Saturday, December 24, 2011

2012 Full Steam Ahead

It's that time of year again where it's time to think about what transpired over the last 12 months and what we would like to do better in the next 12.  No doubt that we could all write a book about both the things that we have succeeded at, as well as those things that we deemed to be failures. Without getting caught up in the details of them all, a few things are clear; they have all lead us to be where we are right now, everything will have happened for a reason and we have to be thankful for our health and the opportunity to do what we do.

On the racing side of things (as I recapped in my last post) things were not stellar for me.  I was fit, but I was over worked...literally and as a result, never had that sharpness that I needed.  On the business side, things could not have gone much better. I have directly impacted dozens of lives in a positive way and helped them to realize things within themselves.  Not a bad business to be in.

While many can give advice on what I should have done and should do. I needed to have both of those pieces of my life running smoothly on all cylinders.  That's how I work, I don't half ass anything.  Sometimes this wears me thin, but in the end, it all comes together. So for those of you who are in the same boat, or for those of you who are struggling to find direction, keep the faith and believe.  Success is sometimes just sticking around longer than everyone else.

Now reflection is done and it's time to come up with a committed plan and vision for the next year.

Coaching: I have finally come to a place where I am OK with giving up the decision making reigns when it comes to coaching.  If you ask my past coaches, I am sure they will tell you that this was my number one pitfall.  Time to correct this and let someone else do the thinking for me. Thank you to Cliff English for taking me on and investing in me, as an athlete.

Racing: It's all about racing well, racing consistently and of course, Ironman Wisconsin.  This year is 11 years in the making. It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be done.

Balance: Race hard, work hard, what's missing?  Time to get away.  I will also make clear dedicated time away from the above.  Time that will be spent for myself, to enjoy and better my life.   Like my mom has always reminded me, "when the universe is in balance, success is inevitable."


Stay tuned for a new website dedicated to BBMC, a 2012 race schedule and more exciting happenings in my life.  Thanks for reading, I hope all of you have a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!  I will catch you next year!!

Monday, November 07, 2011

2011 Season Recap

I have just finished up with my last race of the 2011 season and at first glance you might say something like; "I bet you can't wait to forget about that one," or "what a bust of a year."  Despite the lackluster results, I believe that I have grown more in the last 12 months, than during any other period of time in recent memory. The lessons that I have learned will be important in the decisions I make regarding my life, balance and future.

For me,  it's always been important to understand that every choice I make has a consequence; some are good and some, not so much.  More than that, I think that it is important to be able to make changes in order to not repeat the choices that have yielded negative outcomes.


Here is an evaluation of my 2011 season and what I look to change in 2012.


The Good:

I have reached new levels of fitness and though it didn't all come together at the races, there were bits and pieces that did.  My swim at IMFL (51:23, which was fairly easy), the last 40km of my ride at IMWI (the second fastest on the day), as well as my ability to contend from the beginning of the race (IMWI & IMFL). All of these pieces will serve as bits of confidence when I toe the line in 2012.

On the business side of things, coaching has really taken off.  Since the inception of Team BBMC, the number of athletes has grown, as well as the satisfaction I have gotten from helping them accomplish their goals. It's the second time in that last decade that I have found something that I am passionate about come together with something that I am successful at.

My clarity in sport and life, as well as the path to get there is finally visible. Perhaps this has come from age, or from my experience with things I don't want, but either way, I will take it.


The Not So Good:


Balance; the downside of having two things that you are successful at, is the task of balancing the two.  What I have found is that without setting clear boundaries for myself, I become spread too thin and less successful in both areas of my life. More is not always better, but better IS always better.

Lack of accountability. Based on my past in the sport, I have a reputation of training too much. This is something that I have used as an excuse when comes to sessions that I have skipped. The reality is that I have not trained many weeks over 20hrs in the last 2 years.

ME time. I am an intrinsically motivated individual who packs their day with everything they can to achieve success.  This is great, except I now recognize that sometimes the key to succeeding is not doing anything to achieve it.


The Road Through 2012!

Clear goals with limits.  My time is valuable and this year I will be putting a little more value on it. I could work 12-15hrs a day, 7 days per week and not even blink an eye. The only problem is that when I finally do, I will be 50 and there will be a lot of things where I didn't hit my potential or that I missed out on altogether. This year I will be setting clear boundaries for myself that will give others and myself, a better me.  I will have goals in my life, but in addition I will have a clear limits on the time devoted to accomplishing them. Most importantly, I will be present in my interactions with others.

Taking on a coach.  It has been a while since I have had a coach, but I feel that it is time for me to get back to having a great one, as I move into my best years.  I have ALWAYS raced better when I have had someone holding me accountable in training and supporting me with my racing.  I am happy to announce that I will be working with Cliff English in 2012.  He is one of the best in the sport and I look forward to having his guidance.

These are my public changes and are in addition to some private ones.  Life is all about balance and when things aren't balanced, it's tough for things to go well.  In 2012 I am getting that balance back and am optimistic and motivated for what lays ahead!!

Now onto a few weeks of fun!  Stay tuned for some BBMC announcements, as well as a new website.

BB

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ironman Wisconsin 2011

2011 Ironman Wisconsin 


I have finally had a few days for the race to sink in, to think about how the race played out, the decisions I made, what I could have done differently and what I will take into future races.

Here is how the race unfolded through my eyes...

