Monday, November 5, 2018

Tough Day in the office!

Well, IMFL (Haines City) did not turn out the way I would have liked and was certainly a very demanding challenge for me.  This was my 154th triathlon and 15th IM and my first DNF.  Highlights:

-the weather on race day turned out to be a perfect storm for me.  Dew Points reached 76 degrees and I’ve long since lost my heat adaptation.  This was not the day I had prepared for these last 4 months.

-I had a solid swim.  I clocked just over 80 minutes as I chose to be very conservative in the crowded 2 lap swim with 13 turns (9 left and 4 right).  My garmin clocked it at 4536 yards and so I either swam a lot further than necessary (for sure true) and it was probably long.  I’ve heard many clocked it at around 4500 yards as well.  At 4200 yards this is equivalent to a 74 minute IM distance swim...which seems right because I would characterize it as relaxed and an easy effort.

-Transition seemed endless and it took me over 10 minutes and I left for my bike between 91 and 92 minutes in.

-I settled in at around 160 Watts, which was lower than my target at the beginning, just to ease into the ride.  However, very early, by 10 miles, my arms, hands and shoulders began to cramp.  I carried on, hoping it would pass.  I was drinking a lot, trying to eat gel or shot blocks every 15 minutes, and eating 2 Electrolytes every hour.

- my cramping continued and soon, and painfully spread to my quads.  The cramping would persist for the whole ride and became quite debilitating as the miles and time passed.  I went through the first check point at 28 miles averaging around 20mph and low 150 Watts, both way below my expectations.

-despite this low effort, it became apparent to me by 35 miles I was in a for a tough ride.  I was feeling dehydrated, having trouble eating and felt worse then I’ve ever felt at 35 miles.  I continued to slow.

-I passed through 56 miles a bit over 3 hours (vs my plan of 2:45) and told Judy as I rode by: “I can’t eat and I’m dying”

-by 65 miles I was in real trouble.  I had trouble getting either fluids or solids down.  I was really sweating and despite a low power output my HR was over 150 bpm and I was breathing heavily.  I really backed off the pace and was doing about 100 Watts and 15 mph.

-at 90 miles I felt I like I was about to pass out so I stopped and lay down by the side of the road for about 3 minutes, which seemed to help.  I got going again with the sole goal at this point of trying to finish the bike and see if by resting in transition, I might be able to rally.

-things began to go down hill rapidly from here.  On the flats I was doing 70-80 Watts and riding about 12-13 mph, with a HR in the 140s.  I had to stop 4 more times at mile 98, 102, 108 and 110.5.  I could only manage to stay upright for 5-10 minutes without waves of dizziness coming over me.  The last time I stopped for about 10 minutes just 1.5 miles from transition with a cop and medical staff watching me closely.

-I pulled it together and finally managed to roll across the finish line some 7:20+ after last 56 miles took nearly 4 and a half hours.  I stopped right past the finish line and rested still straddling my bike but soon felt very light headed.

-I managed to get off my bike and sat down a few feet from the dismount line.  I soon needed to lay down.  A race official told me I needed to sit up or go to medical so I sat up.  I just wanted to collect myself so I could walk to T2.  She told me I needed to take a drink of water which I declined but she insisted I do so or go to medical.  So I took a swig and then this precipitated a pretty violent bout of throwing up.

-they told me I was done.  4 people lifted me into a wheel chair and off to medical I went.  I was white and very dehydrated.  My fingers were wrinkled like you get after soaking in the bath for a long time.  My family was very concerned and I felt really bad about that.  As I rolled to the med tent, people were clapping for me and frankly I was pretty embarrassed.

-my blood pressure was 80/40, which is why I was dizzy but my HR was a solid 65 so they basically figured I was low a quart or two and probably low on sodium.  My core temp was 96 and my hands were cold and blue.   I was hooked up to an IV and soon the ordeal was over.  I recovered quickly and  soon walked back to our car with my family and drove back to our place.  Later that evening I had some pizza and even got a whole IPA down.

