Monday, December 03, 2012

Now Is The Time...


Most athletes know exactly what they need to do IN SEASON, but what do you do during the off season?

Here are a few pieces of advice to help you:

1) Get a bike fit.  This is the time of year to adjust your position on the bike.  You don't have any sense of urgency here, so now is the time to play around with saddles, crank length, seat height and drop.  Your body will have plenty of time to adjust.


2) Reflect and LEARN on last season.  It's easy to just focus on what lays ahead.  While that is always a good thing to do, it's important to make sure that you learn from the season that just ended.  Ask yourself the following questions:

- What parts of training were you strong in and what was a struggle?

- What schedule set-up worked the best for your life and your body?

- Did you find that you enjoyed or excelled at one race distance over another?

- What went well during your races and what didn't?  How could the negatives be corrected?

- Did you train with power or HR? Would it have helped you?

- When during the season were you most motivated and when were you least motivated?


3) PLAN!  This is the time to plan for the coming season.  Talk with your coach and pick races that suit your strengths. Examples:

- Weak swimmers should pick wetsuit legal races.

- Strong cyclists should pick tougher bike courses.

- Lighter riders who are strong, should pick hilly courses.

- Bigger athletes should pick flatter races where they can use that as an advantage.


4) Get in the weight room!  This is the time to work on those muscle imbalances, strengthen the core and work on your functional strength.  In season strength work may not be very valuable in terms of the return you will get for you time, but out of season certainly is.


5) Set goals and objectives for racing and training.  Regardless of what they are, make sure that they are FUN and that they light a FIRE inside of you! Also, keep in mind that the ultimate performance goal each year is progression.


6) TALK TO YOUR SPOUSE, PARTNER & FAMILY. Ask them to evaluate the year...what went well for them and what didn't.  What could be better?  Think about vacations, travel, schedule's, kids, etc... Involving them and making them a part of the process will go a long way when you need to spend a saturday out on the bike and it will only add to their excitement on race day.


7) Spend time doing other things each week. Even though your "downtime" may be over, it doesn't mean you have to go back on the straight and narrow.  Designate time each week towards other activities outside of the sport... Make sure you are not too tired or too sore and definitely don't talk "shop" with whoever you are with. BE PRESENT!!!


The above tips may seem simple, but they will help ensure that this lifestyle of triathlon is one that sticks for a long time, that your flame stays lit and that everyone in the household feels like they are involved. If you have other off season tips and tricks, feel free to post them below!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 Wrap-Up, The Off Season & Igniting That Fire For 2013

"Season Wrap-Up" 

This season was definitely a roller coaster of both performance and emotion.  I had some of my best races and some of my worst.  I overcame several obstacles, checked off a few boxes and learned a lot more about what I need to do in order to accomplish what I would like in this sport.

The season started out with a great new coach (Cliff English) and race after only about 4 weeks of training. If I could run a 1:13 half at this point, I was very optimistic about what the rest of the season had in store.

However, things didn't go as planned. I struggled with balance, fatigue and motivation...I had a number of terrible races, even though I visited some great parts of the country.

After IMCDA, a switch flipped and I found myself in a familiar part of the year that I lived for... my IMWI build. I nailed a few local races, put out a few 280w 5hr efforts, as well as a 270w effort for 6hrs. I was running 75min sets at 5:00-5:20 per mile and felt as though I was ready for a win at IMWI.

When race day rolled around, I didn't have the IMWI I was capable of, but did run under 3hrs for the first time and felt as though I had my first "good" race in 2years.

I ended the season down at IMFL and would have probably finished with the 824-828, had I made a better shoe choice on the day. But that's racing.  A few weeks later, I tried again at IMAZ, but it wasn't meant to be.  No energy on race day left me with the sour taste of a DNF to end the season.  Sickness showed up on Monday, which explained my lack of energy. 

It was clear, that I now needed a big break.


"The Off-Season & Igniting That Fire"

Well, it's finally here and I am fully embracing it. I have done nothing in the last week and don't intend to for a while longer than I had first planned, the body is still asking for it, so I will give it more.

I am going about things the right way this next month.  Starting with time off, followed by a bike fit and doing a good bit of strength work to even out my leg length discrepancy and muscle imbalances, this should pay huge dividends down the road.

Then the planning begins.

In the past, when it has come to choosing races and a direction, it's been a lot about what others thought I should be doing and less about what I am passionate about. While it's always important to please sponsors, if we're not doing what we are MOST excited to be doing, we won't perform at our best.  So 2013 is going to be a year of big changes.  I haven't solidified a race schedule yet, but you can expect a few things.

- I will only be doing what really ignites a fire inside of me.

- There is a possibility of only 1 Ironman (Wisconsin)

- I will be doing a LOT more racing at the shorter distances.

- There will be a focus on quality over quantity. A much less total volume approach.


So that's where things sit right now. Next year will be my 12th year in the sport and will be a new chapter for me. I am excited and motivated, but right now I need to put that on hold to make sure that I get rid of every ounce of fatigue that I incurred over the last 11 months.

Happy Holiday's!


Monday, November 05, 2012

Ironman Florida Race Report

2012 IRONMAN FLORIDA
22nd Professional
Swim - 57:50  Bike - 4:27:11  Run - 4:03:24
Finish - 9:33:15

This race would be my 26th Ironman start and an opportunity to build on some momentum that I had coming out of this past season.  Consistency with my race results had come back, as well as balance in with my training, coaching and the rest of my life. Needless to say, I was excited.  

Leading into the race I felt strong, confident and was clear minded as to what I would do.  My swimming was going extremely well and though I wan't hitting life best numbers on the bike and run, I was routinely clicking off days that could yield a very strong finish and perhaps a shot at the podium.

Travel went off without a hitch on Wednesday and I had a great place to stay away from all the excitement with defending women's champion, Jessica Jacobs. Thursday went smoothly with the press conference, catching up with friends and the athlete meeting. Before I knew it, Friday was here and I was racking my bike.

I awoke on race day to the sound of crashing waves on the beach and lots of fog.  WTF!?!?! This wasn't in the forecast and I found it especially odd, because there was very little wind, but I guess that's the ocean. I tried to put it out of my mind and went about my business.  This year our start was bumped up 5 minutes. This doesn't sound like a lot, but let me tell you; when it's already dark, 5 minutes means it's even darker. I stood on the beach, 15minutes before the start and knew immediately I needed my other, lighter pair goggles. I sprinted back inside transition, grabbed them out of morning clothes and made my way back to the beach with about 10minutes to spare... what followed was a lame attempt at a warm-up. It involved getting knocked over 3x by 4-5' breaking waves and losing my goggles once...it got to me and I was rattled....60seconds to go and I had lost sight of my plan. Now, just making it through the swim sounded appealing.

