Sunday, July 24, 2011

Making it happen!

So, a good solid "let's prove it"--that I'm ready to start training rigorously for my IM in november-- kinda week. My focus this week was to do a key w/o in each discipline that would clearly indicate I was ready for IM level training AND to heap a lot of volume on the week to see how my body held up. I was successful in both regards.

My key workouts included:

-1.8 mile swim
-104 mile bike
-14 mile run

The total training volume for the week was:

7400 yards swimming
354 miles biking
42 miles running
29 hours of total training

So, all good as my body is hanging in there....I'm a little whipped for sure but I'll back off a bit this week and then after next weekend dig in and begin the quest for IMAZ--I'm psyched!

The other good news was I picked up Anders today as he returned from his Africa trip.....

All good now!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

News of the day

Anders, my eldest, called and reported that he had successfully summited kilimanjaro and was now safely back down at the base and savoring his first shower in 7 days....wish I was with him!

Back on the home front i rode 103.5 miles in 5:53 with temps hitting 102 degrees on my bike computer. Felt pretty good--wasn't focused on pace although did hit the 4th hour pretty hard and basically rode at my IM pace (21-21.5 mph).

Good ride.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunset Sprint Race Report

Sunset Sprint Triathlon Race Report
July 16th, 2011


Location: Pittsgrove, New Jersey
Distance: 0.25-mile swim, 12.1-mile bike, 3.1-mile run
2011 Race Number: 9
Career Triathlon Race Number: 109
Conditions: High 70s/low 80s, sunny and pleasant with a light breeze. 79-degree water temperature

Sunset was to be my third sprint triathlon in 22 days. I was coming off a heavy training week and a lot of work including late nights up in NYC on Thursday and Friday. By the time I returned to the shore and readied my equipment it was time for bed. I didn’t sleep that well and when the alarm went off at 4:45 I had only managed about an hour of sleep. I was very tired and felt very fatigued. Oh well, time to put my game face on!

Sunset is usually held near Bridgeton but was moved to Parvin State Park this year due to water quality concerns at the usual race site. With the new location came a different race distance. What stayed the same was a well-run race with strict attention given to USAT rules and so the 79-degree water disallowed the use of wetsuits.

The no-wetsuit ruling, given the heat we’ve endured over the last few weeks, didn’t surprise me. Still, this was clearly to my disadvantage—no wetsuit swimming seems to impact my swim stroke more so than the average triathlete.
The turnout for the race was relatively light with only 150 triathletes entered and with just 8 in my AG.

The Swim

All the men went in the first wave. It was a simple counter-clockwise box so I lined up way to the right, away from the buoy line. I was mostly interested in a no-contact swim given the lack of a wetsuit.

At the gun I swung even further out right to ensure clean water. As I looked to my left, I was struck by how many guys were surging ahead of me. This was not a shock but it sure was a change from what I’ve become used to with my wetsuit. I settled in and had a relatively drama free swim. I never felt comfortable and I could tell my swim stroke was off. Only as we swam the last section towards shore did my stroke even out a bit.

I hit the beach with an elapsed time of 7:03 and an average HR of 146 bpm. This HR is a shock. I can’t remember ever being under 150 bpm in a sprint. It indicates that I really didn’t work that hard on the swim—maybe I was still asleep or at the very least, too timid.

Competitively, I was 46th OA (70.0 %-tile), which while 20+ points lower than where I have been placing with my wetsuit, was about what I would have expected. Surprisingly, I was 2nd in my AG (87.5 %-tile). Here is where we stood after the swim:

1. Conger --------
2. Christofferson + 0:07
3. Vanocker + 1:13
4. Wilson + 1:26
5. Raines + 1:58

Transition One

I was happy to be done with the swim and tried to run fairly fast up the beach and through the park in this very extended transition zone. I must of passed Conger very early in the transition because I never saw him at the bike rack, even though the guys in my AG were all racked together.

