Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IMAZ Slideshow

Here is the You Tube version--crank it up to HD and full screen if you got the chops to do so!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

IMAZ 2011 Race Report

2011 Ironman Arizona
November 20th, 2011


Location: Tempe, AZ
Distance: 2.4-mile swim/112-mile bike/26.2-mile run
2011 Triathlon Race Number: 14
Career Triathlon Race Number: 114
Conditions: Partly to mostly sunny. Mid 50s to low 70s. Wind up to 20 mph and a 61-degree water temperature.

This was my only “A” race for 2011--the race that I had focused my entire season around. I was racing with the XC group and hopeful of snagging the M50-54 XCAG Kona slot. I also wanted to race “fast” and reverse a trend of steadily increasing IM finishing times. I thought it might even prove possible to better my PR of 11:19. But my primary objective was to race intelligently and achieve an “as close to my potential fitness as I could”.

At a higher, more spiritual level, I had dedicated my 2011 triathlon season to the memory and honor of my father. My father passed away between Christmas and New Years last year after a heroic 10-year battle with four different types of cancer. One of the great things about my father was his constant support of my various sporting endeavors from Little League, to in my latter days, my triathlons. He, in particular, loved my IM races and came to every one his health permitted. Post race, he loved to pose with my medal around his neck and strike a “finisher’s pose”. As I look back on these pictures, I can see in his eyes that he was right there crossing the finish line with me. So it seemed right to dedicate my 2011 season, and especially, IMAZ, to his memory. I had extra incentive to achieve my goals because principally I was doing so to honor his memory—this added no pressure but in fact, energized me.

My training in 2011 was focused around this race. I waited until August 1st to start my final 16-week IM build/taper. I raced 13 races in 2011 prior to this race, winning 5 of them and finishing in 2nd in another 6 (AG). More importantly, my final pre-IMAZ race was a bit of a breakthrough for me. I raced the half-IM like (1.2/66/10) Skipjack Triathlon in September and finished 2nd OA—nearly missing an outright victory. I felt fit, mostly healthy, and very motivated to give IMAZ everything I had.

I flew out with Delaware friends Dave Spartin (Spartycus) and Mac Weymouth on the Thursday before the race. Judy flew out and joined us late on Friday evening. I did all of the normal pre-race activities with relatively little drama. I did have to replace my front brake caliper but besides that all of the pre-race preparation went very smoothly.

Race Morning

I awoke at 3:30 on race morning for a couple of PB&Js, a banana, and a Venti-Starbucks. Everything went smoothly and Spartycus, Judy and I were on site with everything ready to go shortly after 6 a.m.

The weather forecast for 11/20, in the weeks leading up to the race, was all over the place. However, race morning dawned clear and cool with only a modest wind. The water in Tempe Town Lake was announced as 61 degrees, which struck me as just fine.

2562 triathletes would start the race and there were 169 in the M50-54 YO AG. There were five in my XC group that were competing for the one Kona slot. My XC competitors were Bonjour (from France), Pasqual (from Italy), my buddy Spartacus (who was principally focused on trying to claim the Kona PR challenge slot) and Wight. I had raced and defeated all but Bonjour before and on paper I was probably a modest favorite to win the XC Kona slot. I had not raced Bonjour before but I felt he was a competitor to keep a close eye on. I had raced Pasquali at IMFL in 2007 where I had beat him by just 52 seconds on a day where we both set our Ironman PRs. Pasquali had completed 26 prior IMs and could very well prove to be a challenging competitor for me.

The Swim

The Tempe Town Lake venue is not the best place for an IM swim—and it certainly was the least appealing swim site in this, my 9th IM. The “lake” is a narrow run-off collection basin—quite shallow and very murky. The IMAZ swim course itself is a straight forward one-loop swim with a bit of a right hand dogleg on the way out and featured 3 left-hand turns (a counter-clockwise course).

I waffled a bit on which side of the course to start on but ultimately opted for the far left—on the buoy line. I made this choice in the belief that the swim would be less chaotic there. I knew that I was not swimming on my preferred side of the course (being a left-hand breather) and that I was swimming a longer course due to the dogleg.

I entered the race in good swim shape with the exception of a very sore left elbow—something that will need attending to in the off-season. I had routinely swum 68-71 minutes in my IM TTs leading up to the race. My swim PR was 66 minutes and while I didn’t expect to go quite that fast, I thought that I could swim comfortably and exit the water somewhere around 70 minutes or so. I expected (or at least hoped) that this swim time would yield me a 5-10 minute lead over my two main XC competitors, Bonjour and Pasquali.

Spartycus and I took our time swimming out to the swim start and arrived there around 6:55. We were inside of the left buoy line and very near the front and near a bunch of Kayakers. There were a good 50-75 other triathletes there as well. One Kayaker kept telling everyone to move inside the buoy line but we all just ignored him.

I had contemplated a “zero-to-hero” start for the first 300-500 yards but decided to just swim in a controlled fashion—believing that my course choice would protect me from most of the physicality of the IMAZ start. My swim objective was to achieve a “no drama” swim. Relative to getting to Kona, I felt that I couldn’t secure my slot on the swim, but I was worried that a hard kick to my jaw might deny me my slot….

At the gun, I was immediately pummeled by those around me. Being a pretty big guy (for a triathlete) I went into a vigorous “fend-them-off” mode. (I was very successful in doing so—I never really got in trouble on this swim.) However, no matter what I did, it was constant, hand-to-hand conflict over the first 1000 yards or so. A good 15-20 minutes of fairly constant contact.

Tactically, I knew what was going on. I realized that I had made a mistake in my starting position choice as I was in a constant scrum AND I was swimming a longer course. Still, I felt very good and I began to tactically accelerate here and there to diminish the punishment.

As I approached the Rural Road bridge things began to settle down. I went under the bridge and then swam a longer than expected swim out to the first turn buoy. I was, of course, concerned about a cluster there but I made the turn with ease. Same with the 2nd turn buoy and as I made that turn, I glanced at my watch and saw 35:06. Sweet! I knew I would tire over the last half but it was hard for me to imagine that I would face as much physical contact over the 2nd half of the swim. Also, I felt that I had swum a long course on the way out and I was optimistic I could swim a more direct course on the way back. At this point, I was expecting to hit 69-72 minutes for my swim, which was right in line with what I thought I could do.

Shortly after the turn I found some very friendly feet and just started drafting. The fellow I was drafting seemed to be heading on what I thought was the optimal line—heading to the far right of the buoy line to hit the Apex of the right-side shore. I was very happy with the draft and swam the whole way back on this guy’s feet—zero drama. I was swimming very easy and reveling in my “no-drama” experience.

