Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas! Week 6 Training Summary

I hope all of you reading this had a great Christmas! It was great getting to spend time with family and friends. I also hope Santa was good to all of you, maybe bringing you some new training devices for he 2010 triathlon season. Jen got me a set of swim paddles to use in the pool while training and I also got a Finis Tech Toc from my parents. I'm excited to try it out. It is a device worn in the pool to measure hip rotation while swimming. The week was very up and down for me. I began with a plan to run every other day. My achilles seems to swell up about 5 hours after running but it gets better quickly with rest. I was able to get 26 running miles in this week with my first interval workout of the year on Wednesday over at Augustana's indoor track and also got my first long run on Sunday. It was a great help to have friend Stephan Marsh home from law school break. We did a lot of swimming and running together. In addition to the running, I also swam 19,400 yards, biked 70 miles, lifted weights 3 times, did speed drills and strides three times, lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work 5 times. On Thursday I swam a 6,500 yard practice with the PV High School team. That was my most yards in a practice in as long as I can remember. I continue to feel stronger in the water every week. The week was looking to be a really big volume week until Christmas night when I got the stomach flu for the 2nd straight year on Christmas! I'm not sure why Santa punishes me with this. This is the 4th time over the past 8 years I've gotten this sickness over the holiday season. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy! It forced me to miss a swim workout on Saturday and a lot of bike time over the weekend. I'm looking forward to getting this out of my system soon! My favorite workout of the week was without a doubt the track workout at Augustana. It felt great to be back on the track for intervals. I warmed up 2.5 miles and then did 8x800's with 90 seconds rest between each. My target time set by Augie Coach Ron Standley was 2:50. I ran 2:45, 2:46, 2:44, 2:44, 2:37, 2:37, 2:35, and 2:28. It didn't feel tough at all until the last few. I lost 3 lbs. last week and I can tell the body fat that I've lost has given me a boost running despite not being able to run near the mileage I would like to. My total workout time for the week was 17 hours. I hope to be recovered from this illness and get a 20 hour week in this week. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the New Year! Thanks for reading...DREAM BIG!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Week 5 Training Summary...Thoughts on Weight Training

Week 5 was another solid week of training minus the running. I'm still having some achilles swelling after I run. I saw a specialist on Wednesday who did an ultrasound on the tendon to make sure I didn't have a cyst returning. She found the tendon to be in really good shape. She was not sure what is causing the swelling around the tendon. I was prescribed some anti-inflamatory cream to put on it 3 times a day. She said I could continue to run if it didn't hurt. I ran Wednesday for my 6th day in a row and when I finished it had swollen quite a bit and was sore so I stopped running for the week. The good news out of this injury is that is has allowed me to spend more time in the pool and on the bike. I swam 17,100 yards this week and biked 120 miles on the trainer. My swim workouts have been going better than ever. I've really been working on some technical things and I'm seeing big improvements in the water. I certainly don't expect to be leading any races out of the water but I do believe I can close the gap substantially over last year between the leaders and myself. On Friday I did a set with our high school team that consisted of 4x (100, 75, 50, 25). I went with the fastest lane and did the intervals all on the 1:20/100 so it was 1:20 for the 100, 1:00 for the 75, 40 seconds for the 50 and 20 seconds for the 25. I hit all 4 sets with plenty of rest. I was swimming my 100's in 1:08-1:10 which shocked the heck out of me. I had two great bike interval workouts this week and they went well. My total training time was 17.5 hours. I lifted weights 3 times, did lunges 3 times, plyometrics and speed drills once, and core work 6 times.

Speaking of weight lifting...I've been reading a lot about weight lifting for triathletes on slowtwitch.com, a website that has a triathlon forum. Most of what I read is very negative on the benefits of weight training for triathletes. I could not disagree more. Most of the opposition to weight lifting comes from people who say triathletes are better spending the extra time running, swimming, or biking. They say that the movements in weight lifting are not the same as the movements in swimming, biking, or running, thus it is a waste of time. It is my belief that by weight training I am building my maximum power output, especially for swimming and biking. I believe that as I get stronger I am able to produce more watts on the bike per pound of body weight. More power = more speed. My other big belief in getting stronger is that if you can increase maximum power it will be easier to sustain a higher level of power over the course of a race. This is the same reason I believe in doing speed work on the track. If I do intervals at 5:15/mile pace when I get into a 1/2 Ironman and want to run 5:45 pace it feels relatively easy because it's so much slower than what I've been training at. You won't find the weight lifting naysayers scaring me out of the weight room. I have no doubts that my big improvements over the past year have much to do with the time I've spent in the weight room. One of my yearly training goals is to increase my leg lifts by 20% over last year. In summary, I believe weight lifting is extremely important for triathletes and it is more valuable than the extra swimming, biking, and running I could get in the 2 hours and 30 minutes I spend each week lifting.
I lost 2 lbs. last week brining my total loss to 5 lbs. since I resumed training on Nov. 16th. I expect to lose another pound or 2 this week. I have my official weigh in every Monday morning. I'm feeling very fit...but am getting anxious to get my running mileage back to where I want it. Thanks for reading...DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week 4 Training Summary...Paying the Price

Week 4 was a very solid week of training despite not running much due to some achilles tendon soreness. I didn't run Monday through Thursday to let the achilles heal and then ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's something pretty weird because it doesn't hurt at all while I'm running but afterwards it swells up. Going up onto my toes doesn't cause any pain but when I come back down I get a pretty intense burning sensation in the achilles. I'm seeing Dr. Kaminski from Kaminski Pain and Performance Care tomorrow and hopefully he'll be able to work his magic on it. I used the time I missed running to swim extra yards and bike extra miles. For the week my total training time was right at 18 hours. I ran 15 miles, biked 120 miles, and swam 18,500 yards. This was my highest swimming yardage for a week since the summer months when I had a couple of 20,000 yard weeks. I'm feeling really good about the swimming. It's been a big help to train with the PV High School swim team a couple days a week and the Stingrays Club team once a week. My best workout of the week was a 5,500 yard swim practice with our high school team on Saturday. I'm really working on fixing a couple of technique flaws in my stroke and I'm seeing improvements over the times I was swimming in workouts a year ago. For the week I also lifted weights three times, did speed drills and strides twice, lunges three times, plyometrics once, and core work 7 times. I'm really starting to feel like I'm losing body fat. I used a belt loop that had never been used on Friday. I believe if I can hit my goal of reducing my body fat % from 13 last year to 9 this year I will see tremendous improvements in my performances. I've continued avoiding junk in my diet and it is much easier now that I'm feeling the results from it. I've began to think a lot lately about the price that athletes have to be willing to pay if they want to reach high goals. The workout time I spend is a high price to pay, the soreness of the swim workouts...avoiding the junk that sits around at the holidays...especially in our teacher's lounge. I believe I am paying a price for greatness right now and I am very confident it will be well worth it come summer when the races begin. I'm dreaming about success at the pro level. I know the price I pay in training day in and day out will make a difference. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kiwami Triathlon Wear Partnership; Week 3 Summary

I am thrilled to announce a partnership with Kiwami Triathlon Wear for the 2010 season! I knew I wanted to find a top of the line race jersey that would allow me to recognize the sponsors that have helped to make this journey what it has been. After doing my research I found the top race wear brand out there to be Kiwami. This week I learned that they also believe in my abilities and will be providing me the gear I race in and train in. I could not be more excited to have such a great company on my side. Check out their product line at http://www.kiwamitri.com/ They are the company that many great triathletes around the world choose to race with. Matty Reed is probably the most notable from the U.S. When I saw him racing in Chicago this year I got to see the cool design of the Kiwami product and Matty made it look really fast! It means a great deal to me that I have a company like Kiwami that believes in my abilities as I begin my first year as a professional triathlete.

This week was a little up and down training wise. On Monday I felt a slight discomfort in my left achilles tendon. This is the 4th time since beginning the journey last year that my left achilles tendon has had some issues. It wasn't anything much so I ignored it through Wednesday but then decided to shut down the running since it wasn't improving. I managed to get in 20 running miles this week but I picked up some extra biking and swimming with the cancelled run sessions. I swam 12,000 yards this week and biked 100 miles. I also lifted weights three times, did plyometrics once (skipped one session due to the achilles soreness), lunges twice, and core work 6 times. For total training time this week I managed to get in 15.5 hours. I also got some sort of sickness Friday-Sunday...H2N2 possibly?? They say that is coming and it's twice as bad as H1N1. I can feel that I'm getting stronger and I'm losing body fat. Those were two of my big training goals for the year. I'm not too worried about the achilles thing right now because my first big race isn't for 6 months but if it isn't better in a few days I'll probably see a specialist again to find out what the problem is. One of my big goals of this early training season has been to eliminate junk from my diet. I have always loved to eat tasty treats but in 3 weeks I've done pretty well. 3 times I've had junk...once a Dairy Queen sundae, once I had some M&M's at a wedding, and once I had concession stand popcorn. Other than that I've had no pop, candy, cookies, chips, ice cream, desserts, cappucino...all the places I used to add junk calories. I feel like it's helping me reduce my body fat and that makes it easier to pass on these things. I have big goals for racing and if they are going to happen I need to hit my training goals. I'm confident the results will follow if I can hit the training goals I've laid out for myself. Swimming has been good. I'm way ahead of where I was in the water at this point last year. I also did my first bike interval workouts this week...2 of them that made me want to cry but I was glad I got them in. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 2 Training Summary...Happy Thanksgiving!

