Saturday, December 19, 2009

Training Through The Holiday's

It is the favorite time of year for many people, but unfortunately it is also the most stressful. It seems as though every aspect of our life has become more stressful. There are work deadlines, holiday planning, shopping, visiting family and I haven't even started to mention 'everyday' life or training!

There is so much to do, that it is easy to see why many people fall off the wellness wagon. It is important to remember that it doesn't have to be this way. I love the following quote for life in general, but especially when stress gets high!


"Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in the moment!"


  • Continue to do what has worked in the past and avoid what hasn't. There is no sense in repeating things that don't work for you. Don't worry about how many chocolates you ate this morning at work, or that swim session that you missed earlier this week. Those moments are gone and only thing we can do is use knowledge from the past, to plan a better future.

  • Create a rough outline and plan that will help keep you on track if you start to feel overwhelmed. Don't dwell on it, but use it to help guide you when you are you are so stressed, that you don't know which way is up. Plan your workouts, plan your shopping, plan your meals and be very liberal on how much time you think everything will take. For example; if you have a 1 hour ski scheduled, realize that you will need to allot much more time than just that hour. You will need time for getting dressed and undressed, time to pack your nutrition, time to commute (twice) and realize that you may or may not run into a friend out on the trail.

  • Stay in the moment, live in the moment and enjoy the moment. We are one person and can only do one thing at a time. Focus on what you are doing, love it and know that the present is the only thing that we can do anything about.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season! 2010 season starts January 1st!


Blake

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Off Season Officially Started!

I am now offically two weeks into my off season and it is a nice change of pace. Im still training every day, but usually just 1 or maybe 2 sessions per day. I'll most likely keep this rolling through the Thanksgiving weekend and then start to get back into things a little bit more in the following week.

I wanted to thank everyone who came out to the Trek Bicycle Store Madison West location lastnight! Seeing you forgo the opening of "New Moon" (unlike 26.3 million other American's) and attend the event really did mean a lot ;) In the end it was a huge success! We had a great time with food, drinks, music, a little silliness, along with the creation of more than a few holiday wish list's! Thank you also to all of the westside store employee's! You guys are awesome and always work very hard to make sure these things go extremely smooth!

More to come soon...have to head out to ride and take advantage of this 55* November weather! Oh yeah, and it's NOT windy!!

BB

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ironman Florida

Both of the times I have raced Ironman Florida the water has actually looked like what an ocean is suppose to look like! Standing on the start line the horizon looked like a distant mountain range, rather than a smooth never ending sheet of blue-green glass. The gun went off and it was probably the least rough start to an Ironman I have had in a long time. We were all one big happy group out to the turn until we turned into the sun and left to deal with the 4ft swells. It seems that everyone decided to take their own line to the return leg of the loop. I tried to guess which set of feet to stay on so I could remain at the front of the group. Unfortunately, I guessed incorrectly and was in no man's land with a few other swimmers.

I came out of the water in around 19th position and was quickly onto the bike with my good buddy Justin Daerr (JD). He and I trained in Clermont, FL together for a long time and as we rolled out I joked about how it felt just like old times. We were greeted by 50 miles of headwind to start the ride, which was NOT fun. I just kept as low of a profile as I could and kept the power steady at about 80% of my threshold. JD and I tried unsuccessfully to drop a few riders that began to accumulate behind us. Early in the ride, into a headwind, it just wasnt possible. These guys could ride, they just choose to sit in.

We made the turn and had a ROCKIN' tailwind for about 20 miles...I'm talking 30-35mph. I chilled out a bit here and knew I could get a good look at the field at the turn-around. When we got there, i was glad to see that even though Luke McKenzie was off the front, the rest of the field was very close.

As the miles ticked by, I made my way through the field and was pleased to end the ride with a 4:33 bike split in 7th position overall, just a few minutes down on second place. Off the bike, the legs felt great. I rolled through the first few miles feeling smooth and could see 3rd-6th up the road. About mile 3, something just wasn't right...my stomach and GI started rumbling and I was then forced to stop almost every mile. My cast iron stomach was failing me :)

I eventually was able to manage the issue by limiting my nutrition to only water and a little bit of coke every few miles. I knew the lack of calories would mean a bonk at some point, but I was just hoping to finish before that might happen.

When running, I was running ok (6:40-6:50 per mile), I just couldnt keep it going for long without stopping. At 30k, I did the math and thought I could finish under 8:50 unless the world ended...and THAT is where I jinxed myself. At the 34k (21.5miles), the world ended! HA! I went from running to walking within about 10 steps!

I did what I had to and walked to the finish. Not what I wanted, but again...another step forward and that's all that matters!!

Now a bit of a break for me, then a lot to work on before next season! Thanks again to everyone for their support, I could not do what I do and keep the passion and fire lit without you! Timex, Trek, K-Swiss, my family and friend3s :) you guys are amazing!

My new site should be up shortly, as well as some other exciting news regarding next season!

Time to dust off the ski's!!

BB

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Believing In You!

I was going to write this post after Ironman Florida, but I had some time and thought that I would write it prematurely. Triathlon (Ironman) is not only a sport and a lifestyle, but it is something that we use to teach us more about ourselves.


It is not about going fast for most athletes, but it is about setting off on a journey that we may or may not have thought we could complete. It is about showing ourselves that the so called "impossible," is truly possible. All we have to do is BELIEVE.


For many athletes, it is not just about the racing. It might be about losing weight, or it might be about feeling confident in who we are, our self image or maybe showing ourselves that we can live a healthy lifestyle, when we never have. When I think about all these things, I think about change and I think about empowering ourselves to live better lives and become happier people. Don't take a back seat to life, go get it..."We create our own lives and happiness." Work in a career that you are excited about every single day, surround yourself with positive influences that enhance your life, not inhibit it! Believe in yourself, always...now matter how absurd or rediculous it seems. If you don't try and you don't believe, it will never happen and you will never know.


We are constantly comparing ourselves to the rest of this world; other people, possessions, things we do, race times, our weight, our pant size, everything. We might think to ourselves, "I train that much, why can't I go that fast?" or " I eat this way and train that much, why can't I look like that or why am I not that size?" The reason is because all of us are different and need something that works for us, not someone else.


The best thing you can do is focus on you! Win those small battles one by one and stay in the moment, celebrate the victories along the way and believe that what you are doing is what is BEST for YOU. Take comfort in know that if something doesn't work, you can just change...it doesn't mean that you failed, as I hear all the time. Make modifications, go another direction, think outside the box, because there isnt just one shot at things, or a last shot...it is trial and error and learning and implimenting in the future.


To throw in some personal experience on this topic, I will offer this. I don't have the super-natural gift that many athletes have (yes I do realize I have some), but I have also trained around 10,000 hours in the last 8 years, that's alot! I rode 5:21 and finished in 10:35 in my 2nd Ironman Wisconsin. It took me 4 years to ride a faster bike split and finish with a faster time. To add more fuel to this fire, It took me 16, YES 16 Ironman races to NOT blow up on the bike...I had a LOT of people telling me that maybe I just couldnt go faster, that maybe I should focus on the shorter distance, but I believed...deep down, sometimes I forced myself to, but I knew I could.


