They probably know me and my attitude toward training as good as anyone!

I will post my purposed race schedule for my time over there soon, but it is looking like Ironman Western Australia will be race #1 on December 8th.

Train Hard,

BB

Monday, July 28, 2008

"The Tree" or "The Forest?"

The title is something that Kurt constantly reminds me of and is something that I am always pushing on my athletes. Let me explain.



"The Trees" are specific workouts, intervals, HR's, watts, sets and small details.



"The Forest" is the big picture and what could be called your fitness.



+++++



If you look at a forest from above, will you notice if a tree is missing? I don't think so. The same could be said for missing a workout for the sake of recovery, family, or anything else. It is NOT going to make or break your fitness. Now if you don't take that day off and get injured, all of sudden you are missing 30 or 40 trees/workouts....THIS makes a difference.



+++++



Another point that could be made here relates to the details of your training. Does it really matter if you are running at 144 or 145bpm or 7:30 or 7:32 per mile? What about riding a loop at 167 or 169 watts? Should you pay attention to things like this?



While it is important to watch for trends through your training and it is important to train to appropriate zones, don't get too hung up on the details...especially HR's. The important thing is for you to get out there day in and day out, stay healthy and work hard (enjoying it, of course)...your fitness is just the reward of all your hard work.



So next time people start debating over 2watts or 3bpm, know that they are just talking about the trees.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Numbers Are Fun...

So today, after 6hrs in the saddle and short run, I decided to come home and see how much work I have put in this year. It is not my highest volume training year, but it is one of my most consistent years, with no injuries or major set backs.

In roughly 6 months worth of training (about 2 weeks off after each Ironman), here is what I have come up with. Keep in mind that numbers are just that....numbers, which mean nothing. BUT, they are fun to look at.

Total Hours: 688 hours
---
Swim: 566,847 yds
---
Bike: 7,137 mi or 11,485 km
---
Run: 1,230 mi or 1,980 km

Friday, July 18, 2008

"It's Just One Workout"

I have talked to a few other coaches about athletes who sometimes get upset or worked up over a bad session or workout. As much as try to design a training plan that yields successful key sessions, we are not machines and sometimes we "just don't have it."

There are so many variables that go into our performance on a daily basis. A few examples include; fueling before/during/after previous workouts, sleep during the previous week, anxiety, hydration, weather, our mental attitude toward the session....and the list goes on.

Sometimes we can't pin a failed workout on anything specific, we "just had a bad day." Just like we have days where it all clicks, we also have days where nothing does! It happens to everyone and the best thing you can do is just put it out of your head and keep rolling. Don't try to make up for it in the next session. Just continue as you normally would. Remember, you can't control anything in the past...all you can just learn from it.

So next time you have an off day, don't sweat it. Just learn from it, figure out what may have caused it (if you can) and move on.

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

On the training front, all is well on this end. I have hit 23, 27 and around 31 hours this week. I have been integrating some new stuff into my training that I will talk about in the coming weeks. I have one more week in this training block and then I am headed out to Boulder for a weekend for get some testing done, as well as catch up with some friends.

I also have some exciting training news regarding this coming winter....let's just say that my passport and visa are ready to go ;)

Have a great weekend, good luck to all racing at Boulder Peak, Lake Placid, Spirit of Racine and Vineman.

BB

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ironman....a different type of challenge

If you have followed me at all since I started racing, you know that I have executed and done well at all distances, except Ironman. This is despite training soely for Ironman.

I have thought a lot about this and have heard all different explanations that ranged from metabolism issues, to the wrong type of workouts, to muscle fiber make up.


Well, after much thinking and talking with my coach, it seems that the above issues are NOT the problem. The only issue is that I just continue to be an idiot on race day. If you look at all of my power files, you will see what looks like a double black diamond ski slope. I over pace the first 2hrs of the ride, not necessarily by average or normalized power, but by integrating too many power spikes over threshold power.

The result is that I feel like I want to crawl into the ditch and hide at about the 4hr mark of the ride. I don't, but I do suffer a lot (and slow wayyy down) in that last hour. It then gets better. I have to get off the bike and run a marathon after feeling like I got hit by a truck. Not fun, but I do it and cross the line pretty far back from my potential.

OK, so why don't I learn from my mistakes....11 times in 11 Ironman races??? Here it is...maybe you'll see some similarities with your racing and training?

My background was not in swimming, cycling or running. Infact I disliked all 3. I played baseball, golf and lifted weights and was pretty successful with them. But each time out in practice or in a game, the goal was to do better than....either your opponent or better than you did the previous time out.

"Throw harder."

"Shoot a lower score."

"Bench press more."

These were what I focused on each time out. From the age of 6, to the age of 18...a long time. No wonder it is tough to correct.


Anyway, now let's relate this to triathlon racing. If we try to swim faster, bike harder and run faster than we have before, what happens?

Olympic Distance - This is good, the goal is to go as hard as you can.

Half Ironman - Not terrible, but after riding too hard, your run times suffer by a few minutes.

Ironman - You Blow Up....EVERY_SINGLE_TIME.


Here are a few other situations that fit into this catagory.

1) An athlete that saw quick success in another sport growing up.