I completed my transition quickly (no wetsuit) and my total T1 was 2:27 (HR of 158). This was the best T1 in my AG by over 30 seconds. Here is where we stood after T1:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Conger + 1:08
3. Wilson + 1:59
4. Raines + 2:22
5. Vanocker + 2:31

The Bike

I knew I was in the lead as I headed out onto what for me, was a new bike course. I tried to crank it up and start pushing hard right from the start. However, it soon became quite apparent that my legs did not have the snap that they typically have. I was having trouble sustaining power above 250 watts. I could also see that my HR was mired in the low 150s so I pretty quickly surmised that my legs were not that recovered from the training load of this week.

I tried to make the best of it and kept trying to mentally urge myself on—this was tough given how my legs felt and how dispiriting the data was that I was seeing on my SRM. After what seemed like a very long time, I reached the end of the bike with an elapsed time of 31:21 and an average HR of only 155 bpm. The HR number—being a good 10-13 bpm below my sprint target clearly shows the fatigue that my legs were feeling this morning.
My average speed was 23.2 mph and my average power was 248 watts. This was a good 1-1.5 mph and 20-25 watts lower than my fresh legs would have been expected to deliver and not surprisingly, this showed up in pretty mediocre comparative results. I was only 13th OA on the bike (92.0 %-tile) but was considerably faster than the other gentlemen in my AG. Here is where we stood after the bike:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Mumman + 4:27
3. Vanocker + 5:36
4. Wilson + 6:54
5. Procida + 8:57

Transition Two

Had I known that I was this far ahead, I would have just mailed in the run. As it was, with a loop bike course, I had no idea how far ahead I was. I was a bit concerned given how labored my bike was. I very quickly sped through transition with an elapsed time of 0:55 and an average HR of 154bpm. This was once again the best in my AG (clearly, this was a relatively weak AG in this race) and here is where we stood after T2:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Mumman + 4:53
3. Vanocker + 5:57
4. Wilson + 7:36
5. Conger +10:13

The Run

I expected my legs to be a real problem given how my bike went. I was very uncomfortable but afraid to back off. In spite of the discomfort, it seemed like I was running pretty well (for me). The run was a very nice, shaded loop around the lake on a mix of roads and nice dirt trails.
I hit the first mile split and was surprised to see a 7:02 (162 bpm). My immediate reaction was that the first mile was short (in retrospect, I do think that the overall 5k was accurate but that the first mile was a bit short and the last mile a bit long). However, it definitely lifted my spirits a bit and I decided to ease off the throttle just a bit.

Younger runners were passing me here and there but not that many. I was encouraged to see the second mile pass in 7:44 (162 bpm) and I began to think that maybe I was having a pretty decent run.

I kept pushing all the way to the end and finished the run with an elapsed time of 23:55. This works out to an average pace of 7:43/mile. I’ll take that all things considered. It’s still a good 20-30 seconds/mile slower than before my knee problems but a step in the right direction after Philly and Lenape.

My run was 62nd OA (59.3 %-tile) and was 2nd best in my AG (87.5 %-tile). Overall I finished 25th (84th %-tile) and here is how my AG finished up:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Mumman + 3:08
3. Vanocker + 6:35
4. Wilson + 9:56
5. Conger +11:34


Well I probably should not have raced this morning. My body was too tired to really have a go at it. Still, I’m glad I did. It was a good character builder for sure and I am pleased with the way I gutted it out. Nice to grab my 32nd AG victory as well.

Looking ahead, I have a heavy-up training block over the next 10 days and then I’ll back off for a few days and race in Minnesota of the 30th.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week that was

Raced yesterday at Sunset Sprint Tri. I was pleased with my effort and the race was a good character builder. My legs were very fatigued from a heavyish training week and a big load from work--I was up in NYC late on Friday. None-the-less I was able to win a comfortable AG victory--race report to follow.

