Monday, June 30, 2014

All Good--pretty much nailed it!

I'm so very sorry to be so far behind in my is amazing right now and it's hard to keep up....

I still have two race reports (US Nationals LC and St. Andrews) to file which I just need to spend an hour or so to do--which will happen this week....

I had the kinda June that I was hoping for....The pop has returned to my legs on the bike and my run is clearly improving....I think my peroneal issues are over....

June totals were pretty much on target:

Swim: 39,000 yards

Bike: 1000 miles

Run: 108 miles

Time: 88 hours

So only issue is my run.  Great momentum and motivation right far as volume goes the next three months will average:

Swim: 40k+
Bike: 1000-1250 miles
Run: 125+ miles
Time: 100+ hours/month

Much to report on and I will do so soon....

Monday, June 23, 2014

Solid Week Last Week--I'm on it!

Had a very solid training week last week--essentially started my Kona build a couple of weeks early.  Given my current fitness, it probably is a plus to have an extra couple of weeks to build my fitness.

My swim was 9,600 yards with a long swim of 4,600 yards.

My bike was 272 miles with a long ride of 79 miles.

My run was 31.4 miles with a long run of 9 miles.

Overall, I spent 23:44 training and had two "easy" days during the week.

Feels good--especially to be on it for the run and the swim.  The plan is for more of the same--just banging out these weeks (and building upward volume wise) will yield the kind of fitness I'll need come October.

Loving it!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jersey Genesis Race Report

OK--as promised--here is the first of three i owe you--in all it's ugliness!

2014 Jersey Genesis Sprint Triathlon Race Report
May 31st, 2014


Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Distance: 0.53-mile swim/15-mile bike/4-mile run
2014 Triathlon Race Number: 5
Career Triathlon Race Number: 142
Conditions: Mild—temp around 67 degrees. Modest wind.  Water temp of about 64 degrees.

The big issue facing me in this race is how my lower left leg would hold up.  I was way behind in my run training before my peroneal longus was strained and much more so post the injury.  I was also facing two far superior triathletes in Ken Lehner and Nace Mullen so I knew I was (at best) racing for third in my AG.  There were 240 triathletes racing overall and 16 in my AG. 

Still, I was anxious to do this race as I needed to either figure out if I could just train/race going forward and rebuild my run fitness through training or if I needed to step back and seek some more serious PT so that I could pave the way towards my Kona IM on October 11th.  I was pretty apprehensive.

The Swim

I was pretty positive about my swim.  I’ve been really focusing on it over the last month or so and plan to continue to do so all the way to Kona.  I was better a couple of years ago when I really focused on it and I see no reason to not regain a bit of that glory—I really enjoy swimming—especially here at the Jersey Shore and with just 10,000-15,000 yards/week, I can get pretty good (for me).

At the start, I lined up on the far right and generally had a pretty tame swim.  I felt like I was doing a solid job but I wasn’t reaching for it, as I knew I would most likely finish third and the big issue was going to be my run.

I finished the swim in 13:09 and clocked it at 0.53-miles.  This, in my view, is pretty solid.  It works out to a 24:36/mile pace (24 min/mile is my gold standard).  I took 479 strokes so I averaged 1.95 yds/stroke (when I hit 2 yds/stroke I’m really fit).  I also averaged 36.4 spm, which is very solid.  When I’m at 2 yds/stroke and 37 spm I average 23:47/mile—which is about the best I can expect.  This is equivalent to swimming a 57-minute Ironman time…. The best I’ve ever done at that distance is 66 minutes.

So, from a competitive perspective, I was 27th OA out of 240 (89.2 %-tile).  My prior years at this site:

2002: 59.7 %-tile
2003: 58.9
2010: 89.1
2011: 82.8
2013: 74.1

So, in one sense I had my best career swim here this morning.