For week 2 I increased my training totals a little bit over last week. I've begun to feel in better shape and I'm over the initial soreness of resuming training. For the week I ran 40 miles, biked 85 miles, and swam 13,700 yards. In addition to those totals I lifted weights, did speed drills and strides all three times, lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work six times. My total training time was 18 hours. On Thursday I ran a 5 mile Turkey Trot race in Davenport. I ran it hard as a way to measure my fitness compared to last year. A year ago I was in my 4th week of training and I ran 29:25. This year I ran 28:39. My toughest workouts of the week were in the pool. I'm definitely ahead of where I was at this point a year ago in the water. On Saturday morning I swam 30 75's on the 1:05 interval with an easy 100 after certain numbers. A year ago I did the same set and was swimming them on the 1:10 interval. I have some technique issues I'm working on as I hope to make big improvements in the area I need the most work. For this upcoming week I will begin doing a weekly running interval workout and two biking interval workouts. It was nice spending time with family and friends over the holiday. I have much to be thankful for. I've been fortunate to stay mostly healthy with a high level of training for a year. I give much of that credit to Dr. Kaminski at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. I have not had any overuse injuries in the year since I began training hard for this sport. I'm also extremely thankful to have Jen's enduring support of this journey. I know my hours of training require her to make some sacrifices and I would not have enjoyed the successes that I did without her. I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week 1 Training Summary


The training for my 2010 triathlon season offically began at midnight last Monday "morning" with my own edition of "Midnight Madness" in which I got on the trainer for my first ride of the season. I enjoyed my 3 weeks off. I was able to get mentally and physically recovered for the year ahead. For the week I ran 35 miles, biked 75, and swam 10,000 yards. In addition to those totals I also lifted weights, did speed drills and strides all three times, plyometrics and lunges twice, and core work 6 times. My total training time for the week was 15.5 hours. I was pretty sore early in the week but by Friday I was feeling much better. I began my weekly long runs with 60 minutes on Sunday. My goal as of now is to progressively increase this time by adding 5 minutes to the run every two weeks until I get to 2 hours. If I decide to do an Ironman I will try to increase it up to about 3 hours for the long run. I plan to register for Ironman Wisconsin and Ironman Florida and then decide which of those two to compete in, if either, as the time draws closer. By turning professional and paying for my Ironman Pro Membership card I am allowed to sign up and compete in as many Ironman trademarked events as I want for no additional cost outside the one-time $750.00 fee. Since I'm allowed to sign up for as many as I wish I will sign up for any race I am even considering.
The toughest workouts this week were by far the swims on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday I went with the PV high school swim team and it was tough. I got out of the water 30 minutes early and I was already at 4,200 yards. On Thursday I went with the PV Stingrays club swim team and got in 3,700 painful yards. Our main set was 20x 75's on 1:10 with a 2 minute rest after every 5. I'm quite a bit faster than when I began training last year. I'm hoping to stay well ahead of that curve. I'll be increasing the run and swim totals a bit this week. I'm working hard at eating healthy so I can get to my goal body fat % of 9 as opposed to the 13 I was at last year. I believe getting to 9 should allow me to race quite a bit faster than last year just by carrying less dead weight. Thanks for reading...it's great to be back! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ironman Pro Membership Program

I recently found out about big news for pro athletes racing any of the Ironman trademarked events in 2010. 2 new big programs have been implemented. The first is an "anti-doping" initiative in which they say they are going to be more strict about testing athletes at events and during the off-season. To help pay for this more intensive testing program they have created a pro membership program in which every professional who wants to race in any Ironman trademarked events (operated by WTC- World Triathlon Corporation) must pay a yearly $750.00 fee. Although I first thought this was bad news, after reading into the program it looks like it will be a good thing for me. You can read about the new program at http://www.slowtwitch.com/News/WTC_sets_2010_Professional_Membership_program_1105.html
The fee includes entry into as many Ironman trademarked events as the athlete wants to compete in. I was planning on doing four 70.3 events which would have costed more than $750.00 for me. Now I am thinking of doing Ironman Wisconsin since it would be "free" after paying the membership fee. That race alone would have cost me $550.00. I've read some of the pro triathlete comments on Slowtwitch and many are upset because they had received complimentary entries at some of the Ironman trademarked events they did in the past. I would not have been in that boat this year so for me this looks like a good thing. For some motivation, some of them stated that this opens the door to "30 year old pseudo-pros who are not full-time professionals to turn pro and it will water down the fields of races." Their description of a "pseudo-pro" was exactly where I fit. It also makes me realize I have lots to prove in 2010 that I belong in the professional fields at races. My season begins on Monday and I couldn't be more excited to get going. 3 weeks off has allowed me to recover from last year and get more motivated than ever for the upcoming season. I'm going to kick off the season at 12:00 a.m. as my own way of honoring college basketball's famous "Midnight Madness". I'll continue to post regular weekly training updates every Sunday night. Thanks for following the journey. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Goals for 2010

I've enjoyed my first 2 weeks off of a scheduled 3 week break before I will begin preparation for my first season as a professional triathlete in 2010. I have had some time to reflect on my goals from last season and my goals for next year. I have always believed it is important to make goals known publicly. By doing this I have others who can hold me accountable for what I say. I'm a huge believer in goal setting. Through the course of the year I set weekly training goals as well as training benchmark goals I aim to hit every 3 months. My goals for 2010 are as follows...
1. Reduce my body fat % from 13% to 9%.
2. Increase my leg weights in the weight room by 20% over last year
3. Add at least 10% to my yearly bike mileage
4. Build my weekly long run to 17 miles
5. Run a 5k on the track in under 16:00 by the end of April
6. Place top half of the professional fields in the 3 70.3 races I plan to enter

I rarely set specific time goals on triathlon courses due to the weather and the difference in course from year to year. I also try to set goals that I can control. I know if I can hit the first 4 goals listed above it will put me in a great position to race well and the places and times will take care of themselves. My big hope is that I will be stronger, but leaner, therefore increasing my power/body weight ratio on the bike. I know if I'm going to be competitive at the professional level I have to either get much faster in the swim portion or be one of the top bikers in the race. I'm hoping for one of those two things to happen or a combination of both that will allow me to be a successful professional triathlete. Only 1 week to go before resuming this journey...I can't wait! Next week I will post a tentative schedule for 2010. Thanks for reading!

DREAM BIG!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

THANKS!...For helping me live the DREAM!

The 2009 season concluded on October 25th for me by reaching the goal I began the year with, qualifying to become a professional triathlete. I began this journey on November 3rd of 2008 and the first year is officially in the books. The improvements I made were tremendous but they would not have been possible without the help of so many people who helped to inspire me and push me in training through the year. I would like to take the time in this post to thank so many of the wonderful people that supported me this year.

My wife Jen- When I came to you with this crazy idea of giving up coaching to train year round with a dream of becoming a professional triathlete you were so supportive of this decision. You sacrificed so much to allow me to train 20-30 hours a week to make this dream a reality. I know it was not easy and I don't thank you enough. Without you this would not be possible! Thanks! I love you!

Kaminski Pain and Performance Care- Your entire staff was tremendously helpful in keeping me healthy through the year. At the volume I trained the risk of injury runs high. The only time I had to miss training with an injury was when I had the "freak" cyst on my achilles tendon. You helped to keep all the overuse injuries away from me. I always felt better when I left your office than when I arrived. Thanks for believing in me when I came to you with this crazy idea of becoming a professional triathlete.

Healthy Habits- You guys were so helpful in keeping my bike ready to race week in and week out. I appreciate all you did in helping me get the Zipp wheel set, the Shimano Elite Tri shoes, the nutritional products, and the bike case and wheel bag for my trip to Austin. Your shop was always there to help me race faster. Thanks!

Tim Holt and Zipp- It meant a lot to me to have support of the makers of the world's fastest wheels. I love having Zipp on my side. Having the combination of wheels to use in any race conditions was more valuable than I could have imagined it would have been. When the wind was high or the courses were hilly I paired the 808 Zipp front wheel with the 1080 rear wheel and I won all 4 races I competed in with that combination. When the weather was nice and the course was flat I was able to race the Zipp 1080 front wheel with the Zipp disc rear wheel for a fast bike split. Thanks!

My Family- My parents and brothers taught me the value of hard work at a young age. The work ethic you taught me has helped me to fear nothing in a workout. This work ethic and discipline has allowed me to train at a high level even when I'm training alone...which was almost every workout. Thanks for all the support and love through this journey.

Todd Ehlert- Todd, you got me involved with the cycling indoor intervals on Tuesdays and then the famous Wilkes Hill once the weather warmed. You were always super supportive of what I was doing. I can't express to you how much it meant to have someone believing in me when I know most people thought I was crazy. You helped me overcome my fears of riding with the group on Wednesdays when I was afraid to do a drafting workout. Those workouts helped me to greatly improving my cycling in the middle of the season. I look forward to many more workouts with you. You've been a great friend.

Stephan Marsh- Stephan, I can tell you I would not be on this journey had I never met you and started training with you a little over a year ago. I was in such bad shape when I met you that I was considering not even competing last summer. You were the best training partner I could have hoped for and I can't wait to have you around more often so we can continue making each other better. You were never afraid of whatever swim, bike, or run workout I came up with. Your support through this year was greatly appreciated whether it was a phone call before the race or coming to watch the race at Hy-Vee. Thanks!