The cannon sounded and I carefully picked my way through the waves and somehow made it out the first buoy a bit easier than I did in warm-up.  Thanks to a far less than aggressive start, I found myself rolling up and down in the swells somewhere between where I wanted to be (1st pack) and where I didn't want to be (the 2nd pack).  I decided to just swim on my own and soon I found myself back with the 2nd pack.  The remainder of the swim was largely uneventful; I swam solo, I didn't get knocked over by the waves and came out with a number of others who didn't have good swims either.

After a quick transition, I was essentially first onto the bike behind the pack that was about 2:30 up the road.  The watts were coming very easy today, but I stuck to my plan and soon found myself towing about 10 guys at the 15mile point.  By mile 20 we had picked up a few more and by mile 30, a few more still. Packs are not something that I seem to care for and for a number of reasons, I followed a few of the stronger veteran cyclists to the front of the pack, to get away from the mid pack antics.  The watts were reasonable and the legs felt fantastic.  Mile 40 clicked by and then 50 and then there was Starky; riding solo with a moto and car and he had at least 10 minutes on our group.  We all expected that he would put time on us, but 10minutes in 50miles?!?! Not only that, but we made the 90km mark(half way) in 2:04.  WOW.

We rolled through mile 60 and eventually bridged up to the first chase back. The good news was that I was rolling at 27mph+ through a lot of the ride, the bad news was that so were the 25 other guys with us.  

At mile 85 and within a few miles, I had familiar issues with the pistons and had to let the group go.  I thought that it was an ok time for this to happen because we no longer had a headwind and I thought that the group would maybe have 5-6minutes on me by T2.  With a gap like that, I knew that with a solid run, I could get back into the top 5.  One problem, at the turn at mile 95, the group already had that 5 minutes on me...in 10 miles... power of the pack I guess!!! I tuned the split out and just did my thing back to T2. The gap to 2nd, a whopping 12minutes....and I rode a 4:27.

Onto the run, I knew (or maybe hoped) that the guys would implode in the heat and I just took care of myself and stuck to my game plan of 6:25's.  I rolled through 7miles and found that I had taken 5:30 out of 10th and knew that if I could just run like I did in Wisconsin, I would end up top 8.  The next 6 miles were uneventful; my gap to 10th was down to 3:40 and the gap to 6th was about 5:15. Perfect!

The second loop started with a port-a-john stop which skewed the tracker splits a bit (about 70 seconds), and I kept rolling 6:40-45's, which I knew (relative) to still be taking big chunks of time out of the rest of the field.  At mile 17 I slipped down to about 7' pace, but it was warm and thought I could hold that until the en. This would give me a 2:55 or so... I just took care of myself, or so I thought, until about mile 19.25.  My pace went from about 6:45 to 8:45 in a matter of about 400m.  This posed a few problems:

1) I was over a mile from the next aid station and I needed COKE, NOW!

2) I run in tiny run flats and when my mechanics go south, the knees and feet get VERY painful.

"S#*! I am in a bit of a predicament here," I thought. I got to the turn around on the far side of the course and the gap to 10th was under 2minutes and 8th only about 4:00. The guys were running very slowly, but my charge had stalled and now, so was I.  The pace had slipped to 9+ and still had over a km to go.  By the time I made my way to the aid station I took 2 full cups of coke, perform and salt, but I couldn't get the pain (not the good, pushing hard pain) to subside or the pace to come back. I_ was_walking...

The reality then hit me about a half mile later at mile 21,  my day was done. I am not going to lie, I had thoughts of walking off the course.  I was tired, the body didn't respond how I wanted it to, how I had trained it to, or how it had 7 weeks prior.  But about that time I remembered what it felt like to quit, even when walking for 90+ minutes was the last thing that I wanted to do. In addition, I wanted to stick to my new rule, which is that if I start, I will finish, even if it means I walk it in.

+++

So that's all she wrote for Ironman Florida, 2012.  I did not accomplish what I had set out to on the day, but enjoyed racing and another attempt at the Ironman Podium.

A huge thank you to my Team of BBMC athletes and family for you support. A big thank you to Trek Bicycles and the Trek Stores of Madison, as well as Powerbar, Peak Performance Massage and K-Swiss for their support.

It has been a great year thus far and I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012 IMWI

2012 IRONMAN WISCONSIN
 5th Overall 
Swim 54:00 - Bike 4:56 - Run 2:58
Finish 8:56

Each season, Ironman Wisconsin is always the race that means the most to me. Though I train hard for every race that I start in, I have so much more vested in this event. I grew up in this city, I have so many who support me here and it really does feel like I have home field advantage. When I started racing Ironman events, 25 races ago, I told myself that one day I would win this race. THAT has been a major reason why I get up each morning and train as hard as I do.

This year was my 11th time racing here at Ironman Wisconsin and everything had gone perfectly leading into the event. I was at life best fitness on the bike and run and thought that this could REALLY be MY year.

The last build into the race had gone well. I knew that my numbers were up to par with some of the best in the world, thanks to my coach, Cliff English, who works with some of the best in the business. So confidence was very high, despite the strong field that would be racing.

SWIM:

The swim started and my plan to go out with race favorite, Ben Hoffman, failed. I just didn't have the gear to go with him over the first 200m. I quickly switched my focus to the main group and slotted in about 1 or 2 swimmers back from the front. I wore a sleeveless wetsuit for the first time in an Ironman and let me tell you, I don't think I will ever swim in full suit again. The range of motion is perfect for me and I tend to like "feeling" the water more. Thank you, TYR and Trek Store Madison for providing me with a great suit. I swam comfortably with the group and exited in a bit over 54min and more importantly with many of the strong guys I wanted to key off of in the race.

BIKE:

As I was heading out to my bike I thought that I dropped my sunglasses it T1. This meant that it was going to be one bright, headache filled ride... "no worries," I thought. This was a race and there is no time to worry about things like that.

Justin Daerr and myself lead the charge out of T1 and quickly made our way up to 4th and 5th on the road.  We were soon joined by Gerlach, Sturla and Goehner, with Hoffman up the road. As we made our way through loop 1, Ben had bridged up to the front of the race and our group had lost about 3 minutes to him.

My legs were not feeling good, but based on training wattage numbers, I knew I was riding well within my ability. I lead the charge into special needs, picked up my bottles, downed my energy drink and immediately didn't feel great.  I thought it would pass, but the legs just didn't respond. I managed to ride with the group until about mile 75, when the thought that these guys could potentially be riding too hard popped into my mind. I thought that they would eventually blow on the run and that I could run them down.

In hindsight, I believe I should have done everything I could have to stay with the group until we turned with the wind. instead of losing 10minutes in the last 35miles, I would have likely lost half that amount of time. Hindsight always 20/20.

The remainder of the ride was not one I want to remember, but I kept pedaling and then my attention shifted to my head. This was partly because of my headache and partly because of something hurting on the top of my head. "Could my glasses actually be stuck inside my helmet?" I thought.