-disappointing for sure.  I was ready (for sure) to go 13 hours, which easily would have punched my ticket to Kona.  But I’m ok with that.  I literally drove myself all the way to the limit and there was nothing left.  Given how my body reacted it was clearly the heat and humidity.  I probably should have backed off right from the start but even that probably would have been a challenge.  I just don’t race well in those conditions, even when I’m ready for them, which I wasn’t yesterday.

-not sure what the future holds.  I think I still have another good IM in me and it would be nice to be able to finish my IM career on a high note.  But I also need to recognize how selfish this sport is and the toll it takes on my family and especially Judy.  I’ll decide later after I think about it for a while.

Onward and Upward!  Soon it will be time to get ready for mountain climbing in Bolivia with Anders.  After I rest a bit....

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Race Day Weather Update

Here is the hourly forecast for tomorrow for most of the race timeframe:


1.  It will be cloudy most of the day which will reduce the stress of the sun.

2.  The wind direction is predominantly from the East and the course (I think) mostly runs North and South so it seems like it will be mostly a cross wind.  This means the wind will have a lesser impact than if it was either North or South.  Good for times, although competitively, anything that makes the bike harder is generally better for me.  It says less than 10mph but my on the ground experience over the last few days tells me that out in the countryside it will feel like a pretty good wind--maybe 15+mph.  Nothing that would impact bike handling though.

3. Rain/T-storms.  When it says it might rain here it does seem to rain so my guess is that we'll start to get some rain on the bike--maybe mostly in the 2nd lap.  This shouldn't be a problem.  This is not a super technical course and I'm fine playing it cautious when I need to (to compensate for the relatively poor breaking surface on my carbon wheels).

4. T-storms/run.  It looks like its going to be a real soaker on the run--which I'm in favor of.  The thunderstorms are a concern--I hope it doesn't impact the race at all (but nothing I can do about it so we'll see what happens).

5.  Heat--bike should feel fine, although I'll need to really focus on drinking more than I might feel like I need to because it will be deceptively warm--especially on the 2nd lap.  The run is going to be oppressive with Dew Points in the low 70s.  The rain will help and the fact that I move so slowly means that the heat should impact me less than faster runners.


My calf is still funky.  I'm going to probably skip my normal day before short run.  I did ride 5 miles this morning and my calf seems to be fine for the bike...I'm guessing it will be a voyage of discovery race morning!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Dew Point forecast for Sunday afternoon: 73 DEGREES

Quick update from Haines City

Judy and I had a great drive down.  we drove 8 hours on Tuesday and stopped in Florence, SC and a nice dinner in the historic part of town.  Early to bed at the Holiday Inn and then another 8 hours the next day down to Championsgate, where we are staying.

I've been doing all the normal get ready stuff.  Drove the two courses and got all my gear ready.  My mom and sister joined us yesterday afternoon.

Course Update:

My guess at this point is that the swim will be wetsuit legal.  It was 69.8 degrees on Thursday morning but jumped up to 75.2 degrees this morning.  It was very hot today but rained quite a bit tonight.  It's supposed to be quite cool from now until the race so I'm guessing (and hoping) wetsuit legal.

The bike course is pretty nice.  Road surface seems very good.  The first half of each loop is a lot easier than the last 28 miles of each of the two loops.  Definitely some hilly areas and a couple of places with steep descents into sharp turns but generally pretty straight forward.

Run is comical--so many turns!  138 in total.  It's the most convoluted course I've ever seen.  Pretty hilly, will be a challenge!

Weather on race day looks to be a challenge.  High of 85 and very humid with Dew Points north of 70 degrees, which is considered "oppressive".  Also, it looks like we will get some significant rainfall during the run at least (which I generally like) and perhaps for part of the bike.