2) An athlete who had/has success in the business world.

3) Any athlete that lacks patience.


Ironman training is different. It is more about doing the training that is appropriate and beneficial for you...nothing more, nothing harder. Then going out on race day and using 100%, not 101%, of that fitness on race day.

You can't be in a hurry for results. Ironman is a very long term process and it takes patience and persistence to reach your potential.

Unless you are contending in Kona, your best result from running your race. Anything else will do nothing but slow you down in the end.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Back Rolling Again...

After a week almost completely off(4k of swimming), I am back rolling again. The body and mind feel great and I am very motivated to have my breakthrough race in my hometown. This week consisted of a little over 22hrs of training, but with no very much intensity. I posted a brief summary below.

Before I get to that though, I have had some time to analyze my race in CDA, go over it with Kurt and gotten input from others.....though some people have trouble understanding why I am disappointed to be the 10th Pro...you can easily see why by my power file. I again over paced the first half of the bike and paid for it in the last hour of the ride and on the run. I am determined to get this right and when I do, it will all come together.

I am going to post a blog this week about why I think it is tough for me to get Ironman right, as well as why other might have trouble. More coming soon!

Training Week 6/30/08

Monday-
Swim 3k
Bike 1:30
Run 40min

Tuesday -
Bike 1:50
Run 50min
Strength 30min

Wednesday -
Swim 3.5k
Bike 2:35

Thursday -
Swim 4k
Run 55min

Friday -
Swim 4.5k
Bike 1:50
Strength 20min

Saturday -
Swim 3k
Bike 5:01
Run 20min

Sunday -
Run 1:30

Weekly Total
Swim - 4:30 - 18,076 yds
Bike - 12:40 - 239 miles (TSS 501)
Run - 4:10 - 35.3 miles
Strength - :50

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report

2008 Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report
10th Professional
9:26:30


I thought I should write a race report before I forget more of the details from this last weekend. Each Ironman that I race, I find another piece or two to "the puzzle" of having a great race. This time was no exception. Improvement is ALWAYS good and this race was just that. It was my first top 10 professional finish, it was a PR on a tough course and it is the first time that I have qualified to race in Kona as an elite.

All week everyone worried about the water temperature being too cold, but when we arrived at the start line on Sunday morning, it was back up to 59*F...perfect temp to me. The swim started off pretty well considering it was a beach start...I don't do well with those. I missed the front group of guys that broke away, but ended up in the second pack about 4:45 behind. There was a wicked current that seemed to push us all over the place, so everyone came out a bit slow. I exited the water in 9th and hustled through T1 to make it out onto the bike in 7th.

Onto the bike I felt pretty good. I was really looking forward to the ride, as it is similar to what I have been training in. I let a few guys go, who were HAMMERING the first section, and just stayed steady. Having my Power Tap is a HUGE key to doing this. I stuck to my plan and rode along in 9th or 10th spot for most of the ride. I started to bring back time on a few guys up the road, but at about mile 70 I started to get tired. I just tried to take advantage of the downhills, stay aero where I could and keep on top of my nutrition. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I just stayed positive and in the moment. The last 20mi were back into the wind and this section was pretty tough for me.

I got off the bike in 10th and was soon out on the run with Olly Piggin. We chatted a bit in the first few miles and had similar paces. The effort and pace seemed good, but I didn't have the rhythm that I wanted. I hoped that I would find my groove and could settle in. I was pulling back time on the guys up the road, but then the wheels started to come off a bit. I knew I was in 9th or 10th, so I just focused on running as strong as I could. I was happy with my ability to not back off mentally when it got tough, this is easy to do. Soon, I was in the last mile (a looooooong downhill that feels awesome on the legs) and before I knew it, I was done.

I want to thank all my family, friends and sponsors who support and believe in me and my future in the sport. Timex, The Trek Store Madison, Blue Seventy, Coffee's of Hawaii, Twin Six, SaltStick, Berkeley Running Company in Madison and my coach, Kurt Perham, for all his guidance.

I want to give a huge shout out to the Fortis family for hosting me. You guys are awesome!! I also want to thank Sue Hutter and her family for setting everything up and always making sure that I had everything that I needed.

One more fun fact: Tom Evans, who won, is 14yrs my senior :) Needless to stay I am just beginning!!!

Next up is Ironman Wisconsin on Sept 7 and Kona on Oct 11!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Night Before

Well, everything is done and it is raining outside...I am glad that I covered my bike up and removed the front wheel (the Bontrager wheels have holes around the spokes and can fill up with water). Today I took care of all the usuals and am now just waiting until tomorrow. At least I can follow Ironman Japan which just started.

Very excited for tomorrow. Many people have asked about goals and my only goal is to have a good race. Yes there are 5 Kona slots for the men and yes two of the faster guys have their slots, but that means nothing unless I execute. So I will stay in the moment and be patient.

Thank you to everyone who supports and believes in me. Family and friends have been awesome, as well as my sponsors. Please check out their links over on the side of the blog.

Again, tomorrow the race will be broadcast over on http://www.ironman.com/ and starts at 6:25am Pacific Time. ~BB

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Day Closer...