Coach Olsen- I learned so much about believing in my abilities throughout my time running for you and coaching with you. You helped me to create an attitude where I believe that nothing is impossible! You taught me that the most important thing is the journey itself...more important than the professional status and the awards won. When I told you about the journey I was embarking on last year you reaffirmed to me it was the right decision to make when I was had my doubts as to whether or not I was making the right decision. Thanks for teaching me to DREAM BIG and to always believe in my abilities. This journey has been worth every second!

Paul Eure- Thanks for letting me swim with the high school team in the winter during the season and during the summer camps. Training with a group in the pool has helped me to improve a lot in the discipline I need the most work.

Dave Terronez- One of the biggest reasons I was able to have so much success in the 1/2 Ironman distance this year was getting my long runs done week in and week out. I always knew I could count on you to show up to help me get these runs done whether it was 10 degrees and snowing or 50 and raining. I would not have been able to finish the 1/2 Ironman in Austin with a 1:17:00 half marathon had you not always made time to run with me.

Jared Dammann- Your enthusiasm for triathlons is contagious! Your help with me in the swim pool and on the training sessions we were able to do together was very good for me. Thanks for all the well wishes before races and the phone calls afterwards. You have a very bright future in this sport!

Jeff Bradley- You taught me so much about riding in our workouts. I knew nothing about bike intervals before meeting you and I enjoyed getting my butt kicked up Wilkes Hill and getting dropped in the Wednesday night group rides because I know those made me stronger both mentally and physically.

Scott Johannsen- Thanks for getting me ready to swim "hard and fast" at the Longhorn 1/2 Ironman! You helped me to believe that I can swim really hard and still be fine to bike and run afterwards. The Stingrays Club gave me a great group to train with and the workouts were extremely tough. I know they will be very important in helping me become a better swimmer so I can compete at the professional level.

Ron Standley- Ron was my wife's coach at Augustana and I am thankful that he was willing to coach me through some extremely tough indoor track workouts last winter. Those workouts helped to prepare me for the summer by toughening me up mentally and physically. Thanks for always making the time to meet me at Augustana and coming up with very challenging workouts.

Randy Bill- You probably had no idea how much you would inspire me when we were watching the Hy-Vee Triathlon on television after the Bix in 08'. You may not remember the conversation we had but it is what got the ball rolling for this entire dream. You challenged me to devote myself to this sport to see if I could compete on the same level as the professionals. Watching you compete at an elite level in marathons has inspired me to try to do the same in triathlons. Your 2:18 marathon is coming!

Team Tri-Fit- Watching so many of you improve and reach your fitness goals this year has inspired me to continue dreaming big! I have been amazed at the growth of the club this year and the success that so many of you have had in reaching your own goals. I'm excited about the future of the club as we move forward into our second year.

Laurel Darren- Your pre-race massages were awesome! I felt great racing after each massage and I cannot thank you and the staff at John Taylor spa enough. The conversations we had about dreaming big and your Ironman endeavors were extremely motivating to me. Thanks!

Readers- Whether you realize it or not, knowing that people are reading this blog has inspired me more than you can imagine. When I was tired and didn't know if I could get my final workouts in I thought about having to post the blog entry on Sunday night. It inspired me to get the work done so I did not have to write about a week of missed goals. My only hope is that I have been able to inspire some of you as much as you have inspired me. I hope you'll continue to follow the journey as I move forward into year 2. Your comments and well wishes mean so much to me. Thanks!

I'm sure I left out so many deserving people and I apologize for that. I have had a great deal of support this year and the success I had is shared with you all. Thanks for always following and believing in me. Next week I'll be laying out my goals for 2010. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Longhorn 70.3 Race Report and Results

On Friday, October 23rd I worked a 1/2 day of teacher inservice...always lots of fun...and then headed to Dr. Kaminski at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care for some pre-race tune-up work. He had me feeling great and ready to race by the time I left his office. Dr. Kaminski always spends a great deal of time and energy making sure I'm ready to race my best. I was feeling great because on Thursday I got a massage from local massage therapist, Laurel Darren over at the Jumer's Casino John Taylor Spa. The massage and ART combined had me feeling very fresh after backing off the workouts throughout the week of taper. This would be the first time I would be shipping my bike on an airline and the guys at Healthy Habits took good care of me to make sure I had nothing to worry about. They provided me with a hard case to ship my bike in and went over all the details of how to pack the bike and put it back together once I arrived in Austin. This was all extremely helpful in easing my stress of traveling with my bike. There was little disassembly required with the case they provided me with. They also gave me a Zipp wheel bag to travel with so I could bring both of my rear wheels in case it was windy. If it was windy I would ride the Zipp 1080 rear wheel combined with my 808 front wheel. If the conditions called for calm weather I would ride the 808 front with the Zipp Disc.

Jen and I left the Quad Cities at 2:45 and drove to Chicago where we boarded the Southwest plane after paying $50.00 to ship my bike. This rate is much cheeper than any other airline I could find and was the reason we chose Southwest. Many of the airlines now charge $150.00 or more each way to ship bikes. Our flight arrived in Austin, TX around 9:30 on Friday evening and we got our rental car and headed for the hotel. This was quite an adventure as we had left our GPS unit in our car at Midway Airport in Chicago. We were going to rent one but of course they were sold out so we took the small, less than detailed map they gave to us. After driving for 20 minutes we spotted our Super 8 hotel and then realized we had no idea how to get off the interstate to actually get to the hotel. This was quite an adventure as we were not used to the Texas interstate system that uses frontage roads along the interstate and if you miss your exit you have to drive 3 miles or more past the exit to the next one, then do a u-turn and drive back the other way. We tried for 45 minutes to find the way to the hotel that we litterally could have hit with a baseball throw from the window of the car. Eventually we pulled in to the Super 8, got the bike out of the car which was a tough process since we had a mid-size rental car (the largest they had available). I got to the front desk and of course they did not have our reservation. They informed me that there were 3 Super 8's along the interstate and we must be at a different one...GREAT! We repacked the bike into the car and spent another 30 minutes finding the correct Super 8. Finally at about 12:30 we were in our correct hotel and I was ready to hit the bed for a good night's rest.

On Saturday we drove to the Travis Expo Center and I picked up my packet. We then listened to the professional race panel of speakers and I went for a short swim of about 1,000 yards in the lake. It was cool, but not too bad, probably around 70 degrees. I made sure to have all my nutrition lined up and ready to go for the race. On Saturday evening Jen and I found a restaurant that was showing the Iowa/Michigan State football game. We joined a group of about 30 U of Iowa alumni to watch the Hawkeyes. The game was one of the most boring I've seen until the last 2 minutes...it ended as one of the most exciting games I've ever seen as Iowa remained undefeated on a last second touchdown. It was great meeting some big Hawks fans in Austin and celebrating a huge win. That was just what I needed to get me fired up to race on Sunday morning.

On Sunday I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to eat my favorite pre-race breakfast...a Belgium waffle covered in peanut butter and honey. I've used this one for many big training rides on Saturdays and a couple of my longer races. I packed all the ingredients and even brought my own waffle maker from home to make sure I had everything I needed. At 5:45 Jen and I headed for the race site. I had checked my bike in on Saturday and everything was ready to go. I decided to race the 808 Zipp front wheel with the 1080 Zipp rear wheel since it was pretty windy on race morning. I love this wheelset and had raced it three times before this one in Austin. I had won all three of those races so leaving the disc wheel in the car didn't worry me. Upon arrival at transition it was still dark and as you can see from this picture the guy with the head lamp was able to create enough light for everyone to find their bikes. My wave was scheduled to go in as the 11th wave, beginning at 8:15. The professional wave was first to enter at 7:30. I was out warming up and missed the guy who parachuted in with the flag during the national anthem but Jen caught some pictures for me. After a mile warm up and some speed drills and strides I put the wetsuit on and headed to the beach for my start. I was not able to get a swim warm-up in which didn't bother me too much since I couldn't warm up in the water before Chicago either.

SWIM: My wave had about 200 people in it and my plan was to get out hard breathing less than normal so I could swim a little faster to get away from the mess. When the gun sounded I took off fast from the far left position so I could site the other swimmers to my right. After about 300 yards I settled in behind a guy and drafted well for about 300 yards. I was feeling good and could tell his pace was slowing down so I sited another pack about 20 yards ahead and pulled out from my drafting spot and worked hard to move up to the next pack. It took me about 5 minutes to catch them but once I did I stayed right on their feet and let them pull me in the rest of the way. It was by far the best strategic swim I had all year and I was feeling good about the swim. I exited the water 11th in my wave and 100th overall for the swim split. It was 29:32. This wasn't a great time but I knew the swim was accurate length compared to the short swim in the last 1/2 Ironman I did in Racine, WI earlier in the summer. I knew I would have trouble breaking 30 minutes when I saw the first pros exiting around 23-24 minutes. On my run up to my bike I was getting some small cramps in my hamstrings and knew that meant I would need to take in lots of fluids on the bike or it could be a long day. I was in and out of transition pretty quickly and found the road to be very crowded with riders from the earlier waves.