Finally, we swam up under the Mill Street Bridge and soon enough I was pulling myself up on the swim exit stairs like a leopard seal (not a pretty sight). Upon regaining an upright stance, I looked down at my watch and saw a 78:20 swim split recorded there. I was dumbfounded and I actually think I stopped to look at my watch for a moment or two. Didn’t it really say 68 minutes? No. How could this be? There is no way I swam this slow! But I did! Here is a statistical analysis of my swim:

--XC50-54AG Standings

1. Christofferson ---------
2. Spartin + 01:12
3. Bonjour + 01:45
4. Pasquali + 06:23
5. Wight + 09:51

--I was 1067th out of 2562 OA on the swim…just 58.4 %-tile.

--I was 54th out of 169 in my 50-54 AG…just 68.4 %-tile.

--This was my 5th (out of 9) best IM swim time. Here are my historical IM swims:

1. IMFL 2007 66:16
2. IMAUS 2008 73:48
3. IMCAN 2008 76:22
4. IMFL 2004 77:26
5. IMAZ 2011 78:20
6. IMWI 2006 79:50
7. Kona 2010 80:21
8. IMGER 2010 85:04
8. IMWA 2005 85:47

As I headed towards T1 I was a little stunned. I certainly expected to do better than this!

Transition One

I heard people yelling my name and I snapped back into reality (or whatever it is that I get to see of it (reality) on this planet). OK. Bad swim dude. Deal with it! Let it go and stay focused on the here and now. Don’t judge yourself. I tried to take the arms of my wetsuit off and uncharacteristically, they seemed to get stuck on the “arm-coolers” I had underneath. I’ve never tried to take a wetsuit off when I had arm-coolers on underneath—oops! Wow—amateur show so far!

I saw Judy and tried to wave to here but I’m sure this was ineffective given the bind that my arms were in. A Stripper took pity on me and helped me disengage from my wetsuit and I was on my way running the long way around to the changing tent. Most people were walking here and I must have passed close to 50 people in the run over to the tent.

Competitively, despite my slow swim, I thought there was still a good chance that I was first out in the XC group. I knew if I really pushed it I could score some valuable time in T1—my hope was to have a 5-10 minute lead exiting T1. The rest of my T1 I felt I did very well and I could tell I was having a solid T1. I actually did most of my T1 stuff just sitting outside of the changing tent on the grass. I decided to not even bother trying to find a spot in the tent given my middle of the pack swim. This proved to be sound thinking as I subsequently ran through a packed tent and out towards the bike racks. I couldn’t see where to put my T1 bag and ran around a bit in a confused way. Finally, I was able to find a volunteer who took my bag from me. Whew!

I raced down the middle of the racks—still passing people right and left and found my bike in the 2nd row from the bike exit. I looked and saw Bonjour and Pasquali’s bikes and I knew I was at least leading the XC group at this point in the race. I heard Judy yelling encouragement and I ran pass the mount line and jumped on my BMC ready and eager to put some distance on my pursuers.

Is it turned out, I had an excellent T1. My total elapsed time in T1 was 5:16 officially (5:51 on my watch). I was 4th in my AG (98.2 %-tile) and 277th OA (89.2 %-tile). On a net basis, I passed 250 people in T1—moving up to 817th OA and up to 32nd in the M50-54 AG. More importantly, I was able to put significant time into all of my XC competitors, especially versus Bonjour and Pasquali. Here is where the XC race stood after T1:

1. Christofferson ---------
2. Spartin + 2:17
3. Bonjour + 5:58
4. Pasquali + 8:53
5. Wight + 15:57

The Bike

I jumped on my bike just past the “mount” line and carefully weaved my way up the narrow chute in Tempe Town Lake Park. I hit the roadway proper with no mishaps. I noticed that my Edge 800 had not started so I started the timer—probably 45-60 seconds into my bike. I settled into my aero bars for the long ride ahead.

As we headed away from transition there was a lot of bike traffic (naturally, given how tightly the field is packed exiting the swim). I was very intent on safely passing the folks who outswam me but were weaker riders. This quickly became relatively routine and I began to devote some mental capacity to reflect on my tactical situation. I knew I was leading the XC group. I also knew my swim was slower than I expected but with a 5 minute transition, I was likely to have gained some time in T1. I had hoped to be 5-10 minutes ahead coming out of T1 and I thought that there was still a good chance that I wasn’t that far off of that goal.

The first five miles of the bike were spent weaving through the outer parts of Tempe and entailed a mostly flat, although somewhat bumpy road. Stat-wise, my first five miles looked like this:

Miles 0-5
Average Speed: 21.3mph/Max Speed: 27.1mph
Average HR: 152bpm/Max HR: 157bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 174 watts

After about 2 miles my HR began to steadily decline as my body recovered from the stress of transition. I saw the 174 watts average on my Edge 800 and decided to start picking up my effort. Back in 2007, I averaged 211 watts at IMFL. Recently, at Skipjack (September 2011), I averaged 225 watts over a 66-mile bike course and ran very well off the bike. Still, my plan was to try to ride this bike relatively conservatively. I envisioned keeping my power below 200 watts and sought an average between 190 and 200 watts for the whole ride. I though this would yield me somewhere around a 5:20 bike split and should allow me to open up a significant gap on my XC rivals. Of-course, I was prepared to modify this plan based on how my body felt and what my competitors were doing.

Miles 6-15 were mostly on the Beeline highway and featured a modest, gradual climb—about 165 feet of altitude gain. The wind was out of the east and into our face as we climbed. I settled in and began to hydrate (Cytomax to start) and eat my nutrition (shot blocks/gel) and Enduralytes (3 per hour). Surprisingly, I had to pee at mile 12—this was early, but I thought it was a good sign—I was clearly doing a good job at hydrating—something that I typically had troubles with in prior Ironman races. Here is the data from these ten miles:

Miles 6-10
Average Speed: 20.2mph/Max Speed: 23.5mph
Average HR: 146bpm/Max HR: 150 bpm
Average Cadence: 78 rpm
Average Power: 184 watts

Miles 11-15
Average Speed: 19.3mph/Max Speed: 24.1mph
Average HR: 142bpm/Max HR: 147bpm
Average Cadence: 78 rpm
Average Power: 184 watts

Miles 16-20 were mostly comprised of a steeper climb (216 feet over the 3.7 miles prior to the turnaround). Then the road leveled out and I made the turnaround and began to head back to town. I knew my average power was below my target but I felt very good, was passing a lot of people, and was comfortable being a little conservative on this first lap.