Well, I have been in CDA since Monday and everything has gone really well. I woke up today and felt "normal" for the first time in a long time. No niggles, no soreness, no tightness, just felt good. The best part is that I have 3 more days to rest. I have just about everything taken care of as far as bike maintenance, errands, etc. I just have to register later today, hit the grocery store again and then finish up a little coaching work.

This morning I headed down to the Gatorade Swim and it was pretty entertaining. Usually you see athletes in wetsuits with one logo of whatever brand they are rollin'. But today, because of the water there were people with branding everywhere. Neoprene caps with a logo, wetsuits with a logo, booties with a logo...pretty damn funny actually.

The water temp has dropped a bit in the last few days. It has been windy, which has churned up the lake. I also think that the warmer temps have cause more snow to melt and run into the lake. I am not wearing booties and seem to be fine in just a neoprene cap. The only issue is that after about 25-30min of swimming, I can't keep my fingers together. I'll manage.

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

Thank you to everyone that has sent good luck texts, calls and emails. I apologize for not returning them, but I am just focusing on getting done what needs to be done. I will have plenty of time to discuss the race, course, etc in the few weeks following the race.

I will try to post again before the race, but if not I will write up a brief summary on Sunday night or Monday. The race begins in Sunday at 6:25am Pacific Time. You can follow at http://www.ironman.com/ It is very easy, just go to the site and you will be able to figure it out.

Blake

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CDA could be....

...the most beautiful, awesome place in the country. But don't tell anyone. That is what everyone, who lives here, tells me about this place. Ironman has put this place on the map and it is expanding everywhere you look.

I am not surprised though. There are million dollar views in every direction and the summer weather here is beautiful right now. 45-55* at night and 70-80* during the day...not too many bugs and no humidity(it is at ~2200ft).

I am now settled and have a great homestay right on the run course. A huge thanks to Sue for #1 Picking me up from the airport. #2 Hooking me up with a great homestay.

Onto my homestay, I don't think I need to say more than "everything is great." Bill, Rebecca, Jessica and Sam have made me feel right at home. Tonight we are having a Salmon BBQ, with Salmon from the Columbia....I love the salmon...and grilling it, so maybe I'll pick up some tips!

The water here is cold, but not bad. No booties needed...just a neoprene cap. I think it is about 56* right now. The bike course is most beautiful I have seen...seriously and then is very spectator friendly. Most info to come on the course as the race gets closer.

Gotta run for my massage!

BB

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Hay Is In The Barn

This last week following the Rockman Half Ironman went very well. I have finished all key workouts and now it is time to put the feet up and stay sharp with shorter workouts with a few hard efforts.

I will fly out on Monday to CDA and have a little less than a week to get familiar with the course. I can't wait to get out there. I haven't been this motivated and excited to race in long time.

If I get time, I will post again before I fly out.

BB

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Old Position...New Position

Getting Better - Getting Lower
-
Old position at California 70.3
-
New position going into IM CDA
-
I still think I can get lower...infact I have a new stem that I am going to try after June 22nd.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rockman Race Report

This last weekend I headed down to Rockford, IL for the second straight year for my final tune-up before Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2 weeks. Chip, the race director, is turning this race into one that is going to be around for a long time. It is a very well run event and this year, there was a pro field, as well as a $10,000 prize purse.

"The boss," Kurt, and I decided to go into this race with a little less rest than California 70.3 earlier in the year. The idea would be to get a little more quality training in before Ironman Coeur d'Alene in a few weeks. As last week rolled along, I was tired and didn't start to feel better until Friday night before the race.

The weather forecast looked sketchy and did not disappoint. Hot temps, humidity and high winds were forecast, along with severe weather. The day before race, there were winds gusting to 60-70mph, humid temps in the high 80's and storms with tornadoes in the area.

Our plan was to dial back the watts on the bike and pay close attention to electrolyte intake. It is one thing to have someone else beat you, but it is another thing to beat yourself.

Race morning came around and it looked like we might be able to get the race in without incident. With about 30min to go until the start, I checked over everything and started to head down to the water. I took about 10 steps, stopped and decided to go back and look at the tires on my bike, just to make sure I was ready to roll. A little OCD I think :), but I was glad that I did!! The front looked good, but as I looked at the rear I noticed a tiny lump in the rubber. I poked around and found a nail stuck all the way into the tire....WOW, this would have given me a flat for sure. The little things do matter.

I quickly headed down to the start and got in a very solid 15-20min of swimming. I really wanted to make sure I started the day off well. The gun sounded and I swam HARD. There were 15, 10, then 5, then 4 of us. I was determined to stay in the group and drilled myself. My HR monitor told me that my HR was between 180-186 for the first 12+ minutes of the race. BUT, I did make the group. With about 200m to go, the sprint began for the swim prime, which I didn't want any part of. I was 4th out of the water and 2nd out of T1.

Once on the bike, I just used my Powertap to guide my effort. I dialed back the watts and focused on getting low/aero and just rode steady. It was windy, humid, but thankfully not sunny. I upped my electrolyte intake by about 50%, using Saltstick tabs. I got to the turn around, where I had about a 4:15 lead on the next athlete, Zach Ruble, who I know is very talented, so I still didn't feel very safe. I rolled along, taking advantage of free speed where I could and arrived back to T2.