As I rolled into T2 after 4hrs 56min of riding, I was in 10th place and 10minutes down on 2nd place, I took off my helmet and what did I see...my glasses of course! HA...how many Ironman races have I done again?!?!


NOT on Straight & NOT Happy

RUN:

My eyes were SO HAPPY. I started off on the marathon and thought that I could at least run into 5th.  This was the first race in my KSwiss KRuuz 1.5 flats and I have to say that if you can handle the pounding, they are fantastic marathon shoes.

I clicked off the miles and settled in to a 6:20-30 pace.  This was slightly ahead of plan, but not outside of my ability.  By mile 5 I was in 8th and by 12 I was in 6th.  I finally caught 5th at mile 17 and got a split at mile 19 that 4th was 2:20 ahead and 2nd/3rd were about 4minutes.

Hoffman was long gone, but podium was possible.  I pushed on, but hit a rough patch around mile 20. I was no longer taking 40sec per mile out of the guys, but still making progress. At mile 22, I saw all of my Team BBMC Athletes cheering hard and it briefly gave me a good boost.  I was 8sec out of 4th and 75sec out of 3rd with 4miles to run. 2nd had started running well again.

That's about as good as it got though. You would think that with someone so close, it would be easy to close the gap, but it doesn't work like that sometimes. Justin started to run a bit better again and I was only holding the gap to 3rd. I got to mile 24 and the splits had gone up a bit. I was now 25sec back of 4th and 80sec out of 3rd. I gave one more focused effort, but at mile 25 I conceded and held my 5th place in to the finish.

With a bit smarter pacing, I think I could have run my way up to 3rd with a 2:54/55 marathon, but I am very happy to finally run under 3hrs on this course and nail my nutrition using a combination of PowerBar products.


On A Mission

Notice the orange bracelet and L.I.F.E. Logo screened on my kit. This represented Eric McLean, who passed away a bit over a week before the race. Eric has been an inspiration to so many as he fought a losing battle with cancer. After learning of Eric's death, I wanted to make sure that he wasn't forgotten, that his foundation lives on and that all of us remember and know that we are lucky to do what we are able to do. Though it wasn't my day, I am still thrilled to finish 5th and run 2:58. Eric, you gave me a lot of strength out there on course! I will be back next year to give this race another BIG RUN!



Glad to be done!

Congratulations to all of my athletes who had great day's out there, as well as those athletes who supported us all over the course!!! It's an honor to lead you.

Finally, thanks to all of the support I get from my great sponsors; Trek Store of Madison, who provides me with all of my triathlon gear, including wetsuits, wheels, power meters, helmets and clothing. A big thanks to KSwiss for my racing shoes, PowerBar for all of my training and racing nutrition, as well as Cliff for my coaching!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Thoughts on Ironman Wisconsin 2012

This will be the 11th year that I have toed the line at Ironman Wisconsin.  Every year I put together my thoughts on how I believe the front of the race will play out, so here they are for 2012!


THE COURSE:

The 1 loop swim will be great for the PRO field and the back third of the Age Group field. It will be much easier to find and stay on feet, without having to navigating through a thousand other slower swimmers.  Those swimmers also won't have to deal with faster swimmers going over the top of them.

The new bike course adds 5-6 short steep hills on each loop and a longer climb coming back into town.  While the new course SHOULD be closer to 112mi (last year was 114.5), it will be just as challenging. Throw in some weather variables and you better know where to distribute your energy.

The run. Well it's a treadmill in my basement, packed with everyone I have ever known here in Madison; those involved in the sport, friends from the past, as well as family to provide support that only I have here in Madison.


THE COMPETITION:

There is a good field coming in.  Guys who have won, top 10 in Kona, guys who can run, guys who have lots of experience and guys who are very young.  While there can sometimes be multiple reasons to come to a race, there is clearly one goal on everyone's mind. It's definitely not about the money, it's not about the points for Kona, it's not about finishing... Everyone wants to WIN.


THE RACE

The best line around is that "the work is done."  If I race my race and take care of myself and you cannot swim my pace, ride my watts, before running my pace, it doesn't matter. If you can, then it will come down to who wants it more. If you can do more, then hats off to you and there is nothing that I can do.

The thing you realize after racing....25ish Ironman Races, is that you can only do what you have done in training. The taper doesn't allow you to do things you haven't done, it just rests you to ensure you can put the swim, bike and run you have done, together on one day.

If I had to speculate, I would say that there will be some guys riding VERY hard on the day. The question they will try to answer in their favor; "Will they be able to ride hard enough and gain a large enough lead, so that the 2:50 and faster runners won't catch them?" My answer: we'll have to wait until this Sunday to find out.  If I look at the course, the competition, the forecast (as of now) and fitness levels, I am confident in my strategy, no matter who turns out to race.

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Things are right where I want to be for this race, if not a little further ahead. This year it's all about giving it everything I have, during every moment of the race.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone out there and especially all the BBMC athletes. There will be some first time finishes and a few people hopefully heading to Kona... it's going to be a great day. Thanks to everyone who has support both myself and the team over the past 12 years.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My thoughts on Lance


"Lance is banned for life and stripped of his TDF titles."  

At this point I do not believe it is a matter of guilty or innocent. Like VeloNews put it, it's a matter of "Does it really matter if he cheated?"

With so many different opinions out there, I believe it's a matter of how you view the situation. I have grouped people's opinions into three categories.

1) Livestrong

What the Livestrong has done for cancer research and awareness, trumps the debate over his guilt. This is the impressive part of what he has done with his iconic status and ascension to the top of a sport. This is what we truly need to look at in regards to whether or not his guilt really matters.

Those who view the situation in this way will tell you that what he did off the bike is far more impressive that what he did on the bike. After all, this is what REALLY matters when looking at the broader spectrum in life.


2) Sport - Guilty

Building a sporting empire and legacy on a foundation without integrity is wrong. The financial gains, fame and endorsements have been falsely awarded in this situation. 

If you are a competitor and someone comes in and tries to take away all that you have built through decades of hard work. If you have overcome cancer, ridden hundred's of thousand's of miles on the bike, if you have overcome overwhelming odds, beat cheaters, passed 1000's of tests and you have done all of this truthfully, do you fold?  

Those who sit here likely will tell you that you don't fold and you fight tooth and nail, just like he did to win those tour titles. Folding is his own admission of guilt, regardless of the system that is in place.


3) Sport - Innocent

Lance passed 100's of tests, he overcame cancer to beat the best cyclists in the world, he was a world class triathlete before and after his cycling career. These are all arguments that point to the fact that he was just THAT GOOD.

USADA was on a witch hunt to take down the man at the top of the sport and all of this was truly a personal vendetta of those in charge over at USADA.



Regardless of your personal opinion of the man himself, I think you can all agree that what he has done for those with cancer is far more than anyone else, in another position, could have. 