The morning dawned and the weather that we got was absolutely perfect.  Light winds to start and temperatures around 55*.  I finished zipping up the wetsuit about 15minutes prior to race start and once in the water, the arms felt fantastic in my TYR Cat 5 wetsuit.

The cannon sounded at 6:50 and outside of Romain (who was away after the first 50m), I lead the field through the first 200m at what felt like an easy effort. I then settled into a group with the two athletes I was keying off of, Kessler and Morales.  

We reached the turn at 800m and after being punched squarely in the back of the head by Morales, I decided to slide comfortably back in the group of 4 to keep out of Morales' arm recovery.  As luck would have it, just as I moved back, Kessler moved off the front; a move I didn't catch until she was already clear. I attempted to bridge up, but just couldn't do it in the warm water. 

At first I was frustrated, but soon realized that she wasn't taking any more time. I would happily let her dangle 50m out front.

I lead the group around the 3rd turn and managed to drop Morales.  This was good, since I knew I needed time on him going into the run.  At the 1.9km mark it was only Freddy Lampret and myself. Then, just as I relaxed, Freddy managed to surged past me on my blind side. I didn't catch it in time and now I was solo with a lap to swim.  

I knew that if I just kept it rolling, they would not gain much more than a minute on me.  I just needed to swim within myself. I made the 3k turn and navigated through what felt like a million athletes. I tried my best to pick my lines, but with that many in the water, it's tough.

I exited in 54:20, only about 3:30 down on Romain and just over a minute down on Kessler and Lampret.  After a quick transition I erased that deficit and started the bike just a few seconds back of 2nd.

Once out of town I quickly made my way past Lampret and my goal was to ride my own race using my Joule to guide me. I knew it would get hot and a conservative plan would yield good results.

Morales caught me at 10k and passed me HARD on an uphill.  I didn't think that this was too smart, as I know how these hills can catch up with us. I rode comfortably through 50 miles and got a split that Morales was only 2min up the road, with Romain at a little over 7. I stayed patient and knew that headwind section on Hwy G and 92 would be important.  I rode strong and learned that I held the gap to Morales (2:15), but that Romain had gone out another 2minutes (9min).



I made the turn to Cross Plains and started to feel even better.  I had the perfect wheel setup on my Speed Concept; opting for a 45mm front wheel and 90mm rear.  Aerodynamics are important on this course, but with all the accelerating and decelerating that we were doing, so was rotational weight.

Then at mile 80 I got a split of 2min to Morales and 7:15 to Romain.  THEY WERE COMING BACK! By the time we got back to T2, I had taken back almost all of the time back on Morales (gap was 40sec) and it was only 5:45 to the front of the race. 

Once off the bike, things were tough from the start. I knew that Morales would be tough, but I thought Romain was well within striking distance. However, I had a painfully high HR and my stomach hurt to the touch (thus my top being pulled up in pics). I remembered back to the hot days when I had to manage the heat very well. I knew it would get better, I just had to stay focused. The legs felt strong and I knew things would settle.  

Sure enough, I made my way through the first few miles and the HR came back down to earth. I went through 3 miles in 19:30 and 5miles in 33:30...just fine, but I was HOT...I tried to get fluids and sponges, but they were warm. I REALLY needed ice water and a hat (my one mistake on the day).

I got to the turn on State Street and the crowds were amazing. I saw my family, dozens of friends, and some that I hadn't seen in a decade. It was truly awesome (check out the pic above).

At 10km, the gap to the front was 3:30, but Morales was only 1min out of first and was running major time into me.  Unless he cracked I would have to settle for second, which would be ok, considering how I felt. 

At 19k the gap was 1:40 to 2nd, with Morales much further up the road. 4th was almost 4minutes behind me, so I felt pretty good about things at this point.  Afterall, I was a runner and I usually don't get caught from behind.

At 20km, I was welcomed back to State Street by about 100 friends who were going crazy.  My split was a little over 90sec, I had support, I could do this!!! Or so I thought.  I got off of State Street and passed 23km when I started to get an overwhelming sense of being hot. In hindsight I should have stopped at the next two aid stations to get what I needed, but I didn't realize how close I was to the edge and nothing seemed to be working.  I pushed hard and at the next split, Romain was back at 2min.  I yelled at myself to pull it together...this is what I lived for.  I then entered the stretch of about 3km (almost 2 miles), with no aid.  

Just before I got to the stadium, I got passed by 4th.  Then once into the stadium and within about 100m I went from running to stumbling sideways.  I had an athlete who I coached, told me later that when he passed me, I looked like I was stumbling home from the bar. I pushed and tried to pull it together, but any increase in effort would yield a sky rocketing HR.  There was nothing I could do.  I was over a mile from aid, unable to push...It was now a matter of just moving forward.  The medics followed me for the next few miles until things turned around.

This was the point in an Ironman where almost everyone who doesn't meet their goals, goes through a roller coaster of emotion. I cried, I tried my best to put on a smile for all who were supportive on course and remembered that I was lucky to be able to do what I do.  I thought of 9.11, I thought of ERIC , I thought of everyone else out there racing (including all 15 of my athletes).  They were giving everything that they had to hit their goals also and how they would kill to have been within a zip code of where I was. 


I didn't win, I didn't accomplish what I wanted to, but I was lucky.  I kept walking, hoping my family would still be on State Street (it takes a while to walk at the pace I was going:).  They were and they walked with me a little bit (making sure not to pace me, of course ;).  

