Sunday, May 31, 2009

Week 30 Training Summary

Week 30 began with my weekly weigh in on Monday morning. I was 161 lbs. which is the lightest I've been in over 6 years. One of the big reasons that I believed in the journey was because I knew I'd never raced a triathlon at the weight I should be if I want to be in my top shape. Even last year in Chicago when I went 2:05 for the Olympic distance race my weight was 175 lbs. I knew...or at least hoped that the year round committment would put me at a weight that would allow me to race much faster than I ever have. When I was running in college my "fighting weight" was 147 lbs. during my junior and senior seasons. I know I won't get that low because I'm much stronger now than I was then but I do think I can get to somewhere in the mid-150's.
This week marked a year from when I began my training last summer. At that time I weighed 196 lbs. and I was in sad shape. That first week I ran 15.5 miles, biked 100, and swam 5,700 yards. Fast forward one year to this best week of training since I began on November 3rd in preparation for this summer. This week my total training time was 21.5 hours. I ran 50 miles, biked 156, and swam 10,000 yards. In addition to those totals I also lifted weights 3 times, did my first plyometric session since the injury, did lunges twice, speed drills and strides 3 times, and core work 5 times. I'm in the best shape of my life! I did two very quality interval workouts running and biking. On Wednesday I ran 4 times 1 mile repeats with three minutes rest. My times were 5:35, 5:27, 5:18, and 5:10. I was excited about being able to drop that much time throughout the workout. My other hard running workout was on Friday and I believe it was my best one in many years. I set my bike up on the trainer at the track at Pleasant Valley and did a workout combined with cycling and running. My running intervals were 400, 800, 1200, 1200, 800, 400. Before each one I cycled hard on the trainer for 5 minutes and then got off and put on my running shoes and took off around the track. I averaged 5:10/mile pace throughout the entire workout getting faster on the 2nd half of it. I was hoping to be able to run 5:30 pace off the bike so this was a huge lift to my confidence heading into Pigman next weekend. I will be very disappointed if I'm not able to run at least 17:45 for the 5k at the end of the race. I think I should be able to run under 17:30. On Sunday I had a huge day of training with over 5 hours. I began by riding 46 miles easy in the morning. Early in the evening I got back on the bike and rode to a flat stretch of road and did 4 times of 3 miles at my time trial effort with 1 mile of easy riding between each. I did this on my training bike and averaged 336 watts through the workout with an average speed of 25.8 miles per hour. This was the fastest I've ridden in a workout on my training bike with my training wheels. It should be really fast next weekend on the Orbea with the Zipp wheelset. I'm going into this race probably as an unknown in the Elite field. There are about 25 guys in the Elite wave and 12 of them were USA Triathlon Age Group All-Americans last year. It's a chance for me to compete with a bunch of guys I've never been close to. I hope to be in the top 5 at the finish but I'll be putting it on the line with the mentality that I'm racing to win.
Payton turns 1 tomorrow and Super Mom did an amazing job of putting together a party attended by nearly 70 of our family and friends. It made for a great weekend! Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Race Report Swing into Spring Duathlon

This week my main focus was on getting a good week of training in. As part of that I wanted to race the Swing into Spring Duathlon in Davenport, IA. It has been 3 years since I did this event. They had about 100 people entered. I warmed up a little more than normal so I could get the extra miles in towards my weekly goals. I rode 7 miles on the bike and then did 3 miles of running including my speed drills and strides. I was feeling pretty good considering the tough week I've had. The race was very short- 3k run (little less than 2 miles), 9.8 mile bike, and 3k run. They had about 100 people entered in the event. My big goal for the race was to simulate what it will be like at the Pigman Triathlon in 2 weeks by pushing the bike portion incredibly hard and then trying to finish up with a solid 2nd run.

Run 1- I began the run staying very relaxed. A 1/2 mile into it I was in fourth but was catching the leaders. Just before the turnaround of the out and back course I took the lead and continued to hold my pace. It felt very relaxed and I wanted to keep it that way for the remainder of the first run. On the way back to transition I began to lengthen my lead. I entered the transition with a run time of 10:34. 2nd place came in at 11:04 and he was part of a relay. This race would be a milestone for me in the fact that it was the first time I transitioned to the bike with my shoes already clipped in. I've been practicing it quite a bit and didn't want to race with this new transition method until I had it mastered. It worked very well as I posted the fastest non-relay transition of the day.