Miles 16-20
Average Speed: 17.7mph/Max Speed: 33.6mph
Average HR: 144bpm/Max HR: 149bpm
Average Cadence: 79 rpm
Average Power: 188 watts

Shortly after 20 miles, after downing some Ironman Perform, all of a sudden out of the blue I threw up! Almost no warning. Stomach felt fine both before and after. Weird. I can only attribute this to that god awful tasting Perform. I switched over to water for most of the rest of the ride.

The next ten miles were of-course downhill and with a tailwind so I was able to ride quickly and with a continuing conservative power output. I peed two more times during this section. I interpreted this as positive news—I was clearly on top of my hydration task!

Miles 21-25
Average Speed: 27.8mph/Max Speed: 31.9mph
Average HR: 142bpm/Max HR: 147bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 174 watts

Miles 26-30
Average Speed: 22.7mph/Max Speed: 25.2mph
Average HR: 143bpm/Max HR: 147bpm
Average Cadence: 78 rpm
Average Power: 186 watts

As I headed back towards the race village and the end of the first lap, it became increasingly clear to me that I was having a pretty solid bike ride. My HR and power were very low but my speed was right where I felt it probably needed to be (competitively). I was passing a lot of people and felt very good. In fact, I officially split a 1:45:15 over the first 37.4 miles or an average of 21.32mph. I was on a sub 5:16 IM bike pace.

Miles 31-35
Average Speed: 23.0mph/Max Speed: 26.2mph
Average HR: 146bpm/Max HR: 149bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 198 watts

Miles 36-40
Average Speed: 22.1mph/Max Speed: 27.4mph
Average HR: 147bpm/Max HR: 152bpm
Average Cadence: 82 rpm
Average Power: 194 watts

I hadn’t seen any of my XC competitors during the loop—in fact, I wasn’t even sure what Bonjour and Pasquali were wearing. As I headed out for the 2nd lap I anxiously looked to the right for Judy who let me know that after T1 I had a 6 and 9 minute lead on Bonjour and Pasquali respectively (actually: 5:58 and 8:53). I pumped my fist and nodded. This was very good news indeed—especially given how slow my swim was.

Before the race, I was talking to Troy from Ironman about the 3 principal generic race strategies for Ironman: Race For Time, Race Your Race, and Race Your Opponents. My approach to this race was to race my race unless I needed to respond to what my opponents were doing. As I headed out on the 2nd loop I saw no reason to change anything. I achieved the 5-10 minute gap I felt optimal on the swim/T1 combo. I had just finished a fast first bike lap and I did so with very conservative power. I felt it was likely that I had put 15 minutes on each of my prime XC competitors in the first lap. I especially felt good about my gap on Pasquali. In my pre-race analysis, I had determined that there was a strong correlation between his swim time and his OA time. When historically he was fast at the IM distance he had fast swim times. His swim time indicated to me that maybe he was not as fit as he has been in the past when he posted fast IM times.

The good news kept coming (or so I thought) as I noticed pretty early in the 2nd lap that it seemed like I was going faster than the first lap. I wouldn’t figure out until latter in the lap that this was a function of an increased wind speed and a close to 180 degree change of wind direction—indeed the wind was at my back as I headed out on the 2nd lap.

Miles 41-45
Average Speed: 19.5mph/Max Speed: 21.7mph
Average HR: 141bpm/Max HR: 146bpm
Average Cadence: 81 rpm
Average Power: 190 watts

Miles 46-50
Average Speed: 19.6mph/Max Speed: 22.9mph
Average HR: 138bpm/Max HR: 142bpm
Average Cadence: 79 rpm
Average Power: 186 watts

Miles 51-55
Average Speed: 17.9mph/Max Speed: 22.4mph
Average HR: 139bpm/Max HR: 146bpm
Average Cadence: 79 rpm
Average Power: 183 watts

I hit the turnaround and immediately noticed that the wind was gusting pretty hard up the hill and now directly into my face. Oh Oh! I knew then that my second lap was likely to be a fair bit slower than my first. Also, I continued to pee every 8-10 miles or so. It never registered with me that this might be an issue, but I was now very aware that I was peeing way more than I normally do. Notice how much slower these next segments (after the turnaround and heading back to the IM Village) were compared to the same place in the course in the first lap:

Miles 56-60
Average Speed: 22.2mph/Max Speed: 28.0mph
Average HR: 141bpm/Max HR: 149bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 181 watts

Miles 61-65
Average Speed: 20.7mph/Max Speed: 24.2mph
Average HR: 137bpm/Max HR: 140bpm
Average Cadence: 82 rpm
Average Power: 179 watts

Miles 66-70
Average Speed: 20.2mph/Max Speed: 23.2mph
Average HR: 138bpm/Max HR: 143bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 181 watts

Miles 71-75
Average Speed: 20.8mph/Max Speed: 24.1mph
Average HR: 139bpm/Max HR: 145bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 181 watts

I completed my second lap (which was a little shorter at 37.2 miles) in 1:50:51 (20.14 mph)—over 5 minutes slower than the first lap! I also began to feel a bit fatigued and I noticed that my power numbers were still on the low side. In the first lap I felt conservative. In the 2nd lap I began to get concerned. I was looking for a +21/+24 gap after the first bike lap on Bonjour/Pasquali respectively. When I saw Judy, she informed me that I was +16/+25 ahead after the first bike lap. I had indeed put 16 minutes on Pasquali but only 10 on Bonjour in the first bike lap. While I looked solid compared to Pasquali (I mentally projected a 50 minute or so lead on him after T2), I was both surprised and concerned that Bonjour had stayed comparatively close—especially given my fast first bike lap.

I acknowledged Judy but gave no fist pump. Given my second lap was 5 minutes slower, I considered the possibility that Bonjour could be only 21 minutes behind me after 2/3rds of the bike. Given my run weakness, this was disconcerting. I contemplated going harder on the bike during the third lap to create more of a gap but decided against it. I thought (correctly) that the conditions were slower and that maybe Bonjour would also slow down on the second lap. I also felt good about my run fitness and told myself that if I needed to, I could always try to hold Bonjour off with a (relatively) strong run.