In my AG I was 3rd on the swim:

1.  Lehner                      --------
2.  Mullen                       + 1:47
3.  Christofferson           + 2:34
4.  Senff                        + 2:36
5.  Conger                     + 2:59

Transition One

I exited the swim feeling like I had a very solid swim.  I proceeded to do as good a job on T1 as I thought I could but was very much schooled by Ken and Nace—I had the 3rd fastest T1 in my AG and just 66th OA (72.9%-tile):

1.  Lehner                      --------
2.  Mullen                       + 1:58
3.  Christofferson           + 3:02
4.  Senff                        + 3:12

The Bike

I’ve whined quite a bit about my lack of bike training and fitness this year in prior posts so I won’t do so here (except to say its true).  I pushed as much as I could but I was really not ready to race well.  I averaged 232 watts (and my NP came in at the same).  My average cadence was 86 rpm and my avg. HR was 159 bpm.  In comparison, last year I averaged 251 watts/254 NP with an average HR of 160 (cadence of 85).  Last year I was a bit off early in the season as well (due to mountaineering) so this shows how unfit I was for this bike.

I’m second in our AG and a disheartening 26th OA on the bike (89.6 %-tile). Last year I was 7th OA on the bike—here is how this ride compares to historical rides:

2002: 94.6 %-tile
2003: 98.3
2010: 94.3
2011: 91.6
2013: 96.1
2014: 89.6


Here is where we were after the bike:

1.  Mullen                       --------
2.  Lehner                      + 0:17
3.  Christofferson           + 2:25
4.  Senff                        + 5:42

Transition Two

More of the same—3rd in my AG and 79th OA:

1.  Mullen                       --------
2.  Lehner                      + 0:09
3.  Christofferson           + 2:42
4.  Senff                        + 5:53

The Run

The run was very challenging.  I could immediately feel my peroneal strain and at one point my left leg actually gave out and I sorta collapsed to the pavement—jeez.  Still, I was able to grind it out (only four miles) and while it was embarrassingly slow, I think it might set a low point I can build from for the rest of the season…. we’ll see!

Mile 1: 9:06/157 bpm
Mile 2: 9:04/157 bpm
Mile 3: 8:50/159 bpm
Mile 4: 8:38/162 bpm
+: 7:14/164 bpm

I had one of the worst competitive runs of my triathlon career.  I was just 10th in my AG and a horrible 170th OA (29.6%-tile).

I finished 3rd in my AG and just 75th OA (69.2 %-tile).

No surprises here.  I’m not in the shape I normally in at this time of your and my lower left leg is a real problem…it is what it is.

The question is what can I do about it?  I intend to find out!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Quick Update--And a promise of better posting

Sorry about the lack of posting and race reports--although I do take solace in the realization that no one is sitting around on pins and needles for either.   But let me give you the headlines.....

- I raced for the 3rd week in a row at St. Andrews on Fathers Day.  I had an OK race but definitely felt residual fatigue from my week prior Half-Ironman.  I finished 2nd to some fellow from out of town--he smoked me.  I was about 3 minutes off of the race I should have had--losing about a minute or so on the bike and 2 minutes on the run but even if I had been in tip-top shape I still would have finished 2nd on this Sunday race....

- I have 3 race reports to file, which will happen over the next week or so.  I have all the data and my notes but have been living a very full life and have yet to get to them (in all honesty I'm a bit of a World Cup Junkie....)

- My next scheduled race is 8/3--the NYC Olympic--(although I may add a race or two prior) so I'm very excited to say the name of the game is training.  Yeah!   I'm very hopeful that over the next month I'll become (once again) the triathlete that I've grown accustomed to being.

- My swim is very solid.  It's right about where I was at this point last year.  I averaged 1:27/100 at St. Andrews.  Today we swam about 2.6 miles and I hammered it pretty good for several segments of the swim.  I think I can take my swim to a higher level and definitely envision the next three months to come in around 40,000-50,000 yards...

- My bike is starting to come around.  I was at 241 watts at St. Andrews, up from 230 at Jersey Genesis 2 weeks before but still short of the 257 I did at St. andrews last year.  I'm about 6% away from being bike fit.  I did a 79-miler in 100 degree heat yesterday and am looking at a 250-300 mile week--my bike fitness will surely come and I expect to be at full strength by the end of July.

-  My run, in a word sucks.  Part of this is lack of training.  Part is a function of my left leg injury but things are looking up.  I ran 7 solid miles this morning with no problems.  I don't know where I'll get to run-wise but I'll just try to do the best that I can and that will be that....