I then came up Romain (#1 in the race) who was also having a rough day.  We both decided to walk it in together, receiving compliments and thank you's from everyone for finishing the race. This was about the point when I realized that I was walking for so many more people than just myself.  

The finish line was amazing, you can watch it here .  

Thank you to everyone who supports me and my racing.  Thank you to all of the spectators, thank you to two dozen or so people who sent me emails and FB messages of support. Thank you to my family who has supported me for 10 years, my friends, my athletes and my sponsors (Trek Stores of Madison, KSwiss, Woodall Training, Saris and TYR). 

I look forward to taking this experience and applying it to the rest of season.  As of now it looks like I will be racing Rev 3 South Carolina, Ironman Florida and Ironman Cozumel.

++++

So that was a recap of my day, but as a coach it is over shadowed by the massive accomplishments of my athletes out there on course.  You all inspire me, support me and motivate me to be the best person and athlete I can. CONGRATULATIONS!!!  

Here is a recap for you all:

Colin - JUST missed kona and had a great PR - 10:39:44
Theresa - FINISHED smiling and PR'd - 14:39
Perry - PR'd and had a VERY consistent day! - 13:27
Randy - Great swim and bike, pushed hard on the run - 11:01:23
Justin - PR FINISH PR swim, PR bike, PR run, PR PR PR - 11:22:12
Patrick - A PR by over 2hrs! - 11:14:30
Laurie - A PR by over 30minutes - 13:45:03
Jon - PR day and eliminated stomach problems! 13:08:22
Greg - HUGE PR day - 11:46:33
Tracie - Battled through stomach issues, helped an injured racer and finished strong! 15:45:11
Julia - PUSHED hard to break 14 and did it!!! 13:56:00
Jenny - Finished with a smile!! 13:51:30
Anna - WINS her AG and is headed to Kona baby!!!! 15th overall female 11:01:13
Chip - Huge PR day right behind Colin, just missed kona as well - 10:43:20
Rob - We all recognized rob in his fire fighter gear!!! simply awesome and inspiring! 16:17:17
Sasha - Very proud to say YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!! 16:27:38
Coach BB - Gave it a run for the win and nearly pulled it off.  Finished with a smile - 10:44:24




Friday, September 09, 2011

A Note to my athletes... (IMWI2011)

Hi Everyone,

I hope that this email finds you well and that you are at home, resting, eating, or perhaps doing something that isn't even related to triathlon. 

I want to first say that it has been a complete pleasure to work with and help every single one of you to the start line on Sunday.  Regardless of how the day unfolds, I hope that all of you can grasp onto the breakthroughs, the great feelings experienced, the friendships made and the things that you have learned about yourself, both inside and outside of the sport. THAT is what makes Ironman such an amazing sport.

Sunday is the day that we peaked you for. However, remember that it's also just another day of doing something that you love.  You have all swam in Lake Monona, you have all ridden on these roads and run through Madison.  You are just going to have the luxury of doing it when rested and with some help, ensuring you don't have to slow down too much to refuel and when transitioning from one discipline to the next.

Sunday looks like it will be cool in the morning (53-55*) with light south winds.  We'll have pretty good swim conditions (insert happy dance here:).  Remember that you will be swimming into the sun on the backside of the loop...be patient with your sighting and use those buoys (located every 100m) to guide you.

The challenge that you will have on the day will be holding back on the bike.  Cool and calm to start, then warm (85* on the road...perhaps higher) later on. This always causes a VERY fast front half of the race and yields some very slow runs times later in the day.  While some athletes can hang on alright, those of who pace correctly will run strong throughout that marathon and feel your best later on.  The key's here will be hydration, electrolytes and slowing down.  ALL of your (our) races will be made on the run.

The run will be warm.  Know that you will be hot when running with the wind and feel slower.  When running into the wind, you will cool and fast...Both require you to take care of yourself... stick to YOUR plan, stay in and enjoy the moment and you will finish feeling great!

Perhaps the bigger piece to this weekend is the remembrance of 9.11.  We are all blessed and lucky to have the opportunity to do what we do. Tired, energetic, fast, slow, exceeding or missing expectation, we are all amazing people and Ironman (as much as we love it) doesn't have any bearing on that.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your 2011 Ironman Wisconsin journey and I hope that I can be apart of your future adventures.

Within my own race I will be using each one of you to help propel me to a great race.  I will lay it down, lead by example and will see each one of you home...

Race hard, be smart, be safe and have fun!

Your coach and friend,
Blake

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why do I race?

This is a topic that is posted on our team forum and I thought that I would share my response with the general public! Enjoy...


I think that for me it grew into a personal challenge that stemmed from a competitive background in baseball and pretty much everything else that I did.  First to show that I could, then to show I could do more, then to win. 

For me, this is a theme I carry throughout my life and those who know me well, see it.  

- Growing up it was baseball. I lived and breathed the sport.  Through hard work and after about 6yrs, I made it onto team Wisconsin.

- In high school it was baseball, weightlifting and marketing through a program called DECA, where I reached the National level.  

- In college it started as baseball, but switched over as triathlon grabbed my interest. It was taking on a 30/hr week job, training 30-40(yes too many)hrs per week, being very social Wink and taking 15-18 credits, while getting into the school of Ed.  I wasn't a genius, but it was a good challenge.