A quick transition and I was out on the run. The run course went out for about a half mile on the bike course before turning off. I didn't see another cyclist, but anything can happen in long course racing. With 3 turn arounds on the run, the plan was to run hard, as long as I had to.

I turned after the half mile and all I could see was a black sky. I was HOT and actually rain didn't sound that bad. I went through the first 3 miles feeling good with a solid pace/HR. Then the sky opened up. You couldn't see anything!!! The path turned into a river and there was lightning everywhere.

I got to the first turn around and knew that I had a good gap, but still didn't know where everyone else was. Since it was early in the race I decided to push until the second turn around. I headed across a wide open field and over a hill and was literally scared for my life. There were lightning bolts everywhere and I couldn't see anything with the rain. At least I wasn't hot anymore, right???

I got to mile 7 and the second turn around where I would get a chance to see everyone else. I was very happy to find out that I had a 12min lead with 6 miles to go. I thought, "As long as I don't get struck by lightning or crushed by a tree, I am ok." I eased off the pace, thanked the volunteers who stuck it out all day in the horrible weather and enjoyed all of the hard work that I have put in over the last 6 weeks, as well as what would be my largest paycheck to date.

With 2 weeks to go, I still have a few key workouts left and have to stay healthy, but feel very confident for June 22. Thank you to all of the family, friends and companies that believe in me. Timex, Blue Seventy, Twin Six Clothing, The Trek Stores of Madison, Coffees of Hawaii, Salt Stick, Berkeley Running Co. and Personal Best Multisport.

I hope to report back soon with more good results.

Full results for Rockman can be found here.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Resting???

What's that??? It has been over 6 weeks since I have rested to any degree...today starts the 3 easier days that I get before racing a Half Ironman on Sunday....of course an easy day is all relative...I still have a 3k swim, 2hr ride and short run, but it is a step down from what I am usually doing on Thursday!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some People Make Me Wonder.....

...what the hell they are thinking. Sorry to all those that are use to the PG13 entries, but today I almost got smoked by a car while running....and it wasn't an accident.

I was out for my run this morning and was in the middle of a tempo interval when came to a road crossing. I was on a bike path and decided to make a left hand turn onto the road. The road is wide enough to park on both sides and drive city buses down it in both directions, so you get the picture.

There is a section of about 1/4 mile where I have to run on the road, where the cars are normally parked(there weren't any), before the sidewalk begins on my side of the road. So, I am running down the road and there is one car that is coming toward me, with no other cars in sight. All of a sudden, he swerves toward the curb(and me) and starts to gun it. WTF!!!! He is pointing at the sidewalk on the other side of the street, yelling(obviously), and speeding in some beat up old Chevrolet Caprice. He narrowly goes by as I properly greeted him.

What the H E double hockey sticks is he thinking? What if I would have gotten confused and tried to cut across and been hit, paralyzed or axed all together....all because some morone woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

He is lucky I didn't turn around and catch him at the stop sign (which he probably rolled through:). I had so much adrenalen flowing, I don't know what would have happened.

This story has probably been quite amusing to some of you who know me. I don't really ever get angry...except when I almost meet my doom by either getting run off the road by an 18 wheeler(in Arizona) or am a target of someone behaving like this.

Please don't risk someone elses life in trying to make a point. If you kill yourself, that is one thing....but someone else is a completely different story.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Reflection and a 5 Week Summary

I think that after this week of training, I have proven a lot to myself. I will be sharing a few thoughts and reflections after Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I have realized a lot in these last 5 weeks...and not just about triathlon.

Here is my week 5 summary, which ended with my best big day and long run of this build. I am excited and looking forward to executing in a few weeks.

Total Hours: 27:02
Total Swim - 6:24 - 24,848 yds
Total Bike - 13:36 - 269 miles
Total Run - 6:12 - 55 miles
Total Strength - 1:00

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Last weekend of training Day 1

Today is done and it was a gooooood one. Finally warm, no arm/leg warmer weather. It was about 80* during my run.

The morning started out with an open water swim in Lake Monona with my friends John and Fritz. About 45min of swimming, ending with some hard efforts. Was was probably about 60*.

I then rolled out and rode the IMWI course and split 5:07:51 for the 180km. This included slowing for 2 water stops, 2 poty breaks, traffic signals and rolling through the towns along the route. TSS was 290. I originally wanted to shoot for sub 5 today, but it was just too windy, gusty to 30mph.

Run off the bike at IM pace.....and that's all she wrote for today.

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

May's riding is done and looking at my performance chart, I see that I rode 2080 km or about 1300 miles over 66.5hrs, with a TSS of 3157. This is about 20% higher than any previous month this year....so I am happy.

More to come tomorrow.



Today

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Believing......

...IS EVERYTHING.

Believing in your abilities is so important in everything that we do through life, it help define us as people and individuals. But I (of course) am relating to being a triathlete in this post.

When you are trying to win, you have to believe that everything that you have been doing, are currently doing and will be doing, will have you at your best on race day.

I have to be able to look across the start line and say to myself, "I believe that I can compete and battle with any one of you."

