Thursday, September 29, 2011

The road ahead.....

51 days....7+ weeks to IMAZ. Lots of miles over the transom--where do we stand, and what does the road ahead look like?

My body/fitness/injuries

I think I'm in a very good place now. I had a very big August. I crashed a bit during the first two weeks of September--big training volume was part of the issue, but large and persistant "life" stresses were perhaps even more so.

IM70.3WC was just a case of me scuffling through...that was 9/11...glad I did it (as an experience) but i was not in any position to really race....

recovered the week after and then had a very encouraging training week...

killed SkipJack--definitely a surprise how strong I was!

So...where are we?

Injury wise I think I'm good to go. My knee shut me down for 4-5 weeks in May and June but with the injection cycle in June and this new one (which will be completed this coming Monday) my knee has responded in a truly excellent way--right now, I do not have knee problems--nor do I expect them to be a factor at all in preparing for and racing IMAZ--at the end of the day, this is the most importnt thing on my fitness docket right now!

My Psoas muscle issues have dimisnished enough to take them off the list and my plantar fascitis seems to have recceded to the point of just being a minor irritant some mornings.

I spent 4 dys dea\ling with SEVERE blisters (post Skipjack)--I definitely had to cut back--no running and only light biking but hopefully, I'm ready to move on.

Summary: I have no limiting injuries right now!

My best, most objective analysis, tells me tht I am in better long course shape right now than in any time in my career with the exception of 2007. My race this past weekend was (from my perspective) a very big deal in terms of validating my fitness and my fitness building strategy.

My fitness is still improving. My motivation to improve is at an all-time high. I'm not at the peak I had in 2007 but this just might be a bettert scenario, given my hungriness to get better. We'll see...

I have a lot of work obligations and so am camping up in NYC for 2-5 days and swim impacts for sure but hopefully i can run alot....I'm definitely behind my training plan--run wise so that would be good....we'll see....

I wanted to race this weekend or next but life commitments tell me no. so it's all training until the big event--probably for the best when you step back and look at the big picture.

Until I taper, here is how I plan to roll:

-big volume--probably in the 22-26 hours/week range
-3 key bike rides: long (6+ hours), hard (2-3 hours above IM race intensity), neromuscular training--efficiency--I'll ride every day but the other rides must not interfer with the three key rides....
-4/5 swims: 2 key ones--1 of 4000+ yards and one of 3000-4000 yards of long and hard intervals...the rest is optional--not doing them, but how hard I do them
-run--need to be in the 30-50 mpw zone--1 long run and 1 tempo/race/interval wo per week--the rest is filler
-lots of work but easier easy days to make sure I kill the hard stuff....
-Of course' my body or schedule may dictate otherwise....

we'll see but right now I like my chances!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Went through 20,000 page hits yesterday--exactly 200 days after hitting 10,000 back on March 10th. conveniently, that averages out to 50 per day--thanks for the interest

Monday, September 26, 2011

Skipjack Race Report

2011 Skipjack LC Triathlon Race Report
September 24th, 2011


Location: Cambridge, MD
Distance: 1.2-mile swim/66-mile bike/10-mile run
2011 Triathlon Race Number: 13
Career Triathlon Race Number: 113
Conditions: Overcast with periodic light rain, 10-20 mph wind, mid 60s-low 70s, and a 72-degree water temperature.

This is the inaugural version of this “Half-Ironman like” long course triathlon. It is part of the ChesapeakeMan Triathlon Festival, which includes an IM, an IM Aqua-Velo, and a sprint triathlon as well. The swim is a normal 1.2-mile affair. The bike however is longer (driven by the need to also stage an IM bike on the same course). The bike course was advertised as 64 miles but I had two GPS devices with me and they both had it as 65.94 miles. The run was GPSed at 10.02 miles—so pretty much spot on in distance.

The race was at the mid-point of my 16-week IMAZ build/taper Meso-cycle. I was at the tail end of a strong training week, which included a 100+ mile bike and a 14-mile training run (my total training time for the week was over 21 hours with about 8000 yards of swimming, 250 miles of biking and 32 miles of running). I certainly was not rested/tapered but I did feel pretty good on race morning. This was in sharp contrast to the prior two weeks where an aggressive 5-week build block (and a lot of life obligations) had left me quite tired. So much so, that 13 days prior I had just gone through the motions at a desultory IM70.3 WC race in Las Vegas (6:06 Half-Ironman).

On this morning however, I was ready to go for it and fact felt a bit of a need to “prove” to myself that I was indeed gaining fitness and was well positioned in my build for IMAZ.
The race had 120 people entered in it and 11 in my AG. In fact only 80 would start with 9 folks in my 50-54 YO AG. The weather was horrible in the days leading up to the race with a constant and frequently intense rain and the weather forecast called for more so I suspect many folks bailed as a result.

I drove down on Friday afternoon and went through all my normal pre-game activities for a LC triathlon and happily lay down by 10 p.m. and had a pretty decent rest. I was up at 4:30 for PB&J and all set to rock by my 8:10 a.m. mass start.