Bike- Out on the bike course I quickly got into my shoes. The new Shimano Elite tri-shoes I got from Healthy Habits make this very easy. They have a bottom strap that stays closed at all times and when I get my feet in I can ride very strong without pulling the top strap on. This allows me to get up to top speed before I have to reach down and strap my shoes on. It all leads to a faster transition. I nearly screwed the race up right away by starting to take a wrong turn. I'm not sure why because I rode the course last night and mentally told myself not to take the first turn. Half way into the turn I realized it and got back on course. I began pushing very hard. I wanted to average over 25 mph on the bike. The first half was mostly into the wind with the exception of one straight for a mile and a half where we had the wind at our back and I was rolling along between 30 and 32 mph. Once we turned after that stretch it was about 3 miles into the wind before we turned to come back. I glanced down at my computer before turning to come back and my average speed was only 23.5 mph. I was a little frustrated with myself and picked it up a gear with the wind once again. I rode the rest of the course pretty much between 27 and 29 mph and finished with an average speed of 25.3 mph which happened to be the top bike split of the day among individuals. My time was 23:17 on the bike. The 2nd best split was a little over a minute back. Today was my first time riding the Zipp 1080 front combined with my Zipp disc rear wheel. It made for a very fun ride. Entering transition I did my first ever running dismount and it was tons of fun. The picture above was while I was dismounting the bike. It was definitely my quickest dismount ever off a bike. It helped me to the fastest non-relay 2nd transition time.
Run 2- The 2nd run was tough. I was trying to push hard because I need to improve my running before the Pigman Sprint Triathlon in Cedar Rapids on June 7. I wanted to hammer the run but my legs were feeling the strong bike effort. It took me awhile to get into a rhythm. By this point I had about a two and a half minute lead and that made it a little tougher to go fast. I ended the 2nd run (which is a little longer than the 1st due to the start being in a different spot) in 11:15. This wasn't what I was looking for but all in all it was solid. My 2nd run was the fastest of the day by 30 seconds. I crossed the finish line in 45:58. It was 3 minutes faster than I raced 3 years ago. The 2nd place finisher was David Thatcher from Cedar Rapids with a time of 49:37. Congratulations to him and 3rd place finisher Paul Kulas who posted a great bike split. David beat me last year in the Quad City Triathlon by about 3 minutes so that gets me excited about the improvements I've made over the past year.
It was great seeing a good representation from Team Tri-Fit at the race. Congrats to all of you on great performances. It will only get better from here! The overall women's winner, Jessica Imm is also a Team Tri-Fit member. She had a great race and I'm very excited to see the club so well represented. This picture is with my new summer training partner Jared Dammann. It has been fun for me to watch Jared's improvements. He finished 4th overall today with a time of 51:23. Complete results of the race can be found at