-  One last note--Anders is looking at locking in on a Vinsom Massif expedition....that will be truly big news if we add this to the calendar....

More to follow very shortly!

Monday, June 9, 2014

US National Long Course Championship--Nailed It! A Blatant Brag (with caveats)

OK--I'm back in New Jersey after about 1800 miles of driving over the last 4 days.  I did compete--and successfully so--at the US Long Course Championship in Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday.

My goal was to make the US Long Course Team that will compete in the Long Course World Championship in Sweden in 2015.  I achieved this goal.

However, my brag is not about that accomplishment (although I do feel good about it).  My performance on Sunday was very MOP--in fact I finished just above the median time OA.  I was also some 47 minutes off of my Half-Ironman PR.  "Real" triathletes will call my performance MOP--and rightfully so.  I get that.

What I did do, very well, is assess my competition (in a very detailed way), figure out what I needed to do to make the team (which I felt was just barely within my current fitness level), execute that plan, and just merely make the team.  It usually doesn't work this well-but this time it did.  I refer to my prior post immediately below to see my pre-race predictions.  This post is to give you the highlights of how I did vs. those precitions.  I'll file a full race report shortly.

1. I did extensive analysis of my 43 competitors and determined that I was at best 16th and perhaps as  low as 25th in this competition.  I needed to finish 20th to make the team.

2.  I also determined to finish 20th or better I would need to finish at 5:30 or better.

3. I devised a game plan that called for a 35 min swim/2:35 bike/2:14 run and 6 minutes in transition. I felt if I did this I'd either just qualify or just miss--I'd be right on the bubble.

4. After extensive analysis of my current fitness, I felt this was just possible on this course with the forecasted weather.

5. I swam 36:54 but the course turned out to be 1.29-miles--a bit long, so I was actually a bit faster than I planned.

6.  The transitions were longer than I planned, which I felt was a function of the physical limitations of the Transition zone--I lost about a minute to my plan in transition.

7. I had a great bike.  I hit 195 watts (vs. a plan of 190-200 watts) and finished my bike in 2:34:59 vs. a plan of 2:35:00--I worked hard for that.

8.  When I left T2, I knew I needed to break 2:11 on the run (10:00/mile) to be under 5:30.  Without getting into details (which are dramatic), I just barely did so and finished with a 5:29:53 overall--7 seconds better than plan/goal.

9.  This turned out to be good enough for 18th in my AG--I was 1:30 or so better than 20th place.  As a result, I can compete in Sweden at the Long Course Worlds next year if I choose to do so.

Again, I know 5:29:53 is not so good.  But it was probably about as good as I could expect to do yesterday.  I evaluated the situation before the race and determined that I needed to do 5:30 to make it.  Without that analysis, there is no way I would have pushed as hard as I did to make a sub 5:30 happen.  If I didn't make it happen, I would not have made the team.  I feel very good about this tonight.

Race report soon....

Saturday, June 7, 2014

US Long Course Nationals--The Predictions

Niels Bohr, the great Danish physicist, once said: "Predictions are very difficult, especially if they are about the future."  These are sage words from a sage man so I'll approach my predictions with a bit of trepidation.  Before I make them, let me give you a bit of summary of my trip out.

I left yesterday morning at 4:00 a.m. from Delaware and generally made very good time.  The total trip (to Grand Rapids, MI) was right around 700 miles and since it looked like I was going to make it by 3 p.m., I decided to detour a bit to East Lansing, MI--home of Michigan State--my alma mater.  I hadn't been here since I graduated in 1979--35 years ago!

I made my way over to the Engineering Building and eventually found my way to the Chemical Engineering department.  I was amazed to see that my academic advisor from that long ago past, Dr. Martin Hawley, was still there.  I stopped by his office but alas he was gone for the day--I left him a note..

Of course, I drove by and took a pic of Sparty (the original--not Dave Spartin!):

I also drove by and saw where I lived while I was there--here is the front door of Williams Hall where I lived for 4 quarters:

I lived in the room on the 4th floor that is 3 to the right of the chimney with my roommate of the time, Gordy Martin.