This year I stepped back from the sport mentally and emotionally, I didn't look at what anyone else was doing and frankly I didn't really care. I focused on myself and what worked for me. I trained hard and recovered until I could go hard again. I focused on workouts that I enjoyed and believed in myself every step of the way.


At the end of the day (or the races:) I was the athlete that I wanted to be, I PR'd by 13minutes at the half ironman distance. I increased my threshold for the first time in 3 years and rode 30minutes faster on the bike in an Ironman, than I ever had before.


I got to where I wanted to be by doing everything that I had avoided in the past and thought didn't work. I let go, just listened to my body and I believed in myself. So whether you are trying to lose 15 lbs, qualify for Kona, love how you look, or just finish in a race. What seems impossible, is not! NEVER give up and keep on searching until you find the magic combination and balance that works for you!


Ok, that's all for today! 1 week of IMFL prep for me! I can't wait to see a temp above 60*!!!

Keep the faith,

Blake

Friday, October 16, 2009

Panama City Beach Bound

It has been a while between updates, but I wanted to iron (haha) out the rest of the year before posting anything.

I have decided to head down to Panama City Beach on November 7th to race Ironman Florida. After a season with a lot of success, I almost accomplished a great result at Ironman Wisconsin. I have great fitness and motivation, so I have decided to keep my season rolling before getting out the ski's and working on my IM in the pool!

I raced IMFL back in 2006 and think that course suits me well. I am excited to get down there and will post another update before race day!

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Stay tuned for a new site coming soon and some more exciting news for 2010.

Life is good!

BB

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ironman Start #17..... Check!

2009 Ironman Wisconsin Race Report


Ironman Wisconsin this year was Ironman start #17. I had a few goals for this race...which will follow.

#1 - To be in the first chase pack.
#2 - To NOT blow up on the bike.
#3 - To race MY race.
#4 - To WIN.

Well, I scored 50% on this test, which would mean that had i taken any other test at any school i attended growing up, I would have failed miserably! But this was Ironman and while I was looking to ace this test, I was really just hoping for some solid steps forward...and that I did achieve! Here's how the day went down.

Okay, race morning....I rolled into a super secret parking spot that I cannot reveal because it is always open on race morning. It is only 1 block from the start and if I told you I can guarantee I wouldn't be able to park there next year!! BTW - I heard about the spot from one of my athletes! Thank you Roz!

As I am walking down to transition I am thinking to myself how quickly the year goes by. It seemed like only last month that I was walking down to the Ironman transition....and no it was NOT because I raced an insane amount of IM's this year again... ;) This was my first.

I got most of my stuff out of the way and then went to get my tires topped off by the mechanic that was stationed next to our rack....I have to say that this is a huge luxury to racing at the front of the race. Well anyway, my tire was getting filled with air and when we went to pull the "crack pipe" adapter off, it took about a 6" section of disc cover with it :) AWESOME, I thought....i then asked for the duct tape! That stuff fixes everything, right!?! So 4 pieces of duct tape later, my ghetto ride was ready to roll.

I headed down to the swim start and got ready to roll. The swim was wetsuit legal and the water temp was about 76*....this was gonna be great! I mean don't get me wrong...I only swim with paddles and a pull buoy, so if we had not gotten the wetsuits and actually had to SWIM, I would have been dropped like a bad habit.

So gun goes off and I find myself next to Will Smith, who I knew was a sub 50 min swimmer and swimming with him would do nothing good for me....I kept it steady and backed off a touch while I waited for the group to come through...I found a gap and just like i was driving on the interstate, and merged in with only one kick to the goggles. Perfect, ALL IM starts should be like that!!!

The highlights of the swim were 2 stops...once for clearing the goggles at about 1k and then to try to keep my cap from falling off ;) which i didn't succeed at...oh well!!! I will say the water felt much cooler than this.

I got out of the water at the front of our pack and did my thing through transition....I always advise athletes to take it easy up the helix, but i really wanted to be at the front of the chase pack and I knew I would be ok with this short period where my heartrate would reach about 800bpm. I succeeded and rolled out with many of the favorites. Goal number 1, check!

From kilometer 1 I felt good. I sat at the back of the group for about 15 miles and then decided for whatever reason that I should go to the front...partly because I hate sitting in and I also wanted to break the group apart...STUPID!!! You cannot drop a pack of 7 at 20miles into an Ironman unless your name is Chris Lieto or Norman Stadler. I now know I have to wait until about 80 miles into the bike!

Anyway, I rode in 3rd or 4th for most of the first 45 miles while slowly clawing back the 2 leaders up the road.

Then around mile 45, while riding up a steep uphill, the 4th place rider sitting on my wheel came around and apparently I 'cheated' and drafted...while going 8mph, on a hill of 15% grade, i was riding too close! WHATEVER, but it is what it is!

"Well," I thought. "Now I have the experience of getting a penalty and maybe it will allow me to rest up a bit and take in some nutrition." Two problems.....one, I got a little heated and proceeded to drill the the next 15 miles to the penalty tent...two, i didn't have any nutrition left when i got there!!

Now I had to sit...for the LONGEST 4 minutes of my life...maybe! I sang the Jeopardy theme song, I joked with the locals and did a lot of staring at the stop watch....i know my antics were appreciated...but I also knew I was losing valuable time. After I got out I decided to get right back at it.....fast forward to the end of the bike....

Get ready....

Here it comes....

Wait for it....

I did NOT blow up on the bike!!!

What!?!?! Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Blake Becker did not blow up on an Ironman bike ride. I split 4:48:34 + the penalty on this tough course...which was a 30minute PR for me on that course. So goal number 2, check!

Now it gets ugly...proceed with caution. From the first step of the marathon I knew that was it. I think i might have literally said "Whoa!" within the sit few steps. I took in 30 Power Gels on the bike, but apparently not even that could save me. I started with a HR higher than I saw on the helix and to make a long story short, I went from slow to slower on the marathon and ended with a nice 6.5 miles of walking as a cooldown. Thus i had to for-go achieving goals 3 and 4 this year.

Anyway, I now know that it is possible for me to have a great race at this distance. I just have to use my head and take my own advice....which is similar to what others have told me for years! I also know that I race better at 165lbs, than I do at 155lbs. I think that I just needed to prove that I could ride hard for 180k and not blow up....now that it is out of the way, I can focus on things that really matter, like running well after it!!

Congrat's again to everyone on their races, all the local spectators and volunteers, in addition to my family and friends for their never ending support! You guys are what make it possible!

Stay Tuned....

BB

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Congratulations!