Goal Setting: I began this entry with a goal of making this one shorter than last week's but I'm not sure that will happen due to something I was thinking about today. Yesterday I went to the pool to finish up my weekly goal of swimming. I needed to get in 2,800 yards. My wife is out of town in Las Vegas so I got to spend a lot of time with our daughter Payton. It has given me a new appreciation for how much my wife does to allow me to train as much as I do. She is definitely Super Mom! I dropped Payton off at the Fitness Center Daycare and was almost done with my workout when one of the staff members came in to tell me that Payton was screaming and they couldn't get her to calm down. I exited the pool 250 yards short of my weekly goal of swimming 10,000 yards. I have a checklist each week of all the things I want to get done. There are 23 boxes for me to check off and one of them is for my weekly swim yards. I knew I would have to go back to the pool today after the race to get in my last yards if I wanted to check that box this week. I drove to the fitness center today to finish up. Luckily for me Payton was spending the night at grandma's so I could race this morning. When I got to the fitness center at 4:50 the desk attendant told me they were closing in 10 minutes. I said I only needed to swim for 5. Of course...the pool closed at 4:30. I thought about the YMCA but they also close at 5. My next option was the Deerbrook neighborhood pool where my brother lives. I called answer. I called his answer. At this point I could have gone home but I kept thinking about the box that I wouldn't be able to check. I decided to drive to my brother's house in hopes that he was home but not answering is cell phone. I drove there and rang the one home! I was in a panic. I began to drive home when I went past my cousin's house. She also lives in Deerbrook. I stopped and saw her husband. I explained to him that I was in jeopardy of not reaching my swim goal and he gave me his key to the pool. I swam for 6 minutes and 39 seconds, 350 yards just to make sure I didn't cut it short. I returned the key and proceeded home excited to be able to check the box. The point of my story is that when you are committed to achieving goals there is always a way to get things done. There was no reason for me to miss this goal. I should have gone to the pool right after the race. When you miss a goal, even if by a small amount, it becomes okay to miss them again later. Pretty soon you miss more goals and then things add up to lack of performance on race day. I had lots of reasons to not get in that last swim this week. I believe there are two good reasons to miss a training goal. One is if you are overtrained. In that case doing more to reach the goal will have negative consequences. The other good reason to miss a goal is for injury. If something hurts and you do more you'll make it worse. None of those applied to me today. I had a coach that told me one time, "There are two kinds of people in this world...ones who get things done and ones who find reasons not to get things done." I have a lot I want to get done and there are no shortcuts to that. I want to know when I toe the line in Cedar Rapids for the most competitive wave I've ever been in that I've done everything possible to be ready. For the week my total training time was 20.5 hours. I had my highest bike total yet with 165 miles. I ran 45 including a tough interval workout on Wednesday, and I swam 10,100 yards. I did speed drills and strides both 4 times as I attempt to get my running back to where it was pre-injury. This week will be tough before I freshen up for Pigman. I can't wait! Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Race Report Galena Triathlon Results

I entered this race after cancelling a race in Memphis due to the injury that caused me to miss 3 weeks of running. After a great bike workout last week I decided to test my fitness by entering in the Galena Triathlon. I thought it would be a great workout and wanted to get an open water swim in before the Pigman Triathlon on June 7. I was very anxious and excited to race. I wasn't sure what to expect. I've done a lot of work since November 3rd when I began this journey. The numbers...301,000 swim yards, 2,286 miles biking, 1003 miles running...but that's only part of the work. I've spent a lot of time doing small things in hopes that it would pay off. I've been in the weight room over 60 times, done over 30 sessions of plyometrics, have done more bike interval workouts than the rest of my life combined, and have done lots of speed drills and strides. All this work had me wondering one thing as race day approached...Will the work be reflected in how I race?
Race morning I was up early. As you can see, it was right around 2:30 a.m. This race was a logistical nightmare for someone coming up the day of the race. The race was point to point meaning the transition areas were 17.3 miles apart. I had to drive to the lake to pick my packet up. After just nearly missing killing 2 deer on my way I thought maybe I should become an amateur hunter. I arrived at the lake just before 6 a.m. to get my packet. I saw the race was full with 800 competitors. After being there for 15 minutes I had to drive the 17.3 miles to transition 2 to drop off my running shoes, race number, and sun glasses. Then I had to drive 17.3 miles back to the lake to warm up. I got there just before 7:30 and got a good 1.7 mile run in and then did my stretching routine and got on my bike just to make sure everything was working properly. I knew it was going to be a tough day. The wind was blowing 22 mph...of course out of the northwest. What direction would we be biking...why, northwest of course! It was also 47 degrees out without the wind chill factured in. I got a good swim warm-up in which was very beneficial because the water was 60 degrees. I was in the 2nd wave. The first wave also consisted of other athletes in my age division. It was perfect for me because I knew it would give me guys to catch who started 3 minutes ahead of me.