The Swim

T1 and the swim are located adjacent to the Eagleman site, but the swim had us heading off in the opposite direction from the park and is generally less susceptible to tidal influence than the EM swim course. I watched the IM race head off at 7 a.m. and decided I would position myself to the right on the buoy line (clock-wise course—not my favorite) so I could watch the other competitors. With only 80 folks in the race, I figured it would be a piece of cake to find clean water if I needed it.

At the gun I stayed hard right and felt that the other faster swimmers were drifting too far left (who knows if this is true or not, but that was my judgment based on my sight lines.) I could see I was in the top group of swimmers but that there were definitely some stronger swimmers than I. I tried to keep track of my placing and guessed that I was 7th or so but it was difficult to judge with the slower IM swimmers engaged in their second lap and with the modest wind-driven chop.

I basically swam the whole course by myself without any drafting benefit. This was not my intent, but it always seemed to me that the other folks in my race were too far to the left. So no drafting benefit in this race. On the plus side, I had a very relaxing and uneventful swim.

I felt like I was having a B+ kinda’ swim. I felt good, and very comfortable—I knew I could go faster but I did feel like I was having a solid swim. I navigated well and soon enough found myself heading towards the boat ramp, which is the exit of the swim.

Finally, I felt my hand hit the ramp and gingerly stood up. My pre-race recon told me that the ramp was covered in very slippery seaweed and I tried to grab the wall to the left to help myself climb up. This was for naught and I slipped and fell very hard on the concrete directly on my right hip (I have a nice bruise to show for it). It was a pretty violent fall but I think my wetsuit helped me avoid any serious issues—although I was concerned about my hip all the way until I hit the run course). I picked myself up finally and hit my watch at the top of the ramp and recorded a 33:16 swim split with an average HR of 151 bpm. This is a pretty solid time and only 31 seconds slower than my best ever H-IM swim time. My HR indicates I took in easier than I could have gone so it is a really positive result from a fitness perspective. In any event, it was a marked improvement from my 44+ minute swim in Las Vegas.

I had the 8th best swim OA (91.3 %-tile…which I believe is my highest LC swim %-tile in my career). Here is what the leaderboard looked like after the swim:

1. Adams --------
2. Joubert + 0:13
3. Hanna + 3:25
4. Saksa + 4:28
5. Courtney + 4:47
8. Christofferson + 6:36

From an AG perspective, I had the top swim out of the 9 competitors. Here is where we stood:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Peterson + 0:39
3. Jagoditis + 6:01

Transition One

As I ran away from the swim exit I tried to banish the thoughts of my fall and my hip from my mind. The T1 situation in this “festival” is way over-engineered. I understand why. CTA—which runs the race—puts on two huge events each year—Columbia and Eagleman—so they are used to dealing with tons of athletes and dealing with them in a “M-dot” way. That is not this race.

None-the-less, we had to wait for the volunteers to bring us our bags and then enter the changing tent—where we had to empty our bags, do our thing, and then re-pack our T1 bag with all of our swim stuff (the latter was necessary because T1 and T2 were 5 miles apart and they had to transport our swim stuff there for our pick-up after the race).

I had an OK T1. My helmet strap, for some unknown reason, got all tangled up and I wasted about 10 seconds (seemed like 5-6 minutes) getting it sorted out. Soon enough however, I was on my way. I exited T1 with an elapsed time of 3:20 and a HR of 151 bpm.

Due to my helmet mishap, this was only good enough for 12th OA (86.3 %-tile). I had the fastest T1 in my AG by a long shot. OA, there wasn’t much of a change competitively. In my AG, I was beginning to clearly separate myself:

1. Adams --------
2. Joubert + 2:29
3. Hershner + 3:07
4. Saksa + 4:16
5. Courtney + 4:38
8. Christofferson + 5:46


1. Christofferson --------
2. Peterson + 2:55
3. Jagoditis + 7:53

The Bike

I exited T1 in a very motivated place. I thought I was 7th OA and I intended to get out and after it on the bike. I thought the bike course was 64 miles (in fact it turned out to be 65.94 miles) and I definitely wanted to go sub 3 hours—despite the rain and wind. I was hopeful to catch some of the stronger swimmers in front of me and hopefully open up a big enough gap to give me a good shot at the AG victory coming out of T2.

It was quite humid and overcast and my glasses fogged immediately. I decided to take them off and slipped them into my tri-top…where they remained for the rest of the ride. The bike course is similar (but different) than the Eagleman course. It featured an opening section of about 15 miles or so that differed from EM and then finished on a loop that was part of the EM course.

I felt very, very good right from the start. My first few miles were a bit slow due to all of the turns leaving T1 and me attending to all of the early ride nutrition things. That said I felt I was riding very well and I was passing a large number of IM and AV riders early on. Soon I began to pass Skipjack competitors as well and by 8 miles I thought that I had moved into second place OA.