I will be posting a race report on my day at Ironman Wisconsin, but first I wanted to post a big shout out to all of you who had great races on Sunday. Chris and Justin on their 5th and 6th places, Becky on her 21minute PR, David Olive on his finish, Will on sticking it out to the finish, the other local and Timex athletes, in addition to all of my athletes who all had great days! Congrat's!!


Colin G - 11:08 - PR
Randy Y - 11:49 - PR
Scott S - 11:55 - PR
Jim G - 12:13 PR
Lauren W - 12:36 PR
Jon B - 12:59 PR
Roz C - 13:38 *With The Flu
Julie H - 15:27 PR
Matt H - 15:27 PR

Hope everyone is recovering well...enjoy it!

Blake

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Power of Believing

It has been proven with science that there is not only a connection between the mind and the body, but that there is a connection between thinking positively and the body acting accordingly.

For many of you, including myself, it is now 5 days out from your ironman race. "All the hay is in the barn," and there is no more fitness to be gained or lost. The only thing you can do now is conserve energy and visualize everything going exactly how you want it to. I'm not saying to not think about the negative, because you should be prepared for it...but I am saying focus on and repeat the positive outcomes in your mind. Look back on your best training sessions, emails with your coach after these sessions and look back at mistakes from past Ironman races that you vowed you would not repeat!

Whatever your situation is, regardless of how you felt this morning when you woke up, know that 5 days is a LONG time. Anyone can do anything for 5 days...except maybe holding your breath, haha. Anyway....be good to yourself, don't take risks, don't worry about anything you cannot control and keep the stress to a minimum. If you do, you will be amazed at how much better you feel each day, as we approach the race.

On race day the only thing that you can do is your best and that's all that counts. Stick to your plan, stay in the moment and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. This is something that I have followed all year and low and behold....PR's across the board.

Most likely I will not post before Sunday, so if not I'll write up a report after my 17th Ironman start! The body is great, I am strong, rested and everything is pointing to going very deep into that well on Sunday.

All the best to everyone racing!

BB

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getting Close

It is that time of year where we look at our watches, calendars, or anything else with a date and wonder how the heck time flew by so quickly. This is especially true here in the midwest where it feels like we didn't even have a summer. It has been one of the most temperate summers I can remember. There have been a total of 2 weekends that could be classified as "warm" and even those were not bad. The beaches remained open all year, when they usually close due to algae blooms. If you want a little more perspective, the low tonight is 39*, with freezing temps possible just a little further north. BUT I have a few words of caution if you think that the Ironman here will not be hot. The long term temperature trend shows the mercury rising and that gulf humidity making it's way back to town, just in time for race day.

Many of you are either racing this weekend or will be toeing the line at Ironman Wisconsin in a few weeks. Some of you are coming into your big races after a season with no issues to speak of, while others of you feel like you have been in an uphill battle from the beginning. You may have had your best training sessions, numbers and times to date. While some of you might not have, or have had to think outside the box to build your fitness.

Regardless of where you fall, there will always be at least a few thoughts of self doubt that creep in as race day approaches. Some examples for you

  • Can I do this?
  • Can I go faster this year?
  • I didn't do as much as I have in the past, does that mean I am less fit?
  • I am 10lbs heavier this year, does that mean I am less fit?
  • Can I qualify for Kona.
  • I haven't felt great in these last few weeks, does that mean I won't have a good race?

In short, here are your answers

  • You are capable of much more than you think. You don't have to prove it in training, before race day. Whether you haven't run over 2hrs, or you haven't ridden 100 miles, it doesn't matter.
  • Comparing times from year to year is a tough thing to do and should be avoided. There are too many variables that come into play from race to race.
  • NO! More is not better. I am training 40% less this year and am much more fit...
  • NO! Again, I will use myself as an example. I am 12lbs heavier this season and going much, much better. Remember Ironman is about strength, not speed. It is not about going fast, but slowing down the least.
  • Again, something you can't control....all you can do is execute your race!
  • No, many of us are very tired leading into the taper. Feeling good in training means nothing, the only day that counts is race day!

It doesn't matter how your season has gone to this point. It doesn't matter what you have done and what you have not done. The important thing to remember is that you can only control ONE thing and that is the next thing that you do! Worrying about the past or things that you cannot control is wasted energy.

I am not saying you shouldn't look back at your training, because you should. But only look back at the positive. There is a huge connection between mind and body. If you think positive, if you remember those great sessions that you have had this season and if you picture your race going well, you have a much better chance of it happening! The day will be hard at certain times and if you have a positive mindset, you will come out of those low points much more quickly.

Another point to remember is that in these last few weeks, you should try reduce negative stress as much as possible in your life. I have talked before about how in many ways your body will not differentiate where stress is coming from, i.e. - training, work, home, etc. Reduce negative stress anywhere in your life and your body will likely react positively.

There is not one way, or a "right" way to get fit. It is just about what works for you, your body and your life! Remember that and know that in just a few weeks you will be rewarded for all of your hard work! Believe in yourself, believe you will accomplish your goals and believe that you will have a great race and it just might happen!

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A quick note on my training....going very well. I am fit, I am strong and I am just waiting for these next two weeks to pass so I can out there and race. I'll end with a quick quote that I read once, which will stick with me on race day.

"If it's hurting me, it's killing them!"


See you all soon!

BB

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Believe...

"Game On"

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Many of us are getting within reach of our key races for the season. We are counting down the weeks and the days until we get to that start line. Some of us are rocking out in our training and some of us are wondering whether we have done enough or will be ready.

Regardless of what category you fall into or how your last weekend of training went, you need to remember one thing. The only day that matters, the only session that matters, is race day.

If you are training well, great! But it means nothing unless you can transfer it over to race day. Pay attention to why things are going well; your pacing, nutrition, etc. Remember what works, a well as what doesn't. Draw confidence from your great sessions and use it if you start to doubt yourself as the race gets close.

If you are not training well, or aren't sure whether you will be ready for race day, don't stress. Stick to your plan and believe in yourself. If you have a session that goes poorly, learn from it if you can and then move forward. The only thing that we can control is the next thing that we do. Focus on executing that as well as you can!!

If you are not sure whether you will have done enough for a race due to injury, life or sickness. Know that as endurance athletes, we tend to do too much. That the only time that we feel accomplished is when we have shelled ourselves. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think (especially when rested) and many times we see a breakthrough without the 200k rides and 30k runs.

So get out the door, train hard and love every second of it. Winter will be back soon enough and we will all wish it was August again!!!!

Life is good~

BB

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spirit Of Racine Race Report


If there is one thing that I have realized this year, it's that I race best when I don't think about much of anything race related. I have done this long enough, that I know what i need to do. I just take the fitness I have and use it. The rest takes care of itself.