Here are the training numbers for the week:

swim: 6600 yards
bike: 263 miles
run: 32.4 miles
time: 22:11

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lake Lenape Race Report

Lake Lenape Sprint Triathlon
Race Report: July 9th, 2011


Location: Mays Landing, New Jersey
Distance: 0.25-mile swim/10.4-mile bike/3.3-mile run
2011 Race Number: 8
Career Triathlon Racer Number: 108
Conditions: Mid 80s, sunny and humid. Moderate wind. 78 degrees water temperature.

My last race was the Philly sprint, two weeks prior and I was hoping to rebound today from what was my worst triathlon of the year. While I swam strong at Philly, my bike was inexplicably off and my run was almost as bad. I took the week after Philly easy and in retrospect I sensed I was run-down at Philly from my training and a lot of work stress. In any event, I felt ready to go on this steamy July morning.

I was returning to Lenape after a four-year hiatus. I raced here from 2002-2006 and I was able to get my first AG win here in 2003. The race is more of a runner’s course with a very short bike and a slightly longer than normal run. None-the-less I was eager to race and very interested to see how my effort today would compare with my races from the earlier days of my triathlon career. There were 320 individual triathletes competing with 28 in my 50-54 YO AG. Unfortunately, the RD bailed on official USAT status and so my bud Wes Burns bumped down into my AG (he’s 55 next month)—oh well, time to focus on getting second.

The Swim

The swim is held in this very typical Pine Barrens lake. The cedar stains the waters a bit but otherwise, it is a very pleasant fresh water venue. In my 5-year run here in the first half of 2000s my swim time varied from 6:42 to 9:25. This variation was principally driven by imprecise course measurement. I was pumped to get good comparative data but assumed that my relative performance to competition would be a better measure of the changes in my swim capabilities over the last four years—which I believed were significant.

I was in the 6th and last wave with everyone else over 50 and who was Male—some 66 of us. The course is a counter-clockwise rectangle—my favorite given my propensity to breathe on my left side. I lined up way right, with just 2 guys further out from the buoy line. They seemed quite timid so I thought I would be able to start clean and have the best tactical perspective all the way to the first turn buoy.

At the gun I quickly broke free from all those in my immediate vicinity. I looked across and saw two other swimmers out with me: Wes and someone else (turned out to be Zeke Hill—who was the early leader). After 50 yards or so (and during which I swerved pass a lifeguard saving someone who had the wrong idea about this race), I decided to put my head down and swim 15 strokes focused on efficiency. After these 15 strokes, I looked over and saw that I was 5+ yards clear of the two guys in closest pursuit. John Boyle would latter tell me that he thought I had a motor on my butt, the way that I surged forward. Truth is I just focused on the 4 key stroke fundamentals that have radically improved my swim performance.

After the first buoy I just focused on swimming comfortably strong and tactically weaving my way through the mass of slower swimmers in front of me. My sense is that I did this pretty well, although, not perfect by any means. I was aware of Zeke over the last 100 yards but was able to pull steadily away from him and I hit the beach first in my AG (and wave) with an elapsed time of 7:03 and an average HR of 152 bpm. The HR indicates it was a relatively easy swim for me—152 is my target HR for an IM distance swim.

I looked over my shoulder and saw Zeke and Wes several yards back and pushed up the sizeable beach to the timing mat and claim the top AG swim split. Here is where we stood after the swim:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Burns + 0:00
3. Hill + 0:01
4. Flourney + 0:47
5. Green + 0:56

As I mentioned above, I think the %-tile rankings are better indicators of my swim performance year-to-year than my time (course length differences). That said, here are my time, OA %-tile, and AG %-tile rankings over the 6 times that I have done this race:


2002: 9:25
2003: 8:23
2004: 8:22
2005: 6:42
2006: 9:00
2011: 7:03

OA %-tile

2002: 72
2003: 63
2004: 80
2005: 81
2006: 85
2011: 93

AG %-tile

2002: 79
2003: 71
2004: 81
2005: 75
2006: 83
2011: 100

I now have a ton of data that say’s that I’m right there in the mix in my AG on the swim. I’m thrilled to be here—especially give the very limited training investment I’ve put into it this year.