Can you look at your training and say that? If not, what do you need to change in order to be able to say that? Just a thought...

++++++++

4 more days in the bank on this end.

Monday:
Swim - 4.4k w/4x800 on 30s rest LCM
Bike - 2:30 with 4x6min at 340w uphill
Run - 35min off the bike strong.
-
Tuesday:
Swim - 6.6k w/60x100 on 1:45-1:30 5's,4's,3's,2's,1's LCM
Bike - 1:30 steady
Run - 50min steady
-
Wednesday:
Swim - 4.7k wtih 3.5k mainset ending with sprints
Bike - 1:30 ez
Run - 1:20 with 45min at HIM pace.
-
Thursday:
Swim - 2.1k recovery
Bike - 3:15 ending with 3x20min in z3 on 5min recovery, 295w, 304w, 307w
-

Tomorrow is an easier day, before hitting it hard this weekend.

+++++++++++

Right now the water temp in Coeur d'Alene is 48*, let's hope it warms up...A LOT in the next 3 weeks! :)

Cheers,

Blake

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Week 4....Breaking Through

Week 4 of 6 is almost done and again, we added to what I did the previous week. My big breakthrough this week came on Wednesday's ride. After a solid day I backed the ride up with another solid session on Saturday. I seem to really be making progress in my bike wattage, while staying strong in the pool and on the run.

I am very excited as we get closer to June 22. I will now sharpen up a bit for each key session/block. Next weekend will be my final big Sat/Sun pairing before Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I have a few goals for these sessions that will give me even more confidence when I hit the start line in June...but for now, they stay a secret.

Here is a summary of the week:

Monday:
Swim - 4.6k
Bike - 3:00 w/3x20 in z3 on 5min rest
Run - 50min
-
Tuesday:
Swim - 4.4k
Bike - 1:30 ez
Run - 1:00
-
Wednesday:
Swim - 3.4k
Bike - 4:30 as 2hrs at IM watts, then 6x20 at 280-290w on 5min recovery.
Run - 30min T-run
-
Thursday:
Bike - 50min recovery
Run - 2:20 - Pace run
-
Friday:
Swim - 3.3k
Bike - 1:40
-
Saturday:
Swim - 3.8k
Bike - 5:50 ending with 3x30 z3 on 5min recovery. TSS 291
Run - 30min T-run
-
Sunday:
Run - 1:20
Swim - 2k ez
-

Weekly Totals:
Hours: 30:54
Swim: 6:22 - 21,343 yds
Bike: 17:18 - 340 miles (TSS 795)
Run: 6:25 - 51 miles
Strength: 1:00

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Week 3 Rollin'

I am starting to feel stronger as the weeks go by. I am definitely adapting to the stress. Here is how week 3 played out:

MONDAY:
Swim - 4.2k
Bike - 2:24 with 5x7min at 330-340w on 2min recovery
Run - 50min steady

TUESDAY:
Swim - 4.3k
Bike - 1:10 ez
Run - 1:00 steady

WEDNESDAY:
Swim - 3k
Bike - 4:06 with 5x20min zone 3 on 5min recovery
Run - 36min off the bike steady

THURSDAY:
Run - 2:18 3 miles wu, then 16 miles at 6:30-45, 1.25mi cd
Bike - 1:10 ez

FRIDAY:
Swim - 5k
Bike - 1:11 ez

SATURDAY:
Swim - 3k
Bike - 4:47 2.5hrs at ironman watts, 3x30min zone3 on 5min recovery (good ride)
Run - 25min at pace off the bike

SUNDAY:
Run - 1:30 with 3x3miles at half ironman pace on 5min recovery
Bike - 1:33 ez


TOTALS:

HOURS : 29:27
SWIM: 5:22 - 19,525 yds
BIKE: 16:33 - 312 miles
RUN: 6:32 - 56 miles
STRENGTH: 1:00

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Searching For That 1%

I was talking to my coach, Kurt, the other night regarding recovery during this tough block of training.

Normally, we all have our usual recovery techniques that we practice each night (barring bowling, laser tag, mini-golf or a beer of course ;) But when we step things up, we often forget to step up our recovery. The challenge becomes, "how can I get my body able to do what I need it to, tomorrow?" We called it the extra 1%!

So here are a few recovery tips that I use, that you might want to try:

1) I wear compression socks or tights everywhere. Sounds stupid, but it has made a big difference for me. Especially since I tend to have very tight lower leg muscles.

2) I take an ice bath after all long or hard runs.

3) I make sure to eat A LOT during training and quite a bit after too. The reason is because if we deplete our glycogen stores during training, it places us in a big(ger) hole that we need to climb out of, when the session is over.

4) I use my TP Massage products at least 4x per day....ok, you might not have time for this, but use them as much as possible. If you don't have them, get them. If you are in a pinch, you can massage yourself for 5-10min before bed. Combine this with stretching and you will notice a difference.

5) I take care of the little "niggles" that I feel. It is inevitable. When you train hard, you will have aches and pains. Make sure it isn't anything to be too worried about and take care of them. Massage, ice, heat, stretching.