It's time to learn from this, clean up the sport for and preserve it for the future and move on...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Note To My Athletes - Choices

Below is an email I sent to Team BBMC... useful for all.

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Good Morning, Everyone.


Great job to all those who made it to practice this morning.  Patrick Brady lead the session and did a great job!  I am hope to see everyone tomorrow morning at 6am. It's early, but you'll be done before most being their day.

I love the quote, "The grass is greener where we water it." This quote can be applied to everything in life, but I am applying it to our health.  By prioritizing nutrition, sleep and training, you will find that you are able to do most things in your life more effectively and BETTER.  Our bodies are our temples. We can't buy another one and we can't neglect it and expect it to perform on command.

We all live busy lives and have a lots of adversity to deal with; that's a part of life.  But none of this is an excuse to let the care of ourselves take a backseat. I challenge each one of you to set a sleep goal, a nutritional goal, a training goal and do it for 4 weeks! 

Here is an example:

1) Sleep - Get to bed by 10pm every night for 4 weeks.
2) Nutrition - Don't skip a meal and have fruit/veggies at every single meal.
3) Training - Come to at least 2 team practices per week.

These are simple changes that can have a huge impact on the rest of our lives. These goals and changes are up to us, no one is going to "water our grass". So make time, make a list and DO IT! 

Food for thought: Life is a series of choices for all of us.  Choosing the above will make you more effective in most everything else that you do.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Tide Is Changing

It's been a while...

Balance is a tough thing in life; a little too much on one side or the other and things can really get thrown out of whack. Add in some anxiety about it all on top of that and things really start to get interesting.

The 2012 race season started off exactly as 2011 went - ROUGH. Ironman CDA seemed to be the low spot for me. Physically and mentally I just wasn't where my training showed I should be. I left the race not knowing how the rest of the season would go or what direction I would go. I wasn't performing and wasn't enjoying it.

I packed things up and headed back to Wisconsin.  Over the next 4 days I thought about what I stood for, how I wanted to live my life and what triathlon was to me. What I realized is that life to me is like a 5000 piece puzzle. The pieces sometimes don't seem to fit, we can't seem to find the boundaries (edge pieces), we get frustrated, but we push on because we know what is possible...we BELIEVE it is possible. All that we have to do is come up with the right strategy and plan of attack and what we sought out to do, will be accomplished.


That was when I decided I needed to get back in the saddle, asap.

Hurdle 1 - Feel good physically at a race.  CHECK

The next day I entered a local race. Not really caring about who was racing and having my times from a few year's back when I was on fire, I was only focused on hitting my targets on the bike. I showed up, went through the motions on the swim and then finally hit my target wattage of 330w over 26 miles and about 75min of riding.  Not only that, but I felt good doing it...


Hurdle 2 - Stay strong mentally when things aren't going well. CHECK

After a great, tough 8 days of training, I headed to Racine 70.3 for what I thought was going to be a good event for me against a tough field. I was training well going in and felt good.  However, 3 days out my AC broke and I missed an entire night of sleep. No worries, I thought, I can make up for this.

For me, a tell tail sign that things are slightly off and I am tired is that I wake out of a dream to my alarm on race morning. Typically if I am rested, I am antsy and waking up every so often in anticipation. No such luck this time... Either way, I didn't think about it and headed down to the race site.

After a good 15min of warm-up in the water, i found myself on the beach, lined up with Craig Alexander to my left and Daniel Bretscher to my right.  Two guys I wanted to get out with.  Cannon goes off and all is well to the turn at 200m.  Then...the world just swam away from me. Wish I had a reason, but I don't. I just wasn't swimming well. Oh well, $h*t happens.

Onto the bike I knew I could make up a lot of time here if I felt good. However, I got on and things were not good. I struggled to hit Ironman wattage as I rode past the 20 mile mark. But, this race was not only about the physical side of things, it was about not giving in, even if the body wasn't doing what I asked of it.  The 90km ticked by and I saw a normalized power of 275w, significantly lower than my typical target of 300-315.

Despite a lackluster swim and bike, i got off to the cheers of a ton of BBMC athletes and supporters. I smiled and went off, settling into a rhythm in the heat.  I knew that a top 5 was long gone, but wanted to push, no matter what my watch told me.  I went through the half way in about 40minutes...which sounds slow (relative), but it was a few minutes faster than most in front of me.  I continued on for loop 2 and it seemed that the entire world was folding in the heat. I ticked on and my splits weren't that much slower, however I stopped at every aid station, so i gave about 10-15sec per mile up to get down 3-5cups of the PowerBar Perform. A rule that I have in the heat is to drink almost zero water. Everything I put in, needs to have electrolytes.

I finished up and to my surprise, I was 8th.  Not a podium, not a good day physically, but a day where that 8th was entirely due to just moving forward, one step at a time.


Hurdle 3 - Putting it all together.

So now I have 7 weeks to my big race of the year; Ironman Wisconsin.  I have taken two necessary baby steps in order to now take a big step beyond where I finished here in 2010.  I am 100% healthy across the board, have balance, have a great coach, the support from entire community and motivation.


It's been a tough 2 years for sure, but the tide is changing and so is the way that I approach this sport. I am lucky to have a gift and passion, I am lucky to have admiration and the support of so many, I am lucky to have perseverance and an undying desire to succeed...now it's time to get to work, to lead by example, to get my fitness above where it has ever been and to get my head so strong, that nothing can derail me in September.

Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting and thank you for believing. The future is bright...







Friday, June 01, 2012

Checking In

Just a quick blog to check in with you all.  

Can you believe it?!? No mental focus topic this week :D  Sorry if it disappoints.  Things are going extremely well on this end and I am really looking forward to the first "real race" of the season at Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  I have a damn good captain, Cliff English, who has done his job to get me ready to rock and roll in Idaho.  Now it's my turn to use every bit of that fitness he has helped me build.

I will check in as we get closer, for now, just a few more big days to go.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Wildflower Race Report

Well let me tell you, this race lives up to all of the hype.  Most of the 7,500 athletes and 30,000 spectators end up camping for the weekend, but Tri-California is generous enough to provide elites with houses that are...well, just take a look at the pics. Thank you to everyone at Tri-California!


The above is from the road that drops you down to the houses, about 500ft below.



The second is from the balcony of our place.


The week of the race was great for me. I felt the best I had in a long time and was swimming, riding and running very well. One of the reasons that I choose this race was not that it suited me, but because it addressed almost ALL of my weaknesses.

- Narrow congested swim start.

- Fast descents on the bike, with speeds easily reaching 50+ mph

- Run course that was off road, off camber and very hilly/technical


I didn't expect to race my fastest, but the goal that Cliff English and myself had was to stay focused and race hard no matter what. 

I had varying degrees of success on the course with my above limiters... I wasn't aggressive at the swim start, which cost me the front group. I did lose a bunch of time on the descents, but not as much as I have in the past and I didn't run well, but I stayed focused.