Miles 76-80
Average Speed: 21.2mph/Max Speed: 26.6mph
Average HR: 138bpm/Max HR: 143bpm
Average Cadence: 81 rpm
Average Power: 178 watts

Miles 81-85
Average Speed: 22.0mph/Max Speed: 25.8mph
Average HR: 138bpm/Max HR: 141bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 175 watts

Miles 86-90
Average Speed: 20.9mph/Max Speed: 25.4mph
Average HR: 137bpm/Max HR: 142bpm
Average Cadence: 78 rpm
Average Power: 178 watts

Just before the turnaround, I saw a bunch of the XC guys from the younger AGs and decided to catch them. I hit the turnaround for the last time and was blasted yet again by the now westerly wind. I decided to push a bit more on the way back and hope that I had good run legs coming out of T2. I still felt pretty good although definitely ready to get off the bike. I continued to pee frequently and I noticed a slight “crampiness” coming on—although I did not put the two together…

Miles 91-95
Average Speed: 19.4mph/Max Speed: 28.2mph
Average HR: 138bpm/Max HR: 143bpm
Average Cadence: 80 rpm
Average Power: 179 watts

Right around 95 miles I lost my wireless connection and so have no more HR, power or cadence to report. I kept pushing down the stretch and passed several of the XC guys. I caught Mark Moses right around the same point I caught him at Kona—about 100 miles or so. I told him that we were going to have to stop meeting like this. We both had a good chuckle about that.

Miles 96-100
Average Speed: 20.1mph/Max Speed: 24.8mph

Miles 101-105
Average Speed: 19.3mph/Max Speed: 22.1mph

Miles 106-110
Average Speed: 19.5mph/Max Speed: 22.8mph

Last Segment
Average Speed: 19.8mph/Max Speed: 22.4mph

I completed the third lap (officially) 16 seconds faster than the 2nd even though it was 0.2 miles longer with the leg into transition. This meant that I averaged 20.29 mph over the final 37.4 miles.

According to my watch, I completed the bike in 5:26:12 and my official time was 5:26:41. My average speed was 20.57 mph. My average power was 183 watts and my average cadence was 80rpm. My HR averaged 141bpm. These are respectable numbers for me. I expected to be about 10 watts higher and probably could have handled an average HR closer to 145 but this is the effort that seemed right physically on this day and as we will see—it was the correct level of effort for me to take from a competitive standpoint.

As I rode in I was looking all around for Judy to get the key data point on my gap relative to the XC competitors after the 2nd bike lap but I didn’t see her. I suspected I would see her when I emerged from T2.

Overall on the bike, I had the 418th fastest bike split (83.7 %-tile). This moved me up 330 places to 487th OA. In the M50-54AG I had the 23rd fastest bike (90.5 %-tile), which moved me up 13 places to 19th. Although I didn’t know it at this time, from an XC perspective, I had a very effective bike—effectively knocking out all but Bonjour and opening a very large gap on him as well:

1. Christofferson ---------
2. Bonjour + 45:43
3. Pasquali + 70:05
4. Spartin + 82:05

This also turned out to be the 3rd fastest of my 9 IM bike splits. Here, for reference are my nine IM bike splits:

1. IMFL 2007 5:06:19
2. IMFL 2004 5:10:16
3. IMAZ 2011 5:26:41
4. IMWA 2005 5:29:24
5. IMCAN 2008 5:43:29
6. IMAUS 2008 5:59:19
7. IMWI 2006 6:00:41
8. IMGER 2010 6:07:59
9. KONA 2010 6:20:20

Transition Two

I handed off my bike to a friendly volunteer and stiffly ran into T2 and grabbed my gear bag. It occurred to me that I felt pretty good all things considered. I was intent on moving as quickly as I could through T2. This time I ran into the changing tent to take advantage of the chairs there. I executed a smooth and quick transition and was soon on my way.

I decided to make a detour into the porta-potty for my umpteenth pee since I had left T1 and ended up taking care of business for a good 30-45 seconds. I remember being amazed at how much I had peed during the bike—I guessed that at least I was well hydrated. I exited T2 in 3:44 according to my watch and 3:37 officially.

Competitively, this was a solid transition although due to my little detour not quite as strong as my T1. Overall, I had the 592nd (76.9 %-tile) fastest T2 moving up 9 places to 478th. I had the 23rd (87.0 %-tile) fastest in the M50-54AG, which kept me in 19th place. I continued to open up time on my XC pursuers as well:

1. Christofferson ---------
2. Bonjour + 46:56
3. Pasquali + 74:13

The Run

I exited the run and immediately saw Rob Holmes from Delaware. I slapped five and tossed him a tire tube that I had stuck in my tri top and had forgot to take out during T2. About 100 yards up the road; I saw Judy and she told me that after the second bike lap I was 30 and 45 minutes ahead of Bonjour and Pasquali respectively. I nodded and she asked me if I understood what she was saying (I guess I looked a little dazed at this point). I said yes I did and that it looked like they were fading on the bike. I had put 14 minutes into Bonjour and 17 into Pasquali so I knew I was getting relatively stronger as the bike wore on.

Mentally, I guessed this meant that I would have 45 minutes or so on Bonjour and over an hour on Pasquali at the start of the run. Given Pasquali’s run history I knew that barring a disaster, it was now just a two man race—and I had a very sizeable advantage. I wasn’t counting my chickens yet but I felt very good about my apparent gap on Bonjour—I thought that it could very well be good enough to get the job done.

I saw Troy and team underneath the railroad bridge and gave them the thumbs-up. Shortly thereafter, the good times came jarringly to an end when my left hamstring cramped up. I felt the bulge of my hamstring sticking out of the back of my left leg and stopped and tried to keep my leg from going into full spasm. Oh Oh! This was not good news at all. Apparently, I had over-hydrated on the bike and this caused the electrolyte concentration in my blood to fall below optimal levels. I don’t think I was hyponatremic, as I didn’t have any of the typical symptoms—in fact, besides the incipient cramping, I felt great.

I knew I needed to get some Enduralytes into me as quickly as possible but it would have to wait until I hit the first aid station as I didn’t want to ask for any outside assistance. I had 18 Enduralytes in my tri top, which I was concerned might not be enough. I thought about my friend John O’Brien who similarly had about a 50-minute lead exiting T2 and ended up DNF-ing and losing his Kona slot because he went too hard on the run. I decided that while I felt like I could easily handle a 9-minute pace, I needed to be conservative to keep my legs from locking up.

I hit Mile 1 in 9:36 and then stopped and stretched a bit. Mile 2 went by in 11:05 (I think this second mile was long). Here I was able to get some fluid and ate 6 of my Enduralytes—twice what I had planned for the first hour of the run. Strangely, I felt better immediately and began to run quite well. I hit the timing mat at 2.5 miles at 24:30 (9:48/mile average) and crossed Mile 3 with an 8:34 split (I think this mile was a little short).

As I crossed the bridge back towards transition I could feel my legs reacting positively to the Enduralytes. Still, I decided that I needed to still run very conservatively and if need be, bleed away my lead on Bonjour for a while. Effectively, I had switched from racing my race to racing my competition. I thought if I ran a 5:00-5:05 marathon, which would put me just under 12 hours, that I would be able to hold off Bonjour—even if he had a career best IM run. In the back of my mind, I knew a 4:08 would put me under 11 hours and that a 4:27 would yield me a new PR, and that I felt like I was quite capable of running that fast, but I was very mindful of what happened to John and I decided I just didn’t want to risk it.