6) I take a nap every day and make sure to sleep AT LEAST 8.5hours every night!

7) Lastly, I listen to my body. We all have a breaking point and we don't want to reach it!

Employ a few, or all of these during your next tough training block and you may find it just that little bit easier!

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

The last few days of training have been going well. But today I think I needed 2%, instead of that extra 1% ;)

More updates soon.

BB

p.s. I may be checking this out this weekend with some friends! Should be awesome if I can swing it!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

2 of 6 in the books

The second week of my build into Ironman CDA is in the books and the body is feeling pretty good. The only day that I wasn't able to finish my intervals was Wednesday. For those of you that are interested, here is the week summary:

Monday:
Swim - 4k
Bike - 2:00 with 4x7 at 320-330w
Run - 50min

Tuesday:
Swim - 3.3k
Bike - 1:15 ez
Run - 1:00

Wednesday:
Swim - 3k
Bike - 4:20 with 3x30min in zone 3 on 5min recovery
Run - 20min T-run

Thursday:
Bike - 1:30 with 60min at 250w before run
Run - 1:55 off the bike as 11mi at 6:20-30 pace, 6 miles at 7min per mile.

Friday:
Swim - 4k
Run - 50min

Saturday:
Bike - 3:50 wtih 5x20min in zone 3 on 5min recovery
Run - 25min T-run
Swim - 2.5k recovery

Sunday:
Run - 1:15 with 3x15min in zone 3
Swim - 2.2k with 1.5k speed set

Totals Hours: 25:54

Swim: 19.2k
Bike: 251 miles
Run: 54 miles
Strength 1 hour

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's almost time toooo.........

...SHAVE MY HEAD.

Of course, this significantly decreases my chances of attracting women. Not that I meet many out riding, or on my couch....but you never know.

So, I decided to make a list to help me decide what to do.

Top 5 Reason's to shave your head.

1. It makes you slower in the pool.
2. It makes you hot when running.
3. Bees don't hit you and bounce off, they get caught in your hair.
4. I look like a slob in the morning....especially when I don't shave for a week.
5. Shaving your head makes you look like a badass.

Top 5 Reason's to NOT shave your head.

1. Women
2. Women
3. Women
4. Women
5. Women

Since I don't have a woman or meet any women, I am shaving it!

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

Yesterday's training was pretty solid.

3k swim
4:15 ride with 90min of zone 3, was suppose to be 120min(but I couldn't hold the power)
20min T-run

Off to run......

BB

Monday, May 05, 2008

Shorter is better????

If you know me and my past, than you know that I got a lot of right quad and knee tightness when I rode/ran hard on consecutive days. I think that I may have solved the problems that I was having.

I swapped out my 175 cranks, for 172.5's and swapped out my Q-ring for traditional rings. In 2 weeks of some damn hard riding, I have no tightness! I hope I am not jinxing myself, but a smaller circumference seemed to be what I needed, it only took 4 years to realize it :)

I may go back to a Q-ring as my big chainring, but I want more time where I am at now. I have lowered my front end quite a bit and don't want to get too crazy with my hip angle.

Another solid day in the books and the weather was even nice for getting the work done.

Cheers,

Blake

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's all coming back....

What's all coming back??? Why I do this, which is...because I love this sport. I got back to Wisconsin, started rolling and it all seems to be coming back.

I put together some ideas for a pretty aggressive 6 week block leading into Ironman Coeur D'Alene and ran it by Kurt. He is going to work with me on it and keep me from trying to kill myself.

I have also made some bike changes to get me a lot lower and more aero...the position is still comfortable and seems a lot faster. Overall I am very excited and motivated for this race, which is what I need. The only other race leading into CDA will be the Rockman Half Ironman 2 weeks out on June 8.

I will outline my training each week as I build.

Week 1
MONDAY:
Swim: 4k 3x1000 mainset
Bike: 2:00 with 6x4min at 330w uphill
Run: 45min steady
-
TUESDAY:
Swim: 3k LCM swim tech focused
Run: 50min steady
Bike: 1:15 easy ride
-
WEDNESDAY:
Swim: 3k mixed
Bike: 4:10 in the hills with 2x20min and 2x30min at 285-305watts all on 5min rest
Run: 20min steady off the bike
-
THURSDAY:
Bike: 1:10 with 60min at 260w
Run: 1:50 off the bike as 10miles at 6:30 pace, 6.5mi at 7min pace
-
FRIDAY:
Swim: 3.5k mixed
Bike: 45min easy spin
-
SATURDAY:
Swim: 4.4k...4x(400,4x100)
Bike: 3:00 with 3x30min at 285-305w
Run: 35min run off the bike steady
-
SUNDAY:
Run: 1:15 with 3x3min, 3x6min hard
Bike: 1:45 easy
-
TOTAL: 25:46 hours, Swim: 18,180 yards, Bike: 263 miles, Run: 49 miles, Strength: 60min

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sometimes we just need to...