BIKE: On the bike I began passing riders very quickly. I'm estimating there were over 1,500 athletes out on the course already when I began so that would mean it would be very crowded for most of the ride. I was making sure to call out when I passed groups of people so I could avoid any potential dangers. The course had lots of rolling hills, none which were killer. It also had a ton of turns so we were constantly going into the wind and then having the wind with us. I set my computer to average speed and hoped to keep it at or above 24 miles per hour. I told Jen later that during the first 20 miles on the bike I was being a little bit of a loony tune. I was trying to keep my mind off the race due to the length of the 1/2 Ironman. I was giving lots of enthusiastic positive words to riders I passed with a big smile on my face. Things were feeling great and the riding was not hard. I was passing people by the dozens and having a blast riding the course. I got plenty of crazy looks as I would look for people with names on their race bib so I could encourage them by name as I passed them. The fun continued in this manner until about mile 25 when a guy went blazing by me...now it was time for the fun to end and the pain to begin. I have only been passed on the bike twice this year...normally the faster riders are already ahead of me by the time I get out of the water. When this guy went by me for some reason I thought he had probably started in the wave 3 minutes behind me and I knew I couldn't give up too much time before the run. I let him get about 10 meters ahead of me and I went with him for about 2 miles before I realized I was way over my threshold pace. I knew I would have to back it down or I would risk serious problems later on. I let him go and settled back into my own pace much more tired. I made sure to eat and drink lots on the bike. I think I put down over 100 ounces of fluid, 5 Hammer Gels, and a bunch of food that I had loaded into my Bento Box. Jen had told me I was crazy for carrying a buffet on my bike. I wanted to make sure I didn't bonk so I ate and ate and ate...The last 10 miles got a bit long and I was ready to begin the run. My average speed was at 24.2 which I felt pretty good about as I entered transition but I didn't know how far ahead the guy who passed me was. When I entered transition there were no bikes around mine at all. I knew I was having a good race and thought to myself that I must be in the top 3...my goal for turning pro next year. I left the bike and headed out on the run putting on my Garmin GPS watch and sunglasses.
RUN: Out of transition I took a cup of water and dumped it on my head. I grabbed another and dumped it also...not expecting to be dumping a cup full of Coke on my head... I took off at what felt like a pretty conservative pace but when I glanced down at the mile mark I was 5:42. It didn't feel very hard so I thought I would stick to that pace. My running workouts lately have been my best ever and it had left me with tons of confidence heading into this race. At the 3 mile mark I was averaging 5:45 pace but the problems began there...the buffet I had eaten during the bike was not settling well in my stomach. It was becoming more painful to breath and running fast only made it worse. My stomach was giving me sharp pains with each breath. I began to get seriously worried about this. Here I was in my peak race of the season hoping to be in the top 3 and all of a sudden I was running 6:30 pace and it was killing me to breath. For the first time all season I was having serious problems in a race. I was debating my options...continue to slow down...stop and stretch my diaphram...stop and walk for a bit...I didn't know what to do. When I saw Jen at the end of my first lap (it was a 3 loop course) I said I was cramping pretty bad and she gave me the "suck it up" look. I felt like my stomach was being pressed in by my jersey and in an Ironman event you can't take the jersey off so I decided to pull the bottom of the jersey up to let my stomach hang out. Although I'm sure I didn't win any "cool looks" awards for this move it seemed to help almost instantly. The difficulty I was having in breathing began to subside and by mile 5 I was feeling almost no pain again. My average pace had slowed to 6:02. I was thinking if I could average 6:10-6:15 I would still have a shot to be top 3. I settled back into a comfortable pace and was still passing the crowds of people who were beginning their first loop of the run. At mile 7 I passed the guy who had passed me on the bike. I recognized his long socks and I thought I needed to find a way to put 3 minutes on him over the last 6 miles...30 seconds per mile. I wasn't sure I could do it because he looked pretty good when I passed him. When I came through my second loop I knew I feeling much better than after my first loop. My average pace was still at 6:02. I began running harder knowing I needed to make up time. At mile 11 I got a time check on the guy with long socks and I was 2:30 ahead of him. I knew if I had a solid finish I could get the 3:00 I needed on him. The last 2 miles I pushed hard and tried to keep from running into the hundreds or thousands of people on the narrow run course. My feet were burning bad with lots of blisters and I wanted badly to finish the race so I could take my shoes off. In the last 1/2 mile I got a huge cramp in my hamstring. I had to back off a little bit. I thought about my friend Dave Terronez who did many Sunday long runs with me. I ran a 1/2 marathon with Dave about a month ago and had to witness a series of terrible hamstring cramps he suffered through in the last mile. I didn't want that to happen to me so I shortened my stride a little and tried to keep the pace as high as possible without getting another one of those awfully painful cramps. When I entered the arena to finish I was hoping to run straight into the chute but found out we had to run a loop around the arena. Although it was only a hundred yards or so I wanted to be done. When I was running the loop the announcer called my name and said I was an amateur heading for a podium finish. I crossed the line excited by the race time...4:09:24. I thought that the race was solid enough for a top 3 finish but really hoped for a win. I was hurting bad with cramping but when they offered me a wheelchair I had to decline. I could not let myself be wheeled away in a chair. I waited for the guy with the long socks and he came in about 5:00 after me. He came up and congratulated me. I asked what wave he was in and he said it was the same one I had been in. I congratulated him on an outstanding bike split and in a language I could barely understand he said he was a professional cyclist from Canada for Team Cofidis (which I knew raced in the Tour de France). He said, "I race Lance Armstrong". At that point I was pretty pleased that I had actually stuck with the guy for 2 miles. As it turned out he had a faster bike split than any of the professional riders. My run time for the 1/2 marathon was 1:17:00. It was the 20th best run split including the professionals and was the top run split from my wave. As I later found out in looking at results I was down to the 2nd place finisher by 4:00 heading to the run and needed all of the 4:30 gap I put on him in the run.

When the results were posted I found out I had placed 18th overall behind 17 professionals which meant I was the overall amateur champion. Complete results with splits can be found at http://www.mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=4104 (the pro athletes are all numbered under 100) Everything I had worked for over the past year...all the miles, swim yards, weight lifting session, plyometrics, core work, lunges, and drills had paid off. I used to ask my athletes when I coached, "Was it worth it?"...they knew exactly what I meant. I ask myself the same question, "Was it worth it?" Without any doubt in my mind, "Hell Yes!" It was worth every minute of the countless hours of training. From the lonely hours spent on the trainer at night to the runs under the moon, to the times I was lifting weights when most people were sleeping, it was worth every second of the training. More than the pro license, the overall amateur title, the improvements in races, the journey was worth more than I can describe. This journey has take me from 202 lbs. to 161. This journey has given me confidence that all things are possible if you have a dream and are willing to pay the price to reach it. I paid the price. Next year I will be racing against some of the best triathletes in the world when I enter professional races. I don't ever envision myself being a pro that makes lots of money in this sport but I do believe I can compete with them and belong in the same race with them. I have so much more improvement to make and it will begin in 3 weeks.
Jen and I enjoyed the rest of our trip in Austin by visiting Lance Armstrong's bike shop, checking out the University of Texas track and football fields and the trophy shrine that go along with it. I even enjoyed a huge Oreo shake from Jack in the Box, a fastfood joint in the south that my grandparents took me to when I was younger and we would visit them in Texas. This trip was paid for with some money my grandma left me when she passed away this summer. I know grandma was smiling down on me deep in the heart of Texas where she used to spend every winter. This performance couldn't have been possible without Jen traveling with me. It was the best mini-vacation I've ever had and she helped make the entire trip a whirlwind of fun. Healthy Habits, Zipp, and Kaminski Pain and Performance Care believed in me when I went to them with this crazy idea about wanting to be a professional triathlete last year. Thanks to all of them for the enduring support and help in making this dream a reality. Next week's post will be devoted to thanking all the wonderful support I've had. The only downside of the trip was that when we boarded our plane I watched from my window seat as they tossed my Zipp bag of wheels onto the plane and sure enough...when we arrived in Chicago my Zipp disc was cracked in two spots and had 3 dents in it. I'm hoping that Southwest will take care of that as I filed a damage report immediately after we landed. Thanks to anyone who stuck through this long post. I hope this dream of mine has helped to inspire you that anything is possible if you're willing to pay the price. I have and I will continue to as I move through the professional ranks next year. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

I'm borrowing this line from someone...but I can't remember who. Just a quick post from the hotel to let you know that I won the Amateur race in Texas today with a time of 4:09:24 I think. Click on this link for results. http://ironman.com/events/ironman70.3/longhorn70.3?show=tracker. There was a good size pro field and I think I beat 7 of the professional athlete times. I'll post more tomorrow or Tuesday when we get home but thanks for reading. It's been a long year since beginning on November 3rd with this goal in mind. I knew it would be tough so I was pretty excited to qualify to race professionally. I paid a price...for the last year and today in the race. I'm SUPER sore. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Longhorn 70.3...1 week

Only 1 week to go until my last race of the year. This was a good week running and swimming but my bike mileage was down a bit. I ran 50 miles, swam 10,000 yards, and biked only 70 miles. I was set to bike on Sunday night only to find my trustworthy indoor trainer for the past 8 years was no longer working. That meant no ride tonight but it doesn't have me worried. Probably the best thing I had going for me this week was that I did not get sick. We've had quite the outbreak of H1N1...more commonly known as Swine Flu at our school. We had over 100 kids sick on 3 different days this week...not all from H1N1 but either way there were a lot of sick kids that I was trying to avoid while teaching. God answered my prayers by getting me through the week feeling great. I'm planning a big taper this week that should have me feeling fresh and ready to race well next Sunday. The temperaturs look good for Austin, TX as I was worried about this since the day I signed up it was 100 degrees there. It should be highs in the 70's. Mentally I'm ready to go for this race. I'm in wave 15 which starts 45 minutes after the professionals. This should make the race lots of fun since there will be lots of people on the course to pass. I'm convervatively thinking I can go 4:14 but if all goes really well I hope to be under 4:10. Being top 3 is really my goal and I'm going in with the mindset that I'm racing to win. I'll try to post something from the hotel next Sunday night to let you know how it went. Thanks to everyone for following. Lots of hard work has gone into preparation for this final race. I began training nearly 1 year ago on November 3rd and I'm ready for my best race ever this weekend. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Longhorn 70.3...2 weeks away!