I was racing with my revamped BMC TT01 rig for the first time—I had a new drive train, wheels and power management and recording hardware. I must confess that it all worked like a charm—I think it is probably faster than my old configuration and that I can make some tweaks to make it even faster. Further, I’m thrilled with my new data collection capability. Here is the summary of my first two 5-mile segments:

Miles 1-5…..13:29…22.2 mph…157bpm…88rpm…223 watts
Miles 6-10…12:51…23.3 mph…153bpm…88rpm…220 watts

This was obviously a strong start to my ride. I benefitted from less turns and a more favorable wind pattern in the second 5 miles. My target HR is 148-152 bpm so I was trending down to it after T1. I wanted to average above 220 watts so I was off to a good start. At 88 rpm, my recent high cadence Computrainer drills seemed to be working…all good!

I settled in for the long grind ahead. I felt very good and hoped that I was in second (although I felt it was likely that there was a number of better swimmer/bikers in front of me whom I’d never see—that said, my then current knowledge was that there was just one more person in front of me). I eased back just a bit (more than I needed to in retrospect) and just began picking off a lot of slower IM riders. At around 17 miles I was a bit surprised to pass another Skipjack racer (Saksa—a strong looking 31 YO). At this point, my on course data indicated that I was now leading the race. I of course wasn’t sure—for all I knew there were 3-4 guys who were very strong bikers easily pulling away from me. Here is what the next two five mile segments looked like:

Miles 11-15…13:35…22.1mph…149bpm…86rpm…215watts
Miles 16-20…13:10…22.8mph…147bpm…86rpm…215watts

My Edge 800 allowed me to have pretty good command of this data. I concluded that I was moving well above my targeted speed. My HR was on the low side of my target. My cadence was outstanding. My watts were a bit low but I felt great and thought that I was leading and pulling ahead. What to do? I decided to remain conservative for a while longer—My memory of my recent down-spell and my fairly heavy training load weighed on my mind.

Meanwhile, back on the road, I was passing everything in sight. It was nice to have the slower IM bikers in front of me—I didn’t have to worry about biking off-course like I did at Tuckahoe. I felt fantastic but I continued to keep a definite leash on my effort. Here are the next 15 miles:

Miles 21-25…13:09…22.8mph…146bpm…85rpm…217watts
Miles 26-30…13:00…23.1mph…148bpm…85rpm…216watts
Miles 31-35…12:58…23.1mph…147bpm…84rpm…216watts

At this point in the bike course we rounded a point and generally headed back into a net headwind. I felt this subjectively and feeling very optimistic about where I was and how I was doing in the race I decided to raise my game—I began pushing harder. The next 15 miles were noticeably tougher into the wind but I kept upping my effort:

Miles 36-40…13:14…22.7mph…148bpm…84rpm…222watts
Miles 41-45…13:08…22.8mph…147bpm…86rpm…228watts
Miles 46-50…13:27…22.3mph…148bpm…86rpm…227watts

As an aside, I was pretty workman-like in my attention to my nutrition throughout the ride. I drank 30 ounces of Cytomax, which I started the ride with and then another 3 24-ounce bottles of Gatorade (and one bottle of water). I ate one pack of shot blocks and had 4 Hammer Gels (from a flask). I’d guess that I consumed a total of about 1400 calories on the bike—about 450/hour, which is consistent with the approach I’ve refined during my long training rides. I ate a total of 9 Enduralytes—3 on every half hour of the ride. I peed three times during the ride so I think I did a solid job of hydrating as well. In any event, I didn’t feel any energy shortage during the ride.

As I rode on I became increasingly convinced that I was leading (although it would have been entirely possible for some one to be 20 minutes in front of me by now). The wind was quite noticeable now—blowing unrestricted out of the west across the nature reserve.

Further, the next five-mile section featured a 1-1.3 mile section that was substantially flooded. The road was frequently under 3-8 inches of water and when it wasn’t it was extremely rough (and slow). I tried to keep hammering away but at one point rode through 2 big pot holes (under about 8 inches of water) and unbelievably did not flat nor break a wheel—whew. I backed off a bit but soon we were on “dry” ground (it was raining). The road was uncomfortably rough as well during this section and it definitely cost us some speed as compared to earlier segments of the bike course. I kept driving all the way to the end and here is how the last splits looked:

Miles 51-55…14:38…20.5mph…146bpm…83rpm…225watts
Miles 56-60…13:24…22.4mph…146bpm…85rpm…223watts
Miles 61-65…13:34…22.1mph…145bpm…84rpm…224watts
Mile 66………….2:44…20.6mph…147bpm…82rpm…231 watts

I was surprised to find the course being two miles long but generally took comfort in that—the longer the bike course the better for me! It was a bit confusing towards the end because they were clearly not ready for a Skipjack racer when I approached T2. At a subconscious level I registered this as very good news and was very excited as I rolled into T2.