Anyways, after a pleasant stroll down memory lane I got back on the road and in between East Lansing and Grand Rapids I hit a milestone in my trusty Black Beauty:

Many of those miles have been doing just what I'm doing on this trip--driving to and from triathlons...

Anyways, I checked in and drove the 11 miles over to Ada, MI, which is where the race is actually being held--right near the HQ of Amway.  The swim is being held in the Thornapple River.  The river is damned at one end and this creates a pleasant lake-like body of water with no detectable current.  I swam there this morning and it was fine as a swim venue.  The water is a little warm for a full wetsuit, but I'll have to just deal with it.

The bike course is a reasonable one.  It has some poor chip seal in some areas and quite a few potholes, which will need to be navigated successfully.  It's a pretty fast course I'd say on balance.  there are definitely some hills--especially on David Hwy--but these will allow one to move around on the bike and not just stay locked into aero position.  The bike is essentially a 28-mile out and back.

The run is essentially a 3.3-mile double out and back through the neighborhoods that sit near the river.  The course has some up and downs and doesn't have much in the way of shade.  My guess is that the run will be pretty challenging--more so than say Mount Tremblant or Las Vegas.

In any event, let me turn to my predictions.  As I alluded to in an earlier post I analyzed the 44 guys in my M55-59 AG and determined that there were 15 guys whom I judged as very likely to beat me.  They are:

-Blake Saionia (MD)
-Brian Lengling (WI)
-Bruce Los (MI)
-Curt Penland (MI)
-Dan Skinner (MD)
-Hans Porten (ONT)
-Jim Reid (PA)
-Jim Winegarner (AK)
-John Grice (IA)
-John Zangmeister
-Max Anthouard (MI)
-Michael Wendorf(MI)
-Richard Punches (MI)
-Ron Gierut (IA)
-Shane Eversfield (MD)

Now the top 20 qualify for the World Championship in Sweden in 2015.  As you can see, a number of these folks are from MI and perhaps would not take one of the slots so it's possible for me to qualify finishing as low as 25th (if 5 slots roll down).  In addtion to these 15 gentlemen, I see another 6 guys that have a reasonable chance of beating me.  There are another 3 guys I couldn't find any info on.  the other 19 I think I should be able to beat.  So, if you put that all together, and assume that I beat the 19 I would be projected to finish somewhere between 16th and 25th.  Of course, predictions are difficult, as Niels pointed out above, but it does seem clear to me that I'm likely right on the bubble and I'll either just barely qualify or just barely miss (barring unusual events).

Given all of this, I've concluded that I'll need to do a 5:30 to make this happen.  7 weeks ago, at IMNOLA70.3, I did a 5:45:57 (36:03/4:29/2:44:56/2:53/2:17:31).  To do a 5:30 tomorrow, I think I'll need to swim 35, bike 2:35, run 2:14 and spend 6 minutes in transition.  Normally, even given my current fitness, I wouldn't be worried but with my lower leg problems--this could be tough for me....

I feel like I have a good shot at doing a 35.  I did a 36:03 at NOLA, and my swim is quite a bit better than it was then.  For comparison purposes, here are my 21 other 1/2-Iron swims over time:

-Diamondman 2002:  38:09
-LC Nationals 2004:  46:32 (non wetsuit)
-Devilman 2005:  34:38
-Eagleman 2005: 45:33
-Devilman 2006: 33:01
-Eagleman 2006:  39:47
-IM70.3 WC 2006:  32:59
-White Lake 2007: 34:47
-Eagleman 2007: 32:45
-Timberman 2007: 36:29
-Gulf Coast 2008: 33:44
-Eagleman 2008: 37:03
-California 2010: 33:07
-NOLA 2010: 35:24
-California 2011: 35:33
-IM70.3 WC 2011: 44:41 (non wetsuit)
-SkipJack 2011: 33:16
-Shoreman 2012: 34:32
-Mont Tremblant 2013: 37:51
-Diamondman 2013: 35:50
-NOLA 2014: 36:03

So 9 of the 21 times I've been able to go 35 or better.  I think I have a good chance of doing so tomorrow.  If I exit the water with a lot different time than 35 (and I think I had a solid swim), then I'll just assume the course was not accurately measured.  If I do exit in 35, I'll assume that I'm in 10th-12th, with a few minutes separating me from the 20th position.  BTW--I'll need to push it fairly hard to do 35 and that will be my intention.