As I wound my way back down along-side transition, I saw Judy and explained to her as best as I could what was going on and that it was critical for me to understand if and how quickly Bonjour was gaining on me. I wanted to run conservatively as long as I could. Judy told me that neither Bonjour nor Pasquali had jumped off the bike yet and that my lead was a good one and she told me that I could do it.

At the next aid station I decided to eat 3 more Enduralytes and tried to drink some Perform (yuck) along with Coke. I wasn’t able to drink any appreciable amounts of Perform for the rest of the race—even the smell of it made my stomach turn. I felt stable and decided to try to run around a 10-minute mile pace, which felt very easy. Here are some of my next splits:

Mile 4: 9:30
Mile 5: 9:37
Mile 6: 10:20
Mile 7: 10:32
Mile 8: 10:06

Towards the end of my 9th mile, I finished my first of 3 laps and saw Judy under the Mill Street Bridge again. She confirmed that I was 47 minutes ahead of Bonjour and 74 up on Pasquali after T2. She also said that Bonjour had run the same time as I for the first 2.5 miles (he was in fact 10 seconds faster). She told me that Anders said to run 12 or 13 minute miles and I would be fine. I told her that I felt better but I was going to slow down a bit to make sure I kept my cramping under control.

I waved to Rob and then Troy and gang again. I ate 3 more Enduralytes (only 6 left, which was a concern but I reasoned if things got bad enough I could always walk for a while). Indeed, I decided to begin mixing in walking to protect my hamstrings—I’d run 6 light posts and then walk 1 or 2. I passed Spartycus when he was at about 1.5 miles of his run. I shouted encouragement to him. He said he was baked and I mentally calculated that he was heading for a 14+ hour IM.

Mile 9: 10:25
Mile 10: 10:15
Mile 11: 10:36

I hit the mid-lap timing mat for an elapsed time of 88:15 for the lap (9:48/mile average if you believe the 9 miles posted on the Ironman website. I think it was actually 8.7 miles so this would have been closer to 10:09/mile on average).

I crossed the bridge again and talked to Judy right around 13 miles or so. She had no new data and I told her I was feeling crampy again and running low on Enduralytes, but I seemed to be managing pretty well by staying conservative. I decided to slow down a bit more by mixing in more walking. I tried to take 3 more Enduralytes but couldn’t get them down—no matter how hard I tried. Oh boy, my stomach seemed to be a bit upset…Hmmmm.

Mile 12: 11:19
Mile 13: 12:05
Mile 14: 12:59
Mile 15: 12:58
Mile 16: 12:51
Mile 17: 12:07

I came back to the transition area and Judy told me that I had gained 7 minutes on Bonjour between mile 2.5 and 11.5! I was now 54 minutes ahead at 11.5 miles. I ran the math and knew that I could afford to go three and half minutes per mile slower than Bonjour and still be ok. I also knew, that he was going to have to go well under 10 minutes per mile, maybe even 9 if he wanted to catch me.

As I headed out on my 18th mile I took stock of my situation. I was having trouble getting anything but coke down. My legs felt crampy when I tried to run at around 10 minutes per mile for any extended length of time. However, I found I could intersperse walking here and there when it felt like they were about to cramp and it seemed to keep it under control. I also had to be careful on turns and stepping up and down curbs/bumps to avoid setting off cramping. I felt very on top of my race tactically. I ran two more conservative miles:

Mile 18: 12:30
Mile 19: 13:27

At one of the aid stations they broke out Chicken Broth and I was able to gulp down 10-15 ounces. This seemed to revive me. I would have it several more times during the remaining miles—it always seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. As I headed back across the Mill Street Bridge for the 3rd and final time I began to feel I could run a little harder and longer. I saw Judy and told her that: “I have my MOJO back, I’m breaking 12 hours, and we’re going to Kona”. She laughed and looked relieved—I think in part because I was feeling better and also because she no longer had to stay on top of my relative competitive situation.

Mile 20: 11:22
Mile 21: 11:59
Mile 22: 11:47

As I made the long climb out in the Park, I decided to walk up the hill and had a very pleasant conversation with a young lady just talking about triathlons in general and Ironman in particular. At the top of the hill, which coincided with Mile 23, I started running again:

Mile 23: 13:30
Mile 24: 12:03

As I crossed the lake for the sixth and final time I caught up to Pasquali who was now a lap behind me. I stopped and we walked arm-and-arm together for a couple of minutes talking about how hard IM are on us old guys. He congratulated me on my race (as I did he) and I was on my way heading to the finish line.

Mile 25: 12:36

I picked it up down the stretch and thought about my father (I had thought about him frequently throughout the race). I told him thanks for everything and that we had done it--together! I recorded a 10:58 for the 26th mile and I cruised around the transition area, pointed skyward and hit the finish line just as the clock hit 11:52:00. Officially, my total race time was 11:52:01 and my marathon time was 4:58:07. This is my 4th fastest IM marathon time:

1. IMWI 2006 4:30:00
2. IMFL 2004 4:51:56
3. IMFL 2007 4:58:03
4. IMAZ 2011 4:58:07
5. IMAUS 2008 5:04:14
6. IMGER 2010 5:44:34
7. IMCAN 2008 5:49:03
8. KONA 2010 5:52:24
9. IMWA 2005 6:34:17

This turned out to be my 3rd fastest IM and the fastest that I have run that wasn’t at IMFL:

1. IMFL 2007 11:19:22
2. IMFL 2004 11:31:29
3. IMAZ 2011 11:52:01
4. IMWI 2006 12:05:07
5. IMAUS 2008 12:28:55
6. IMCAN 2008 12:56:40
7. IMGER 2010 13:33:35
8. IMWA 2005 13:40:31
9. KONA 2010 13:49:17

For the run as a whole, I averaged 11:22/mile. This was 1210th (52.8 %-tile) OA and dropped me back 267 places to 745th (71.0 %-tile). I was 67th (60.4 %-tile) in the M50-54 AG and dropped 17 places to 36th (82.2 %-tile).

As for the most important competitive stat, I actually ended up posting the fastest run split in my XC group beating Bonjour by 1:55 on the marathon. I ended up posting the fastest splits in my XC group for all of the SBR legs and both transitions. My final margin of victory was 48:51.

Post Race

Judy was there to hug me at the finish line and put my medal around my neck. She helped me gather my things and walk the 3 blocks back to our hotel. I showered and had about 2 ounces of beer. We rested for a bit and then headed back over to the finish line where I was able to eat some mash potatoes—yummy! We waited for Sparty to cross the finish line which he did a few minutes before 15 hours, improving his PR by enough to claim the XC PR Kona slot. Nice—two Kona slots for little ol’ Delaware.