I completed the 66-mile bike spilt in 2:56:22, which equates to 22.5mph. I ended up averaging 221 watts, 85 rpm and a HR of 148bpm. This is very satisfying. My ride was over three minutes faster than any other cyclist and over 7 minutes faster than Saska. I was over a half hour faster than the next guy in my AG! Given the conditions, and given the competition I have to say I killed this ride.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, when I jumped off the bike I had a commanding overall lead Overall and an insurmountable AG lead:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Saksa + 5:31
3. Signore + 5:52
4. Clark + 7:43
5. Villanueva +12:06


1. Christofferson --------
2. Peterson +32:28
3. Jagoditis +64:18

Transition Two

I handed my bike to a volunteer and they quickly gave me my transition bag. I asked how many where in front of me and they confirmed what I had been hoping—that I was in the lead! I ran into the changing tent and executed a very quick and efficient T2. My elapsed T2 time was 1:13, which ended up being the 4th fastest overall (149 bpm average). This translates into the 96.3 %-tile. Importantly, this was faster than any of the next four competitors. I picked up 5 seconds on Villanueva, 12 on Saksa, 15 on Clark and a critically important 1:17 on Signore. Here is where we stood after T2:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Saksa + 5:43
3. Signore + 7:09
4. Clark + 7:58
5. Villanueva +12:11

The Run

I ran out of the changing tent and across the timing mat carrying some more Enduralytes, my visor, my number belt and my glasses. I glanced back right to the bike course and didn’t see anyone. I put all the stuff in my hands where they belonged. The announcer let the crowd know what was going on and I received a nice applause.

For the first time in my triathlon career I was on the run and leading the race! As I ran out of the high school parking lot I noticed that I still had my glasses from the bike jammed into the top of my tri-suit. I found a convenient place along the road to chuck them (I came back for them later). I made the turn onto Egypt road and headed out by myself on the long, flat and mostly straight out and back run course. It was raining lightly and very comfortable to my heat acclimatized body.

It was surreal. I couldn’t believe I was actually leading and I was even hoping that maybe, just maybe I could hold the lead despite how much of a competitive liability my run typically is. I felt like I was running pretty well. I was definitely pushing it harder than I felt prudent and I was breathing heavily. So what—I decided that I was going all in on this run. I looked up and pointed to the skies and asked my dad to beam me some energy—I said out loud that this run was in honor of him. It was very cool running by myself with no one in front of me with only the sounds of my feet and my breathing.

I hit the first mile marker and hit a lap time on my new Garmin watch. I looked to see the result and realized that the numbers are so tiny and that my eyes are so bad now (without reading glasses) that I really couldn’t see the split—although I thought it looked like the first number was a 7. In fact, my first 1.03 miles passed in 7:48 (this is a 7:34/mile pace). My HR averaged 161 bpm, which is pretty much spot on for a LC run for me.

I wasn’t going to look back and just try to get to the 5-mile turnaround in the lead and then see where the competition was but I couldn’t help myself and I stole a glance just after passing the first mile mark. I was very bummed to see a runner just 40 yards behind me! I was shocked to be honest—this person must have had a fantastic T2! Oh well, I didn’t see anyone else so I thought I might as well keep going for it—you never know.

I went through the first aid station and slowed to drink a cup of water and one of Gatorade and was surprised that I didn’t get passed. I hit mile 2 and my Garmin recorded an 8:07 over 1.01 miles and my HR was steady at 161 bpm. There was an aid station right at mile 3 and there I was caught but the other runner turned down the fluid and told the volunteers that she was just out for a run and wasn’t in the race! Whoa! I was still in the lead! My 3rd split was 8:07 for exactly 1.00 miles and my HR remained locked on 161bpm.

Well, now I was really excited! I began to think that maybe I just could win this thing. I decided not to look back and kept pushing up to the turnaround. The next two splits were as follows:

Split 4: 8:07 (1.00 miles) 161 bpm
Split 5: 7:54 (0.99 miles) 165 bpm

I made the turn and looked up the road and was a bit disheartened to see another competitor. My initial judgment was that he was too close and running too fast for me to make my lead stick. Soon we passed and we acknowledged each other. It was Saksa, the 31 YO I had passed at mile 17 of the bike. I estimated that he was about 2 minutes behind me—although, with my vision issue, that is probably plus or minus 30 seconds. I shook my head and felt that I couldn’t hold him off. Another minute latter Signore came by and so I estimated that I had a 4-minute lead on him. The others were further up the road (Clark at 6 minutes and Villaneuva at 8 minutes) and I began to think that there was a good chance I could podium overall.

I hit the 6-mile mark with an 8:14 split (1.00 miles) and a 163-bpm heart rate. Around about 6.5 miles or so, Saksa caught me. He told me I had crushed the bike—I said thanks and told him it was nice to be in the lead while it lasted. I also told him to push home and win the thing. He encouraged me to keep pushing and get second. I sighed as he sped away with my victory dream. Oh well—I’m still doing great. I looked back and could see that Signore was closing fast. My 7-mile split was 8:33 (1:00) and my HR was back down to 161 bpm.

Now that I wasn’t going to win, I became very aware of how fatigued I was and I also noticed that my feet were killing me. I decided to not wear my socks to try to shave some time off of my T2 (which worked) but it looked like it might have been the wrong call as I could see big red splotches on both of my shoes—ouch!