The 2009 Spirit of Racine Half Ironman was no exception. I registered the day before and then stayed with my mom and grandma, about an hour away in Milwaukee. I got grandma's cooking the night before, including way too many mashed potato's!! Well what else am I suppose to do when she shoves the pan in your face and says; "Here, you finish these up. You need them and no one else will eat them!" Then came the apple/walnut bake....I was fueled, there was no doubt about that ;)

Race morning, I followed my pattern of not over thinking. I rolled into transition 10 minutes before it closed. Dropped my stuff, got body marked, hit a pit stop and headed up the beach for the point to point swim start. Worked well for my warm-up. 1/2 mile fast walk, then 1/2 mile swim to warm-up.

Swim went well, we had a nice current to push us, which made the times very quick. I was 4th out, but in the front group. Then had a quick transition and was onto the bike in first. Legs were there from the start and I targeted my goal wattage of 310-320. Then came the pot-hole. WHAM! seat dropped 3" and I looked (and felt) like I was in the circus. I originally thought I could ride like this, but then my back started to hurt and hamstring started to yell.

I spent the next 30minutes trying to get the attention of the lead vehicle and motorcycle. Eventually, I was able to get some tools, about 45minutes later. A big thank you to the officer on the motorcycle. I stopped and fixed it and was back on, riding well.

Ride was uneventful, until i again hit a pothole with a few miles to go and the seat fell again! I sure hope the roads get paved next year!!

I started the run with 233 on the clock and knew that I all had to do was run steady and i would be well within my goal of going sub 4. In short, I ran 10 miles at IM pace and then ran hard the last 3 miles...i find this is a good measure of my run strength. Splits for these were 5:45, 5:49, 5:46, so all points to being on the right track for IM in about 7 weeks!

I crossed in 3:54:04 and got my 3rd win of the season. I will now start IM preps for IMWI in September!

Thank you to Timex, Trek, KSwiss, friends, family and all of my other supporters out there.

Results can be found over at www.spiritofracinetri.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Breakthrough!!!

3:54:04!!

Spirit Of Racine Half Ironman race report to come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If You Listen, It Will Come

Besides playing off of the awesome movie "Field Of Dreams," what am I talking about? I am talking about listening to your body when training! Many of us become so wrapped up in our training plans that we forget about the most important aspect of training and performance. That is, How we are feeling and how the body is working!

We feel the need to hit every single yard, minute, heart beat, watt and interval...we become obsessed with going as good, if not better, every time out the door. When we do this, we almost always self destruct and become frustrated.

Regardless of which training protocol you are following, what your performance management chart says, what you think you "should" be able to do on a given day, you have to remember that we are not machines. Training is a small piece of the the total amount of stress that we place on our bodies in life. In many ways our bodies do not differentiate between training stress and work stress, or family stress.

These outside stressors like work, family, sleep quality, etc. cannot be measured. For this reason, we have to be flexible when it comes to our training. If you are suppose to do a workout one day and there are signs that you are already over reached, you may need to change or eliminate the sesssion. This is NOT a bad thing, you are not failing because you didn't execute every single detail of the training plan...you are simply being smart and listening to your body.

When you do listen, your best performance will most likely always follow!

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Injury Rehab

I also have a few athletes that are coming back from injuries of the past. Many of them want to feel good as soon as they take the required time off. They want to be just as fit, fast and pain free right when they come back.

It is important to remember that after time off, even if you are "heathy," it takes a bit of time for your body to adapt to the training again. With this comes pain, many times at the point of your old injury. This is nothing to freak out about and is normal. The important part is to be proactive with your self care, stretching and massaging regularly will be a huge help, in addition to being even more flexible with your schedule. The more you do this, the faster you will get back to where you were before you were knocked out.

OK, I will check in after Spirit of Racine this weekend!

Blake

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A New Athlete...

If you have followed my blog over the last 6 months, you would have seen that I have really changed my approach heading into Ironman this year. No more endless 30-40hr training weeks, no more long easy hours on the bike, just training with a purpose, every time I get out the door. I have been racing a lot and going hard very often, all on less than 18hrs of training per week. This approach is partly due to my past training load, my experiences with coaches as of late, as well as needing more time to dedicate toward my growing coaching business.

I think that for athletes that are relatively new to the sport; miles logged and consistency in training are the keys to improvement. However, after no more improvement using this approach is seen, it is time to switch things up.

I am now just getting into the last 10 weeks of training before Ironman Wisconsin and this last weekend i had my first ride longer than 4hrs and first run longer than 90 minutes since January! Using my same zone guidelines, I PR'd the Ironman Wisconsin Course by 14 minutes, rolling 4:51 on ~280 watts....the next day I then ran a hilly 30k in 2:01(including warm-up, cd and traffic).

I will now be focusing a little more on my swim before Spirit of Racine in a few weeks. Then will probably hit 2-3 more weekends of similar training to this last, before racing again and finally, tapering for Wisconsin. During this time, my volume will not go over 25hrs in any 7 day period and will probably stay closer to 20 hours.

I will check in again before Spirit!

Blake

Monday, June 15, 2009

Racing, racing and more racing

If I showed you my training log over the last month, you wouldnt think that I have been doing much, or that my fitness would be building. But if you saw my racing log, it would be a different story. It feels like I have raced almost the same number of hours as I have trained. This is a big change from past years for me, but so far this is just what I've needed! I'm lovin' it!!

Racing locally has turned out to be quite fun. Along with all of the support from friends,family and local sponsors, I also have found another pro athlete (Will Smith) to race head to head with on most days. Will is a very talented Kiwi athlete in addition to being a very nice guy. So far I am 0 for 2 against him, but we have had some good battles.


- Madison Quarter Marathon - 1st overall (course record)

- Susan G Komen 5k - 5th overall (new 2mi PR of 9:58)

- Lake Mills Sprint Triathlon - 2nd overall (bike course record)

- 2 Local 10mile time trials, 2nd at both events setting a new CP20 wattage (384w)

- Elkhart Lake Triathlon - 1st overall (Bike and overall course record set by 6min)

- Capital View Triathlon - 2nd overall (Set bike and run course records, both Will and I set overall course records)

I actually raced 2 olympic distance races this last weekend and had better numbers and race on Sunday, the second of the two races.

I am going to take a few days easy and keep it rolling with either an aquathon or time trial on thursday and then olympic distance triathlon on Sunday. I will then likely switch to more Ironman focused training and race a little bit less in July and August.

One more quick note about racing your way to fitness. It is sometimes helpful to do it with a VERY flexible schedule, this allows you to take recovery as you need and hit sessions when your body (not some chart) says you can. Performance Management Charts can be very good sometimes, but I find that many times athletes do better with a flexible training schedule.

I'll post another update soon! Thank you to all the local sponsors and race directors who have helped me out this spring. I really appreciate it!!

Best,
Blake

Monday, June 01, 2009

Another Week and More Progress...

So I am posting another training blog this week. Pretty typical of a triathlete I guess ;) But I am continuing to put 90% of my energy into other areas of my life when not training and it is paying off huge. The mental and physical energy and motivation has never been higher.