17th was far from what I wanted on the day, far from what my fitness shows, but the course was completely opposite from one that suits me and all of the anxiety and focus issues were over come on the day...That in itself was what I was looking for!

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Going forward I will race the local Aquathon's in Madison and either Elkhart Lake Olympic Distance, or Kansas 70.3 on June 10th before heading to Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

More to come and thanks for all your support!


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

"Knowledge Is Power!"


As I type this, I am on a San Francisco bound plane, for a “re-do” to the start of the 2012 triathlon season.  For those of you who have followed my blog, you now know that I decided to go public with some of the anxiety issues that I have.
Thank you to the 20 or so of you who sent me emails or Facebook messages with support and encouragement.  It is nice to know that I have so many people rooting for me and that in itself, makes a big difference.  
I wanted to expand a little bit more on the anxiety and what that actually means for me on race day.  It is typically not the hyperventilating, rapid HR response that many people picture. It can be if I swim too hard in the first 400m of a race, but usually it’s a series of negative thoughts or visions that I attach to, that leads to a lack of focus, a sense of hopelessness and ultimately, giving up. It has happened so quickly sometimes that I have still been in the top 10 of major races when I throw in the towel.
Back in 2010 I worked with Sports Psychologist, Bobby McGee (also Author of “Magical Running”). Within a short period of time, he was able to help me overcome what we called “focus issues.” There is more about on that over on our forum that is linked off our website, www.blakebecker.com. What we didn’t identify in 2012, was why this all was happening.  It took 2 more years, but I now have realized that my anxiety can ultimately lead to my loss of focus.
“Knowledge Is Power”
Simply identifying an obstacle and coming up with a plan...a plan for everything, make that obstacle much less of an obstruction.  When you have a plan to deal with issues that come up and when you have process that you are engaged in, there is much less room to worry, lose focus and a much greater chance of success.
This principle and plan can be used throughout life and the issues that arise. Develop a plan, a reason for the plan and stay engaged in the moment to problem solve as you navigate through rough patches.  This can involve thoughts, other people, things in your life or places you visit. Ultimately what you are showing yourself and what YOU are creating, is the ability to overcome and get through many things that you might otherwise give up on at first glance.  
The second and simple part to the above is practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Use a cheat sheet, make notes, whatever you need to.  Eventually you won’t need them, but they will help bridge that gap from not doing it at all and making it habitual.  a.k.a. - Repetition.
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So I am taking the above and my notes from 2010 and running. I have a plan for the 2012 season and Wildflower this weekend.  
Have a great week everyone and I will post again from California!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Facing The Fear... Part 2 to NOLA Race Report

I am sure a few of you are wondering what I am going to and how I am going to combat this, I am not alone in this.  If I remember back to 2009, my breakthrough year in long distance racing, I raced my a$$ off. I raced so often that racing became like training for me.  Aquathons, local races, bigger races and time trials. I raced everything I could. Though things started a little slow, it was by far my most consistent year of racing (when I was the most fit).

After a brief exchange with Cliff to get the OK and a few email convo's with people who have experience, it's time to treat this fear like any other one that I would face in life. I have two choices.  I can run from it, try to avoid and cope with it and retire from this sport with unfinished business, or I can face these fears head on and smash the hell out of them...over and over and over again, until they are either numb or gone.

So that's the plan, I won't release a race schedule outside of the larger races, but you can plan on me being out there much more often.  Physically I am ready to make my mark, not it's time to line everything else up and move forward with no excuses.



Hard Times In The Big Easy

New Orleans 70.3 Race Report.

Sometimes you show up to race completely physically prepared to take on everyone. You know through preparation that your numbers across the board is in a place to give anyone a run for their money...literally.  Then race day comes, the gun goes off and things turn out much differently than you anticipated.  This was one of those times.

What most people don't know about me is that I deal with a bit of anxiety.  Time to just put that out there for everyone. Most of the time it's very manageable, but from time to time, it becomes challenging. Without going into more detail, this was one of those times. Specifically, the handling of a deep dish front wheel in the wind. The wind wasn't horrible, but it was gusty and consistent throughout the course. After a close call with the curb at mile 3 and a VERY windy and sketchy descent off of one of the bridges at mile 5, I had a bit of an anxiety attack and I was unable to regroup or settle down to regain my focus. Typically I have a mental race plan where I anticipate running into barriers, usually Ironman Racing or very rough swims. Today was one of those days where I needed it at a time where I wasn't expecting it. Lesson learned.

Despite a subpar start to the season, we got out for a little fun on Bourbon Street. The highlight was definitely the food, however the entertainment at the karaoke bar was a close second.



Time to take bit of knowledge away from the big easy and move ahead to the next race that I am eagerly awaiting; Wildflower.  This is an event I have wanted to do since I got into the sport of triathlon and I will finally get a chance to do it.  In addition to racing, I am looking forward to spending a little time with my brother at his new home in SoCal!

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On a BBMC note, congratulations to Patrick Brady and Brandon Nguyen on their great races down here in NOLA! You both have a great season ahead. Thank you as well to Randy, Graetel and Dan for your race support this weekend.

Bring On May!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last Minute Changes In NOLA

Well it's official, the swim has been cancelled at the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans.  In place of the swim, they have decided to hold a 2mile run.  In addition to that substitution, they have also had to shorten the bike to 52 miles because of debris on the road. Then second run course is now a 2 loop, double out and back course.

To be honest I don't mind the changes.  All 3 disciplines have been going well for me and it would have been nice to have a few minutes on the slower swimmers, but I am confident that my combined bike and run fitness is as strong as anyone racing tomorrow.  I have made some big gains in the last 4 months and am looking forward to laying down.

The only x-factor is the wind, 40mph and gusty is no joke and with all guys likely to be getting on the bike within a minute or so, safety will need to be number 1.

I also want to pass along a best of luck to Patrick and Brandon, the other BBMC'ers out there racing!

Race report to follow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gearing Up To Race

I thought I would check in before the start of  my 2012 season.

So far this year, I couldn't have asked for anything else in the sport of triathlon.

On the coaching side, my umbrella of BBMC athletes has grown to 50 for the first time since I have started coaching, over a decade ago.  There are many different levels of interaction that I have with these athletes, but each athlete serves as a daily reminder that I do make a difference. These individuals give me more than I could ever give them, they help give my life purpose. I can't wait to morph, grow and reach more athletes in the future. Thank you!

On the racing side of things, the season is about to get started in a little over a week's time.  Fitness is at all time best levels (no, that was not a typo) and I am excited for two good hit outs over the half ironman distance.  On April 22nd, I will head down to New Orleans 70.3 and then, two weeks later I will head out to race at the 30th Anniversary of the Wildflower Triathlon on May 5th.

I will check in again soon and will be sure to post a few pics from the "Big Easy," after I get back!

