Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The week that was

Of course the week was dominated by my race at IM California 70.3. As a consequence of the taper my volume was down:

4500 yards swimming
144 miles on the bike
24 miles running
13 hours of training/racing

As to the race itself, I'll post a formal race report in a couple of days but here are the highlights:

I had 207 people entered in my AG with 1 slot available--realistically i had no chance of getting this (in fact the winner of my AG slot did a 4:30--on a very difficult bike course). As you know I was also entered in the XC competition. In this competition there were 6 guys entered for 2 slots. As i looked at the field, I was the 5th oldest and probably the 4th fastest. One of the competitors was Paul Gompers who is currently the American junior record holder for the marathon (2:15 at age 19), a former US Olympic Team member and a guy who did a 4:10 at clearwater last year. As luck would have it though, the split was made at 50 years and I ended up only having to beat one other executive. Preston is a great triathlete but at 65 years of age, I figured I had a surplus of relative fitness and a tremendous opportunity to get a Kona slot. As a result, I decided to follow a very conservative race strategy.

I started wide on the swim and stayed there--swimming a longer route but avoiding most opportunities for contact from other swimmers. I felt fantastic on the swim and frankly just cruised it at about 90% of my normal effort. I finished in 33:07 which is just a little shy of my best Half-IM swim PB. I know i can go at least 1.5-2 minutes faster and I hope to prove that at NOLA in three weeks. In any event I put 10 minutes on Preston and added another 2 in T1. I didn't know this as my wave was before his but with a 33 my scouting of Preston's prior races led me to believe that I had about a 10 minute lead heading onto the bike.

I set up my TT bike very conservatively. I went with my 404/808 training clincher wheel set as a precaution against a tubular flat and the risks associated with that. I brought 3 spare tubes, 3 CO2 cartidges, a spare tire, several bike tools. I'm sure this set-up cost me 3-5 minutes versus my normal set-up but I didn't care as my motto for the ride was "No Drama". I rode conservatively, especially on all of the climbs and descents. It was quite windy in places and certainly a challenging course. I felt great and ended up with a 2:44 bike split which was probably about 10 minutes slower than I was capable of it. Despite this conservative approach my lead grew to almost 20 minutes heading out of T2. Anders cautioned me to run conservatively which of-course was the plan anyways. I figured, after hearing about my T1 lead that I was ahead by 20-30 minutes heading out for the run.

I cruised the first half of the run at about a 1:52 pace--this is my basic easy long-run training pace. I felt great and really enjoyed the sights and sounds even though it was quite hot. I tired and slowed towards the end--probably a function of my limited bike training to date, even though I was taking it easy, as I became quite dehydrated. None the less I averaged 9 minute miles for a 1:58 and change and ended up with a slow 5:22 but most importantly a solid 33 minute victory and the Kona slot.

Both Paul and Preston managed to snag their AG slots (Paul won 45-49 with a 4:27) so it was a good day for the XCers.

As i mentioned above, I'll post a detailed RR in a few days.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the Ground at O-side

So here I am! I'm sitting in my very nice hotel room right near IM Village and about a mile or so from the Start/Finish. Picked up my bike and got it all set up today--ready to rock (i'll ride it for 30-40 minutes tomorrow for a final check). I checked out the swim and run today. swim looks uncomplicated and mostly well protected from the swell (which doesn't look to be big anyways). Water is cold-- about 59 degrees and I imagine it will be crowded given the relatively tight lay-out. I went out this morning up at Anders' place and checked out my new wetsuit which I'm inclined to use (although I'm still thinking about it). Waves were big (relative to East coast) so it was a little intimidating.

The run is surprisingly hilly with several reasonably testy hills--nothing extreme but I'm sure they'll take somewhat of a toll on Saturday. The run is on concrete for virtually the whole way so I'm sure my knees are going to be sore come Saturday afternoon. I'll check some of the bike course tomorrow (can't see it all as it is on the Marine base at Pendleton).

I'm having dinner tonight with the XC group. I'll get a chance to meet my fellow XC athletes and we are dining with Greg Welch and Heather Fuhr--so that should be interesting.

When I cruised through the village today I was stopped by the Triathlete.com folks and they did a quick video piece on my TT01--she's still a head-turner!

The weather looks quite nice for race morning:

7 am: 46°F; Sunny; 86% hummidity; Wind From NE 5 mph

1 pm: 72°F; Sunny; 39% humidity; wind From W5 mph

More latter!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LA Again

Left the hotel in FL at 3:45am and caught a flight to LA. I'm staying at Anders place tonight and I just demolished an impressive portion of sushi plus some Coldstone--I'm certainly getting the carbo loading phase of my taper right!