This last week has shown more great things that support the importance of being fresh and rested. I have integrated some strength work back into my program, so I had a bit of muscle soreness that limited me, but overall things are going great.


Here are the highlights of the last week.

Thursday TT, I finished 2nd overall again with a pretty good field showing up. 10.5mile course covered in 21:13, power for the ride was 355w. This was pretty good since I lifted the day before. The route was almost dead flat, some wind, no a lot. Weight is 163/164 right now. No going to go any lower if I can help it.

Saturday 5k. For the first time I strung together 2 sub 5min miles...went through the 2mile mark in 9:58, then proceeded to blow on the hills in the last mile, but still finished 5th, 20sec back from second...had to go for it out there.

Saturday LCM swim. Mainset of 5x400 on 5:30...held 1:15/:17's for all of these pulling with paddles. With each one, I swam the first 100 harder, coming in at around 1:07. This is a good 7-8seconds faster per 100 than I was swimming last year at my best.

Sunday long ride - Just missed holding 300w for 3hrs. I averaged 296w for 3:00 of riding, with total ride ending up be 3:30 at 289w. HR was z2-z3 except for the hills on this ride. Very good progress here.


This week I am racing a Thursday Night TT again, as well as a local sprint triathlon on Sunday. I am going to give myself 2 days easy after the thursday TT, so see if I can string together a very solid <60min of SBRing.

More to come!

BB

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Local Fun...

This last weekend I ran the Madison Quarter Marathon as a part of my short course focus, which will last through the first half of the season. I won and ran well, but still have a little ways to go before I switch to Ironman focused work in July.

Throughout the next 6 weeks I will keep on, keeping on, with the local events. They are turning out to not only be great for my fitness, but a lot of fun as well. The next two weeks will include 2 time trials of 10miles on the bike, a 5k run road race and a local sprint triathlon on June 7th.

As a side note, Madison has the World's Largest Bratfest, which is held every Memorial Day weekend. For those of you that don't know what a brat is...it is like a suped-up hotdog....bigger and better. They are best served with sauerkraut, relish, ketchup, mustard and of course with a cold beer. This year, they set a wold record again after selling over 208,000 brats! GOtta love Wisconsin.

That's it for now, maybe next time I will talk about what cheese curds are, HA!

Have a great shortened week everyone!

Blake

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Perspective...

Some of you may know the name Steve Larsen and some of you may not. I had the chance to meet him at Ironman Coeur d'Alene last year for the first time, after hearing a lot about him and his career.

Steve was a Professional Triathlete, Entrepenuer, husband and father of 5. He was one of the best athletes in our sport a true symbol of how to balance life. Steve passed away on tuesday from unknown reasons during a track session.

My deepest condolences go out to his family.

There is a memorial fund set up here, if you are interested in donating.

http://xtri.com/features_display.aspx?riIDReport=5633&CAT=24&xref=xx

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memphis & TT'ing IT Locally

MEMPHIS

I made the trip down to Memphis in my mini with good friends; Brian, Justin and Laura...we also met up with Laura's other half, Denny, once down there. Brian and I drove from Madison to St. Louis, where we picked up Justin and Laura, who flew in from Colorado. The drive isn't too bad, but when you have 2 bikes in boxes, 2 bikes out of boxes, luggage, food and 4 athletes who can't sit still, the drive is long enough.

The event was a bit different this year, in that the pro races started at 1030am, after the age group race had finished. Besides a rockin' north wind, it was nice to have the 1700 age groupers + spectators, cheering you on!

I had a decent non-wetsuit swim and came out in a touch over 20minutes....not bad considering there was some chop in the water. The fastest guys swam just over 16minutes, so I have some work to do if I am going to be competitive in the water without a wetsuit, over the short distances.

The ride was TOUGH, but uneventful. I held back in the first half of the ride, because of a tailwind and then lifted my watts significantly throughout the second half. It paid off for me, in that I ended up with the 3rd fastest split of the day and bridged the gap up to 3rd, 4th and 5th place.

The run was a different story though. I had a tight glute muscle that was giving me problems in the week leading up to the race. I thought it wouldn't be an issue once racing, but unfortunately that wasn't the case and I was forced to slow to a jog for the last 4 miles of the 10k. I still crossed in 9th, but know that if I was healthy, I would have walked away with a paycheck. The good news is that everything seems to be getting better since the race, so hopefully the injury is behind me. Congrat's to JD, Denny, Laura and Brian on their races as well.

Before heading back to Wisco, we finished off the weekend down on Beale Street in downtown, for some BBQ, Blues and a few drinks. If you are in the area, this is a place that you hvae to check out!


Local Time Trial

This year I have decided to partake in more local events and races. Partly for the social aspect and partly because I think it is good for my head. Lastnight I did the local thursday night time trial. It is a very low key event, but it is comprised of a great group of cyclists and triathletes.

I had a ridden long the day before and run long, plus swam in the morning of the event. So needless to say, training was not ideal for great performance. Despite being a bit tired, I still came away with a very solid 15+minutes of racing. I averaged 385watts over the 11km course. I do believe I can do 400w when fresh, but I have to walk the walk, before I can talk ;)


Next Up

I will racing a TT each week through June, as well as running an 11k and a 5k. On the multisport front I will be racing 2 sprint distance events and ending my speed work block with the Philadelphia Triathlon on June 28th...let's hope for wetsuits!

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

BB

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Less IS More

TRAINING YOUR STRENGTH

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about athletes that look to other successful athletes and convince themselves that they need to do what that person did in order to be successful.

This can work sometimes, but what happens if you have a tremendous swimming and cycling ability and you are looking at someone who is 10kg's lighter and pure runner? No matter what you do, u will never become that type of runner, nor will you ever have your best race trying to be. But on the flip side, they will never have your swimming and cycling ability...so what do you do?

What we have to do is evaluate ourselves and identify our own strengths....then train them and race them. Pick courses that suit you, choose a race strategy that plays off of those strengths and race in a way where you have a chance to use them.

In addition, if you are a woman that is 60kg's, or a man that it 80kg's...it does you no good to try to become an athlete that is 10kg's+ lighter. Though you may get there, you will become weak and wont be nearly the athlete that you are when you work with your body.

Just some food for thought!


SEASON UPDATE:

The shape of this upcoming season has changed many times as I put together a plan to focus on what i believe i need to do in order to take my racing to the next level.


What I have found since I have gotten back into things is that I was in a pretty big hole...one that took almost 10 weeks to crawl out of. 3 weeks almost off, 6 weeks training as I felt, then another week almost off. That is how much time I truly believe it took to get out from under the blanket of fatigue. In my mind I rested just in time. Another season of pushing the envelope in that state could have resulted in months or maybe longer to get back to good. Use that to avoid the same issues that I have run into.


Since that time, I have been training for about 5 weeks and not much more than about 15hrs each week. The quality of the sessions has been great and am starting to climb above the top end plateau that I have seen for so long.