...HTFU
After my sickness during race week of Ironman Arizona I was feeling down.....REALLY down. Down to the point where I couldn't talk myself out of it. I knew that this race was behind me and that there was nothing that I could do to change my bad luck.
Even with knowing that, I didn't feel like I wanted to train....combine that with my vacation and the effect was magnified. I just wanted to sleep in, eat poorly and bitch about my bad luck....until now.
After acknowledging that my thoughts were just that, thoughts and chatting with my coach, Kurt, tonight. I am ready to HTFU and put the pedal to the metal for 6 weeks to get fast, lose the 5+lbs I gained since AZ and get mentally ready to crush it on June 22nd.
The only other race I am planning on right now is the Rockman Half Ironman on June 8.
Now, back to Survivorman and then off to Wisco to get rollin'
Blake

Monday, April 14, 2008

A "Report," but NOT a "Race Report"

After something doesn't go our way, we are allowed 1 day to analyze, talk about, be down about, tell about, whatever you want to call it. After that you can ONLY look ahead. That is all we can control and sometimes life doesn't go our way.

I trained 15 weeks for IMAZ and prep went VERY well. I was excited to toe the line and confident that I would leave with a breakthrough race and pay check. 4 days out, I found that my stomach was upset. I could not digest anything and it got worse. By Thursday morning I was throwing up and felt like I was going to die. I haven't been sick in a LONG time, what are the chances that I do on race week??

I found out that I caught a 24hr stomach bug that was going around the YMCA here in AZ. It totally cleaned me out and then some. I started to feel better Thursday night, but still felt like my head was in a cloud. By Friday I felt ok, just tired. The only bad thing was that I was eating a low fiber, high sugar diet and my body was not digesting it. I was stopped up and bloated. By Saturday I felt better, but couldn't eat much of anything. I tried to ignore it and hoped that positive self talk would get me through.

Race morning, had 3 Ensures and a piece of toast for breakfast and headed to the race site. I got into the water and felt ok. I lined up on the right side of the big group and tried to stay with a few swimmers that tried to cut the tangent. The effort was too much and I fell off the back. I then tried to swim over to main first pack, but just missed them.

My plan was to swim hard for 800m and see where I was. When I got to that point and was alone, I decided to save energy and shut it down and swam bilaterally for the remainder of the swim alone. At the turn buoy I was exactly in between the first and second pack. I thought the second pack would catch me, but they never did. I came out in 55:xx. For the effort, I was happy.

On the bike I knew something just didn't feel right. During the first loop I started to feel dizzy and couldn't take in any gel just sports drink. My watts were ok, so I just tried to focus. It was tough. After the first loop I was in 17th and about 4min out of 8th place. Not bad.

15minutes into the second loop my power fell into zone 1...I tried to go with each pro as they came past, but I couldn't. I came to a realization that it was in my best interest to stop. My body could not absorb any calories...I was bonking at less than 2hrs into the bike ride.

It was almost surreal to drop out half way through the bike. Like a nightmare actually. It was the dream that you have a thousand times where you wake up and are thankful it is only a dream. I hung out with Sergio Marques, who also had a very good shot at winning today. He was sick and dropped out at about the same time I did. We watched the rest of the race together, which was very exciting. Congrat's to everyone that had a great day out there.

Today, I don't feel much better, still weak and foggy. BUT, now I look forward to my next race which I have decided is Ironman Coeur D'Alene on June 22nd.

Thanks to all who support me, I will check in again soon. Now I am off to Costa Rica for some R&R from the 17th to the 22nd. When I come back, the work starts baby and you can bet I have a fire going inside after what happened here.

****During my time in CR, I will not have any phone or internet access. Sorry for any delay in responses.

Here's to the next race,

Blake

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I AM OK

Hi All,

Thank you for all the emails. I am ok. I was not able to recover from the flu and pulled out at mile 75 of the ride. I will be in Costa Rica from April 17th - April 22nd and then will go back to WI to get ready for Ironman CDA on June 22nd!

Cheers,

Blake

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Night Before...

Well, I made it. It is the night before and everything is done for tomorrow. I seem to be getting close to 100% recovered from the 24hr flu that I seemed to have picked up at the local YMCA (everyone had been sick with the same thing). I just feel a bit tired...then again, that i probably mental.

For anyone that cares about nutrition, my carboloading included 2 liters of Coke, a box of Lucky Charms and pancakes, which was goooooooood....and made me very sleepy after.

My only goal for tomorrow is to execute MY race. So many times in the past, I have let other athletes change my races plans. No more of this. I want to have a solid day to build on later this year and beyond.

Thank you to all of you who have called, sent texts and emails. I appreciate all the support and will use it tomorrow out on the course.

I will try to post something tomorrow after the race if I am able. You can follow on www.ironman.com starting at 6:45am pacific.

Blake

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Food Poisoning???

"Oh *&^%$ not now!" That is what I thought as I layed in bed this morning.

Starting yesterday afternoon I have had all the signs of either the flu or food poisoning. The last 24hrs have been spent on the can and this morning I got the rest of the symptoms (if you know what I mean)....all over Chandler Blvd on the way back from the store.

It is about 1:00 right now and I feel much better after a nap. I don't have a fever and have gotten my appettite back, so that is good. I now have 3 days to get well enough to race an ironman in 95* heat.

It is out of my control, so I will do the best that I can and hopefully I will ok to race on Sunday. What's meant to be is meant to be.