As for the race, I’m very pumped to be entering T1.

Transition One

I do a reasonable job in transition but Hill and Burns are much faster. I complete my T1 in 1:49 with an average HR of 165 bpm. This was the 4th fastest in my AG (89.3 %-tile) and I was 46th OA (85.9 %-tile). Here is where we stood after T1:

1. Hill --------
2. Burns + 0:03
3. Christofferson + 0:19
4. Flourney + 1:17
5. Eisen + 1:36

The Bike

Although I know I can’t hold Wes off on the run, I am intent on running him down on the bike as quickly as I can. Unlike Philly, my legs feel pretty good—I can sense the fatigue from our big ride on Wednesday, but all in all I feel like I can do some damage this morning. I catch Hill in the first mile and I can clearly see Wes up ahead—he seems to be riding well but I am slowly reeling him in. The bike is an out and back with several modest hills. There is also a slight wind that is noticeable.

I finally catch Wes around the 4-mile mark, which means I’m going 4 seconds per mile faster than him. I hit the turn at 5.2 miles and am surprised to find Wes right behind me. I put my head down and lift my effort a bit—my average wattage was higher over the back half of the ride.

I finish the ride with a bike split of 25:49 and an average HR of 161 bpm. I hop of my bike and Wes dismounts immediately after me. (I’ll refrain from editorial comments). My average power was 259 watts and I averaged 24.2 mph. This data tells me that I was power limited as opposed to CV limited. The training related fatigue in my legs inhibited me from taxing my aerobic capability as much as I might if I was rested and tapered. For such a short ride, I would have expected an average HR of 165-168 bpm.

In any event, I had the 5th fastest bike split OA (98.8 %-tile) and here is how my time compares to history:


2002: 27:20
2003: 26:22
2004: 25:49
2005: 25:11
2006: 25:52
2011: 25:49

OA %-tile

2002: 90
2003: 99
2004: 99
2005: 99
2006: 98
2011: 99

AG %-tile

2002: 93
2003: 100
2004: 100
2005: 100
2006: 100
2011: 100

So this is a very encouraging result for me. My time is comparable to my results of the 2004-2006 timeframe, during which I believe I was at my peak fitness on the bike. I also feel I had a bit more speed in the tank and was a bit fatigued to really race at my full potential this morning.

Here is where we stood after the bike in my AG:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Burns + 0:00
3. Hill + 2:36
4. Eisen + 3:18
5. Kuo + 3:43

As an aside, I was in 5th place OA in the race at this point.

Transition Two

I cruised through an uneventful T2 with a time of 1:35 and an average HR of 161 bpm. Wes was 4 seconds faster and I had the 74th fastest T2 OA (77.2 %-tile) and 5th fastest in the AG (85.7 %-tile).

Here is where we stood after T2:

1. Burns --------
2. Christofferson + 0:04
3. Hill + 2:36
4. Eisen + 3:22
5. Kuo + 4:02

The Run

My legs felt heavy as I settled into the run. I watched Wes run away from me in his graceful (and fast) style. With the swim and bike that I had I was pretty confident that I had a big enough lead to be able to stay in 2nd, but of-course, you never really know for sure.

I hit the first mile with a split of 7:58 (163 bpm). Uggggh! Not quite as bad as Philly but still so slow—I have yet to regain the even limited speed I had before my knee problems in May and early June. The next mile “flashed” by in 7:59 (164 bpm).

The 3rd mile is an out and back so when I hit the turn at about 2.5 miles I looked carefully at the runners coming the other way to see if anyone from my AG might be close. Sure enough, I recognize a guy (Eisen) that I had noted in my swim wave. He was about 55 seconds behind me and he has a smaller runner’s body and sure looked like he was moving faster than I.