SWIM: On the signal to go I sprinted into the water until it was knee deep and dove in...of course filling half my goggles with water. Great idea on the dive in...I had planned to swim to the first bouey taking less breaths because I know I swim faster when I don't breath as often. I can't do that for the entire race without going into oxygen debt but knew I wouldn't have trouble doing it for 150 yards before settling into a rhythm. I was looking for guys to draft off but was right with the leaders. I could feel someone drafting on my feet until we turned at the first bouey. After the first turn I didn't see anyone from my wave ahead of me. About half way into the swim I started passing guys who were in the wave ahead of me. I navigated the swim very well which has been a problem for me in the past. I got out of the water first in my wave which shocked the heck out of me. Swimming has always been my weakest part and I have felt like since January I've been in a plateau swimming wise. I was excited to have a good swim on race day. I heard fellow LeClairian Jeff Witters yell to me that my swim was very good as I exited the water. Jeff was waiting for his wave. I was quick through transition trying to ignore the gravel under my bare feet as I grabbed my bike and headed out of transition. I had the 12th fastest swim out of the 800 people competing which totally blew me away when I saw the results. I've never had a swim rank that high. If I can continue swimming that well it should mean great things ahead the rest of the summer.

BIKE: Once out on the bike I pushed hard. I knew my bike fitness was better than it's ever been. All the interval work this winter and spring has me riding well. I began passing people from the wave ahead of me and quickly set a goal to pass everyone who started 3 minutes ahead of me. I asked a couple volunteers at intersections how many were in front of me. 7...5...and then by mile 6 just 2. I tried getting time checks with my watch when I could see them. They were about 1:15 ahead when I first saw them at about mile 8. Slowly they started coming back to me. The ride was extremely tough with the wind. Most courses are out and back so when you go into a wind you know you'll get it back later...not this one! The other tough factor was the hills. If you've ever been to Galena you know why it is a great place to ski. The hills were tough. Constant up and downs. I rode the Zipp 1080 on the rear wheel and the Zipp 808 up front. I was thankful I didn't have a disc on but I was still getting blown all over. At about mile 13 I passed 2nd place and had my eyes on the leader. He was about 30 seconds ahead. My computer had malfuntioned early on so I was glad they had mile markers. I had closed the gap to about 10 seconds when I made my one big mistake. I've been working on getting out of my shoes while still on the bike so I can transition faster on the run. I wanted to try it out and I got out very quickly. After the next turn I realized we still had about 2 miles to go. Oops! I thought about putting my feet back in but I was still moving pretty well with my feet on top of the shoes so I decided to try to maintain the gap the leader had on me. I came into transition 10 seconds down but had a great transition in what turned out to be the 2nd fastest transition time in the race. My bike split wasn't fast due to the conditions but I would later find out it was the fastest of the day by nearly 2 minutes. The hard work is paying off!