This week of training was a bit of a rest week for me. After 4 solid weeks of increasing my training load I decided it would be good to back down a bit for a week. My total training time was 17.5 hours. For the week I ran 40 miles, biked 130 miles, and swam 8,400 yards. I still lifted weights 3 times, did plyometrics once, speed drills and strides 3 times, and core work 5 times. I possibly had my best bike workout ever on Thursday. This is a workout I have done 4 of the past 5 weeks. I do a 43 mile ride with 6x 10 minutes hard followed by 5 minutes recovery between each. With my Cycleops Powertap I'm able to track my wattage on the hard periods. Each time I have done this workout my watts have increased. The first 3 times I did the workout my wattage average on the hard periods was 258, 272, and 280. This week my average watts increased again to 292. I was pretty excited about the workout. I also had a very good workout on the track on Wednesday. I worked out with the Pleasant Valley high school cross country team and we did 8x 400 meters moving out a lane each one. By moving out a lane each one we were running a little bit further each time because of the extra distance added by the outside lanes. My slowest one was 77 seconds and that was in lane 2. My times were 76, 77, 75, 74, 75, 73, 74, and 70. 70 seconds in lane 8 is equivilant to about a 63 for 400 meters. It felt good to get some speed work in. I'm looking forward to the race in 2 weeks with great anticipation of being in the top 3. Thanks for following...DREAM BIG!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Longhorn 70.3 Preparation...

3 week to go...I can't wait to race the 70.3 in Austin. I feel like I'm as fit as I've ever been. I've managed to balance 20+ hours of training each week the past 4 weeks with a 40 hour a week job. I've lost about 5 lbs. since I began my preparation for this race. I've increased the weight on my leg lifts and I'm feeling stronger on the bike than I have ever been. This was another solid week of training despite the cold and rainy weather here in the midwest. For the week my total training time was 21 hours. I ran 61 miles (my most since camp), biked 140 miles, and swam twice for 7,800 yards. I also lifted 3 times, did speed drills and strides 3 times, core work 5 times, and plyometrics and lunges twice. I had a great running workout on Wednesday when I ran 7.5 miles easy and then did 7x 1 mile repeats with 2 minutes rest between each. My times were 5:32, 5:31, 5:31, 5:28, 5:28, 5:28, and 5:12. The most mile repeats I'd ever done in a workout before this was 5. I slowed the times down a bit since I'm training for the 1/2 Ironman. It was tough but the workout gives me great confidence that I can get off the bike and run a great 1/2 marathon to finish the race off. I also had the longest ride and run of my Austin preparation this past weekend. I rode 80 miles on Saturday in tough weather conditions and then followed it up with a 15 mile run on Sunday morning, my longest run of the year. Next Saturday will be a test workout I've been planning since I began my Longhorn 70.3 training plan. I'll be doing a 60 mile ride Saturday morning followed by a hard 10 mile run on hills to simulate the course in Austin. I'm hoping to average 6:10 pace for the 10 mile brick run. Thanks for reading...DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Road to Austin...Weekly Training Summary

This was my third week back to regular training in preparation for the Longhorn 70.3 race in Austin, TX on October 25th. I've really started to feel in great shape again. I'm slowly building my long ride and long run back up as I believe those are keys to racing well in the longer distances. For the week my total training time was 23 hours. This would have been a modest week during the summer but now that school is back it is probably the highest volume I've had in a week where I worked 40 hours. For the week I ran 55 miles, biked 165, and swam 9,100 yds. In addition to those totals I lifted weights 3 times, did speed drills, strides, lunges, and plyometrics all twice, and core work 5 times. My toughest workout of the week was a 70 mile long ride on Saturday followed by a 4 mile tempo brick run right after the ride in 23:14 (5:48 pace). I did the run on lots of hills to simulate the run course in Austin. On Wednesday I had a good bike interval workout. I did a 43 mile ride with 6x 10 minutes hard followed by 5 minutes recovery in the middle of the ride. I've done this workout 3 straight weeks now and my wattage numbers have increased each time on the 60 minutes of hard riding from 258, to 271 last week, to 280 this week. On Sunday I did a long run of 13 miles which was the furthest I've gone in 5 weeks. I'll get to 14 next week but won't go over that before the race. I was fortunate to talk to triathlete Chad Beert who raced in Austin last year and he was kind enough to go over the course and details of the race with me on the phone. I'm excited to race a great field there and hope to be in contention for the win. 3 more weeks of tough training before a week long taper. Thanks for reading...DREAM BIG!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Longhorn 70.3 Weely Training Summary

Well...let me start by letting you know I couldn't think of a creative title for this post. It's basically just a recap of how training went this week. I'm not sure whether to count these weeks as part of last year's training or a new year. I'm not even sure when the official triathlon year ends. I'm thinking I may call last week my first week back of training which would make this week 2. I guess I'm being too technical with this decision. Training is training and this was a good week of it...probably my best week since my 10 Days and 10 Nights camp in early August. For the week I met all my weekly goals. I ran 50 miles, biked 155, and swam 9,500 yards. I lifted weights three times, did speed drills and strides three times, lunges and plyometrics twice each and core work six times. I also got in to see Dr. Kaminski for ART once this week and that left me feeling great. My training time totalled 21.5 hours this week which is a great week now that I'm back to teaching. I'm getting more used to the routine of training after school and am trying to iron out the most convenient schedule to be efficient with the training.
Since my volume is less than the summer months of training I've really been focusing on the quality of the workouts. I biked 4 times this week. One day was long but I had two of the other days where I did very tough quality intervals. In the pool I began swimming with the Stingrays Club team. They are mostly junior high and high school kids and I'm thankful their coach has given me the chance to work out with them. The workouts have been very tough for me but training with a group is what I need right now. For running I had a great workout on Friday of 5x 1 mile repeats after a warmup. I took 2 minutes rest between each one. My goal was to run the first one at 10k pace and cut down little by little. My times were 5:32, 5:29, 5:25, 5:20, and 5:02. I went very hard on the last one but was excited to run nearly 5:00. I've also been excited by my progress in the weight room. I've increased the weight on my leg lifts by 10% in hopes that the additional strength will lead to improvements on the bike. More than anything this week while I was out training alone...which is nearly every workout, I began focusing on the task at hand. I began thinking about Longhorn 70.3 on October 25th. I'm excited to race there with a goal of being in the top 3. I'm trying to find as much as I can about the course and conditions. I'm very confident and excited to race another 70.3.
On a side note, I skipped a race in Iowa City this weekend. It is one I would have liked to do but my goal is on Austin and I know how valuable the weekend of training is. Had I raced in Iowa City I would have missed some key workouts. Instead of that race I was able to get 8.5 hours of training in this weekend. That decision will be well worth it come October 25th. Thanks for reading...DREAM BIG!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Iowaman Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Saturday, September 12th I competed in a local triathlon called the Iowaman Triathlon. This is the second year of the event that is held at Scott County Park. It is pretty small and had only 104 participants but Top Shelf Race Productions does a nice job with this local race. It is a 400 meter pool swim, 15 mile bike ride through rural Scott County roads and then a 5k run within the park.
I arrived pretty early for the 7:30 race so I would have time to get in a longer warm-up than I typically do for a race. I wanted to get some mileage as I'm building up for the 1/2 Ironman in Austin, TX on October 25th. I ran a 1.5 mile warm-up and then did 7 miles of biking. I didn't time things well as I found myself in a hurry to put my race jersey and shorts on about 20 minutes before the start. I found the world's most disgusting porta-potty across the road from the race site and held my breath while I changed. By the time I got down to the pool everyone was already lined up in order of expected swim times.
Swim: I entered the water as the 4th competitor. It was a time trial swim start with someone starting every 10 seconds. The swim was a disaster from the beginning. Being in a pool I expected to be doing flip turns on the end but ran into the first wall without turning because the wall had no marks on it and the color of the paint blended in really well with the water. I changed strategy and decided against the flip turns. I had no rhythm at all in the swim as I was running into the lane lines and couldn't figure out which side I wanted to breath to. The swim was short enough I just counted my losses and decided to try to make it up on the bike. As it was I exited with the 5th fastest swim of the day in a time of 6:33. This was only 8 seconds faster than last year and I'm a much better swimmer than that.
Bike: I had a good transition to the bike and came out of it in 2nd place. I could see the leader, Chris Scott about 30 seconds ahead of me. Chris is a good triathlete from Morrison, IL. We've raced against each other quite a few times. The first couple miles was through the park with some steep descents and a couple sharp turns. I was pretty cautious through the park and caught the leader just as we exited the park. At that point I started riding really hard and had a solid ride. I had done a much more intense workout on the day before the race than I have all year since I was training through this one so I didn't know what to expect. I finished the bike leg with a time of 34:58, which was a 25.7 mph average. This was about a minute faster than last year's bike time. My bike ranking was 1st in the race out of the 104 competitors.
Run: Another good transition had me out on the run deciding how hard I wanted to push. The only brick run I had done in the previous two weeks was the night before the race and this week had been my highest mileage in a month so I wasn't sure how the legs would feel. I put the Garmin GPS watch on to check my mileage pace. I was able to hold 5:35-5:40 pretty comfortable until the last mile. Some of it is through a trail in the woods and the grass was still wet so I slowed it down and proceeded with caution. We then finished with a couple good hills and my pace had slowed to 5:45 by the finish. My final run time was 17:44 which was also about a minute faster than last year. That run split was the top ranked of the day. I finished with a time of 1:01:14, a couple minutes faster than last year. Chris Scott took second place in 1:05:08. Complete results with splits can be found at http://www.theracershub.com/files/299-683.txt Congratulations to all the finishers of the race. For many it was their first triathlon and hopefully they enjoyed it and are hooked on the sport. It was great seeing lots of members of Team Tri-Fit at the race. The title sponsor of the race was Cafe Express and they are owned by club members Teresa and AJ Perisho.
For the week I began my 6 week progression with 140 bike miles, 45 run miles, and 7,500 swim yards. I also got back in the weight room and lifted 3 times, as well as doing lunges twice, speed drills and strides three times, and core work 4 times. My total training time this week was about 17 hours. I'm looking forward to getting back into good shape and having a great race in 6 weeks. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!
For the week