Until then, thanks for reading.

Blake

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This post stemmed from an athlete who posted the following on our forum:

"Learning to let go of something may be worth more than giving up something.  Freeing yourself from anything that controls you; now THAT can take you somewhere."


Very insightful post.  That is the ultimate message and power behind doing something that you deem "impossible."

We realize that anything is possible...if you believe, if you want and if you work.

I couldn't swim, ride or run with any of you in 2000. I raced Ironman Wisconsin for the first time in 2002. Since that time, I have wanted to win this race, we are now 11 years down the road and that is very real possibility.

The last 11 years has been held up by belief that nothing was too big to overcome; bad races, injuries, finances, my anxiety and psychy, other's opinions, nothing.  I always remembered and repeated that the time when you accomplish what you want is just past the point when everyone else would have given up.

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With YOUR goals

Set a plan, remind yourself daily (pictures or saying's on the fridge or mirror). What motivates you in the face of impossibility and adversity? What saying', what video, what thought?  Recall feelings you will have when you accomplish what you want. Visualize what you want to accomplish before everything that you do and you will greatly improve your chances of doing it.

We are only limited by our minds.  Our potential is far beyond what we believe it to be. I know at least a dozen of my athletes who are already far past what they thought possible 2 years ago.  Just imagine what things will be like in another 2,3 or 5 years down the road.

Enjoy the process, welcome each day and be open to the fact that there will be some days when you are down in the dumps, with everything feeling like it is going in the wrong direction.  Know that when this happens, the only way for things to go is back in the right direction.

I have always been told that it's the "bounce back factor" that makes a great athlete.  Who deals with sickness, flats, a bad training block, adversity, etc., the best.  THAT athlete will excel at the end.

Want more good news?  There is no physical genetic component that plays into this. It's learned through practice.

Remember that the only thing that stands between not doing something and making something habitual (something you always do), is repetition.  Do anything enough and it will feel like second nature.  Identify what you want to become second nature, then practice it. First force it, then do it again and again, until it's what you always do. It works!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Groove Officially Found

Just a training update for you all.

Cliff and I have been working closely on identifying patterns in life (both inside and outside of training) that work well for me and patterns that don't.  As a result, we have made some changes to both the training plan and racing schedule that I am really pleased with.

- Anxiety = nothing good for me. I have always struggled with it, so it's time to face it. For me, eliminating big sources of this inside and outside of training help things go much more smoothly.  Think about an interstate in comparison to a city street with stoplights.

- I am no longer training for long periods of time on days when I have to coach in person.  This has eliminated a lot of stress for me.  A more relaxed approach to daily training makes a big difference for me.

- Longer training blocks before key races are going to be the rule this year. This will help me train well going into each event, which in turn will build confidence.

- Race schedule change.  I am now starting my season on April 22nd down at New Orleans 70.3, then backing it up with a bigger and the more important race of Wildflower on May 5th.  My first Ironman will now be Coeur d'Alene in late June.  The rest of the schedule should stay the same.


*If you feel that your schedule isn't working for you, or you are not racing well, it's worth taking a look at why this is happening.  After you identify the big reasons, make changes and I am guessing you will surprise yourself.

That's all for now!
BB

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Targets Within Your Training

Most of you reading this will have a training plan or a coach.  But many of you might not have detailed specifics with some of your workouts prescribed.  What I mean by this is that your training might read something like this:

"Mainset:
300 moderate on 15sec rest
100 easy on 5sec rest
2x300 mod-fast on 30sec rest
100 easy on 5sec rest
3x300 fast on 45sec rest
100 easy on 5sec rest

...or perhaps:

"20minutes easy to start this run."

...or maybe:

"60minutes easy to start this ride."


If this is the case, take it upon yourself to set targets that fit the descriptions.  What is a reasonable pace for moderate effort in the water over a distance of 300m? What paces  and watts fit the "easy effort" description on the bike or run? If you are unsure, ask your coach.

Why?  Because sometimes 220watts on the bike feels easy, while other times 160watts feels like a struggle. If you know your zones/paces and stick to them, it will help keep the easy, easy and go along way when helping you hit your specific interval targets when they might be given to you.  In addition, it will help keep you from racing yourself on a daily basis and going for best average for general pace/effort descriptions.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Budgeting Your Time

A lot of athletes have asked me what my daily routine consists of and how I get balance everything. So I thought I would give a little bit on insight that many of you can take and apply to your lives, as well as a glimpse into my routine.



1) PLAN! This is the number one downfall that I see with most individuals and athletes.  They may be able to tell you everything they need to do, but rarely do they have a REALISTIC plan on how it will get done.

  • Set up a plan and hold yourself accountable.  Make a LIST, write down certain times that you will do things and make sure that you budget enough time for the most important tasks that you need to get done.


2) BE PRODUCTIVE! In general, people are more productive in the morning; use this to your advantage.  If you have a task that takes a lot of brainpower, get it done first. If you have to deal with other people, try to do it in the morning.  You will likely find that a task which takes 60min in the morning, will end up taking 2 hours or more in the evening or when you are tired.

  • Get the stuff that you DON'T want to get done, FIRST.

  • Plan your more complex tasks in the morning and save the "mindless work" for when you are tired.

  • Stay focused.  When you are training, focus on training. When you are working, focus on working and when you are a family man/woman, PLEASE DON'T be thinking "how long until I get to ride my bike?" :)


3) HAVE AN OFF SWITCH! This is a tough one for me, but it has made a huge difference in the quality of sleep I get at night.  Set a time where you don't do anything work related. I like something around an hour before I plan to go to sleep.



4) GET AWAY REGULARLY!  For those of you who are type A, it is likely that the number of days within your week where you do nothing, is zero.  Change this!  Try spending a day doing nothing outside of the necessities. If that's not practical, then set a time; an example would be nothing after 10am on these days.  Spend the day with your spouse or family.  You will be AMAZED at how much lower stress the rest of your week will be if you make sure that this is a priority.



5) STICK TO IT! It's great that you make a list, but it's important to stick to it. Hold yourself accountable and if you find that you are not accomplishing what you need, consider reducing the amount you are trying to get done on a daily basis by yourself and see if you can find an alternative way to accomplish some of these tasks.



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MY SCHEDULE

6:00 - 7:00am wake up
  • 7:00am - Coffee and breakfast. A challenge that I give myself is, "how much can i get done before the coffee is done brewing?" Dishwasher, laundry, core work, stretching, garbage out, something to fill the time.
7:00am - Answer emails and get most of my writing done in the morning. KEY WORK TIME!

8:30am - Start first training session.  Usually about two hours from door to door.

10:30am - Stretch, eat and answer emails and start on any coaching plans, KEY WORK TIME!

12:15pm - Training session #2, again about 2hrs. Bank or store stop on the way home.

2:45pm - Ice, eat, nap. Never sleep longer than 45min.