Finally found a place to swim (shut out in Kissimme, FL) today at a local Y--I'll hop in the Ocean tomorrow for a dress rehearsal with the wetsuit. Rode AC's Kuota for and hour--with a bunch of surges (felt good to be on a real bike again after five days) and had a pleasant 30 minute run. This has not been the ideal taper w/o wise but I do think my body has been mending itself and should be ready to rock on Saturday morning--I might be a little rusty/stale but hopefully that won't be a huge factor for a Half-IM.

On another topic, I joined in on one of Slowtwitch.com's "Challenges". In this case it was run 100 times in 100 days. This challenge started 100 days ago and ended today. To count you have to run at least 30 minutes at a time. I ran 87 times over the last 100 days (good enough for the "silver" level). when i started the challenge I was typically running 50-55% of the days so I thought if I could get to 70 that would be amazing. 87 is a big step up in run consistency for me and i hope to see it pay off in races this year (like maybe starting this Saturday!).

I'm off to O-side tomorrow morning and I'll give you the 411 on the race in posts over the next two days. Less than 60 hours to game time!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

week totals

22:47 training time
230 miles on the bike
39 miles running
6750 yds swimming

the swim was less then I was looking for but the road trip to FL cut into it and today a huge rainstorm stopped me from swimming--no worries, I'm ready on the swim!

5 days 10 hours to O-side....

Saturday, March 20, 2010


so i'm down in FL with my youngest helping out with his HS's LAX spring training. Officially started my O-side taper. I'm ready! Stay tuned over this next week as I do what it takes to get to Kona! Yeah, I said that!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another slow day down by the river

Did the Logan House 5K today. Same course as I did the 5K on 1/3/10. Raining. Lots of standing water. cool.

Wanted to do better than my 1/2 marathon of last week indicated which was 21:35-21:45. This is comparaitvely a harder course than the 1/2 marathon course--still I thought my emphasis on speed would yield something (I hoped) in the low 21s.

I did a 21:56. bummer--I'm disappointed.

It is better than the 22:32 I did in January:

Mile 1: 1/3/10: 6:53/159bpm vs. 3/14/10: 6:39/162
Mile 2: 7:10/172 vs. 7:06/172
Mile 3: 7:38/172 vs. 7:20/172
0.1: 0:52/171 vs. 0:51/173

Overall 1/3/10: 22:35 vs. 3/14/10: 21:57

1. I know the first mile seems fast in both cases but the course has a fast first mile--that said--maybe too fast (but I doubt it)

2. The relative data between the 1/2 and the 5K says I'm better at longer distances than shorter, which has historically been true (up through the 1/2) but my recent training has emphasized the opposite so I'm skeptical.

3. Looking at people I know in this race, everyone had slower times than normal--is the course long/slow in some way Or is this wishful thinking)?

4. I finished in the top 10% OA and 2nd out of 16 in my AG (to Pete Gitney, who is one of the best here in DE--better than Nace for those looking for a comparison).

5. I did improve by 38 secs or 12+ sec/mile vs. 1/3/10.

6. Not to make excuses but this was a demanding week both from a training and a work perspective.

That said, I wanted and expected to do better. I'm not going to let it beat me up. Sometimes that's the way it goes. I think I'm a lot better than I showed today and I'm going to bring that belief to the starting line at Oceanside.

Week summary:

279 miles on the bike
27 miles running (had to back off with the two races)
10,000 yards swimming
24.5 hours total training.

Need to slam for another 5 days and then begin to zero in on Oceanside. Unfortunately I have to do a day trip to San Fran tommorrow--getting back Tues am at 6 am---oh well....on it goes!

I'm still going to qualify!

Friday, March 12, 2010


lots of work this week--all good!

up in nyc the last 2 days

was able to get good TT drive time in early.

want to race 5k this weekend so back half of week will be a little light

oh well--4 inches of rain forecast for tomorrow so there you go....

2 weeks to Oceanside/Kona Qualification time!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reflections on the week passed...

Last week's totals:

140 miles biking
31.4 miles running
8000 yards swimming
17.3 hours training

Basically a recovery/get ready for the B & A half marathon week....

So here is my take on this weekend's test:

1. I wanted to and thought that I could set a CR this weekend--bummed I did not.

2. Still quite content with a sub 1:40--I'm getting older so taking nothing for granted anymore!

3. I chose to go for a 1:36 (vs my CR of 1:38:39). this probably cost me. Consider the first three miles in 2007 vs 2010:

7:32 (157 bpm HR)
7:30 (158)
7:35 (160)

7:20 (155)
7:27 (164)
7:24 (166)

Probably went too hard too early.

4. Down the stretch i was plagued by general muscle fatigue--a sure sign (and consistent with) my lack of long slow runs. The 18 months since I last went this far are probably relevant. This is of course a major component of my Meso Cycle Two as I build for IM Germany.