My final thoughts about the race:

1. I set out in the beginning of this year to dedicate my season to the memory of my father and in particular to race this race well and in his honor. It is very satisfying to nail this goal!
2. Back to Kona! I’m thrilled. Kona 2010 was the best experience of my triathlon career. I’m looking forward to going back and really trying to race it this time and see how much faster I can go on that course.
3. I think my training strategy for 2011 worked very well. Delaying my intensive IM build helped me peak at the end of the year and maintain my motivation and enthusiasm for training throughout the whole year. While, I didn’t get my PR at IMAZ, my Skipjack race late in the year certainly showed I was very fit—fit enough to have the potential of doing so at least.
4. I think I raced a smart race at IMAZ. I was conservative on the bike and when I had cramping on the run I was able to race tactically and seal the deal.
5. I obviously still have work to do on getting my hydration nailed. My last few IMs have been in very hot conditions and I always left the bike quite dehydrated. Clearly I proved in this race that there could indeed be too much of a good thing.
6. It was a big plus for me, both mentally/spiritually and tactically to have Judy there, with Anders backing her up. It was a real lift to see Judy as many times as I did during the race.
7. I made real progress on my run this year—even if I didn’t get a chanced to show it at IMAZ—and I’m eager to see what 2012 will bring in that discipline.
8. Hats off to Ironman and the XC guys in particular for yet another fantastic and well-run race.
9. Looking forward to a little R&R now before I turn my attention to 2012.

Finish Line Pic

I'm working on my race report and should have it up later today or tomorrow. Here is a pic of me crossing the finish line--feeling very satisfied!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

IMAZ+ 72 hours

Back home and it feels good to not have an Ironman Agenda at the moment. Spending my time on very pleasant household tasks, picking up kids at the airport, etc. Some work as well. all good.

I'm surprised by my fatigue at various points in the day. I can't be sure of course, but I think the impact of an IM is considerably greater at 54 years of age then it was when I was 47--yes I know no big insight there. anyways, I'm addressing the problem by napping and sitting a lot. Despite the fatigue, I feel remarkably good--not let's hammer good, but I have no problem physically acting as a normal citizen.

I spun easy on my trainer for an hour today. Felt good to flush the muscles out but I could certainly tell that I had a distinct lack of power...

I've assembled all of the computer data on my race and will begin the couple day process of writing my race report shortly. I'm also beginning to think a bit about 2012. What a luxury it is to be in November and to know that you are doing Kona the following October--it makes everything quite simple.

Early thoughts:

--I'll structure the whole season around peaking at Kona and trying to lay down as fast a race as I can....different than 2010 when I just wanted to experience Kona and get to the finish line. that's not to say that I'll be OK with not finishing--I won't, but I will RACE Kona in 2012 and try to get the best time I can.

--Because of that, and due to the success I enjoyed this year, I'll wait until late June or the first of July to get serious about real IM training--I think somewhere between a 12 and 16 week Kona build will be right again this year.

--I've signed up for Eagleman and am considering doing Mallorca with XC--just for the experience.

--I may also do IMAZ again next year--just 6 weeks after Kona...pros and cons to that...Kona 2013?...I need to think some more about that.

--I plan on climbing a couple of mountains with Anders and a couple of other folks next year--Baldy for sure.

--I plan on doing RAMROD--the Race around Mount Rainier--a 152 mile/10,000+ vertical bike race in July with my friend Bill.

--I'd like to do Cherry Blossom again if I can get past the lottery this year after two years of failure in doing so.

--I'll fill out the rest of the schedule soon....

all good--I love being at the end of a year having accomplished my objectives and having a whole new year to consider anything as a new is good!

Monday, November 21, 2011

All Hail Spartycus

I know anyone that actually reads my blog knows that they are captive to 24/7 me triathlon news--so bear with me while I do something different.

I want to post about my friend Dave Spartin--Sparty--or I think we should all change his nickname now to Spartycus!

So I've known Spartycus for a long time. He used to work for the "evil empire" at MBNA. I worked for the "good guys" at First USA. Of course, MBNA was the greatest credit card company of all time. Part of the reason for that was Spartycus. He worked long and hard and always was the voice of reason. As a result, he did really well from a job perspective but couldn't devote the time he wanted to doing physical things.

Tht all changed a number of years ago when MBNA was sold to B of A.

Spartycus and I began to hang out and to do triathlons together. I was the "master" and he the "apprentice". (Obviously all that know me should take pity on Dave as a result). Despite my guidance, Spartycus overcame a couple decade history of sitting around and began to excel in triathlon.

Spartycus did a couple of IMs and then this weekend was one of 17 competitors in the IMXC competition at IMAZ. There he recorded the best improvement in his PR--despite phenomenal obstacles--in fact he passed out at the finish line and was a welcome guest in the medical tent afterwards.

Because of this incredible journey, he won a well deserved trip to Kona for the 35th and 2012 IM World Championship in Hawaii.

I am so proud of him and so happy for what he has achieved.

I'm looking forward to 2012 when Delaware will have at least two Kona competitors!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tired but satisfied!

11:52:01. Won the 50-54 XC Kona slot so we will return to the Big Island next October.

I'll provide more details in my race report but here are the headlines:

Swim: I'm a bit baffled by my 78 minute swim. I felt good and hit the half way point at 35:06 and then pretty much drafted the whole way back. I guess i did not swim the ideal line....

Bike: solid effort. Split 1:45 on the first lap but next two were slower when the wind changed directions and intensified. Still 5:26 was very satisfying as I opened a 40+ minute gap on my main competitor. I passed 600 people on the bike. Over hydrated on the bike which almost led to disaster on the run.

Run: cramped badly 800 yards into the run...difficult to walk. I consumed 2/3 of my salt tabs to get it under control. Difficult management of cramps with limited salt and inability to keep down the IM Perform. Ran/walked tactically as Judy and Anders were giving me great real time data on my pursuers and I basically maintained my lead with a 4:58 run.

Not pretty but got the job done. Real gut check for me at times. I'm pleased I was able to respond and work through the unexpected challenges. 3rd fastest IM of my career so not to bad from a raw time perspective and I'm thrilled to have the privilege of racing at Kona again.

Tired and sore...but content...more later.