- Post college it started as being a great athlete at the professional level.  Something that I am still working toward and am now almost through year 10 in the sport.  Like most of you, this sport did NOT come easy to me.  People look at me and say, WOW you race so fast, you are so gifted.  While I realize that I am not limited by my genes (except my right leg Tongue), most of my success has come through 10yrs of 45wks per year, dedicated to excellence... that's 450 weeks of consistent training.  Take that times an average of 25hrs per week and you have over 11,000hrs of training. Put that into anyone in our sport and they will be doing just fine.

- It has now shifted to being great, while being balanced.  Growing the amazing team that I have a vision for.  This will likely take 3-4 years.  Winning Ironman races, starting in 12 days. Buying a house, in the spring of 2013...and being a great partner to someone...add in family down the road a little ways.


I have done a lot of reflecting in my experiences and all I can say is that I feel that I do have it pretty well. Yes, I have created everything by myself (with support, of course), but it gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and reward.  I get to REALLY experience life; to travel, meet amazing people and get follow and do what makes me genuinely feel happy.

I am still very young, as most of you will agree, but I am realizing that life flies by.  I am 30 in just about a month and my body, though strong, does not do what it did at 25, or at 20...however, my mind does so much more.  I have realized that life is short and we are not entitled to tomorrow. We can justify almost anything with a thousand excuses. I have also realized that life is a series of choices and it is up to us to choose.  This is the best and worst part of it.

When it comes down to why I race, why I live the life that I do, it's because I love it and I know just how rare (and hard) it is for people to find that. Life is an ongoing process and journey and I may move on or even shift my focus, who knows. The one thing I do know is that I'll welcome it as I pursue the challenge of really living!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Taper Time

Around this time every year for the past decade, I start to get a little more excited than I typically do for my Ironman taper.  There is something special about Ironman Wisconsin.  Most people say it's because I know people out there on course, or because I grew up here.  I think that is part of it, but I also think that this race is something special for me because it was my first...and we all know about what that means!

I train on this course every day.  Each time out there I gather more and more energy, visualizing the race that I believe is possible, learning every up and downhill and figuring out what I am going to do in every scenario that could possibly arise.  Even then, being open to expecting the unexpected.

I have had some of my best training sessions on these roads.  Breakthrough days when I set the pavement on fire.  THESE are the days that I will be drawing from.


Then there is the support.

My family, who never once wavered in their belief of what was and is possible. They have been amazing and something that I will use when I am the supporter.

My friends.  From those who I haven't seen in 10 years and send me good luck messages, to those who I regularly interact with in this sport. They are the ones on bike throughout the day, yelling their heads off, giving encouragement and letting me know what is going on around me.

My team. This group inspires me every day!  From those who are upbeat and peppy when I am not, to those who show determination and make breakthroughs that they never thought possible.  They keep things in perspective for me.


Bib #2

#2, #2, # there is only one way to go from here!  I am motivated, excited and we all can relate to the analogy of the carrot and the rabbit.  I am not the carrot, I am the rabbit...and I am very hungry to get where I know I belong and to get what I know is mine!

See you all out there!!

BB

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Professional Ironman Races

I wanted to write a short post on Professional Ironman racing.  There have been many new events added to the calendar this year.  Some with a fair bit of prize money ($75,000) and some with not much at all ($15,000).  These races pay anywhere from the top 4 to top 10.

Since this has happened, it is quite apparent that the quality of the fields has really been knocked down and spread out. This is especially apparent with the women's racing, who at many "larger" Ironman races, only have to finish and they will receive a pretty good paycheck and a lot of Ironman World Championship qualification points (www.ironmanpromembership.com).


What would be a fair way to do things?

Here are a few options that come to mind.

#1 - Pay at fewer events, to attract more professionals and pay all who turn up, to where they at LEAST get their expenses covered.

OR

#2 Go with a prize purse at each event, based the average annual revenue generated over the previous 3 years.  I think that 5% is a good place to start.


** If you go with option #1, pay back a larger % of your revenue at these events.
** Get a 50% match from an event title sponsor.
** Instill a "cutoff" from the second place finisher in each division.


Here is an example based on choice #2 from above.

Most Ironman events generate just under $2,000,000 in entry revenue, a % of all hotel revenue and millions more from merchandise, municipalities. So say the total revenue is $4,000,000 for the larger Ironman events.

- Total prize purse $300,000. 200k from the event and 100k from sponsors.

- Top 3 paid the same on each side and subtracted from the total. 60% of total purse.

1st - $40,000 M/F
2nd - $30,000 M/F
3rd - $20,000 M/F

- That leaves 120k for the remainder of the field.  Which is split based on the number of athletes FINISHING under a time limit (* Instill a 10% cutoff from SECOND place.), as a percentage. So that is 60% of the pro field is men, then 60% of the remaining monies go to men and 40% to women. That's 72k for the men and 48k for the women.

- Here is how to distribute  the rest of the funds.

4th place gets 20%
5th place gets 20% of remaining money
6th place gets 20% of remaining money
7th 8th etc

That breaks down to this for the men from 4th to 6th

4th - 14,400
5th - 11,520
6th - 9,216

That breaks down to this for the women from 4th to 6th

4th - 9,600
5th - 7,680
6th - 6,144

Keep this breakdown going to the cutoff for both the men & women. Redistribute the monies to the ENTIRE FIELD (male and female).

** One more necessity is a 15m+ daft zone and at least a 35min head start for the professional.  10min doesn't work well at most 2loop swim venues.


If you install a system like this, the profession of Professional Triathlete will be something that is actually feasible in the world we live in. As a professional, you are left to cover all of your travel and lodging at each race.