Monday, September 7, 2009

Austin, Texas...Here I come

After finishing the Chicago Triathlon last weekend with my best race to date I was contemplating taking some time off of training. I took 3 days off to start the week. This was not only needed mentally but also physically as my right hamstring was slightly strained from the effort last weekend. On Wednesday I decided to look up the 70.3 1/2 Ironman race series to see if any races were left this year. I found one in Austin, TX that looked very appealing. Being a 70.3 race it is a pro-qualifier where the top 3 amateur finishers can turn pro. This race is also not until October 25th which gives me 7 weeks to build back into good training and then rest up for the race. I kept thinking about the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" where they are collecting the dead bodies and they bring out the guy who isn't dead yet. The famous line from the movie, "I'm not dead yet" kept reciting through my head and I decided to sign up for the race. I resumed training over the weekend and will set goals each week building up for the next 6 weeks before tapering for 1 week before the race. My goal for this one is pretty simple...a top 3 performance. I'll continue giving training updates every Sunday leading up to this race. I'm excited to resume regular training and I should be rested due to the long taper leading to Chicago and the time off after the race. I feel a little out of shape only 1 week removed from my best race yet but that's expected considering how much I backed off for Chicago. I will be racing a small local sprint triathlon next weekend. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chicago Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Sunday August 30th I competed in my peak race for the year, the Chicago Triathlon. This was my 3rd and final pro-qualifying race of the year. At each of these races the top 3 from the Elite Amateur races can turn professional. My first one, at Hy-Vee, I was 20th, my 2nd one in Minneapolis I was 12th. In Chicago I was hoping to build on that with a top 10 finish. Jen, Payton, and I made the drive to Chicago on Friday night and stayed with my good friend Zeb Gilliam and his wife. On Saturday I picked up my packet and went for a short run with Zeb. My wave would be the first one to start the Olympic Distance race at 7:28 a.m. on Sunday. I was able to manage about 5 hours of sleep before waking up at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. I had my typical pre-race favorite breakfast of a belgium waffle with peanut butter and syrup before getting my things packed up and heading to the race course. The transition area closes before the sun comes up at 5:45. I had plenty of time to walk through the massive transition area to find the most direct route in and out of both transitions. This is important in a race where there are 9,000 bikes racked. It would be easy to skip this small detail and struggle to find my bike or my running shoes. I would be competing in the Elite Amateur race with about 110 guys. I got a good warm-up of 2 miles running and some drills and strides before putting the wet suit on. They do not allow swim warm-ups in Chicago since they have sprint race waves going in starting at 6:30 a.m.
Swim: I knew the swim start would be very crowded. There were about 110 Elite males and 60 elite females in my wave. The swim start isn't very wide so it makes for a very rough start. I tried to hug the wall all the way on the right so I could use my new swim technique in which I breath to my left. I've found I rotate much more efficiently when I breath to my left. I got out hard and the first couple hundred yards was pretty intensely crowded but after that it got much easier. We began by swimming south for about 375 yards before making the turn around the bouey to swim back past where we started. After making the turn I was swimming on the left side. I really didn't draft on anyone's feet during the swim. I tried to focus on my own rhythm and I felt pretty good. I had one mishap where I ran into a bouey and hit it pretty hard. After that I got back into my rhythm. I exited the water in 57th place. My time out of the water was 21:30 but our swim time runs until we reach the transition area which is about 500 yards away. I was 23:13 when I hit transition which was about a minute and a half faster than last year. I was feeling pretty good about this.
Bike: Out on the bike I spotted a great triathlete from Illinois, Ryan Giuliano riding next to me. Ryan is a pro duathlete who like me has a weakness in the swim. We exchanged leads numerous times on the bike being careful to stay out of the draft zone as our wave had been warned before the start that there would be 15 marshalls on the course watching the Elite Amateur race for rule infractions. I was passing lots of riders from the elite wave early. The first 6 miles was into the wind which was blowing at about 13 mph right into our faces. When we made the turn the speed quickly went from 24 mph to about 29 on the way back. The course is two loops on Lake Shore Drive. It is very flat with a few potholes that can cause for some scary moments on the bike. After one loop someone yelled that we were in 22nd place. I had moved up considerably on the first lap and knew I had a shot at reaching my goal of being in the top 10 by races end. On the 2nd loop the Elites were more spread out. I pushed hard on this lap and finished up the bike ride with a split of 58:21. This came out to a 26.0 mph average since the course is a few tenths of a mile long. My bike ranking was 4th out of the Elite Amateurs. This was a new best average for me and my first time breaking an hour over 40 kilometers. When I got off the bike I was in 16th place.
Run: I tried to follow Ryan Giuliano's torrid pace through transition 2 and it led to one of the faster transition times of the day. I knew he was an amazing runner and I wouldn't be seeing him for long. Out on the run I put the Garmin GPS watch on to monitor my pace. I was hoping to average 5:35 per mile. I went through the first mile in about 5:28 and I had already moved into 11th. My pace started to slow just after the 2 mile mark but I continued gaining on some of the guys in front of me. The turnaround in Chicago is about 3.5 miles into the race. At that point I was able to count the guys in front of me. I was in 8th place at the time with a couple guys close behind me. I had been passed by a guy that I caught back up to and sat on for the next two miles. My pace had slowed to about 5:45 and I was getting some small cramps in my hamstrings. I moved into 6th place with about a mile to go and started pushing really hard. With a half mile left I knew I had a good shot at breaking 2 hours which was my other big goal. I passed another guy to move into 5th but there were 3 still really close to me. I pushed hard the last 1/2 mile and was passed by one of the guys I had passed earlier in the last 100 meters. He came flying by me and my legs were trashed so there was no response. I wanted to go but my hamstring cramps were getting worse by the second. I could hear Zeb and Jen yelling for me with 100 meters to go and I finished up with a total time of 1:59:24. This was a PR for me by almost 3 minutes. My run time was 35:21 (5:42 pace) which also ranked 4th of the elite amateurs. Complete results from the elite amateur race with splits can be found at http://results.active.com/pages/searchform.jsp?&rsID=82900&queryType=division&page=1&numPerPage=25&posted_p=t&showCustom=true Although I didn't hit the pro qualification I was thrilled with the race. I went in knowing I probably would not be in the top 3. I was hoping for top 10 so to get 6th was a great race for me. My time was almost 6 minutes faster than last year which reflects the past 10 months of hard work. As my first season of year round training comes to a close I'm proud of the progress I was able to make. Although I have yet to hit the pro-qualification I believe I am capable of doing so at the 1/2 Ironman Distance. I have lots of work to do. It won't be easy. I'm excited about the progress I made in the Olympic Distance pro-qualifying races going from 20th to 12th to 6th in the 3 I did this summer. Next year I'll move up distances and make the 1/2 Ironman my focus. For now I'll keep training for a couple weeks but without near the focus or intensity. I'm planning to do a small local race in a couple weeks. I have to thank my sponsors, Kaminski Pain and Performance Care, Healthy Habits, and Zipp for helping make this year a big success. Without you this progress wouldn't have been possible. I saw Dr. Kaminski for some ART on Thursday that had me feeling great on race day. Healthy Habits gave my bike a super tune-up and had it ready to race my fastest bike split ever and that was aided with the world's fastest wheels...Zipp! Mostly I'd like to thank my wife Jen for her support through the first year of this journey. She has given me unbelievable support in training to prepare for the success that has come this season. I also want to thank the many people who sent me encouraging e-mails, phone calls, or comments on the blog. Thanks to all of you who read this. I hope my journey has been able to inspire you to DREAM BIG!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Big Taper...