I began to slow and hit the 8th mile with an 8:44 (1.00) and an average HR of 159. I still was in 2nd but feeling like it was any second before Signore caught me. Despite that, I was really enjoying the run—it was great to get the congrats from all the other competitors and they constantly told me I looked awesome (gee thanks!). About three quarters of the way through the 9th mile I decided to turn around and see where he was and I was surprised to see him still a good 100 yards or so behind me. What the heck—I decided right there that I was going to really give it everything I had—he was going to have to earn second place.

I hit the 9-mile split with an 8:47 over 1.01 miles (8:42/mile pace) and my HR at 160 bpm. I was clearly running a bit faster than that over the last few hundred yards of the 9th mile.

I could see the school and hear the announcer. I could see the turn just up ahead. My body was screaming but I kept pushing—come on RC--hold on dude. I hit the turn and glanced back and saw him about 40 yards behind me. I had about 250 yards to go and I dug down for one final desperate push. I could see the final turn and the finish chute and with about 60-70 yards to go I looked back and saw that he was at least 40 yards behind me—I did it, my kick had dissuaded him. I pumped my fist in the air and cruised home with a final split of 8:04 (166 bpm).

I finished 2nd—my best ever in a triathlon! Signore came in 15 seconds later and we embraced (by the way, in my AG, Peterson finished 45:20 and Jagoditis 67:40 behind me—I had the fastest run in my AG). I told Signore that another 100 yards and I was toast and he told me that he had given it everything he had but he just couldn’t catch me. My overall run time was 82:05 and my average HR was 162 bpm. I clocked the course at 10.02 miles so my average mile split was 8:11/mile. This was the 9th fastest overall (90.0%-tile). My overall time was 4:56:16. Fantastic!

I was going to go for a 3-4 mile run after the race to cool down and get another IM long run in but with the outcome of the race I said the heck with that. Also, my feet were really hurting now. I hobbled over to my car and took my shoes off and saw a total disaster zone—at least 15 places where my feet were bleeding—I was paying the price now for a quicker T2. I slowly made my way into the School and had a wonderful shower—although the water hitting my feet was not pleasant. I went to the EMS truck the medics kindly taped my feet up. I picked up a beautiful crystal award for finishing second and hopped into my car and drove home feeling very, very satisfied!


1. A great day for me no two ways about it. It would have been nice to win, but I’m thrilled with second. As I mentioned, this is my best OA finish place wise. I also picked up my 5th AG win on the year and this is only the second year that I’ve reached 5 wins in a season.
2. Its very important to me to bounce back after struggling recently and my slow and half-hearted effort at IM70.3 worlds. This race clearly demonstrates that my training is working and I’m in a good place in my build up to IMAZ in 8 weeks.
3. If I apply my average pace on the bike and convert from 66 to 56 miles and similarly convert from 10 miles to 13.1 on the run I come up with an equivalent H-IM time of 4:54:59. This is obviously an estimate but I think it’s pretty good. I would have biked a bit faster over 56 miles than I did over 66 and I probably would have been able to run a bit faster at the outset with a shorter bike leg. I probably would have faded more over 13.1 miles versus 10 (although, I did have a solid 10th mile) so it’s hard to say precisely, but I think the mathematical approximation is probably pretty good. If you take it at face value, then this was equivalent to my 3rd fastest H-IM ever (out of 20 or so)—my only two faster races being my two H-IMs during my peak year of 2007. For what it’s worth, Saksa did a 4:43 at Diamondman on 9/11 and he beat me by 4:41 in this race. He also told me that he raced better today than he did at Diamondman.
4. My swim was very solid. I probably could have turned in a PR had I been so motivated. I felt strong at the end so I’m feeling good about my swim for IMAZ—no reason for me not to go sub 70 minutes there.
5. My 221 watts in the bike ride is encouraging. For comparison in 2007 I did 228 watts at White Lake (bike split: 2:24:47) and 223 watts at Eagleman (bike split: 2:24:04). My calculated bike split for 56 miles in this race is 2:29:39, which is not surprising due to the wind and rough road surface and flooding that we faced today. In any event, I was able to reasonably comfortably hold a sub 5-hour IM bike pace through 66 miles today. I think it’s also significant that I averaged 217 watts for the first 35 miles but upped it to 225 watts over the final 31 miles—and still ran quite well. I believe it will be well within my capability to go sub 5:30 at IMAZ.
6. My first transition was solid but my second was outstanding and competitively important as well. Signore was faster than me on the S/B/R segments and my transitions were decisive in my ability to hold onto second. The 1:17 I picked up on him in T2 was crucial—especially when you consider he finished just 15 seconds behind me. Still, I wish I had worn socks because it’s going to be a few days before I’m able to run again.
7. My run was a revelation for me today. From an absolute perspective, I know its nothing special but it was a very good outcome for me—it was mathematically equivalent to a 1:47:19 H-IM run (radically better than the 1:59 I did at Oceanside and the 2:06 at Las Vegas). Indeed, I only averaged 8:02 in the Tim Kerr 7-mile run—three weeks ago. I think I learned that I’m a better runner than I thought and I need to go deeper in my key races.
8. Someday I won’t be able to do this, but Saturday was not that day!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week totals

Swim: 7962 yards
Bike: 250 miles
Run: 32 miles
Time: 21:22

With the great race of yesterday a very encouraging week!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Very Satisfying!