Here are some recent highlights from the last week of my current training block.

In the pool, a set of 10x100 on 2minutes. Started at just over 60seconds and finished at 58.

On the bike, 2 sessions that stand out are #1 3x15minutes at 340w, #2 8x4min uphill averaging 380w (started at 370w and finished at 400w)

Run, my key sessions have been 30-40min tempo's at 5:30 per mile and 12x400 at R-pace(4:48 pace).


In the past, these sessions would have toasted me with higher volume. Now, I am training alot smarter and when I am not doing these sessions, I am resting. This is really allowing me to hit it hard a lot more often and my body is accepting it.

This weekend will be the first test and measure as to where I am at. I will be heading to Memphis In May Olympic Distance on Sunday and while I won't be peaked for this race, I am excited to see how things are going. I will check in after!

Have a good week!!
BB

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crazy Legs Classic

Things are rolling along pretty well and even though we haven't seen the sun in about 4 days now, I am still laying down some pretty good run miles and will finish the week somewhere close to 75 I think.

Yesterday I raced the Crazy Legs Classic 8k here in Madison. This is probably the largest 8k race in the area (minus the St. Patty's Day run in Chicago) with over 18,500 runners. The conditions, were, ummmm, wet :) but it didn't take away from the fun. The race starts on the capital square and finishes inside Camp Randall Stadium (where the Badgers play).

Anyway, even with the big jump in run mileage my legs seemed to feel pretty good. I have a little ways to go before I am back in good form, but I had a solid day, finishing 25th in a time of 27:50, which is right about half marathon pace for me ;)

The next week is a busy one, with the Wisconsin Bike Summit on Monday evening, travel on Tuesday, a little trip with my stepdad planned on Wednesday and then I will be flying out to Boulder on Thursday!

That's all for now!

BB

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Full Speed Ahead....


Lots has happened in the last month and I am happy to say that I am rolling full speed ahead again and loving every minute of it.


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To catch you up, I got back from winter training and was a little burned from 15 months of beating the horse. I decided to take 2 weeks off to see how my body reacted....I was still tired. So instead of forcing things, I backed off and trained how I felt for the next 6 weeks. I put in some good sessions, but didn't touch 20hrs once in that period. This is the first time I have done this in 8 years racing and it ended up being the best thing I could have done.


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I was in the area and decided to race down at the California Ironman 70.3 a few weeks ago after crashing a week out from the race. The swim went well for me, I lead the second back out of the water without any trouble. Now I just need to make the move up to that front back at the 70.3 distance. Ride was comfortable, I knew I didn't have the fitness to go with the guys that were bridging up to the front, so I just enjoyed the day. The run was another story, didn't have the legs...but then again I didn't have any expectations.


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After the race, I took a week to build back into things and am now rolling along very well. I am finishing up a big aerobic overload block where I will touch on 20k in the pool, 20hrs on the bike and 120km on the run trails. I will finish this block up this weekend and then take 4 days of almost no training to absorb all of the work. Remember that it doesn't matter how much work that you are doing, if your body cannot handle it.




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So that is training. On the coaching, clinic, camp front I have a lot of info to share. Below I have posted some photos of my first tri clinic this year. We didn't do too bad with 22 people showing up. If you are in the area for the talks, swing by, I would love to chat. You can visit www.trekstoremadison.com for more details....oh yeah, they are free, there is lots of food and tons of swag as well!

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Thank you to Gary Geiger for these photos. You can check out his stuff at http://www.geigerphoto.com/



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If you are still interested in coaching for the upcoming season, I have picked up a few more coaching clients and now only have 2 slots left. If you are interested in working together, please drop me a line!

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I have all the details worked out for my 2009 Ironman Training Camp which will take place from July 24th - July 26th here in Madison. If you would like more information, please let me know. The event is geared toward anyone racing a late season Ironman, from Canada to Arizona. I also have a few athletes coming that are not racing IM this year, but planning on it in the future. There will be just as much information shared, as there will be training. The abilities of the athletes are ranging from <10 to 16hrs
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That is about it for now, I hope you are all starting to think about the upcoming season! It is sneaking up on us!
BB




Monday, March 30, 2009

Taking A Toll...

Recently I have been working with a few athletes/friends that are going through some things that I know are not that uncommon. How do I know this? I know this because I have gone through so many of the same things and seen others go through them too.

Triathlon is a great sport! It is a healthy lifestyle, it is made up of fantastic people and teaches us that we can do so much more than we thought possible. For the most part, I find that the sport is made up of very hard working, nice, goal oriented people. From our first race, we want to improve...go faster, push more watts, do better than we did on our previous time out.

This can be a good thing in that it is what great performances are made of. But there is also a downside. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the sport (actually this is true of many things in life, but I will stay on track here) that we let it become more than just something that we do. It starts to define us...it becomes us. We are happy when we do well, we are down when we don't, life is over when we are injured, we feel bad about ourselfs if we aren't at race weight,we are successful when we PR and we fail when we go slower. We place so many expectations on ourselves in what we think we "should" be doing, that the sport goes from something that enhances our lives, to something that drags us down. We forget why we actually got into the sport and somewhere along the way, we lose the enjoyment of it.

We tend to view the world in a way where we are at the center. Everything revoles around us, when in reality most people are so concerned with what is going on with themselves that they have no idea/or care what is going with you. Not saying that this is the everyone, but it is the majority. All of the expectations that we create regarding how fast we need to go, or thinking we are going to let others down if we don't, are a mirage and created in our own heads.

Triathlon is JUST swimming/cycling/running in the end. At some point, we will have to be OK with letting it go. Whether it be 20 years from now because of life changes, or much sooner because of something else...we need to be OK with it, ready for it or not! It is OK if you never go a second faster, never PR again, or never qualify for that race that you want so badly to do. Remember, no one judges you, or thinks you are any less of a person.

Now the last paragraph might sound drastic to some, but they are valid fears and thoughts for many in our sport (including myself), other sports and demanding careers in general. In the big picture, triathlon (these things) is a big part of our lives, but it is NOT our life. It is not ultimately what makes us happy and is not important when compared to the things that really do matter.

So if you start to feel the pressure....the pressure that you have created yourself and placed on yourself....take a step back. Focus on the things that really matter in life....Family and those who are closest to you... Do your training, work hard, enjoy it....but then leave it at that. Do your best and take what you get. I think that you will find you are not only happier, but will be racing and training much better! Sometimes we have to take a step back, before we can take a step forward.

That is all for now....on the health front, I am healing up ok on this end and will still be racing this coming weekend!

Have a great week everyone!

BB:)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rolling With The Punches...

Throughout life we are dealt many different cards....some are great and some we would rather forget about. To make it a little bit easier to deal with the tough times, we have to just roll with the punches, however or whenever they come, we have to just do what can and keep moving forward.