It's been 42 weeks since I began this journey on November 3rd. I had penciled in the Chicago Triathlon to be my peak race for the year. That race is now just 1 week away.
The Numbers: 468,250 swim yards, 4,608 bike miles, 1,567 run miles, 95 trips to the weight room, over 150 sessions of core work.
These numbers don't tell the story however. I have an e-mail that has sat in my inbox since August 25, 2008. The e-mail was one I sent to myself the day after the Chicago Triathlon a year ago. I had just decided that I wanted to stop coaching so I could train year round. In the e-mail I sent myself 9 specific training goals for this year. I accomplished every one of them except for one which was to run 33:30 in the 10k on the track in April. I had planned to run one in April but that is when I was injured with the cyst on my achilles tendon. The other 8 I have been able to check off. More important than the numbers is the mental toughness I have gained from the numbers. I am more confident going into Chicago than I have ever been going into a race. This week I had my best workout ever on the track. Tuesday I ran a 400, 800, 1200, 1200, 800, and 400. I averaged 4:57 pace/mile through the workout getting faster as I came back down the ladder. My last 400 was the fastest I ran in a workout since I can't remember when. Today I did a 31 mile ride easy with 10x 1 minute hard periods followed by a minute easy. I averaged over 27 mph on the hard periods. My overall ride was at 22.6 mph which is the fastest training ride I've ever had. When I got off the bike I ran a fast mile in 5:19. All of this leaves me believing that I can go under 2 hours next Sunday while placing in the top 10 of the Elite Amateur race. This is the one I hoped to have a peak performance at. The hard work is finished...my mind is ready to race...it's going be great! Thanks for following. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Du State Duathlon Race Report and Results

On Sunday, August 16th I raced in the 20th Annual Du State Duathlon which was held at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve just outside of Andalusia, IL. This event is put on by our local Cornbelt Running Club and Quad City Bike Club. 131 individuals and teams braved the threats of heavy rain for this event. I've done this event a few times before and it is always fun. I have used this race as a tune-up for Chicago the last few years. Last year I won it in a time of 1 hr. 47 seconds. It came just one week before my race in Chicago so I had a week of taper under my belt at that time. This year the duathlon fell two weeks before Chicago so I have not yet begun my taper. I traveled to the race with my daughter Payton and my wife Jen, who was competing in a relay with local triathlete Laurel Darren. Jen would be doing the running portion but not too hard since she's pregnant and we will be expecting our second child sometime in March.

I looked at this race more as a really tough training workout for the week. I didn't get up as early before the race as I normally do. I was up at 5:30 and was just finishing my breakfast at 6:00 for the 8:00 race which almost proved to be too close to race time for me. We didn't arrive at the park until 45 minutes before the race and I still had to register. I got registered and got my bike racked and had just enough time to put the Zipp jersey on and get a 1.5 mile warm-up run in before the instructions. I had looked at the results from the past races to see what the records were. Jeff Castro had the record with a 57:50 in 2004. The next best was 58:33 in 2001. I didn't think I could go 57:50 but thought 58:33 was a realistic time. The duathlon consists of approximately a 2 mile run, 15 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Both runs are a bit short of 2 miles with the 2nd one being a little shorter than the first.

Run 1: When the gun sounded I found myself in the lead within the first 100 meters. This typically isn't how I like to run. I like to sit back for awhile and feel the race out but no one was setting a very fast pace so I took it. I ran pretty relaxed and my Garmin GPS watch had me averaging about 5:24 pace for the first run. At the turnaround of the run I was not far from the chase pack. I stayed very relaxed through the first run and came in with a time of 10:47 which was the top ranked run of the day. I didn't realize until I saw the results but the chase pack was only 10-15 seconds behind me.

Bike- Out on the bike is where I began to increase my lead. I was riding the Zipp 808 front wheel combined with the Zipp 1080 rear. This wheelset has proved good luck for me as I've raced it twice this year and won both of those races. It's extremely beneficial when it's windy or hilly and we had a little wind and a lot of hills to deal with. This wheelset is very light so it is good for climbing the hills. This is an extremely tough bike course with some long difficult climbs. At the first bike turnaround about 3 miles into the race my lead had grown to 40 seconds. I continued to push the pace and we reached the killer hill going into Illinois City just before the next turnaround at about mile 9. This hill has got to be close to 3/4 mile long. It is a tough grade and was made even tougher with the wind in our face going up it. I was out of the saddle most of the climb and my bike was giving me trouble shifting a bit on the hill. A couple times I almost lost my 2 peanut butter bagels that I ate for breakfast...note to self...stick to the 3 hour rule before a race. When I got to the top of the hill I made my way to the turnaround and timed my lead coming back at 1:20. The next 4 miles were extremely fast with a slight wind at our back until we hit one more really tough hill going back into the park. I had a great running dismount that Jen caught a series of pictures on as she was waiting to go on her second run. My 36:42 bike split was the fastest of the 131 competitors by 2 minutes and 26 seconds.








Run 2: As I was in my last couple miles of the bike I began to realize I had a shot at the course record. I knew it was going to be close but I was starting to pay attention to my watch. After I dismounted I glanced down at my watch and knew I needed to run about 9:50 on the second run. The second one is a bit shorter than the first due to the placement of the finish line. I thought a 10:00 was possible if I had a really good one but 9:50 would be a stretch. Either way, I was going to go after it. I had to do it all alone. I got into a good rhythm early and tried to push the pace. I kept watching the clock as it was getting closer to 57:50, the mark I was aiming for. At the turnaround I knew I needed to come back in about 4:40. I pushed hard and told myself when I got within 2 minutes of the record time I would turn it up one more notch until the finish. I did just that. The last 2 minutes were pretty tough as I watched the clock turn over. I could see the clock at 57:40 but I still had a bit to go. By the time I reached the finish line it was at 57:56, 6 seconds off the record time. Complete results with splits can be found at http://www.cornbelt.org/r/du09spl.htm
I wasn't too disappointed because I orginally didn't think that was a time I was ready to go. I hadn't felt very good training all week as my legs still aren't fully recovered from the training camp I ended a week ago. This time was almost 3 minutes faster than I went last year and it was good enough to win the race this year by 4 minutes and 1 second. My second run ended up being much faster than my first as I ran it in 9:53. It was the fastest ranked 2nd run of the day by 52 seconds.

Jen's relay also won the women's relay division. We were thankful to have some help watching Payton from Jess Zimmer, our high school principal's daughter. Mr. Zimmer completed the duathlon the day after a 20 mile long run he did in preparation for a fall marathon. Congratulations to all the finishers in this year's race. This is one that all finishers should be proud of considering how tough the hills are on the bike course. For me the big taper will begin tomorrow. I had a very quality week of training even with the return to school this week. I cut the volume a bit but did 3 very intense bike rides, swam 10,000 yards, and ran 40.5 miles with a lot of quality and speed work. I'll be cutting back even more over the next two weeks in hopes of a big Olympic Distance PR in Chicago on August 30th. I'm hoping to break 2 hours and be in the top 10 of the Elite Amateur division. My belief on a taper is that less is better as long as the foundation has been built. I've been building the foundation since I began this journey on November 3rd. In that time I've probably only taken 7-10 days where I didn't train at all. I've done the work and now I'll rest up. I have never wished I had done more in a taper but many times I wished I had done less. I'll be cutting my training time down in the range of 7-10 hours the next two weeks which will be about 1/3 of what I was doing a few weeks ago. Thanks for reading and following the journey. DREAM BIG!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 10 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

The 2009 version of my camp, "10 Days and 10 Nights" is officially in the books! I have to thank my wife Jen for being a Super Trooper through this camp. I spent a great deal of time training and she was super supportive through the entire camp. She has given me unconditional support through this entire journey and I would not be having the success I am without her. This was the toughest 10 day stretch of training I've ever done. It was extremely tough physically but even more so mentally. Nearly all of the training I did was alone and it made it tough each day to get myself to go out to train on tired legs with a mind that was tired of training. For my last day of camp I began with a 4 mile easy morning run followed by a weight lifting session of 2 sets of 10 on all my lifts. As I reduce the reps I increase the weight so this was my heavy weight day. In the late afternoon I went to the pool for 3,100 yards of swimming with a hard set of 4x (75, 50, 25). I take 20 seconds rest after the 75, 10 after the 50, and 1 minute after the 25 before repeating the set. I've done this a number of times but this was by far the fastest I've done it. I hit my last 75 in 52 which is very good for me. My new swim technique has me excited about my potential in Chicago. I'm not going to be out of the water with the leaders but I plan on reducing the gap over Hy-Vee and Minneapolis. After swimming I did a running workout with a 2.5 mile warm up including my speed drills and strides. I then did 5x 600 meters on the track with 90 seconds rest between each. I hit them all in 1:59 (5:20 mile pace). I wanted to see how I would feel in a workout at the end of this tough block of training. I did a short cooldown and then got on the bike for a semi-hard 19 mile ride. It was getting really dark and I had to go quick. I averaged 240 watts on the ride. Following that I finished camp with lunges, core work and the claw drill.
1. 4 mile run
2. Weight Lifting- 2 sets of 10
3. 3,100 yards swimming
4. 4.5 miles of running with 5x 600 meters
5. 19 mile bike ride
6. Core, Lunges, Claw drill
Total training time for day 10 was 4 hours even.