Just arrived back home after completing the SkipJack LC (1.2/66/10) triathlon.

I had a very, very satisfying race. Probaby one of my top 3-5 triathlons of all time. It was very exciting and my best all-time finish in a triathlon. Most importantly, it confirmed that my training plan and execution are indeed working and that I'm right on plan in my bid for another Kona slot at IMAZ. After the prior couple of weeks and my race at the IM70.3WC on 9/11, I have to say my faith was a bit tested.

I am very sore tonight as I went very deep into the pain cave today. My feet are covered in blisters--I mean like 15 of them. But I am very happy about today's experience.

Race report to follow--and given how excited I am about this race--very soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Down in Cambridge tonight

Back in Eagleman land--I haven't been here since Eagleman 2008--which was the 4th year in row that I did that 70.3.

Tomorrow I'm doing a new triathlon called Skipjack. it's part of a 4 race triathlon "festival" tomorrow. The key event is the Chesapeakeman--a full IM distance race. There is an associated AquaVelo--which I did as part of a prep for IMFL in 2007. anders did it with me and finished 3rd OA and I was 6th (top Masters). There is a sprint race called Bugeye and then my race, which is similar to a Half-IM. The swim is 1.2 miles, the bike 64 miles, and the run is 10 miles. With the longer bike and shorter run it works in my favor.

There are only 108 people in the Skipjack race, with 11 in my AG. Looking at the AG competitors I should be right in there if I have a decent race. The swim is in the Choptank and when I felt the water it felt cool enough for wetsuits. The weather is terrible--it has been raining constantly and pretty forcibly. Tomorrow calls for more of the same. Humid and windy but temps in the 70s and low 80s so not so bad. Part of the bike course has about 3-5 inches of standing water on it so that might prove to be interesting....we'll see.

8:10 start so time for bed....

IM70.3WC Race Report

Sorry to take so long and for the brevity of the RR. Given my approach to the race if felt appropriate.

2011 IM70.3 World Championship Race Report
September 11th, 2011

Location: Lake Las Vegas, Nevada
Distance: 1.2-mile swim/56-mile bike/13.1-mile run
2011 Triathlon Race Number: 12
Career Triathlon Race Number: 112
Conditions: Low 90s and sunny. Light wind. 81 degrees water temperature.


My second appearance at this World Championship race—I did the first Clearwater race back in 2006. This was the first year the race would be held in its new venue in Nevada. I had a very challenging week leading up to the race and wasn’t able to fly out to Nevada until late Friday night. Also, my prior five weeks of Ironman build left me extremely fatigued coming into the race.

I arrived at my hotel a little after midnight (3 a.m. my time) and decided to unpack my bike and put it together. I gave up around 2 after I determined that my rear derailleur hanger had been damaged during the trip. I slept very fitfully as I was less than 30 hours away from the start of the race and it wasn’t clear my bike would be available.

I did a short practice swim and run on Saturday morning and noted that I felt sore and tired—not what you’d ideally like before a half-Ironman. Around 10, I found a mechanic who worked on my bike for the better part of two hours and was finally able to get my bike working well enough to give it a go.

I did a short warm-up ride and then drove the course—what a monster—more on that later. I checked my bike in and went to bed early.

The Swim

Race morning dawned clear and with the promise of heat later in the day. Last week it was routinely in the 100/110s but yesterday was a very pleasant overcast 80 degrees. Today it would be hotter—indeed reaching the low to mid 90s with a blazing sun.

The water was over 76 degrees, so no wetsuit. The swim venue was a long, curving loop in the main part of Lake Las Vegas. I was in the 3rd wave—just after the pros. As I sat in the water I decided to just swim real easy. I was just to fatigued to really hammer today, and I felt it more important to “preserve” myself for my more important task of building for my “A” race at IMAZ. Not to say that I would have been very competitive had I gone for it, as the race was stacked with many of the best LC triathletes in the world.

I stayed to the far left—away from the buoy line and just cruised around the course. It seemed like everyone was faster than I. It did not deter me as I swam very comfortably and exited the swim with a 44:41. My heart rate averaged 148 bpm, which is remarkably low given no wetsuit. This was my second slowest H-IM swim time—the other coming in a non-wetsuit swim back in 2004. In comparison, my Kona time, at twice the distance was 80 minutes.

Not surprisingly, this was not very competitive. I was 1332th out of 1503 competitors (11.4%-tile). Back at Clearwater in 2006 I was 53.4 %-tile and I was no-where near as strong a swimmer as I am now.

Transition One

The first transition entailed a very lengthy run around the bottom of the lake back over to the side of the lake we started on. I grabbed my bike and exited T1 with an elapsed time of 5:27 and an average HR of 147bpm. Although I don’t have the comparative data, I’m sure this was one of the slower T1s this morning.