Friday, November 18, 2011

On the ground here in Tempe

Flew out yesterday wtih Sparty and another DE triathlete, Mac Weymouth--everything is hunky-dory and good to go at this point. A couple of items:

1. Sparty and I rode the furthest most 6 miles (out and back for 12) of the course yesterday--this is the "hilliest" of part of the bike course. It strikes me as a very fast fast bike course. I had no problem holding 18 mph/200 watts going up hill on the steepest portion and was doing 25+ on the downhill at that power. The pavement is excellent on the beeline--although less so on the 5 mile part ner town. All and all--it seems like a course to post a good time.

2. Weather looks to be a lot "nicer" than originally forecasted. This is not necessarily to my advantage--while the weather will be way better than what I've had in my last 4 IMs it might be a little bit warmer than I would ideally like and the wind doesn't look to be that bad--more wind probably helps me. The water should be around 62 degrees which is really not an issue at the end of the day. Looks like no rain now.

3. Had a brake issue--my Zero-Gs really aren't build for the new 808FC wheels as the tolerance is too close. Plus the brakes are 5+ years old so they don't snap back like they used too. I felt I would be running the risk of periodic brake pad rub if I didn't deal with it so i swapped out my front caliper for a 105 caliper--while this will cause me a 200 gram penalty I felt the peace of mind was worth it.

4. Ran a few miles yesterday evening--lots of concrete but I can endure 26 miles of it....legs feel pretty good although hard to tell with "taper funk" going on.

5. Met all of my competition--nice fellows.

6. Good to go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All packed and ready to go

Well, IMAZ time is drawing nigh...I head off to Tempe early tomorrow morning with my bud, Sparty. Certainly feeling a need to get this thing done!

Physically, I'm mired in what I think is a classic taper funk. All sorts of wierd little niggles. My elbow is a disaster and will have to be dealt with in the off-season, but I should be able to get around the course on Sunday without it being a major limiter--albeit, I'm sure it will be quite sore. I went for a run yesterday in NYC--3.5 miles and felt sluggish and crappy.

I know this is fairly typical, but not confidence building none-the-less. I do take heart in what my former coach, Peter Reid said about the week before an IM--you want to and should feel like crap--that's the way you know the body has shut down to effect rest and repair--I remember in 2007 I had an awesome run early in the week before IMFL and Pete was not happy about it--and sure enough, I had a very poor run this must be good news right?

Weather looks cool, breezy and potentialy with some rain. While not necessarily conducive to a fast bike split, it is none-the-less probably a competitive plus for me--anything that makes the bike slower for everyone is generally relatively good for me--given my bike strength. The cool weather should be a real plus for me on the run. I don't think that it's a coincidence that my 3 fastest IM runs and IM overall times were during relatively cool events (IMFL04, IMWI05, IMFL07). The water is sitting at 60 degrees so I'll probably opt for my Axis wetsuit, which is a little bit slower than my Helix but considerably more comfortable in cold water.

So where am I at mentally? For an externally/objective point of view--I need to win the M50+ XC AG and secure a Kona slot. Anything less can reasonably be judged a failure on my part. I've only been to Kona once (although, my career objective was to get there just once--anything else is gravy) but I do have a real good chance this Sunday. The way XC works, as I age, I'll become increasing less competitive as the oldest AG has been 50+. I'll be 55 next year and I can tell you, those 5 years do make a real difference. On paper, I do look like the favorite. I've raced 3 of my 4 competitors before and have never lost to them. The other fellow has not posted IM/IM70.3 times close to my best. That said, my Italian competitor and I raced each other back at IMFL in 2007 where we both set PRs--we were very competitive with each other:

Swim: RC: 66:16 vs. PP: 66:48
T1: RC: 5:09 vs. PP: 5:06
Bike: RC: 5:06:14 vs. PP: 5:10:15
T2: RC: 3:33 vs. PP: 1:43
Run: RC: 4:58:03 vs. PP: 4:52:03
Total: RC: 11:19:22 vs. PP: 11:20:20

So I was just 58 seconds faster. Of course since then I have gotten progressively slower in MY IM times--but so has PP--here is a comparison of the 4 IM that we have each done since then:

RC: IMAUS08: 12:28:55 vs. PP: IMLP08: 13:58:02
RC: IMCAN08: 12:56:40 vs. PP: IMFL08: 12:47:39
RC: IMGER10: 13:33:35 vs. PP: IMAZ09: 14:06:36
RC: KONA10: 13:49:15 vs. PP: IMSWI10: 13:49:50

So I think it looks like a toss-up, with perhaps a slight edge to me....

I'd also, from an external validation perspective, like to race fast again--I'm not happy with the above trend-line and it sure would be nice to post something faster than my last 4 races....

But having said all of this, I've really come to the conslusion that qualifying for Kona and going fast at the end of the day, are NOT what is most important to me. I really am eager to get out there and race intelligently and when the pain comes latter in the day, stand up to it, surrender myself to it, not judge myself by the clock or my competitors--in fact not judge myself--but rather strive to stay in the moment--every moment--and find a new place where I master the pain and truly reach a place much closer to my true potential--whatever that is. If I can really do that--then whatever else happens I'll be OK with (although I wouldn't object to going fast and getting a KQ!).

To paraphrase Anatoli Boukreev--the great Russian Mountaineer: " The Ironman is NOT the Stadium in which I seek triumph and achievement, it is the Cathedral in which I practice my religion"

Monday, November 14, 2011

On wounded wing

Over the last couple of months I've had a modestly irritating and increasing pain in my left elbow. This pain was definitely affected by swimming volume--over 10k in a week or 3k in a session and it starts to get pretty sore. I've actully modified my stroke a bit--I usually do a "S" stroke but have, on my left side changed to pull mostly straight back--this puts less twisting torque on my elbow and seems to help a bit.

I don't think this will have any sort of significant impact on my race on Sunday--might slow me down just a little but I should get through the swim, albeit with a sore elbow. Come December though I'll need to see an elbow doc and find out what's going on and get it fixed--I'm pretty sure that it couldn't handle a full (300-400k yards) season of tri training the way it is now....

Inside of 6 days now--feeling some butterflies but will focus on finding my calm, centered place....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

One week to go--tapering away

Taper week went as planned. Here are the totals:

swim: 6500 yards
bike: 107 miles
run: 14.5 miles
time: 10:54

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


We went to the Metropolitan Opera last night at Lincoln Center to see the Phillip Glass Opera: "Satyagraha". This is an opera focused on the early years of Gandhi. The term "Satyagraha" was his name for non-violent civil disobediance....certainly a timely topic! I enjoyed the Opera, especially it's minimilistic score--it's droning, repetive scalar runs--I could imagine running to the score...very repretitive.

In any event, while the Opera was sung in Sanskrit, there were frequent visual translations into English. Several of the quotes spoke to me, especially as I think about my coming Ironman:

"Hold pleasure and pain, profit and loss, victory and defeat to be the same: then brace yourself ready for the fight."

