www.lin-mark.com ranks triathletes in the USAT Mid-Atlantic region. Using this database it's possible to find the top ranked triathletes by state. Delaware, where we live, is a small state for sure. Nonetheless, here are the top ranked triathletes for 2007 in Delaware:
1. Anders Christofferson M20-24 88.84
2. Jeffrey Boehmer M20-24 87.90
3. Richard Brokaw M45-49 87.65
4. Patrick Beebe M35-39 85.77
5. Randy Christofferson M50-54 85.72
So even though I am 5th in the state, I'm just 2nd in my house....
My main training and racing bud is my son Anders. He is a 21-year old senior at George Washington. He took up "triathloning" when my wife threw a party for me after I finished my first IM (IMFL in 2004). Since then we have been Team Christofferson.
He wanted to do an Ironman right away but I steered him into a structured training program. After 6 months he survived Eagleman. We decided to go for it and in December he was the youngest finisher at IMWA. He had a very tough day and went over 15 hours.
He stuck with it and we traveled far and wide to train (Spain, France, Canada) and race (Denmark, France, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina....). Last year he beat me for the first time in a sprint and knocked over 2 hours off his IM time. This year was his breakout year and he was able to lower his IM PB to 10:11. My days of beating him are probably over.
Training and racing with Anders is my favorite thing in triathlon and I know that I am very blessed to be able to do so!
The pic above and right is of Anders and me last year at Metroman where he finished 2nd and I finished 3rd overall. We won the fastest parent/child award....
Had a buddy who challenged me to do a triathlon back in 2001. People thought it would be a great challenge for me.
A Zen Master said: "We'll see."
Raced that first triathlon and did very poorly. People thought I'd get discouraged.
ZM: "We'll see."
Came back the next year on a mission. Lost 25 pounds. People commented on what a great lifestyle change it was for me.
ZM: "We'll see"
Obsessive focus with triathlon seemed to take time away from my family. Some concerned I had gone overboard.
ZM: "We'll see."
Son catches the bug soon after my first IM and begins to get heavily into triathlon. Whole family gets involved and comes to and does triathlons. People comment on what a fantastic thing it is that we do this together.
ZM: "We'll see."
Within a 22 hour period my son is hit by a car on a training ride and then I have a major bike crash when debris falls off a truck into my path. He is scraped up but I have an extreme separation of my shoulder. People are horrified and question our involvement in triathlon.
ZM: "We'll see."
After a couple of surgeries I have a great comeback year and in October win the Cadence Kona Challenge--people comment on how lucky I am.
ZM: "We'll see"
Despite being 100% ready to qualify I have a very off day at IMFL 2007 and once again fail to qualify for Kona. People are disappointed in my failure.
While I'll throw a bunch of sprints and running races in as well, here is my core race schedule for 2008:
B Race:Gulf Coast Half Ironman 5/10
A Race: Eagleman 70.3 6/8
B Race: Ironman Austria 7/13
A Race: Ironman Canada 8/24
A Race: Ironman WC (10/11) or USAT LC Nationals (10/18)
My main focus for Hawaii qualifying will be Eagleman and if necessary IMCA. I'm going to experiment with a much slower bike ride at IMAUS to see what impact that has on my marathon time. The five week span between the two IMs will be a challenge for sure. My last race is obviously a function of whether or not I qualify.
Sorry for the lack of posts as of late. I've been in pre-season mode doing a lot of running and eating (so it seems). Over 50 miles per week of the former--nice and slow. A couple more weeks and then I get down to business. My 2008 racing calendar is shaping up nicely, I'll share it with you shortly.
Spent a couple of days down in Sarasota running with Pete Reid which was quite a blast. I am going out to Tuscon for a week in March to train with him again....hope I'm ready!
One of the mistakes I made in 2007 was not training enough in my "high aerobic" or "intensive endurance" zone on the bike. During the Cadence Kona Challenge, my tested Functional Lactate Threshold (the power I can hold for one hour) was calculated at 293 watts. My high aerobic zone works out to be around 225-250 watts. This corresponds to my desired power output for half and full Ironman bike legs. At IMFL, I wasn't able to hold a high enough power output even though my HR was very low.
In 2007, I tended to go for long rides at wattages below this zone or shorter more intense efforts at average power levels above this zone. While these are key rides that I will continue to use in 2008, I've specifically added a progressive program on my Computrainer which is designed to get me very comfortable with riding 225-250 watts for the 2-5 hours necessary in my Long Course races. These are weekly sessions that will progressively build my aerobic endurance to the target range by the time I reach my racing season. Each session has a warm-up and warm-down component but the main objective of these workouts is to average the desired power output for the desired time.
Here is the first part of the training progression:
Week 1: 200 watts for 1 hour
Week 2: 200 watts for 1:15
Week 3: 200 watts for 1:30
Week 4: 215 watts for 1:15
Week 5: 215 watts for 1:30
Week 6: 215 watts for 1:45
Week 7: 220 watts for 1:30
And so on. By April, I hope to be able to do Computrainer rides where I hold 250 watts for 3+ hours. Today, I completed the second week of this cycle. Last week I did 210 watts for 1:00 at 87 rpm. Today, I did 209 watts for 1:15 at 84 rpm. I'm trying to also get comfortable spinning in the 85-90 rpm range during these workouts. Also, after these workouts, I head out for a transition run, which today was 6 miles.