All good though.  I did have some cramping in my left calf today but I think that might be attributable to all of the hydrating I've been doing.  I took some salt and I think that seems to be addressing the problem....

We had breakfast with Julie Moss this morning and she gave me a copy of her new book--lots of fun reliving that famous "Crawl of Fame" from 1982....

Ready to get after it!

Kara arrives tomorrow morning!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Haines City here we come!

Sorry about the extended Radio silence!  There was period of time there post hurricane that we felt the odds were against this race even happening but as you probably know, if you're reading this, that it is in fact on...a day later (11/4) and a few hundred miles away in Haines City, Fla (south of Orlando).

Despite the uncertainty I continued to remain very diligent in my final IM build (and now the first half of my 2+ week taper).  I had a good race in AC in challenging conditions.  Notably I rode a comfortable 2:34 and ran a 2:40 coming in around 6:05, which with all things given, I was pleased with.  I managed to get in 7 100-mile rides and even ran a 10 and 13.1 mile run averaging around 11:15-11:20/mile, which for me is good enough!

For comparison sake, here is how my 2018 build (final three months) compares to the prior five IM builds (these are not exact as I just took the three whole months prior to the month of each IM and since the exact date of each IM differed, in some cases I caught some of the taper):

Year        Race        Swim         Bike         Run         Time
                                 (k yds)      (miles)     (miles)      (hours)
2018       FLA             79            3,129        264           284
2017       ARZ             65            2,895        267           276
2014       Kona           122           2,718        298           239
2013       Tahoe          120           3,069        337           268
2012       Kona           118           3,384        388           291
2011       ARZ            111           3,127        433           285

Commentary:  I feel quite good with my build this year.  My swim volume, while not on a par with 2014 and earlier, is up quite a bit vs. last year and was more consistent and of a much higher quality/intensity.  I think my swim right now is as strong as any of these prior years.

My bike is in very good shape in my view.  I had the second most miles of these race builds and very comparable in volume and in terms of long rides with 2011 and Arizona--which was my best race of this group (by far).

The long-term decline of my run is evident although the last 6 weeks or so was encouraging with the 70.3 and the two 10+ mile runs.

Note the total time is almost identical to 2011, but my volume in the swim and run is less.  This is due to more supplemental training in 2018 (weights, stretching, PT) and the fact that I'm a lot slower--especially on the run.  all in all, I'm pleased with where I am.

The above is through September for 2018 (since October is still not done).  Here is how October has unfolded so far (note the taper impact in the last two weeks):

Week         Swim         Bike         Run         Time

  1               9,730         224             31            22
  2               7,125         266             21            23
  3               5,500         177             21            18
  4               6,600           86               7            11

All in all, I feel good and like I'm reasonably well prepared...I'll provide a bunch of updates as we close in on race day--just 6 days to go!

onward and upward!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hardcore IM 4 week build in the books!

Well--I'm not sure its the best strategy, but I just completed 4 weeks (28 days) of pretty hard training (any least from my perspective).  Here is the raw data:

Swim: 31,000 yards
Bike: 1,116 miles
Run(walk): 86 miles
Total time: 101 hours

Needless to say I'm a bit fried.  also, I think my swim and (maybe) my bike are good to go for my upcoming IM.

My run (walk) sucks of course.

Going to try to take it a bit easy over the next week and give at least the S/B portion of IM70.3AC a shot a week from today....maybe go shopping on the Boardwalk during my "run".

Onward (and a little bit optimistically) upward!

Monday, September 3, 2018

The beat goes on....

Another solid IM build week last week:

Swim: 12,110 yards
Bike: 309 miles
Run: 18 miles
Time: 27:41

Well more accurately a very solid week of Swim/Bike IM building!  My run, not so much but that is the way of the world these days...

This week will be truncated a bit with a family wedding on the horizon but I did get my butt kicked by a 100.5 mile ride this morning.  Absolutely brutal heat/humidity....

Onwards and upwards!