The transition zone is very long so if anything, my transition times might be longer than 6 minutes combined.  I'm pretty solid at transitions so I'm guessing I'll gain about a minute combined over the 20th slot.

If it's going to happen for me tomorrow, it will have to happen on the bike.  It's hard to compare from course to course but when I did a 2:45 at NOLA this year I averaged 183 watts.  If everything else is equal (and it's not), I'd need to average 218 watts.  I just did 230 watts over 15 miles at Jersey Genesis--this implies I'm ready to do about 202 watts, so that would seem an unreasonable expectation.  This course is harder than NOLA--although the weather forecast is calling for considerably less wind then I dealt with there.  I'm going to target 190-200 watts tomorrow--where I settle in at will be a function of how I feel.  This may be good enough (due to the lesser wind) to get me a 2:35.

As with the swim, here are my historical 1/2 IM bike splits:

-Diamondman 2002:  2:29:06
-LC Nationals 2004:  2:32:09
-Devilman 2005:  2:32:59
-Eagleman 2005: 2:26:28
-Devilman 2006: 2:28:17
-Eagleman 2006:  2:28:59
-IM70.3 WC 2006:  2:24:10
-White Lake 2007:  2:24:47
-Eagleman 2007:  2:24:04
-Timberman 2007:  2:40:02
-Gulf Coast 2008:  2:26:32
-Eagleman 2008:  2:27:32
-California 2010:  2:43:44
-NOLA 2010:  2:37:11
-California 2011: 2:57:33
-IM70.3 WC 2011:  3:06:04
-SkipJack 2011:  2:29:35 (56 mile equivalent of a 66 mile bike split)
-Shoreman 2012:  2:40:18
-Mont Tremblant 2013:  2:54:50
-Diamondman 2013:  2:33:00
-NOLA 2014:  2:44:56

So, I've been faster than 2:35 13 of the 21 races--although only twice in my last 9 races.  If I can do a 2:35 tomorrow, I figure I'll be in 5th-7th place in my AG and more importantly will have about a 15 minute buffer on the 20th place time.

Then will come my nemesis.  I had one of my worse runs of my triathlon career last week at Genesis. I'm in poor run shape and this is compounded by the continuing muscle weakness problems in my lower left leg--a residual effect of my peroneal injury.  Normally 2:14 shouldn't be too tall of a order but I'll have to be careful on the run--I can't afford to risk further injury--I'll be starting my Kona build in a couple of weeks.  If need be, I'll scuttle my qualifying attempt and just walk off the run....

Hopefully though, my leg will be strong enough to jog through to a 2:14 and that will be good enough to get me to Worlds.  Here are my historical 1/2 IM runs:

-Diamondman 2002:  1:55:15
-LC Nationals 2004:  1:44:54
-Devilman 2005:  1:47:12
-Eagleman 2005:  1:57:58
-Devilman 2006:  1:49:33
-Eagleman 2006:  1:45:04
-IM70.3 WC 2006:  2:20:33
-White Lake 2007:  1:38:01
-Eagleman 2007:  1:43:56
-Timberman 2007:  1:50:45
-Gulf Coast 2008:  2:07:25
-Eagleman 2008:  2:36:50
-California 2010:  1:58:30
-NOLA 2010:  2:10:18
-California 2011: 1:59:50
-IM70.3 WC 2011:  2:06:21
-SkipJack 2011:  1:47:33 (13.1 mile equivalent of a 10 mile run split)
-Shoreman 2012:  2:08:25
-Mont Tremblant 2013:  2:02:53
-Diamondman 2013:  2:27:41
-NOLA 2014:  2:17:31

So I've done 2:14 or better 17 of 21 times--still, I think this will be the hardest number for me to hit tomorrow.