"Whence comes this faintness on you now at this crisis hour?"

"Between theory and practice, some talk as they were two--making a separation and a difference between them. Yet wise men know that both can be gained in applying oneself wholeheartedly to one. For the high estate attained by men of contemplative theory, that same state achieve the men of action. So act as the ancient of days old, performing works was a spiritual exercise."

"Do the allotted task for which one is fit, for work is more excellent than idleness and the body's life proceeds not, lacking work."

'When he casts off attachment to his deeds, a man embarks on his work ever content, on none dependent."

"The world is not for the doubting man."

"Whoever gives up a deed because it causes pain, or because he shrinks from bodily pain, follows the way of darkness, knowing nothing of self-surrender."

OK--I know this is a little deep for a nerdy triathlon blog....but it worked for me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


So, I'm now firmly committed to my Tweak/Taper or Tweaper phase. This seems to be a much maligned phase--everyone complains how out of sorts they feel, that they are getting "fat", etc. I've certainly felt that in times past.

The way i currently do this is a bit of an evolution. I've certainly incorproated a lot of what I learned from Peter Reid in 2007--in fact, many of my workouts over the next 2 weeks are exactly the same as I did in that two week period leading up to IMFL07. However, I have changed a few things. firstly, I don't "taper" for 3 weeks--just 14 days. Secondly, I don't give up coffee--life's too short!

In fact, I really don't think of this period as really a taper--which implies diminishing one's workouts. While, my volume certainly goes down--very substantially--I think of this period is one of gaining. Gaining readiness to race. I'm looking to add, not subtract over the next two weeks. I'm not looking to add fitness--that cake is baked at this point. But I'm looking to add to my readiness to get the most that I can out of the fitness that I've built.

This readiness involves building my confidence. Building my motivation to really go deep on the 20th. Resting, so I have loads of energy. Stretching and working a bit on my core so I'm ready to assume the position for 5+ hours on the bike. Eating well and not so I gain weight with a big cut back in hours. Working on a lot of short, higher intensity stuff so from a neuromuscular perspective I'm primed to be very efficient. Visualizing--all that can go right and all that can go wrong and how I'll react. Getting my gear together. Getting my team ready to support me.

It's really tweaking upward my ability to reach my full potential. Even while I taper my hours. Tweapering!

For example. Two workouts I did today were a 6.5-mile run that included two 10 minute segments at 7:00-7:15/mile and a 45 minute computrainer session that included 5 X 90sec at 315 watts/3.5 minutes easy as well as two 5 minute spins at 115-120 rpm. Both of these are high intensity (for me) but not that long--so I feel great (powerful) and not depleted at the end.

Anyways--another week in the books:

Swim: 8200 yards
Bike: 211 miles
Run: 27 miles
Time: 19:42

Next week the plan is for right around 10 hours of training--with 1 or 2 complete rest days.....bring it on!

Two weeks to go

First extended forecast for Tempe: Hi of 72 degrees and low of 49 degrees. sunny. Lots can change between now and then but I'm down with that! Water Temp is 65 degrees this morning--which would be perfect!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

At the Shore

Getting the beach house ready for hibernation. Nice dinner last night with Joey and Kristen.

I swam yesterday in the bay. 57 degrees. There is a fine line between commitment and obsession....i may have crossed it!

Did a 4 mile run right at 9 min/mile and my HR stayed in the 130s....that is a very encouraging sign indeed!

Friday, November 4, 2011

So--why should I think its going to be different this time?

I've completed eight prior IM races. My best was a 11:19 at IMFL in 2007. However, I've never felt that I actually raced any of them up to my full potential. I'm hoping that IMAZ will be different. Is there anything besides hope I could hang my hat on? I think so. The chart below shows a graph of my monthly training hours back to 2007. The chart shows a trailing three-month average (to smooth the chart out). Also on the chart, I've indicated where my last five IM occurred (IMFL07, IMAUS08, IMCAN08, IMGER10, Kona10). Note how in each of these races my training hours peaked long before the race and were declining significantly in the last few months bfore the race. Contrast that to the current situation where I have built over time:

Next you can see my monthly swim volume--note the same story as total training hours--a stronger trend for this year. While my agregate swim volume is lower in 2011, my recent swim volume is actually higher:

The pattern repeats with respect to my bike training. Note how much more bike miles I have coming into 2011 than I did in prior years--especially leading into IMFL07:

Finally, with respect to my run. You can clearly see the impact of mid-year injury in 2011 and how I've bounced back quite nicely since. My 2011 run volumes are comprable to 2007 and better than 2008-2010:

So this is no guarantee I'll have that breakthrough IM this time. But my training entering this IM is clearly stronger than it has been in the past--at the very least, this shouldn't be a negative!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

sorta, kinda starting my taper now

Put in 4 hours today--jack of all trades. Easy spin on the trainer. Weights/Stretching. Ran a solid 6.5 miles mixed road and trail. THEN, did a IM TT swim.

Fastest swim on the build. 33:40/34:58/68:38. Very challenging. I used the fact that this was the last of my big 30 workouts to drive to the end. I really muscled it. A friend of mine watched for a while and she told me my form was pretty crappy. All turnover and not enough length. I think this is very valid criticism. the fact is I'm tired from 75+ hours over the last three weeks--very big block at the end of a big build.

But hey, I did it! 10 swims of more than 1 hour--most at IM distance. 10 bikes of 5-7 hours--most at IM distance or longer. 10 runs of 2+ hours--the last 3 17 miles or over.

The cake is baked. Time to take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit--before we eat it!

I'm heading to the shore tomorrow and intend to do an open water swim in my wetsuit--at least a half-IM distance (water is 58 degrees.....). Plus I might race a 5k this weekend so not fully into taper mode but for sure I'll be there come Monday. Defintely into tweaking now--no more fitness to build!

I hope that I've built enough!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Final long ride before the dance

On my BMC TT01 at 7:30 am this morning. Treated to a 33-degree start. Was basically an ice-cube until about 9:30....brrrrrr!

This was my 10th and final long ride of my 13 week IM build. As intended, this was shorter than the last 5-6 rides. I rode 92.6 miles in a little over 5 hours. Here is a summary of my avg. power by 5 mile segments during the ride:

1-5: 196 watts
6-10: 186
11-15: 182
16-20: 182
21-25: 181
26-30: 178
31-35: 183
36-40: 178
41-45: 187
46-50: 191
51-55: 188
56-60: 185
61-65: 170
66-70: 181
71-75: 186
76-80: 178
81-85: 178
86-90: 173
90+: 174

Average for the ride was 182.

Definitely ready for a taper!