Hopefully, these weekly Key Computrainer workouts will prepare me for the sustained power output I need to have at IM Austria and Canada this year. We'll see!
December is transition month. I've just come off a 4 week rest phase post-IMFL and will start with my 2008 triathlon base phase in January. In between, I'm getting back into training regularly again. I'm back in the pool and on my Computrainer as well as riding some outside. Mostly this month, however is focused on run training.
My next four week training plan calls for: 19, 24, 13 and 20 hours. The next two weeks and the last week of December have 6 run sessions per week with the longest runs capping out at 2 hours. I should hit 50-60 miles next week. The third week is a recovery week and I'm also getting up for early morning Yoga a couple of times a week. It's great to be back in it again!
Triathlon, on the surface of it, seems like such a solitary sport. And indeed, for the most part, it is. The famous "loneliness of the long-distance runner" is not nearly as tough as those 7 hour over-distance rides or even the sensory deprivation of a 3-mile swim. That said, my strongest feelings about triathlon revolve around the "three F's"--Family, Friends and Foes.
It's impossible in my mind to imagine the sport of triathlon without Family. It takes a very kind and understanding crew to let me self-indulge in my training. I can't tell you how many times I have been lifted during races by their cheers and well wishes. And the success I've enjoyed seems somewhat empty without them to share it with. And did I mention I have a son that does this with me?
I intend to tell you about some of my Friends in Posts down the road. So many great folks from different walks of life that I have been privileged to meet at my races and training sessions. I'm convinced that triathlon either attracts or creates, or both, some of the most positive, joyous, impressive people on the planet. I am in awe of some of the amazing folks I've met along the road.
And then there are the Foes. In my mind, these guys serve one of the most important roles in triathlon. They are here to make sure that you show up and bring your best. Without them, my whole Kona quest wouldn't even make sense. There are many times in my training when I think about what I must do to beat my foes and this motivates me to work harder. I'd still love to live a healthy life and probably SBR without the influence of my competition, but thank God they are here to make sure that I strive to do the best that I can as often as I can.
So while triathlon is indeed a solitary endeavor, it would be a pointless one without Family, Friends and Foes....
Just finished reading "Once A Runner" by John L. Parker, the cult classic distance runner's novel. Wow--what a trip! My son, Anders, turned me on to it and now I know what all the fuss is about. No wonder it costs $200 on ebay. It's impossible to read that book and not get caught up in some of the elemental attractions of running (and triathlon). If you can get a copy of it, read it--you'll be glad you did!
The book reminds me that I was once a runner. I once did 100+ mile weeks, 34 minute 10ks, and 2:40ish marathons. Was a LONG time ago. When I run today, I swear it feels exactly the same--sometimes the runs are a struggle and sometimes I'm flying like the young man I once was-or so it seems. I'm reminded of the classic Greg Lemond quote where he commented on winning the TDF: "It doesn't feel any easier, you just get faster". He was saying that it's all the same--you always hurt when you push. So my old man modification to Greg's quote is: "It doesn't feel any easier, you just get slower".
That said, once a runner, always a runner. In this transition phase between my IM in November and my earnest base building of 2008, I have returned to my running roots. I'll train mostly as a runner in December and look forward to a couple of 50-60 mile weeks. As I transition back to a triathlete's regimen in January, I hope this return to my running roots will lead to a return to some of my prior running glory. If not, it's at least a nice change of pace.
I spent 2007 focused around the goal of doing everything I possibly could to qualify for Kona at the 2007 IMFL. I worked with a coach. I worked hard on my weaknesses. I radically altered my diet and sleep patterns. I gave up a bunch of shorter "fun" races to stay focused on my A race but yet I still "failed".
After the race, a lot of my friends expressed their concerns about how I felt about this. At first, I found this real surprising because it never occurred to me to feel bad about it. I guess at one level I did indeed fail. I didn't qualify. But in my failure, I received and experienced a lot of gifts:
1. Once again I was able to do this real fun, positive thing with my son of 21. We travelled to Spain, France, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida together (among other places). We did our thing together and my heart is filled with 100s of fantastic memories.
2. Along the way we did have our way at a few races like Metroman and White Lake and the competitor in me appreciates that.
3. I LOVE that qualifying is hard. I may never be able to do it but that in part is what makes it great! To quote president Kennedy: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win." I'll try again (several times in 2008) and I may not make it but that will just make the quest even more important for me.
4. After my bike accident and surgeries 2 years ago, it was unclear if I would ever be able to do another one of these things. When I was out there at IMFL this year and really hurting on the run I had this clear thought that here I was, still doing it and I was very thankful to still be able to do an IM. I'm very thankful that I'm getting mature enough now to appreciate experiences while they happen, not just when I can no longer do them.
5. I did make real breakthroughs in fitness this year and as i enter 2008, I'm pumped and primed--it's great to be 50 years old and still moving ahead physically.
There are others but you get the point. If failure is this good, I can only hope that success, if it comes, can live up to this standard.
OK as part of the Cadence Kona Challenge, I have been duly commissioned as a Blogger. This is quite a leap for such an aged soul as myself but if you stop learning, you start dying so here we go!
I thought it best, to start my blog with my 2007 Ironman Florida race report. This was the race I was supposed to qualify for Kona 2008 in, but I did not. Anyways, find below a link to the race report and we'll go from there!