5. That said I think I can race faster at 5k than this 1:39:48 would indicate (21:35-21:45). I think my speed capability is ahead of my endure capability--which is new ground for me--and a design intent of this year. I'm calling a sub 21:30 5K road race this weekend in spite of a tougher than normal 5K course...

6. I did a 1:38:29 at this race in 2007 and then did a 1:38:01 at the White Lake Half Ironman in May 2007. If I could do 1:39 in May/June (Eagleman?) I'd be thrilled--I'm definitely back in the game!

7. I'm still very positive about Oceanside. I need to drive my TT bike a lot this week (and that is happening). I'll do a TT swim at 3000 yds later this week and expect to set a new 2010 standard. I'll train hard through Friday of next week and then began to back it down for OC.

I'll post on this week's very important training in a couple of days and next week will begin to lay out what I think will go down in OS!

feeling Kona!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mid-term Number One: I'll give it a B.

So today was the B & A half-marathon. My second open running race of the year (after the Icicle 10 miler in early January). At 13.1 miles it represented the longest running session I've had since August of 2008 (18 months ago) when I slugged through the run of Ironman Canada. I had competed this race twice before--2007 and 2008. These were the two years that I was fittest, from a triathlon perspective. 2007 being the gold standard when Peter Reid, the 3 time IM Hawaii World Champ, was my coach. In 2007 I ran 1:38:39 and in 2008 (on higher training volume) I ran 1:40:20. I felt like this was an execellent mid-term exam for me as I would really be able to tell if I had fully reversed the impact of my "sloth-like" existence that had prevailed from August 2008 until December 2009. IIn November of 2009 I decided to regain my MOJO and over the last four months I've tried to become a competent long-course triathlete again. This was to be a good mid-term exam of my progress to date. Here is how it went down:

Race morning was pretty nice, weather-wise, especially given the challenges of this record-worse year here in the Mid-Atlantic. At the start it was 35 degrees and beautifully sunny, albeit with an important wind. I got up at 4:15 am, slammed some PB&J, threw two thermos of coffee and a banana in the Black Beauty (my replacement for the Black Beast) and headed south. Easy trip. Checked in. Ran a mile warm-up and off we went.

I decided to seed myself way-back, both to control my early pace and to give me the pshyco bene of passing a lot of folks. Ther were well over 1000 runners in the combined marathion and half and I was probably 300-400 from the start. I fully expected to finish around 100th in the half (there were 601 who finished the half) so this was a last minute tactical decision for me.

I wanted to do the first mile between 7:15 and 7:30 and when I hit the marker at 7:20 with an average HR of 155bpm I knew I was in business. The first mile is always a bit of a throwaway (in my view) in a long course race. It doesn't tell you much unless the news is very bad and this case it was pretty positive. I settled in and tried to focus on running as many 7:15-7:30s as I could--preferably with my HR around 160-162.

Mile 2 and 3 were: 7:27/164 bpm and 7:24/166bpm. I felt very good about my pace control but was alarmed about my HR (in 2007 the first three miles averaged: 157/158/160 albeit I was 26 seconds faster at 3 miles this year). I thought about Pete's lectures about not getting caught up in HR so I decided I was still potentially OK--although I had some doubt.

I knew the 4th mile would be slower as it was up-hill and indeed I ran 7:37 (169) and felt pretty bad. I had negative thoughts dancing around the edges but I vowed to just stay in the moment and not panic. Fortunately, at this point two fairy godesses came prancing by and i decided to focus on staying very close to their attractive pace and see if I could ride out the storm.

Mile 5 was a 7:28 (168 bpm) and I was at 37:16 (vs. 37:47 in 2007) and I was telling myself I was going to get through it.

I kept looking for mile 6 but must have missed it bcause I was focusing on the business ends of my two pacers (just a--lame--joke). At this point we went down the big hill to the turnaround and soon I was upon 7 miles. My watch said 13:42/166 for the two miles--OMG!!! BTW, the ladies had run away from me but I was stunned that I had averaged 6:51 for miles 6 and 7. I thought about it for a few seconds and concluded no-way--this was too good to be true...mile 7 marker was off. (Indeed--at this point I was suppossedly 1:30 ahead of 2007).

My concerns were confirmed at mile 8 when I clocked a 9:10 with an average HR of 169. I was now (and I think accuartely) just 12 seconds ahead of 2007. This was dispiriting but I had enough tactical awareness to know that the mile markers were messed up. I told myself to relax and just see where mile 9 came in.

BTW, it was now evident that I had enjoyed a nice tail-wind on the way out of this out and back and now I was running into a sizeable (15-20 mph) headwin. Worse, tactically I was in no-mans land--there was literally no one within 100 yards front/back of me. I was trying to stay on it but I was growing very tired (my lack of long-runs becoming evident) and I was beginning to get concerned that I was crashing.