The Bike

The race director said there was about 5600 feet of climbing on this course (and I believe him) and so I had brought my training/road bike and training wheels—no aero helmet either. I’m glad I did as the course was quite challenging with many nervous descents. I was very cautious and sat up a lot and used my brakes to keep my top speed to 40 mph—other folks were blazing past me on the descents at well over 50 mph.

The course was beautiful—this would be a great place to come train. It always seemed up or down and the most challenging part came from 42-46 miles—a demanding 4-mile climb. My PM conked out around 15 miles and at that point I was averaging 195 watts—which is pretty decent given my lack of pedaling on the descents. I was routinely in the mid to high 200s on the climbs.

Obviously not my cup of tea but I enjoyed the ride and finished with an elapsed time of 3:06:04 and an average HR of just 140bpm. This was my slowest H-IM bike split of my career. I was 1234th in the bike (18.0 %-tile).

Transition Two

I took my time in transition two—even hit the porta-potty and finished T2 with a 3:39 (131 bpm).

The Run

The run venue is a big let down after the majesty of the bike course. It basically is contested on about a 2.2-mile hill that you run up and down 3 times. It’s right in the middle of Henderson on some very busy streets with traffic blasting a few feet away. The course is L shaped with the middle being near T2 and the finish—there also is a short flat section there. Consequently, you are almost always either going up or down in the run—difficult to find proper pacing. The course had over 700 feet of vertical so it certainly wasn’t a fast run course (for me). The sun was out and it was very hot.

I felt pretty good all things considered and with the heat I just tried to run an easy run. I stopped at every aid station and drank a lot, put ice in my hat and poured water all over myself. Despite all of this, by the end of the run I was quite dehydrated. Still, I had no trouble jogging around the whole course. Here are my splits (the variable nature is in part due to the hills):

1. 7:53/150 bpm
2. 9:17/155
3. 10:00/153
4. 9:24/152
5. 8:37/149
6. 9:23/148
7. 9:59/149
8. 10:04/150
9. 9:20/145
10. 9:52/145
11. 11:03/148
12. 11:10/152
13. 9:51/152

My total run time was 2:06:21, which I was fine with. This was the 1249th fastest (17.0 %-tile). Overall, I finished 1274th (15.2 %-tile) (I was 22.9 %-tile in Clearwater and 14.3 %-tile at Kona).


I’m pleased with the outcome of the race. Obviously, I didn’t race it but more participated in it. This was the right call and now a couple of weeks latter my body feels up to the rigors of IM training again. It was a privilege to be in this race and I know even if I was 100% that I would have probably been in the bottom 30%. Clearly, at this race and at Kona, I’m punching well out of my weight class!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trending Upward?

So, as you know the last two weeks have been not so good from a triathlon perspective. I was very tired and had a lot of problematic soft-tissue issues. On the plus side, I still had the motivation but a huge amount of non-triathlon stressors combined with a big 5 week training block seemed to take me low.

So two weeks of recovery and repair--including being a tourist at the IM70.3WC--and this seems to have worked (I hope!).

anyways--this week I feel fantastic! I did a very strong 14 mile run on Monday. Yesterday I rode 100.7 miles @ 17.7mph--most of it in a driving rain storm. Had a great multi-sport session today. I'll take a couple of easy days and then race Skipjack on Saturday (1.2/64/10). I have a good feeling....

Knee feels great--started my latest cycle on Monday. Psoas much better and Plantar tendons hanging in!

Could be the beginning of a very good stretch!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

week totals

Lots of distractions! Recovering from Vegas. work. Two day road trip to Virginia to look at colleges with Alex--900 miles driving and no working out....

I have been trying to catch up on my sleep as well as i have been very fatigued.

Plantar f still a knee injection cycle starts tomorrow.

Net/net--another dismal training week (basically I had 5 great ones and 2 poor ones). Hopefully turning the corner soon!


7000 yards swim
167 miles bike
21 miles run
16 hours training time

Monday, September 12, 2011

Heading home

Recorded my slowest HIM at the 70.3 WC...6:06. Very slow swim...probably took it too easy. Cautious and conservative bike ride and a decent but slowish run. Very tough course...the hardest I've ever raced for sure. Probably could have gone 10-20 minutes faster if I had needed too but didn't see the point...5:46-5:56 is still BOP in this race. Feel pretty good today...had a spin this morning before heading to the airport. Probably will be able to jump right back into training hard by Wednesday or so. At airport now and hope to be home by midnight.

I had a great time...glad I did the race. My performance is not indicative of my fitness...I was fatigued and very conservative.....race report to follow in a couple of days.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Locked and loaded in Vegas!

Quite an eventful past 18 hours!

Arrived at my hotel room at Lake Las Vegas just after midnight (3am my time). I unpacked and tried to assemble my bike. Problems with the rear der...I suspected a bent hanger....frustrating...went to bed at two and didn't sleep well.

Up at 5:45 and registered with the XC folks. Practice swim....15 minutes...felt fine. Short run...felt very tired. Breakfast with Lyndsey Corbin and Paul Ambrose. Pics with XC folks.