Today I was out on my last key ride before the California Half Ironman next Saturday and was dealt some not so favorable cards. I was having a great ride ride and seeing solid watts for the amount of training that I have been putting in (not a ton).

Half way through the first of my 3, 20minute intervals, a bee flew straight into my mouth and stung me.....awesome. The ride was off to a great start. I finished my second interval with no issues and then I had about 90seconds left on my third interval when I was coming up to a four way stop where I always turn right. There was no traffic, so I took the turn with a little bit of speed. Well as I went into the corner, i blew out my front tire and before I knew it, I was on my back. Complete with road rash, a scuffed helmet (thank you Rudy for saving my head for the third time).

...yes, my first thot was, "how is my baby...I mean bike?" haha, it was ok. It landed on top of me, so scuffed bar take was the only mark. I got up and decided that I would try to ride home. I just needed to change my flat. So i got out my spares... #1 - failed, #2 - the stem was not long enough for the rim...so now that wasn't an option......awesome!

I called for a ride, but had no luck, so I spent the next 45min hitchhiking and finally got a ride from a local who was nice enough to drive me the 20-25minutes back into town.

After I got cleaned up, things aren't too bad. I have road rash on my ankle, knee, hip, hands and arm....but nothing too bad. The only questions are my ankle, which hit the pavement pretty hard and is swollen, and my hip which is also a bit puffy.

So, I am just going to roll with these punches and get back as soon as my body let's me. There is nothing else I can do now. I just hope that I got the back luck out of my system for the year and don't have any more close calls.

Be safe out there everyone and make sure that your helmet is fit correctly!

BB:)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Real Question Is.....

....how long would it take you to eat this jar of Peanut Butter???
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Here are the nutritional facts to help you think about it a little more. Yes, that is 6400calories of Peanut Butter goodness!!!
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Since the Challenge Wanaka Ironman race in January, I have decided to give up "added sugar" in my diet. This includes all sugars that aren't naturally occurring. The only exceptions are special occasions, or times when it doesn't fit well for others. That doesn't happen too often right now, so I have to have another way to replace those calories....
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The solution....PEANUT BUTTER...actually anything with fat in it.
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Anyway, the other day I was having my peanut butter and spoon (yes, that mens I was just spooning it down...doesn't everyone do that? :) and Curt asked me how long it would take me to finish the container to PB...I said "I don't know!?! How long do you think it will take me?" He said 6 days, so I decided to take the challenge. The one rule is that it cannot be the main ingredient in any meal....has to be eaten between meals.....
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So far I am on day 4 and I have about 2/3's of that container finished....I will keep you all updated on the progress....If this is successful, I will move up to the Sam's club size next week!
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I hope everyone is doing well otherwise, I have two weeks left out west before returning to Wisconsin and will toeing the line for the first time at the California Half Ironman a week from Saturday. I am feeling good, but really making an effort not to come into top form until June and September this year!
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Back to PB~
BB

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Is here....

It's the first day of spring and for many that live in colder climates, this is the time where the motivational switch is flipped. The smell of the ground that has been frozen for 6months, the pollen in the air from budding trees and flowers, the rain showers and the longer days all contribute to the feeling that warmer weather is ahead. For many people, who get the blues toward the end of winter, this is also a time where they start to feel happier.
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Some people have trained hard over the cold months, some people have skied, some people are are rehabbing from injuries and some people haven't done much. Regardless of where you are and what you have done, it is important for you to ease into things. It is very easy to get out the door and drill yourself every single day that the weather is nice. Most of the time, things go well for a week or two, but it soon back fires, with sickness, injury or becoming over-reached.
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Racing is still along way off in the midwest and northeast, so it is important to keep things in perspective. Spend a week just getting rolling again outdoors. Then spend another week with just one quality session on the bike and run. This will allow the body to adapt to the increased training load and avoid many potential problems.

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On this end, things are going great. I haven't been putting in a ton of hours here in Tucson, but am getting in some good quality sessions and am feeling strong. I may be a little under prepared for Cali 70.3 in a few weeks, but not by much. I am just enjoying the process of getting fit again, enjoying life and am excited for the season ahead.

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I have confirmed the dates of my Ironman Training Camp this summer in Madison, Wisconsin. It will start on July 24th at noon and run through the afternoon on the 26th. The cost is $500 per athlete, which includes everything but flights, lodging and a 1 breakfast. There are also couples discounts available, if you would like to bring your significant other.
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There is now a cap of 25 athletes on the camp and there are about 15 slots remaining. The camp will consist of some very solid training each day, lectures between the sessions, demo's from Trek and Power Tap, as well as some good food, free swag and great company!
I hope to see you there. For more info or a complete schedule, email me at blakebeck@gmail.com or give me a call at 608-219-7447.

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Outside of the racing, we are having a March Madness party tonight which should be a lot of fun....I also have a new favorite singer/song writer by the name of Matt Nathanson...check him out.
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I will check in again soon, but I hope everyone is doing well and I will see you soon!
Blake

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Week 1 in Tucson....

The first week in Tucson has flown by, as I am sure the next 4 will. The weather has been nothing short of perfect (45-55* and dry at night, 80-90* sunny and not that windy during the day) and the training has been fantastic. The body is starting to feel good again and I am optimistic about being fit enough to go well in April. I will get a little better picture in another few weeks.
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This week is also moving week in the Johnson household. Curt and Erin Johnson are the couple that I am living with here in Tucson and are moving themselves, their stuff, 2 puppers and a bum athlete :) into a new place. Luckily, the move in and move out dates overlap and the new place is about a mile away, so there is no rush on getting stuff over there. Tomorrow will be the "big stuff" day with the Uhaul. No need to strength train...
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On the last blog I talked about the mind/body connection and how doing well in life, really goes hand in hand with doing well in sport. The reality is that sport is just sport, it is fantastic....but it can also go away in a second....and will go away at some point. When you view it in that light and focus on the rest of your life most of the time, the pressure is gone and you will probably find that you are going just as well, if not faster. This is key to enjoyment and longevity.
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Focus on making your daily life better. Ask yourself what you need to be happier....at work, at home, socially, or emotionally? Are you living the way that you want to live? Are you the happiest person that you can be? If not, how can you change it...or at least get the ball rolling to change it? Once you do, or start to....everything else will just fall into place....
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With training(I am learning with this one:), don't obsess over numbers, other athletes/people, or things that you can't change(non-controllables). Just get out the door, love it, work hard and then leave it! You will find it to be a great outlet for the rest of your life. If you have an injury that you are working through, it is tough...I know, I have been there. But in the big picture it is just a blip on the life screen. Come up with a plan that includes everything you can do and stick to it....enjoy THAT process, and before you know it, you'll be back 100%.

Alright, I'll wrap this one up. I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Wisconsinites, hang in there....less than 3 weeks until spring....I will see you all in April. Everyone else...who seems to have great weather right now, enjoy it!
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I promise the next entry will be a little more light hearted!