I quickly ran the math and figured that he had to be about 70 seconds per mile faster than I if he was going to catch me over the final 0.8 miles. This meant he needed to be running 6:50s, which I didn’t think was likely—possible but not probable. I didn’t know who he was (he had just aged up this year) and didn’t remember racing against him in the past.

I decided to pick it up just a bit to be safe and hit the 3rd mile marker with a 7:54 split (166 bpm). I looked behind and saw Eisen there but my sense was he was going to run out of real estate. I tried to kick hard over the final 0.3 miles, which I covered in 2:05 (172 bpm)—this is a 7-minute per mile pace. I finished the run with an elapsed time of 25:56 and an overall time of 62:18, which was 14 seconds faster than Eisen.

Historically I have run 23:16-24:08 here so I was 2-2.5 minutes slower today. I think this is an accurate reflection of the current sorry state of my run. I had the 102nd fastest run OA (68.4 %-tile) and 6th fastest in my AG (82.1 %-tile). Historically, my OA %-tiles has ranged from 74-83% and my AG from 78-91%.

I finished 25th OA, which was at the 92.5 %-tile. My historical finishes have ranged from 84th to 94th %-tile, so this is in line with what I’ve done here historically—despite my very weak run.


Happily, it appears that Philly was just a bad day for me. From the gun to T2, this race confirms that I am probably faster than I have ever been. It also confirms that my run is at an all-time low. It is what it is.

I’ll race again next Saturday and then throw a heavy 10-day training block in.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Easy Week Totals

Executed a "rest" week:

Swim: 3500 yards
Bike: 199 miles
Run: 22 miles
Time: 15:51

Next three weeks are an important transition training block for me with rides reaching 5+ hours and runs of 2+ hours. I won't be focused so much on pace, just the distance. Volume wise, this next week will be around 20 hours as I race on Saturday again. Next week will be 25+ hours--a real heavy week. and the following week will be hard for 3/4 days and then ease up for a race and my trip out to Minnesota.

After that, it's IM training time and Macro Cycle III of this year's training plan...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Good race today

Raced Lenape for the sixth time today--but the first time since 2006. Top line conclusions: I'm now better than ever in the swim, my bike is close to my historical peak (and Philly was just a bad day!), and my run does well and truly suck!

Oh well--I had fun and finished my 108th triathlon. Met some new friends. Good bounce back race. I'm on the right track.

Run is going to remain a problem I fear but I'll just have to do the best I can...

Race report to follow in a few days...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I stand corrected....

Actually ran 29 miles last week--neglected the 4 mile transition run after my long ride. Anders and I hammered out a pretty demanding 4 hour ride this morning, in brutal heat (and 3 flats) and then struggled through a 3 mile transition run (dewpoint was 76 degrees--yuch)....

Riding with Anders really challenges me (and him)--we can definiteluy push each other...

On my way to Cinci is booming!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Week totals/injury updates

Last week found me up in NYC working late for 3 nights but I was still able to fit in a pretty decent training week:

swim: 6200 yards
bike: 259 miles
run: 25 miles
time: 22:12

My recent knee flare-up seems to have subsided. It still hurts on occassion but I sense that this recent incident has passed. I'm hopeful and expecting to be able to train as hard as I can during my IM build starting Aug. 1st. I've started running in Vibram five-fingers a couple of times a week and that seems to further help my knee. I had a 10 and an 8 mile run this week.

My hip flexor and foot tendon injuries of last year are definitely in the past. I rode 77 miles this week and had no problem holding my aero position for most of the ride.

I've had a few big weeks and my body is complaining a bit this morning. My back is very tendor and my HR is elevated so I'm going to dial it back a bit this week. i will try to hit a big ride and a 10+ mile run but otherwise will take it easy this week. I plan to race this weekend.