3:30pm - Quick look over any urgent emails, before last session of training throughout the day.

4:00pm - Final training session of the day. About 60-90min.

6:00pm - Dinner, start to unwind. Answer the last few emails for the day and shoot for being offline after 7:00pm.

9:00pm - Start thinking about bed.

10:00pm - In bed


* Obviously this doesn't happen every day, but you can get the gist of how I plan my day.


Triathlon is a lifestyle.  It requires that you integrate it into your lives when it works for YOU. Make a plan (perhaps with your spouse) and give it a try!!


   


Sunday, March 04, 2012

New Site & Back To Winter

If you haven't checked out our new BBMC website, make sure you take a look (www.blakebecker.com).  The site is now geared toward athletes and will not only give information on services, but also act as a resource for athletes to be educated.  Feel free to post feedback here on what you feel would be beneficial to add onto the site.

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Since arriving back to Madison, mother nature decided to give us all one last taste of winter.  The roads were clear and clean when I returned, but now, not so much.  This was what the greenway looked like from my porch doors; not exactly ideal for training outdoors on anything other than skis.



Training was geared toward recovery for the first 4 days back.  I completed about 54hrs of training over the 2 weeks I was in AZ and needed to absorb that work.  I ALWAYS feel terrible during recovery blocks and this one was no exception.  30min runs are daunting and I seem to forget how to pedal a bike.  

From experience I know that I come out of this after about 5 days and sure enough, Friday I was back on top in the pool.  Not swimming my fastest, but I was consistent throughout the session.  In addition to swimming, cycling and running, I am also addressing a few muscle imbalances that I have neglected for a long time.  None of them are causing issues, but I am looking to get that extra 1% out of my body this year and need to make sure I am firing on all cylinders.

So now I have about 7 days of solid training to go before our first race block of the year.  I am fit, not in tip-top form, but fit enough to race well and I am looking forward to the next 4 weeks. I will race in both Puerto Rico and Texas, they are branded 70.3 events with competitive fields; especially Texas, which is receiving buzz from Lance Armstrong coming and the fact that it will act as the US Pro Championship over the 70.3 distance.

That's all for now, enjoy your last taste of winter and I will check in before San Juan!

BB

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wrapping It Up in Tucson

Today is my last big day or training in Tucson and the weather looks perfect.  80* and sun (though windy).

The two weeks started off a bit rocky because of some residual fatigue, but I came around and ended strong. The days after Lemmon have been about recovery and now two solid days to end my 15 days in AZ.  Lots of training, lots of good times and a few more friends made.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the camp, I have a feeling that Cliff's crew is going to do great things this year.

Now just 3 weeks until the first race of the year.  More to come soon!

BB

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 10 -Attack on Mt. Lemmon

Mt. Lemmon is probably the most well known of all the climbs in the Tucson area.  It's LONG (at 25miles) and takes you up just over 8000 ft in elevation (see pic).  It's a very scenic ride, though today I don't think many of the guys were noticing.



Justin and I rolled out at 8am from the westside of town and met the group about 30min from the base of the climb.  I actually preferred this because it gave me an extra 45+ min of warm-up. Once over there we fueled up and were off.

I knew the climb up to mile 20.5, which is where most turn around...I then heard that there was a descent of about 2.5miles before climbing and descending again into town.  If you have been following my blog, you know that I am NOT a good descender and I figured at the 20.5 mile mark I would need about 2minutes on anyone who I was going to stay away from to the end.

So my plan?  ATTACK at the bottom.  I wrapped my head around the length of the effort and lifted the pace just enough to slide off the front, then lifted again at the mile 1 marker.  With 24miles to go, the group was happy to let me go. I thought that I could probably manage 300w on the day, taking into consideration the altitude and other training in the legs. So I started out at about 310-20, knowing it would settle.

So how did it turn out?  TJ caught me at mile 9, but I managed to keep him at about 10-20sec for almost the next 10 miles.  I thought this would give me enough of a cushion over the rest of the guys, knowing TJ would eventually pull away.  At mile 18 heard the bad news that JD and Damon were only 90sec back...and the light headedness started to break my concentration.  I knew that I would not hold them off on the descent...so I crested mile 20.5 at about 1:35 with a normalized power right at 300w, which i was pleased with.  I descended cautiously per normal and then started the last few miles into town when i finally relinquished my 2nd place on the road.  We rolled in and I think TJ finished in 1:44/45, JD and Damon at 1:47 and myself at 1:48.  Not bad for a solo effort with lots of running in the legs. Happy with the day, our awesome coach bought us pizza and cookies (below) before we turned around and headed home.  All in all a very fun and long day with almost 100mi in the bank and just over 5hrs 30min in the saddle.


For the record I have coke, coffee, water, pizza and cookies in the above picture.

I am now off for a short swim with JD, followed by more coaching work before bed.  We have a big, but fun swim scheduled for the morning. For the first time I think I am actually getting stronger as training camp is going on.  This is a great sign with the first race of the year, Puerto Rico 70.3, only 3 weeks from Sunday.

TGIF!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 9 - Definitely Moving Faster Today

Well today was not very long in duration, but it sure didn't take away from the pain of the sessions.

Morning swim was a cracker (as Chris would say) of a session. 5.5k with a main set of 4x (4x100 on 1:15, 400 on on 5:15). This went well for the most part except I needed about 2 gels that I didn't have in the last 2 rounds of the above.

We then got a good rest, which was good.  I opted for my normal oatmeal, fruit and cottage cheese, but then opted to add a few more carb cals and went for an entire box of sweet potato bisque soup from Trader Joe's. Amazing stuff and easy to digest before a hard afternoon run session.

At 2:30 we headed to the track for a 90min session.  We had a longer warm-up followed by 6x400 as 200fast/200easy on 2:15.  Then completed a main set of 2x (1600,1200,800,400).  Basically descended from 5:25 to 5:00 on the first set and 5:15 to 4:50 on the second.  It's amazing how long it can take the legs to warm-up.  Hats off to Justin D and Chris B for leading most of the workout. They had the leg speed today. Also great job to all the other campers and Cliff for sprinting back and forth to give us splits...Im not sure which one was harder, running the set or coaching the set.

Tonight is recovery night for a big day on Mt. Lemmon tomorrow!

Day 8 - Rolling Along

Day 8 was the first of 3 solid days of training.  We started at 8am with a fun 5km swim that included 6x100 band only and 1600 pulling steadily.  I am surprised that my strength/speed is back nicely after I've had to be a bit careful since my NYD fall on the bike.

I then took a little time to myself before heading out early on the bike before the group.  I wanted to get a few extra miles in to really take advantage of the weather.  We then met as a group before rolling out to do some 'fun' intervals.  The mainset ended up being 4x (10minutes at 70.3 watts, 5min easy, 5min at threshold, 5min easy) ... this is a challenging set to pace correctly.  Everything felt good and I ended up finishing with just about 90 miles on the day.