This is just one possible solution I came up with. Perhaps Ironman will meet with athletes to help determine a better system than we currently have.

Blake

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Really Creates Success...For Me (IM CDA Race Report)

I don't think that I need to say that Ironman Coeur d'Alene didn't go how I planned this last weekend.

I think that a lot of times we look in the wrong places for success. I think that instead of admitting we need to change something within the big picture, we'd rather place blame on something that is out of our control and not our judgement, choices and patterns.

The training that I executed going in left me with life best numbers across the board.  4k swims in 50minutes, 112mi rides under 4:50 and 20mi runs under 2:05.  All were very common in the last 6 weeks of training going into the race... So no excuses as to whether or not I was fit. 

Mentally I was up and down heading into the race.  My last training block threw me under the bus big time.  Not because of the training that I had completed, but because I underestimated the amount of recovery needed from the sessions I was completing. It's one thing to plan training for someone else, it's another to integrate it into our own training.

A summary of this race is easy.  I was tired going into it and felt it from the gun. In addition, I didn't have the mental capacity to make up the difference when things got really tough. Though hard to admit, it was the truth...

+++

If i look back on my "better" Ironman performances, this is what I see in relation to my training. Keep in mind that this is over 10 years and 23 Ironman starts.  

The next statement comes from something I read a few months ago and basically it said this:

"When looking for success through comparing, we tend to look at differences.  Instead of doing this, try looking at similarities.  You will have much better results doing this."

What do all my "better" Ironman races have in common?  I had someone giving me guidance and coaching...

IMWI 2003 
Following Gordo Byrn closely and using his ideas as my guide. 10:35 got to Kona as an age grouper in my first real try.

IMWI 2007 
Mark Allen Online lead by Luis Vargas. 9:38 and 57minute PR on this course.

IMCDA 2008
Switched to the power/pace based training with Kurt Perham at Personal Best Multisport Pro Coaching  and finished 10th in 9:26

IMWI 2010
Completed my own training, but used Bobby McGee as a sports psychologist.  Finished 5th in 8:55


I ultimately believed after each one of these races that I could take what I had learned and integrated it on my own...  So why didn't it work? Hard to put it on any one thing, but here what having a coach kept me from doing or gave me.

#1 - Kept me from getting into my own head when things were not going well.

#2 - Trying to beat the training.

#3 - Having an objective eye to keep me from doing too much or not recovering enough.


Having an analytical mind is a great thing...except for me when it comes to my own training.  Carly gave me a great quote when I asked about why she thinks she succeeded at the level that she did.  Here is what she told me:

" I didn't think, I just did..." 

In other words, the coach is there to coach you.  Whether it's as a psychologist or someone writing training, they have a job to do and it's in our best interest to let them do it and do what they say.  I believe that many of us could benefit from taking a page out of this book.

So long story short...instead of being reactive from this race, I am moving forward being proactive for the next one and my future. I'll be moving back to getting a coach...and back on track!

Sometimes admitting we can't do something ourselves and making changes is just what we need to be able to do it...

+++

On a separate note relating to this race. I want to thank everyone who gives me support, especially Carly. Supporting, spectating, doing it "with me" is not an easy task!

Thank you to The Fletcher's for a great homestay, as well as my athletes, friends and family who sent me a hundred (literally) messages. 

Also thank you to my sponsors of Trek Stores of Madison, KSwiss, Saris, Powerbar and TYR.


See you all soon...









Monday, June 20, 2011

A note from the coach...

First, congratulations to everyone who has raced over the last few weeks.  In addition to racing well, we have had some great moments out at the races.  There was no shortage of this yesterday when we spent about an hour joking around under our tent in the thunderstorms. In addition to coaching, the camaraderie and support is what helps us gain strength and confidence. Whether this comes from your triathlon team or your family team, it's a key component to success.  There has been no shortage of this and I have seen amazing growth amongst all of you, both as a team and on individual levels. Whether you live in Madison or elsewhere, it has given me great satisfaction and reward to be a part of such great gains.

As we move into the heart of the season, it's important to remember to keep a bit of balance in our lives.  The season is a long one and triathlon is lifestyle that will last for a long time...as long as we keep it at a level that fits our lives.  It's easy to get wrapped up in results, and boy have we had some great ones, but remember that it's about more than winning for ALL of us. Whether it's about a healthy lifestyle, a distraction from work, finishing your first race, proving something to yourself, getting to Kona, or perhaps turning Professional down the road, it's an individual sport.  Challenge yourself, measure yourself against YOU and remember that the number one goal, regardless of your reason for racing, is to enjoy it. Triathlon is a choice.

We all have setbacks and we all know that training and racing never go perfectly, yet many of us have a hard time remembering that perfection is not what it's about; perfection doesn't accomplish goals and is not what creates memorable performances in most people's minds.

Not all of you are sports fans, but many of you may know that the U.S. Open (major)golf tournament took place this last weekend.  You may know that a 22 year old Irishman by the name of Rory McILROY won by a record 8 strokes and broke 12 separate records throughout the weekend.  What many of you may not know is what happened back in April.  He was leading the Master's golf tournament (another major) by 4 strokes going into the final round and had a meltdown. He lost 14 strokes to the eventual winner in that one round alone and went on to finish tied for 15th.  He took a lot heat for it, people said he was too young and that he needed more maturity before he could handle the pressure that comes with leading AND winning a major golf tournament. What did he do? He lapped the field this last weekend and overcame what could have been a career changing blow to his confidence.