BB:)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flipping The Switch....


The above pic is from Australia this last winter and is of our group after riding up to the summit at Falls Creek.
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Those of you that are closest with me, know that I have been going through a bit of a "funk" over the last month. Most of it came from lacking a little direction in both life and racing. I think that everyone goes through periods like this, especially if you are an athlete...that is why it is so important to surround yourself with good friends who can help keep you positive and have a great life outside of sport. That is exactly where I put my focus over the last 5 weeks, hoping that it would help me find my mojo again. What do you know....it worked.
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Many people, including myself, talk about the mind-body connection in sport....in order to perform at your peak physically, you have to be in a good spot mentally.
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I am now in Tucson, Arizona after briefly stopping in Boulder for a few days. Needless to say, I have had a lot of time to think through things in the soccer-mom minivan. A few days ago, on my final day of driving, I finally came to feel good about my plan for the coming year....and beyond. I believe in the plan and am excited about it...these are two things that you can't force, they are either there or they are not. Something that everyone can take from this is to not settle on something that you aren't sure about...keep searching, talking to those that matter and the answer will come to you...when it does, you will know it.
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Alright, that is all for my life philosophy lesson today, I need to go ride.
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BTW - If you are ever in Tucson, the Oro Valley area is fantastic. There is a pool and track side by side, with great riding as well. If you are interested, the season pool pass is $20 and it is one of the nicest pools I have experienced.
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Have a great day,
BB

Friday, February 06, 2009

Getting Back to Business...


Here is another black and white pic that I took in NZ.


This is the first week that I have started "training easily" again and now I can say that even after 2 weeks of nothing, I am starting to feel like myself again. Infact, maybe a bit better.
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I have hopped in the water a handful of times and included some harder swimming in the last 3 sessions. Each time I swam hard for 1200yds and to my surprise, I swam PR's on all 3 sessions. Mainset's were 3x400(last one in 4:29), 5x200(last one in 2:07) and 12x100(last 3 at 59 from a push). So while I felt like a donkey for the first 3 or 4 days moving again, I am pretty sure that it won't take long to get back where I was at.
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On another note, I have been enjoying a lot of time with my friends back in WI. I have stayed out way past my normal bedtime, but had a lot of fun. Activities have included or will include, shuffle board, Uno(thanks JD), bowling, clubbing, mini-golf, lots of eating out, visiting a tea house and some good Wisconsin Micro-brew, which I have missed over the last 4 months.
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So that is it on this end. My battery is recharged and 2009 is right around the corner. I will be revising my 2009 schedule in another 2 weeks, so stay tuned.
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Cheers,
BB


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hitting the Reset Button

After a 34+ hour trip back home, getting charged $900 in airline change fees and setting off the explosives alarm at LAX when being searched at security, I made it back to the Wisconsin Meat Locker.

The cold was a bit of a shock when I arrived in the Twin Cities this last week. I was greeted by frost coating the jetway walls as I exited the plane. It wasn't a surprise, the outside temp was -1* F. Minus the cold (haha) and sleep, I have had a fantastic week back with friends.
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I have decided to take 2 weeks off and a few more weeks easy before starting to train hard again. I have done A LOT of work in the last 15 months, with no more than 4 consecutive days off. In addition, I haven't taken more than 7 consecutive days off in over 3 years. So to say a break was needed is an understatement. During this break, I will also be getting some testing and blood work done to get a baseline of where I am at and what I need to do in order to accomplish my goals in the coming year.
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This may mean that my North America season could start a bit later than previously planned, but I am ok with it. I know that when I come back, I will have that little bit more to take my fitness to another level. I already have that itch to come back , but I am resisting and practicing what I preach. I have to step back, before I can step up.

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On another note, I have 1 coaching vacancy for the coming season. If you would like more information, drop me a line. Ironman Camp updates will be coming later this month, as well as one on one training opportunities.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

BB

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wrapping it up....


The above pic is from Lake Tekapo, which is about half way between Wanaka and Christchurch, New Zealand. The church in the foreground is one of first in the area. In the background you have Lake Tekapo, which is a really deep shade of green, and the southern alps behind it. I had to wait a while to get this pic without tourists, but it was worth it. This pic is one of about 500 that I have taken, so look for a few more to be posted in the coming days.
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My time away from North American is quickly coming to a close and I have seen and learned a lot. The first 5 weeks were spent with Brett Sutton in the Philippines, then the next 8 were in Albury NSW, Australia training with friends and finally the last 2 were racing and training in New Zealand.
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The Philippines gave me a first hand look at what it is like to live in a 3rd world Asian country. I didn't particularly enjoy the living situation there, but it definitely gives you good perspective on how most people live in these countries. The training however, was great and I learned a lot from Brett.
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Next up was Albury, NSW Australia with 3 of my good triathlon friends, JD, Chris and Marilyn. McDonald. We trained pretty hard for 8 weeks and got to see a lot of the country....we did have our fun though.
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I ended the trip with 2 weeks in New Zealand. I started the Challenge Wanaka which is an iron distance race that is run very very well and it was hard to pass up being in town. I got to try a few new ideas in my racing and training and I made improvement...not having any trouble until 150-155km on the bike, which is about an hour past where I usually run into problems. Anyway, that is another blog...it is progress and I am happy with that.
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We ended with a week of traveling around and seeing the sights. We got to Queenstown, Mt. Cook, a few areas in between and then Christchurch. All fantastic places where I would like to come back to train in the near future.
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I now leave tomorrow (Monday) to head back to the states and catch up with family and friends. I have taken a bit of time off after this race to sort of 'reset.' I will have about 3 weeks in Wisconsin, before heading out west for 6-8 weeks getting ready for California 70.3 in Oceanside, CA.
More to come soon!!!
Cheers,
BB

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A New Focus

Many of you have looked at my 2009 race schedule and asked if I have a new focus for the coming year. So I thought I would answer this one on my blog.

Ironman has been the primary focus of my racing since I have gotten into the sport. The challenge of racing all day and pushing your body over 8, 9 or 10 hours has become a passion of mine. But over the last few years, I have realized that my strength may be elsewhere in the sport...the 70.3 distance, or half ironman. Whether it be physical or physiological, I seem to go the best when racing for 4 hours.

I will still be racing Ironman Wisconsin in September, but until then my number one focus will be the half ironman distance. In addition to the half ironman, I will also be taking part in more short local events to help build up my top end.

I am very excited for the coming year and will post all the latest news on my blog. you can also visit my website regarding clinics and camps for the coming season.

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On another note, things are going very well here in OZ. But it is really starting to get heat up. It was well over 100* today and training in the afternoon can be tough. I love it here, but in some ways I will be glad to head to New Zealand next week to escape some of this heat.

After a few weeks there I will be flying back to the states, visiting briefly with friends and family in Wisconsin and then heading to Tucson for some early season N.A. racing and training.

Cheers,
Blake