For the 10 Days and 10 Nights I hit 520 miles on the bike, 106 miles running, and 26,000 yards swimming. In addition to those totals I lifted weights 5 times, did lunges, speed drills, and the claw drill all 5 times each, and core work 7 times. My total training time through the "10 Days and 10 Nights" was 51 hours and 25 minutes. It is now time for me to focus on some race specific workouts for Chicago the next 10 days and then get a really good taper so I can achieve a peak performance. My goals are to go under 2 hours for the first time in an Olympic Distance race and to place in the top 10. I began camp without any specific goals but after the first couple days I decided I wanted my volume to total 4 Full Ironman Races through the 10 days. I was able to achieve that as 4 Ironman events would total about 17,000 swim yards, 448 bike miles, and 105 running miles. I was able to surpass all of those totals. This camp leaves me with great confidence that I will be able to reach my goals in Chicago on August 30th. Thanks for following the camp. DREAM BIG!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 9 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

This brutal camp is finally coming to a close. Tomorrow will be the last day of this madness. This has been the toughest 10 days of training I have ever done. I began day 9 of camp by riding 100 miles. I was by myself for this one. It felt about as good as a 100 mile ride can. Following some ART from Dr. Kaminski I headed to the pool for 3,500 yards. I have made some changes with my swim stroke and I'm feeling really good. I'm mostly doing easy swims with lots of technique drills in an effort to make my changes permanent. After the swim I got a good dinner and then finished camp today by running 9.5 miles followed by 4x 200 meters in 37, 36, 34, 32.
1. 100 mile bike ride
2. 3,500 yards swimming
3. 10 miles running with 4x200's on the end
4. Core work
My total training time for today was 7 hours and 40 minutes

9 Day Camp Totals: Bike- 501 miles, Run- 97.5 miles, Swim- 22,900 yards
Tomorrow is my final day of camp...taking applications for camp next year...free entry to anyone who is interested. DREAM BIG!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 8 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

My 8th day of camp was a good one. I felt the best I have since day 1. I think taking yesterday was good for me both mentally and physically. I began camp with a 9 mile run followed by speed drills and strides. I then went to the pool for 4,000 yards of swimming with some hard intervals mixed in. At 5:00 I began the weekly group ride which takes place every Wednesday night in the QC. This is always a tough ride with lots of surging, breakaways, sprints, and high speeds. We went 50 miles and had some stretches of 10+ miles where we averaged over 26 mph. After the ride I went to our high school and lifted 2 sets of 12 on all my lifts. I finished camp this evening with a 3 mile run followed by lunges, core work, claw drill, and stretching.
1. 9 mile run
2. Speed Drills and Strides
3. 4,000 yards swimming
4. 50 mile bike ride
5. Weight Lifting- 2x 12
6. 3 mile run
7. Lunges, core, and claw drill
My total training time today was 6 hours and 5 minutes.

8 day camp totals: Run- 87.5 miles, Bike- 401 miles, Swim- 18,400 yards.
Only 2 days of camp left...DREAM BIG!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 7 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

Day 7 was a bit of a recovery day. Mentally, more than physically I was pretty fried today. I just could not get myself to train as much as I wanted. I ended up doing a 6 mile run in the morning and had a great 30 mile bike workout in the evening in which I pushed the 22 hills that I rode. My average watts up all the hills was between 400 and 500 depending on the grade of the hill and how long it was.

1. 6 mile run 2. 30 mile ride pushing hills Total training time was 2 hours and 10 minutes.

7 day camp totals: Run: 75.5 miles, Bike- 350 miles, Swim- 14,400 yards

Awesome video about the "underdog"...DREAM BIG!




Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 6 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

I'm getting used to waking up sore during this camp. I don't believe that will cease until the camp is over. After I got some breakfast in and walked around a bit I felt much better. I began camp by going for a 51 mile bike ride through the hills past McCausland to a small town of Low Moor where I refueled with a Gatorade. It was pretty windy today and I had 20 miles of the ride into the wind after turning around. Following the ride I took an hour and a half nap and then went to the pool for 4,000 yards of swimming with a main set of 8x 200's on the 3:00. I did the first 4 pull and the last 4 swim. I was hitting between 2:45 and 2:47 on all of them. Not too fast but I was alone and tired. Following a great dinner I finished camp with the night session of a 7.5 mile run in which I did hill intervals by running the 8 hills in the route really hard. I then did my speed drills and strides and went to the weight room to lift 2 sets of 15 on all my lifts at my lightest weight of the week. I then did 2 sets of 25 lunges and core work. I'll get a good stretch in before bed.
1. 51 mile bike ride
2. 4,000 yards swimming
3. 7.5 mile run
4. Speed drills and strides
5. Weight Lifting- 2x 15
6. Lunges
7. Core work
Total training time for day 6 was 5 hours and 40 minutes.

6 day camp totals: Run- 69.5 miles, Bike- 321 miles, Swim- 15,400 yards
I'm seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the "10 Days and 10 Nights" camp...DREAM BIG!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crossroads Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Saturday I drove to DeWitt, IA for the Crossroads Sprint Triathlon. The race fell in the middle of a 10 day intensive training camp I set up for myself so I planned to use the race as my hard speed workout for the week. I won the race last year but wasn't sure how it would go due to the high volume the 3 days leading up to it. In the 3 days before the race I biked 183 miles, ran 32.5 miles, and swam 10,400 yards. The day before the race I woke up with extreme soreness and I put in another pretty good day of training. The night before I finished camp for the day with a 9 mile run including speed drills and strides. I thought the drills and strides loosened me up quite a bit. On race morning I drove to DeWitt and dropped off my running shoes and race number at the second transition. This race is point to point. I then drove to the lake for a warm up consisting of a couple miles and speed drills and strides before putting on the wetsuit for a short swim warm-up. I was feeling pretty decent considering all the work I had put in leading up to the race. I knew the race would be tough with the wind out of the southwest because we finish the bike course with a 4 mile stretch straight west due to the point to point. What it meant was that 10 of the 15 miles would be into the wind.
Swim: I began the swim in the 3rd wave. The women went off at 8:00 a.m. and the 30-39 year old males went at 8:03. My wave began 3 minutes later. On the start I began by swimming hard to get out of the mess of the chaotic wave start. By the time we hit the first bouey I was in 2nd or 3rd from my wave. I pushed hard since the swim was only 500 yards and soon was leading my wave and passing swimmers from the wave ahead of me. I felt great in the water and knew I was having a good swim. I exited the water with the 4th fastest swim time of the 214 racers. I believe it was my best swim of the year. My swim time was 7:13.

Bike: Out on the bike I began passing riders who started in the waves ahead of me. I enjoy having people out ahead of me from other waves to catch. It makes for a much more enjoyable ride when there are people out there and I don't have to set the pace. The wind was pretty rough...I'm guessing about 15 mph. I was so glad to not be riding my Zipp disc. With a disc on the rear wheel I would have been getting blown all over the road. Thanks to the sponsorship from Healthy Habits and Zipp I was able to ride a Zipp 808 front wheel and a Zipp 1080 rear and I felt in complete control of the bike. This wheelset is very light so they are super fast on hills as well as handling the crosswinds without any trouble. At the first turnaround 5.5 miles into the race I spotted the leader, Chris Scott about 2:20 ahead of me. Chris is a great local triathlete that finished 2nd in this race last year. There were still a few other guys from the 30-39 year old wave in front of me as well as a few of the women's leaders. At the turnaround we began the last 10.5 miles that would be into the wind. This is where I feel very strong riding. I have gained a lot of power on the bike from spending a great deal of time in the weight room and doing lots of hill intervals this year. By mile 14 I was able to pass Chris Scott to move into the lead ahead of all the guys who started in the wave ahead of me. For the ride I averaged 24.9 mph which was pretty solid considering most of the ride was into the wind. My bike split was the fastest of the race by 2 minutes and 13 seconds. It was my 3rd race this year posting the fastest bike split.

Run: Exiting the 2nd transition I put on the Garmin GPS watch. I used this in Racine and liked having it on because I could constantly monitor my pace. I was hoping to try to run 5:30 pace as long as I could hold it. In Chicago for my peak race later this month I'm hoping to average 5:35 for the 10k. I'll be much more rested for that race. I began the run very fast and at the mile mark I was at 5:29 pace. At the turnaround I was at 5:30 pace and I pushed hard on the way back. When I finished the Garmin had me at 5:28 pace but it is either a bit off or the course was a touch long as the official results had me at 5:34 pace with a run time of 17:15. My run split was the fastest of the race by 48 seconds. I finished the race in 1:02:07 which turned out to be the winning time by 4 minutes and 7 seconds. I was very satisfied to race that well on tired legs. It was the fastest time on the course in the last 4 years and considering the direction of the wind I was very happy with the race. I was 2 minutes faster than last year when the wind wasn't bad at all and I was much more rested for that race. Complete results from the race with splits can be found at http://www.theracershub.com/files/290-648.txt

It was great having so many members of my family at the race. I really appreciated their support especially considering it wasn't very nice out with some rain early on. It was also great to see a big group of Team Tri-Fit members doing well in the race. So many of them have made tremendous improvements over the past year and it inspires me. Congratulations to club member Jessica Imm on winning the women's title with a great race. I hope Team Tri-Fit will continue to grow over the next year. We are currently up to 50 members which far exceeds my expectations for the first year. We had a great club cook out on Friday night before the race and it was nice seeing everyone there. Thanks to Dr. Kaminski of Kaminski Pain and Peformance Care for having me ready on race day even with all the volume I had put in.

I had a great week of training...mostly from the 5 days of camp. I ended the week with 300 miles biking, my highest total ever not counting RAGBRAI many moons ago. I also ran 67.5 miles which was my most since competing at Augustana College nearly 8 years ago. I swam 13,700 yards and lifted weights twice. I did lunges twice and core work 4 times. I plan to continue my camp for 5 more days before taking a day off next Saturday...I'll need it. As I'm finishing camp these days my thoughts are on the approaching race in Chicago on August 30th. This is my big peak race for the year. I'll be tapered and rested up for this one hoping for my best race ever. My main goal is to break 2 hours for the Olympic Distance course. I know it can happen. I'll put in the work now so I can rest up later and reap the benefits of that work in Chicago. Thanks for reading...Congrats to all the Crossroads finishers. DREAM BIG!