THIS was a great performance.  Not because of what he did, but because of what he overcame. You can call it the bounce-back factor, you can call it overcoming a hurdle, keeping perspective, or rising to the occasion. Whatever you call it, remember it and keep it with you.  Triathlon is no different.  Those that accomplish their goals, those who finish and those who win are those who can accept the setbacks and stay focused on the bigger picture.

So take this to your next race.  When those confidence demon's try to creep in, shut them out with perspective, with knowing that perfection is nothing more than a mirage on the horizon. Enjoy the process, enjoy the people, take in the environment and enjoy the opportunity to be doing something that you love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

1 Week To Go...

I haven't posted in a while, mainly due to the fact that I have been extremely busy with coaching, training and life.  All is rolling along very well.  Instead of posting my training, I'll just write a summary for everyone.

I had been seeing PR's in the pool regularly over the last month, but they hadn't yet come through on the bike and run....UNTIL this last weekend.  2 weeks out I typically put in a 4ish hr ride with a 2hr TT at the end.  This is a good session when I can really gauge where I am at.  Let's just say that I was pleasantly surprised.  2hrs later, I had put out a 5+ watt  PR, as well as PR'd (by time) the IMWI loop by a good 2minutes in training.  The next day, a bit tired, I got out on the run found the same thing... a season best long run of 1:45 which I finished with several uphill miles at 6min pace at zone 3 HR.

Now I have started to rest and training is a bit hit or miss, but on a general level, the body is getting stronger and stronger as the days have gone by.  Now just one more mod-long ride today and some tempo work this weekend and it's go time.

I am looking forward to getting out to a place that I love, FINALLY getting to "race" this season, getting to see Carly after a 4 week break and assessing where I am at before I get set for a very busy second half of the season and the all important IMWI.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Training Ending May 29th

This was probably the best week of training of 2011. Some very tough sessions, that all went really well.  I now have a solid amount of recovery in between my key sessions as I head toward my first big races of 2011; Ironman 70.3 Kansas and Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

Monday - Big 4.5k swim today and easy 90minute spin.

Tuesday - 160km total today with 4x10min over geared FTP+ climbing, 90minutes at IM watts home. Short run off the bike. OW Swim in the evening.

Wednesday - Recovery run and 4.5km LCM swim

Thursday - 16km run with hill repeats. 4km in the pool and easy evening spin.

Friday - Race sim day.  180k (NP 270w), rode IMWI course today and 60min off the bike.  Exactly 15km through moderate terrain.

Saturday - 3km LCM swim

Sunday - Madison Half Marathon. 7th overall in 1:15:30.  Lack of warm-up made the first 10k a bit slow, but ended well.

4 weeks to go...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

5 weeks out and good to go...

This week was the first opportunity I have gotten to give myself and honest assessment of where my fitness is at as I approached 5 weeks out from CDA. Last week I gave myself 4 days recovery, followed by a key weekend.  This week was a good balance of quality and quantity. A brief summery for ya'll...

Monday -
Swim 4.5km that included 5 400's at 1:06/07 pace on 4:45 and a bunch of 100's
Bike - Double session with flat intervals in the morning and evening build run. 100km total

Tuesday -
Run - 20km on the trails in the arb, all easy
Swim - 4km with 100's dropping 1 sec each interval on 1:45. Started on 1:10, missed 1:01. Then the same thing with 50's on 1min. Started at 38 and missed 26sec.

Wednesday -
Bike - Double ride day with BRO hill reps broken with lunges, evening aerobic ride. 100km
Run - Easy 30min yog

Thursday -
Run - Morning 16km ending with 4x4min hill repeats at max controlled effort.
Aquathon - swam 11:08 for 1000m and ran low 17 for the hilly 5k...good effort today. about 25km total running for the day.

Friday - 
Swim - 4.5km same session as monday. held 1:07's today.
Bike - 1:45 easy Paoli +

Saturday - 
Bike - 190km descending ride with 8000ft of climbing. NP was 255 and AP was 230 for the ride. (5:45)
Run - 8ish km off the bike, started sluggish, ended great.

Sunday - 
Run - 35km in 2:22...took 2 miles to warm-up, then rolled 20 miles at 6:25-3:35. First warm fun...no problems today...LOTS of calories (800ish) on the run.
Swim -  Easy recovery.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Forced Recovery

In the past two seasons, I have done quite a few things right with my training. But there was one aspect that I wanted to improve; I felt like I had done a bit too much during my recovery blocks.  This season I have changed that and it has made a world of difference.  Most of my recovery blocks last for 5 days and follow about 14 days of training.

This last block was the best recovery block to date.  I headed down to Destin, FL to spend the week with the Piper's.  Carly and I swam every day in the ocean, which was a GREAT change in scenery.  I swam M,W,R,F that consisted of 2 easy swims, 1 long swim and 1 moderate swim. I rode easy on M and Sa for 90minutes and then rode 4hrs with 3x30km at 300w on Su.  I ran M,W,R,F,Su this week with M and R being easy, W being a 15km build run, F being a longer 90min run and Su a brick run of 8miles at 6:30/mi. Total hours for the week ended up being 14:45.

I am now back in WI, leaves are on the trees and it feels like the season is here.  I have quite a few shorter, faster sessions during the weeks and long training on the weekends.  This is a structure that I am finding quite effective when leading into an Ironman.

I will keep you updated with weekly training summaries as we go, as well as some very exciting news that is coming down the pipe.

BB

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Block Done!