Blake

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Getting Closer....

Well, 5 days to go and the body is really starting to feel strong. I actually don't remember the last time that I rested for almost 3 weeks prior to a race. If racing the half ironman 2 weeks out yields a good ironman result on Sunday, it may be a staple in my schedule.

The heat is still forecast to build to near record highs...they are saying between 95-97* right now. The record is 99*, set in '74...I think. Anyway, this could turn out to be quite an advantage if I am smart.

Here is an example. Let's say that there is an athlete that is in 8:40 ironman shape. Let's also say that there is an athlete that is in 8:20 ironman shape. If the conditions were mild, there is not a very good chance that the 8:40 is going to cross the line first. BUT, if the conditions are bad and the 8:40 guy is smart, things could get interesting.

I am just glad that I have been in the heat for the past 16 weeks.

BB

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hahahaha

I am now glad for all those days suffering in the heat. First, 12 weeks in Florida and the last 4 here in Phoenix.

The way the temps have been creeping up, it will be over 100* by Sunday. 97* is bad enough. Oh yeah, don't forget about the wind. ;)

NA Sports better bring the ice and IV Bags. They're going to need them.

http://www.accuweather.com/forecast2.asp?partner=accuweather&traveler=0&zipcode=85048&metric=0

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

Everything is good here, except my back is tight today. I have a MT coming to town who will hopefully work hi magic on it. Check him out here: http://www.thecenterfour.com/

6 days and counting.

BB

Friday, April 04, 2008

It Is Getting Close......

Well, I now have 9 days to Ironman Arizona and I can start to feel that it is getting close!

How do I 'feel' it, you ask??? Let's make a list!! (If you know me, then you know I make a lot of these to cope with my OCD(not really))

1) I am not tired all the time.
2) I can have an actual conversation with someone.
3) I am not cranky.
4) I feel lazy.
5) I am hungry all the time.
6) I don't think I have trained hard enough.

BUT, I know this is how I am suppose to feel.

This year I am confident in what I can do and since Ironman is about 99% mental...or maybe you just have to be 99% mentall ill to do it....I am sure I will do better.

My goals for this race..........

Ha, won't be posting those. However, I will be posting my mission for the rest of the season after this race.

I am bored, so I will probably be posting everyday until the race...maybe 2x a day??

Off to the pool to float around in my wetsuit for a while.

BB

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Becker Buzz...

“The Becker Buzz”
California 70.3 Race Report
March 29, 2008


This last weekend I raced the first important race of the 2008 season at the California 70.3 Half Ironman. I came into the race with 5 days rest as I started my taper for Ironman Arizona on April 13th.

Training has been going well and I hadn’t been below 20hrs of training per week since the middle of December. Needless to say I was anxious to see what I could do.

Race morning brought cool temperatures in the low 50’s, but not as cold as they could have been. The water was also a chilly 60*, which hurt the face a little bit upon getting in. I had my new Blue Seventy TST Wetsuit which is much improved over last year and I felt ready to go.

We only had about 5-8min of warm-up before the gun went off, which I don’t think was enough for me. I moved to the second row of athletes and keyed off of a few others who I thought were slightly faster swimmers. Today, they were more than that. The horn sounded and the effort was not hard, but I couldn’t get the arms to turn over like I needed. Within 300 meters I was off the back and I thought I was in “no-man’s land”……until the turn buoy when I flipped on my back to check out the situation and saw I was pulling a group of over 20 athletes. As I rounded the second turn buoy, I had NO idea where I was going and proceeded to turn 90* the wrong direction (sorry guys). This actually ended up benefiting me. Lewis Elliot took the lead and proceeded to sit in on his feet, as I had no idea where we were going. We exited in a little bit over 27 minutes. But about 2:30 back from the first pack.

Out of the water and onto the bike. My Trek TTX 9.9 SSL and Wireless Powertap SL was showing me the wattage that I was hoping for. I rode steady out to hills, passing 10-15 athletes on the way. Once through the tough climbs, I was greeted with a stiff headwind back to transition. Normal Power for the ride was 308 watts. This is 28 watts higher than I have seen in the past and a huge jump for me.

I took off onto the run with a few other athletes and found the first few miles a bit tough, but at mile 3 things got better. I was still off of my goal pace, but not by much. I ran the next 5 miles at about 5:55 per mile, but soon I had a few twinges and had to back off a bit. I managed to pass a few more athletes to finish with a run of 1:20 and a finish time of 4:15. It was good enough for 17th place overall.

This was not a bad way to start the season at all and I have been able to gather a lot of confidence from this race in knowing that I can compete with almost any athlete on that start line.

After the race I attended my Timex Team Camp is Carlsbad, CA and had a great time catching up with old teammates and meeting a few new ones. We have a great support team this year which includes great managers and new sponsors including Trek, Powerbar, Bontrager, Powertap(Saris), Rudy Project, Timex and TP Massage Rollers.

I also want to thank my homestay in Cali, Sergio Gurrieri. Your hospitality was much appreciated. Now I had about 10 days to Ironman Arizona. Be sure to check out live coverage at www.ironman.com on April 13th, starting at 6:45am Pacific.