Mile 9 was 7:51/167--oh oh--not good news. I now was more than 30 seconds off 2007's pace and a long way from home. I was completely isolated tactically but I told myself to relax, get more efficient an do try to stop the bleeding. Mile 10 elapsed in 7:48/164 and I came to the conclusion that 2007 was probably out of my reach (especially with the course change between 2007 and 2008) but given my stabilization in mile 10 if I could suck-it-up (buttercup) in Mile 11 then I could at least break 1:40. I decided right there that I needed to make that happen.

Mile 11 was 7:37/167 and I felt very, very good about it. My elapsed time was 1:23:23 and I had 16:37 to get home under 1:40. Here I relaxed a bit (too much!)

Mile 12 was a horrible 8:03/165 and at 91:26 I knew I had to get moving to do it. I waited until 1:35 elapsed and then I went for it. I was really hurting but quite motivated through what turned out to be a 7:39 13th mile with an average HR of 170 and I finished off the last tenth of a mile with an average HR of 176 and 42 seconds (it's definitely long) to hit the finish at 1:39:48.

I liked this a lot!

My AG finish by year: 2007: 12th, 2008: 11th, 2010: 6th.

Overall: 2007: 100th, 2008: 113th, 2010: 100th. I'm probably the only person to ever finish 100th twice in this race--my 15 minutes of fame!

I was 69 seconds slower than 2007 but 32 seconds faster than 2008. In 2007 my HR averaged 164 and this year it was 166. so I ran slower than 2007 but worked harder (not counting a probable reduction in my max HR over the last three years). Versus 2008 I was 32 seconds faster and this is nicely in line with the 24 seconds faster I did earlier this year in the Icicle Run.

So what does this mean?

Two immediate explanations:

1. I've done more volume than 2007, I weigh the same, I worked harder this year, and I was slower. I was in better shape in 2006 when i began the ramp than I was in late 2009 this time around. I'm either not as near my potential yet now and/or I'm getting older and slower.

2. My worse starting point this year, my focus on speed versus base/endurance this year versus 2007, the course change (which I think made the course longer) all caused me to fall 6 seconds per mile short versus 2007 although i was i was faster than 2008, with less training volume.

The simplest explanation is #1 but #2 might be more accurate. My predicted time for a 5k (given this half) is 21:35. I'm running a 5k next weekend and I'm calling I'm under 21:35. In any event, I did a 1:38 half in a half-IM in May of 2007 so if I can do a sub 1:40 half in a half-IM at some point this year, I'll be happy.

Give it a "B".

2010 is going to be a very fun year--I can't wait to do my to-do list!!!!!

best, rc

Friday, March 5, 2010

Back at the pool and looking ahead to this weekend

Haven't commented on goings-on in the pool as of late....Everything is still a go. I did a couple of 750s and 3 500s today with the 500s averaging 7:26 (I was going on 8:30). Going sub 1:30/100 for me is good--right where I want to be. I'm going to do one more 3000 yard test before OC and I expect to continue to lower my best time....

Picked-up my BMC today and it's all set to roll in Califonia. I'll comment on my set-up a few days down the line. I plan on putting some big miles on it next week--I haven't riden it since the Duathlon World Championships way-back when...

So this weekend is a big test of my run fitness--the B&A Trail half-marathon. This will be the third time for me at this race. I did it previously in 2007 and 2008. 2007 was my break-through year when I worked with Pete Reid and 2008 has to be my second fitest year so these are gold-plated personal benchmarks for me. Here is how training volume (run) and the time compares to the current year:

2007: 1:38:39 (would later run 1:38 in ahalf-IM in May and run 1:33 at the Philly distance Run

December run volume: 85 miles
January: 122
February: 100

Total-3 months: 307 miles

2008: 1:40:20

December: 181
January: 166
February: 123

total 3 months: 470 miles

2010: ?

December: 152
January: 127
February: 158

Total 3 months: 437 miles

Your guess is as good as mine! But I'm going to be disappointed without a PR.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mid terms and a forced rest

So--3 mornings ago i woke up with a sore throat. Two days ago it was brutal. Yesterday--even worse....

so I backed off. I've been rolling the dice for the last 4 months in this aggressive build-up. I've been lucky from a soft-tissue perspective. It's no surprise my heavy training off of a low base would catch up to me. Especially with all of my heavy recent (real life) work load.

Better today--looks like another dodged bullet. Not what I wanted but when I step back, I've definitely achieved what I wanted to over these last 4 months....consider:

2009 average (Jan-Nov) per month:

hours: 63/month
swim yards: 20k/month
bike miles: 630/month
run miles: 71/month

Over the last 3 months here is the data:

hours: 95 +52%
swim: 41 +109%
bike: 817 +30%
run: 146 +105%

Swim and run are exactly what i was looking for.

Bike is still lagging.

Mid-terms start this Sunday with the B&A half-marathon. this will be more of an off week than I originall¥ planned but maybe OK in the long run....

we'll see