After a recovery day on friday with swim and easy spin, I headed to the Monona 20k run race.  I decided to end my long run with the race, which actually worked well.  I felt good from the get go.  After a bit over 8miles to start at an average 6:30 per mile, I ran the 20km race at an average pace of 6:20.  All felt great, HR steady at 155 (which is just under IM HR for me).  Easy cd after to 21 miles.

To finish off the block I did a VERY steady hilly ride.  It's always a good sign when you end your training block better than you started ;)  5hrs in the saddle today, 7000 ft of climbing and NP of 265w.  Felt great throughout.

Now I am off to FL for 4 days of R&R!! Can't wait! Check in with you all when I am back and rolling again.

BB

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Just Get Out The Door...

Tonight I could barely get off the couch to get my run done, but was pleasantly surprised with a PR 7mi build tonight...not bad for the end of a 3 week training block. Run Splits were along a rolling route with some short steep climbs and a bit of wind on the return.  A minute or two with functional work, then 629 615, 601, 551, 535, 521, 2:30 last half mile, then cd.

This workout again proves that those that can motivate and get it done, on the right days, will reap the benefits.  Had this been a designated recovery or aerobic builder day, I would have likely skipped it and opted for recovery.

End in sight...

Training has gone well this week...here is the update.

Monday -

Swim 4600 SCY consisting of 200's, 300's and 400's on 1:15 base.  Held 1:06/7's for these...BIG improvement. Rest of the day off for recovery.

Tuesday -

Morning was 75minutes steady at IM pace for 45minutes.

Midday was a swim of 4k LCM with a mainset of 3x800 on 11:30.  Another breakthrough swim.  Times were 10:20, 10:08, 10:16...

Wednesday -

Bike - 2hrs of team riding.

Bike - 5hr 10min tough ride today with 4x10minutes at FTP uphill in all 3 positions.  After this set, 60minutes at 275-285 continuous.

Run - 10k off the bike at IM pace...pace was easy, first mile was 558, whoops...backed off an avg'd 6:15-20ish for these rolling miles...felt good.

Thursday -

Tired today...no surprise...I need to try to eat more on the big days to make the next day successful.

Run - 50minutes with 4x2minutes uphill HARD. steady back to car.

Swim - Wanted key session, but too tired. 2.5 LCM yards for recovery. Body felt good, just no energy.

Run - waiting on afternoon build run as I write this...may skip this session if I don't feel better in an hour or so...big weekend ahead. Recovery starts tuesday next week and runs through saturday.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Funday

Not really...just glad to get it done.  2:15 run today with 1:45 at IM pace/effort.  Extremely windy out, but the sun helped.  Got in a nice ice bath thanks to Lake Wingra.

After a nap and some Sunday sports, I am off for a nice easy spin to loosen up these sore legs...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

One of those days...

...that you are happy to just survive.  With 40mph winds, the riding was sketchy.  This made consistent power output tough.  Add in a front wheel sidewall blowout on a downhill at 35mph, a 45min pit stop to change the tire (Thanks for the ride, Will Smith) and it made for a long day.

On the upside, the legs felt great and another 5.5hr ride, big ring only (BRO riding), NP ~250 and 7900ft of climbing.

After some salmon burgers and hearing how great all of my athletes raced today, I am looking forward to running tomorrow!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Recovery Day

I wish that I was outside for a longer ride today.  It's 10am and the temp is already over 50*.  Instead, its a recovery day for me.

UW swim early this morning. 3200 total SCY with a sprint mainset that consisted of 100's on 3:30 and 50's on 2minutes.  These sessions have been great for me improving my swim fitness. Held 57/58 on the 100's and 26-28 on the 50's.

Easy 1-2hr spin this afternoon to get ready to a big weekend ahead.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rolling along

First half of week ending 8 weeks out. Weather is still FREEZING and windy.  The sun would be nice for the coming weekend!

Monday - 

Swim - 4.5k SCY total with 20x100 on 1:10, holding 1:05-1:07

Bike - After mod-long ride of 3hrs ending with 8x4min at threshold on 1min recovery. Focus was on the flats today.

Tuesday - 

Run - Easy 60min yog

Swim - 4k LCM with 6x400 on 6min. Holding 5:15-5:20 steady

Wednesday - 

Bike - 130km with 4x8min uphill and 30k flat TT

Run - Off the bike

Thursday - 

Run - 22km with 12km of threshold work through rolling terrain. 

Swim - 4k LCM - 12x200 holding 2:32-2:30. Intervals on 3min, 250 and 240. Tempo work today.

Week ending 9 Weeks Out

I get a fair amount of emails and Facebook messages asking about my own training. I am transparent with most things in my life, so I thought I would shed some light what I do as I work toward winning my first Ironman. First attempt will be on June 26th in Coeur d'Alene. The goal will be to update a few times each week.

Up to this point, I have had some great training blocks, followed by hard rest.  This is the first time I have done this, but I came away with great results.  

Swim - Since the beginning of the year, I have been swimming hard with a great group from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The result has been an increase in both my top end and steady state paces. This is exactly what I need to do in the water, so I am in good position to take control on the bike.

Bike - Things came back quickly.  I have already been riding very similar times to what I had been putting out pre-IMWI 2010.

Run- Very strong this year.  Some due to training and some has to do with maturity in the sport.  A little side note that this will be my 10th year in triathlon.


++++++

Week Ending 9 weeks out:

I was quite sick for about a week, so I had to ease into this week. 