Finally, for completeness, here are my final times historically:

-Diamondman 2002:  5:12:06
-LC Nationals 2004:  5:06:49
-Devilman 2005:  5:00:23
-Eagleman 2005:  5:14:59
-Devilman 2006:  4:58:21
-Eagleman 2006:  4:58:27
-IM70.3 WC 2006:  5:24:55
-White Lake 2007:  4:43:14
-Eagleman 2007:  4:46:55
-Timberman 2007:  5:12:32
-Gulf Coast 2008:  5:14:55
-Eagleman 2008:  5:48:22
-California 2010:  5:22:04
-NOLA 2010:  5:28:06
-California 2011: 5:40:09
-IM70.3 WC 2011:  6:06:13
-SkipJack 2011:  4:54:49
-Shoreman 2012:  5:27:36
-Mont Tremblant 2013:  5:42:50
-Diamondman 2013:  5:40:59
-NOLA 2014:  5:45:57

I've been 5:30 or better 15 of 21 times.  Although only 2 of my last 7.

Enough with the predictions--almost time to race!   Bring it on.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Headline News

OK friends--here are the Headline News from my so called triathlon life....

I continue to struggle with lower leg strength and pain issues--left side naturally.  I purchased a Compex EMS unit and that does seem to help a bit.  Still, I'm perplexed by my chronic (at this point) leg pain and weakness.  I'm hoping it's due to something I can correct (although I don't know what that is) and dreading it may be my latest getting older gift....

Anyways, i did compete in and finish my 142nd triathlon yesterday--the 19th Jersey Genesis (0.5/15/4) Sprint.  I had the race that I expected to have which is (I suppose) good news.  But my expectations were really low (which is fundamentally bad news).  My swim, was respectable.  My bike was as expected pretty weak (by my standards--I'm still 20+ watts light).  The good news is that my lower leg issues didn't seem to hold me back--just my general being out of shape thing....My run was unbelievably slow--probably one of the worse of my career.  This was due to my extreme lack of run fitness and this really weird deficit of lower leg strength.  My leg was threatening to give out over the last mile or so of the run but it did hold together.  I finished 3rd in my AG.  Had I been at my peak I would have finished 3rd as well so no problem there....but I am worried about how poorly my bod is rounding into shape this year....more on that later--as well as a Jersey Genesis race report.

So May--how was it?  Here are the numbers:

Swim: 43,000 yards
Bike: 746 miles
Run: 77 miles
Other: 11 hours
Total: 82 hours

So how do we feel about this?  Back on May 1st I set the following aggregate volume goals for May:

Swim: 35,000 yards--obviously I had a great swim Month this May.  Probably a bit overdue given my last couple of years underinvestment in my swim.  I think my swim is in a pretty good place at this point in the year and I intend to continue to invest more aggressively in it.

Bike: 900 miles--obviously way short.  The impact of my on-going 2014 under-training in my bike is very obvious in my race results and in how I feel when I'm out training.  I was very motivated to train more but my on-going leg issues really have held me back--this is a big concern for me now.

Run: 120 miles--obviously a big disaster on the run this month.  My run right now is as bad as it ever has been in my triathlon career--no two ways about it.  My lower left leg continues to be an issue--I need to fix it or deal with being a really, really poor runner....

Time: 86 hours--even with all of my "extra" stuff at Canyon Ranch I really fell short in May.  I'm very motivated but my bod is not cooperating unfortunately.

So, what to do?  I still have a bunch of time before Kona--but I need to convert that "June Time" into "July Fitness".  I need my bod to step up.  I hope that I can get back to what I've come to expect over my prior years--but I'm worried.  Something to monitor closely.

I have decided to go ahead and race at the USAT LC Nationals next Sunday.  It's in Grand Rapids, MI and I'll drive the 800 miles both way.  I've decided I'd like to make the US team for LC Worlds in Sweeden next year--to do so I'll need to finish in the top 20 in my AG (out of about 50).  Normally, I'd be very confident about that but given my issues I know I'll have to carefully naviagate the race to meet the qualification hurdle (I'd guessing that the NQ time will be around 5:45).  I'm disappointed that this is where I'm at--but it is what is....

I keep reminding myself that in 10 years these will be the good old days....