Off to the mechanic tent. Took over an hour...bent hanger fixed adequately to race tomorrow (I hope). Back to hotel (the two transition zones are 8 miles apart which is decidedly a pain). Rode bike for 30 minutes...very hilly. Incidentally it was pretty mild this up to 97 in the afternoon.

Prepared transition bags and checked in. Drove the bike course and run course. Bike course is a monster! Beautiful but challenging! Glad I have my road bike. Run course is very poorly designed in my view.....

Back in room with pasta in my tummy. Very tired and to bed very soon.

I'm bib #108. Hoping to be safe and have fun. Looking for a high quality brick. Not really concerned with outcome....focus on putting in a good effort...

Friday, September 9, 2011

IM70.3WC course

Here is a link to the map course with topo data:

Looks harder than I had previously guessed. 3608 of climbing is a lot for a 70.3 course. I'll be hard pressed to break 3 hours given that. Heck I may have trouble breaking six hours overall!

The run course has 690 feet of vertical--which again is quite a bit for a half-marathon.

Temperatures have moderated a bit with a high temp now forecasted to be just in the mid 90s....


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ironman 70.3WC

I'm heading tomorrow night off to Henderson, NV for the Ironman70.3 World Championship. I get in around midnight so i won't have much spare time before the race starts at 6:35 am on sunday morning.

I'm treating this race as a high quality brick. It's a fresh-water, non-wetsuit swim so it'll be slow for me. The bike course has 2000+ ft of climbing (I think), with a net elevation gain of 500 feet or so (point to point course) and can be windy. I'm bringing my road bike and training wheels and will mostly be interested in my power output. The run is all up and down with I believe 6 significant hills. The forecast is for the 90s....but it'll be a dry heat as they say.

So should be a slow day. If I had to guess I'd say 37-40 minutes on the swim, 6-8 minutes of transition time (T1 and T2), 2:50 or so on the bike and probably 2 hours on the run...probably a 5:30-5:45 kind of a day--my 4:43 PR certainly won't be threatened!

I've been giving my body a bit of a break this week to try to calm down some of my niggling soft tissue issues and I frankly needed it after a pretty robust 6-week training block. I'm looking forward to going hard on Sunday and then settling back in to the routine....

I'll update you from Nevada!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just hanging on here

So a number of items to report.

My body is struggling a bit. A mild case of plantar fascitis--I think I have it under control. My Psoas muscles--especially my right-- are giving me real problems--hard to generate any speed on the run (I discovered this in my race today). Most of my right foot is black and green from an Irene bruise--painful to walk. MY knee is starting to complain again--my next cycle of injections will start in a few weeks--thank god. Sucks to get old!

I did power down this week a bit--really took three days very easy. I also skipped racing a tri on Saturday--mostly due to family issues. Still, suprisingly to me, I was able to get all three of my key workouts in:

swim:4000 yards in 62:10
bike: 100.3 miles in 5:35
and today: run 13.3 miles in 2:04

The latter was bundled around the Tim Kerr 7 mile run which I ran faster than I ever have before--though still, objectively and distressingly were my splits in the race:

1: 7:16/153 bpm
2: 7:25/168
3: 7:57/168
4: 8:10/167
5: 8:04/170
6: 8:24/172
7: 8;17/175
7.1; 0:44/178

So a number of obvious conclusions;

-poor tactical management given my fitness--this was in part by design--I ran 3 miles before the race and decided to hammer for a while just to see where I was at

-I did manage to average 7:56/mile according to my GPS--the course was 520 feet long. I was 7 seconds faster than last year and so I won't be that hard on myself.

-still, my run sucks. 4 years ago I had no problem averaging 6:50/mile for 10 miles...gonna be an issue in these long course races in my immediate future

Still, I've managed to get 13 of my targeted 15 IM workouts in so far: 5 bike/4swim/4 run.\

The totals for the week were:

swim: 8000 yards
bike: 228 miles
run: 32 miles
time: 20:16

IM70.3 WC next week--need to respect it!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The week that wasn't

So decided it was best to back off a bit this week. i did stick a 102 mile ride on Monday but my body was protesting on multiple fronts. The most worying and novel was a definite case of incipient Plantar Fascitis....I've been aggressively treating it since Tuesday and also allowing my body to generally recover from and absorb all of my training over the month of August.

On another front, i was finally able to get major progress completed on the revisioning of my race bike. I've completed the replacement of my drive train (upgrade to Campy Super 11), my power meter (SRM wireless with a Garmin Edge 800), new FSA/SRAM cranks/chain rings, and I've converted over to clinchers on my racing rig (Zipp Firecrest 800/Disc). I've taking it out for a couple of test rides, but I still have work to do to get it dialed in.

Lots of folks visiting us at the beach given the prior weekend wipeout due to Irene.

So, I've decided to not race my C race at Marlton tomorrow...I feel a bit cheated by this as I was ready to take down a few folks in my AG but racing there and being gone for 10 hours tomorrow just doesn't work.

I have the Ironman World championship 70.3 to head off to next weekend and I need to make sure my body can handle a half-Ironman...even if it's just a prep for my real deal in Arizona in November....

I think this is the mature and seasoned vet decision to take but I sure don't feel that good about it....