Wed- Fri:

General zone 2 aerobic sessions with pick-ups to get back into the swing of things.  about 8hrs of training over the 3 days.

Saturday: 5.5hr ride with 7400ft of climbing BRO for this ride.  Felt solid throughout, but held back a bit because of sickness. NP for this ride was 252w.  Looking for a non-structured strength focused workout today.  Easy run off the bike.

Sunday: 20miles through rolling terrain.  Split 1:05, 1:03. This is a good fitness marker workout for me.  When I start to get fit, the times will drop a few minutes overall.



Hope everyone is having a great week!



Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sponsorship (Partnership) & The Business of Triathlon

I thought that I would write a short blog on sponsorship (partnership) within our sport (the business of triathlon). Perhaps this will be helpful for some looking for support (athletes and companies).

The first sentence is a concept that many new Professionals fail to realize.  Triathlon is a business, Ironman is a business and because of how it is run, it is more of a business than many other sports out there.  The goal is to make it as profitable as possible.  I am not saying that this is good or bad thing.  I simply stating this because I think that it is important for both parties to think about when coming together. As a business owner and Professional athlete, I see both sides very clearly.

I hear the word "entitlement" a lot within the triathlon world.   I will be the first to say that an athlete doesn't deserve anything...UNLESS they can show that they are worth the investment. Conversely, the same goes for companies. 


It is simple and complex at the same time. While I am sure there is an algorithm out there somewhere, I am going to breakdown what would be helpful for parties to think about when coming together.


#1 - Tangible benefits.  In other words, "if I partner with you, what am I going to see in return that I can measure?" 


For the company - This can be sales, hits on a website, number of views, athletes exposed to on a regular basis (defined), customers in my store, etc. When I go to a company, I want to be able to say I have done "x" before with other companies and this is what you can expect as well.


For the athlete - What are the $$ I am seeing in return, what equipment is being provided and what is the value of it.


#2 - Exposure - While some of this is measurable, some of it is not.  Each situation is unique and it is up to both parties to sell themselves to the other, mostly the athlete. Is there a benefit to having my name on your kit, website and blog?  Tough to say and probably not if you have won a few local or regional races. This is likely more applicable to the Olympians, World Champions and International Race Winners.  


What I have done specifically is taken my triathlon coaching business and leveraged it with my racing.  So now when I come to a company I say that I not only have exposure on my kits, but on 40 or 80 or 120 athlete's kits.  Those athletes race and train, some in social groups and some at a high level.  NOW you have their attention. Combine that with events outside of racing and you have yourself a valid point to sell.


#3 - The long term.  We want to align ourselves with someone who is going to help us move to where we want to be in the future. Would you rather invest in someone who is going to race for 2 or 3 years or someone who could grow with you over the next 10, 15 or 20 years? To me, the answer is simple.  


Revisiting #1 - While measurement is important, to make sure we are not wasting our money, #2 and #3 are much more important. Counting pennies is shortsighted, aligning yourself with people to help you get from point A to point B is where it's at.  Both for athletes and companies.  


My example is simple.  If I have a product and I am looking to not only sell it, but grow my company, would I rather have a few guys rockin' it for a few years or someone who I can partner with, invest in and grow with over the long term? Someone with not only race results, but who has a similar vision for their company as you do your "brand." If you want to grow your business large, you may want to go with someone who would like to do the same.  If you want to stay small, then align yourself with those folks.


I encourage all athletes and companies (most do this...I think) to think about where they want to be in 5, 10 and 15 years.  Then invest in those who can help you get there.


The ideal situation for an athlete is to have exposure within their racing and within their community.  Next time you approach someone for a partnership, don't ask, tell them what you provide them with.  Ask them if it's something they could use, or if it's something that will help them grow toward their goals.  If it is, then let the discussion begin on what services, cash and products are exchanged.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Today marks the first day of the year where I will turn 30 years old.  2010 was my BEST year yet.  I learned more about myself as a person, as an athlete, as a friend, as a partner and in this world than any year previous.
I have made some great friends this year on top of strengthening many of my existing relationships. I have lost a few people in my life as well and use that to help me live better, because they can’t.  The company you are in is what makes any experience great. I appreciate all of you in my life and know that my life wouldn’t be anywhere near as great or fulfilling without you.
On the racing side of things, I made a huge step in the right direction with a 5th place finish at Ironman Wisconsin.  Winning this race is on my bucket list before I am done with racing this sport at a high level.  I am lucky to be able to do what I do; to have a body that performs up to the level that my mind desires. As the calendar changes I am more driven than ever to not only win in the coming year, but also to love the sport that I am so passionate about and appreciate the people that make it up!
My coaching has also taken a step forward.  Another passion of mine is teaching and I am lucky to have so many individuals who want to learn from me and who look up to me for guidance.  It is both humbling and motivating! Thanks guys!  I am looking forward to leading all of you on Team BBMC in 2011.
I am still waiting for that someone to come be my teammate in this crazy game of life, but I am patient and in no hurry.  I am just enjoying the ride and appreciating/loving each day for what it is.
So 2011 predictions and resolutions?!?! Well I don’t have any predictions really, but I am setting out to make more time for myself and to live a little bit more for myself, this has always been challenging for me, but I am up for it...I mean really, do I ever back down from a challenge?!?
Happy New Year everyone; if you’re reading this, then thank you.  I hope that I can give you even half of what you give me!  Remember, life is a series of choices, go BIG!! After all, we only get one shot!