Dinner included a trip to Sweet Tomatoes with JD and Marilyn.  If you haven't been, it's definitely worth the $12.99 all you can eat.  Though we reassured ourselves that the amount of food we ate was reasonable, I still question it after the looks we got from other restaurant goers. Needless to say this was our excitement for the day and we didn't celebrate Fat Tuesday.

Today is day 9 and there is pretty tough pool set that awaits.  After that I have a feeling I will find myself at the track and then eventually...wait for it....on the BIKE! But first, a 30min jog to wake the legs up.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 7 - "Coming To Play"

"Coming To Play" were Cliff's words on deck this morning.  Needless to say that I am feeling rested and back into a groove.  The 8 days before I left for camp seemed to really take a toll on my body, one that took almost a week to come out of...take away for everyone is to listen to your body and be patient.  It doesn't forget to do what you have taught it, it just needs to be listened to in order to bring it out again.

Today's swim was a good one with some generous rest from Cliff.  I was back where I am most comfortable, leading the lane.

5350 yards today:

WU:
800 easy choice
400 as 25drill/75swim

TS:
3x200 as 50build/50easy/25sprint/75 easy on 2:45
100 easy

MS:
3x
400 on 5:20 (in 4:45 +/-)
300 on 4:00 (in 3:30-35)
200 on 2:40 (in 2:15-20)
100 on 1:20 (in 1:05-07)
50 easy + :20

CD:
300 Easy

This afternoon calls for some coaching and strength work, an easy spin with JD, perhaps some time spent next to the pool and a nap.  6 BIG days to come...

Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 6 - The Legs Arrived

Well I knew they would make it eventually and today seemed to be the day.

This morning I headed out with Chris and Justin for about 15 miles.  Nothing too over the top, as I have been rolling about 16-18 for the last month. We started at Trader Joe's and then ran along the river (dried up) for our pace work.  Mainset was 30min, 20min, 10min descending on 5minutes recovery.  We cruised the first set at 6:15ish and then finished up with a quick 10 at about 545/mi.  All in all a good run and the body is finally starting to feel normal again.

After a nap out by our pool (see below) I am headed out for a few short hours on the bike and then hitting up sushi with my friend Erin, who lives here in Tucson.

Tomorrow we are back at it in the water and I have a feeling week 2 may be a bit bigger than week one!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 4 & 5 - Sleep

I haven't forgotten about blogging, I have just been sleeping more than usual over the last two days.  I usually don't do naps and I have had two of then for a combined total of almost 4 hours, I have also banked 19hrs of sleep over the last two nights...this is a huge jump for me.

Friday was a big day in the pool with a main set of 11x200 on a descending interval of 2:40, 2:30, 2:20 with and easy recovery 200 between the sets of 3. The rest of the day was off besides an easy run before dinner with the McDonald's and JD.

Today was a solid day of training with just under 4hrs of riding over to Mt Lemmon.  We had a fairly large group of riders who rolled over together.  Good times.  I ended up doing about 8 miles at a mod-hard effort with Chris and JD, then dropped back down and did a few more efforts before rolling home.  I came back, napped and then headed to probably the most awesome pool in Tucson - Oro Valley. 

Tomorrow is another solid day before heading into week two.  I'll write a bit more when we get to Monday. More to come!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 3 - Bringing Up The Rear

Well so far during this camp I have been at the back more than at the front.  The ironic part is that up until camp I had trained at a level that would put me off the front, then hit a bit of a bad patch about a week and a half ago and I just haven't come out of it yet. I'm trying to keep a sense of humor about it though because i do know the legs will come around. They always have and always will.

This morning we rolled out at 8am and rode to the top of Madera.  It's about 100miles round trip and very fun ride.  We started with about 30min easy and then rode in a double pace line for about 90minutes (building by 30min increments).  This was tough at times with a false flat and headwind the entire way. We  stopped and fueled up and then headed to the climb.  It was a total of 13miles with the last two at well over 10% grade.  It is typically a tougher climb, but when you don't have legs...well, you're off the back.  That's exactly where i found myself at the 10mile mark.  I shut it down and just rode comfortably (as possible at 10-15% grade) to the top.  Then again on the descent I got dropped because of my lack of descending skills.  I think I am the only pro here who doesn't live near mountains.

Anyway, I got directions home and just decided to roll solo...only problem is that one turn was left out, so i got to find my own way home...thank you IPhone for GPS and directions! 5hrs and 30min later I rolled in at a bit over 100miles.

Not an ideal way to start the 4 or 5 long rides in the next two weeks, but if your body isn't doing it, you have to listen.

After a nap, food and a little convincing, I headed out for an easy recovery jog.  Now dinner with a good friend who I haven't seen in over a year.  Should be great...perhaps I will get something blog worthy!

Tomorrow is another day and perhaps my legs will show up...if not, well then we'll just have to try again Saturday. It's February after all and when coming from Wisconsin, i can't have too high of expectations to start....

That's all for Day 3!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 2 - Back At It

Today was a solid day for sure and though I am still not firing on all cylinders, I am on my way.

We started out with a tough 5k swim at 8am.  The main set was 3k of hard swimming on a 1:20 and 1:15 base.  Essentially we swam 6 rounds of 200,150,100, 50.  It was a very fast 3k.

Highlight Of The Day: After swim, I got home, was standing in the kitchen with my roommate (stud mountain biker, Sam Schultz) and watched a hawk swoop in and attack our resident morning dove that lives on the porch.  The hawk knocked it out of the nest, onto the ground, then picked it up and flew with it into the door, they fell to the ground before the hawk finally won the battle and flew off with our animal alarm clock.

Next session of the day was a 90min run with a main set of 3x ~3miles.  I did NOT feel great for this session, but got it done.  I have been running well up to camp, so looking forward to feeling better next week.

I finished the day off with a nice 90min ride with buddy Justin, before getting back just in time for dinner....again, nothing exciting today with left overs from last night (fajita's). There has been a lot of talk around the house on diet...my conclusion is that no matter what philosophy I subscribe to, i don't think I could ever give up dark chocolate, which i am quickly finding that I am addicted to.

Tomorrow is long ride day #1 with a solid 100+ miles on the schedule to start at 8am!!

More to come...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good Stuff..

Read this on a friend's blog (Joe Sweeney). I couldn't help but copy them and share them with all of you. Enjoy...
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Here are some of my favorite John Wooden Quotes:  
  • “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are”
  • “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out”
  • “It’s what you learn after you already know everything that really counts”
  • “Parenting is the most important job in the world”
  • “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
  • “Sports do not build character.  They reveal it”
  • “Make each day your masterpiece”
  • “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but what you should have accomplished with your ability”
  • “Be prepared and be honest”
  • “Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do”
  • “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time”
  • “Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”
  • “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
  • “You can’t live a perfect day until you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
  • “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”