RUN: I exited transition 2 down about 3 seconds to the leader but I was pretty sure he started 3 minutes ahead of me. When I caught him a 1/4 mile into the run I decided to ask him which wave he was in. He told me he was the first and asked me if I was also the first. When I said I was wave 2 he said, "Well, you've got 3 minutes on me so I won't be winning today." He was a huge help to me on the run though as he helped me push the pace. We went through the first mile at 6:05. The second mile we were 6:03. The third mile we picked it up and came through at 5:53. At that point he said to me, "You're on your own now...good luck" and he dropped back. At this point I knew I would be racing against the clock because a lot of strong guys started after me. I pushed hard in the 4th mile and split 5:39. The last .3 miles were up a huge hill before turning to the finish line. I finished in 1:26:51. My run split was 25:32, a 5:57 pace. It was the 4th fastest run split of the day. I would have to wait until the awards to find out if I won because they didn't post results. In the mean time I decided the quickest way to get warm clothes on was to ride back 17.3 miles to the lake to get my car. It was either that or wait an hour and a half for a shuttle to take me back. I rode back which was nice because I had the wind at my back the entire way. I probably averaged faster going back than during the race into the wind. After getting my car at the lake I drove the 17.3 miles one final time back to the awards to find out how I placed overall. Of course they went through all the age group awards for the duathlon first and then about after an hour of waiting at the awards ceremony they did the overall triahlon awards last. 3rd was 1:29 something and then they announced that second was 1:29...which meant my time of 1:26:51 was the fastest of the day. I was very surprised! I knew I was fit but after missing 5 weeks of regular training with an injury I didn't think I could win this race. I was hoping to be top 5. This all came at the end of a very solid week of training. I didn't want to sacrifice training for this race. I managed to hit 9,000 yard swimming this week, 150 miles biking, and 40 miles running as well as 2 days of weight lifting. On Wednesday I had a great track interval workout of 5x800's with an average time of 2:35 taking 90 seconds rest between each. Walking back to my car after the race I thought about all the hard work that has gone into this. I thought about the tough decision I made to stop coaching track so I could train to find my potential. It couldn't have been a better start to the season. I have to thank Dr. Kaminski for having me ready on race day. I saw him on Thursday for an ART session that had me feeling very good. I also want to thank Healthy Habits and Zipp for arming me with some great wheels that helped lead to the fastest bike split of the day. I know my running will improve a great deal over the next few months as I get back into more interval workouts. For the win I took home some really nice gift certificates...$50.00 to Fleet Feet Sports, $70.00 to a restaurant in Galena, and best of all...a 2 night getaway to Chestnut Resort for my wife and I with meals and entertainment included. It will be a nice thing to share with Jen since she has also made big sacrifices to make all my training possible.
On a side note I apologize for not having any race pictures. My wife had a prior committment to attend a graduation open house for a friend graduating from Med-school, definitely a good reason to miss my race. Also, I got a call from college teammate Randy Bill today and I want to congratulate him on an outstanding marathon in Green Bay this weekend. Randy ran 2 hrs. 23 minutes just missing an Olympic Trials time. I'm super proud of Randy for the committment he's made to running and I'm glad to see the amazing results. He's inspiring to me DREAM BIG! Also congratulations to Nick and Nina from our triathlon club, Team Tri-Fit for their great performances in Galena. It was fun hanging out with them after the race.

Full results from the race with split times can be found at
Up next I'll be racing a small duathlon in Davenport next weekend but I'm really excited to race the Pigman Sprint Triathlon in Cedar Rapids on June 7. I hope to be a few pounds lighter and put up an even better performance. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Healthy Habits/Zipp Sponsorship Week 27 Summary

First off, I would like to thank my new sponsors, Healthy Habits and Zipp!! Healthy Habits is an outstanding bike shop located in Bettendorf, IA. They are stocked with all kinds of great Tri-Bikes and accessories that can help to save precious seconds. They are the shop I purchased my Orbea Ordu Limited Ed. from last summer and now they have teamed with Zipp, makers of the world's fastest wheels to sponsor me for the upcoming triathlon season. I'm super excited to have Healthy Habits and Zipp on my side and I know I'll race faster with their help! Healthy Habits provides me with outstanding bike maintenance to keep my Orbea flying through the course and Zipp has teamed with Healthy Habits to provide me with a set of 1080 wheels, the fastest non-disc wheelset on the planet! This picture shows the bike I purchased from Healthy Habits along with the new wheelset I'll be racing on this year. In ideal conditions I'll keep my Zipp disc on the back with the 1080 on the front for the fastest wheelset known to man...when it's windy I'll run the 1080 rear wheel with my Zipp 808 front wheel so I don't get blown over and still have an extremely fast wheelset. I know Healthy Habits still has at least 1 set of 1080's left in stock at a very nice discounted price.

Week 27 of training was a good one for me. It was my first week back into full training mode since the cyst was removed last week. I have not felt a single bit of pain in any of my workouts since the aspiration of the cyst. For the week my total training time was 16.5 hours. It included 31.5 miles running, 130 cycling, and 10,000 yards swimming to go along with 1 trip to the weight room, 2 sessions of lunges, 5 days of core work, and 3 days of speed drills and strides. I had a few workouts that have me very excited to race. On Thursday I did a tough 5x5 workout which includes 5 times of 5 minutes hard followed by 5 minutes recovery on the bike. My wattage numbers were my highest ever with an average of 334. My previous high average was 317. I believe this workout was the best I've ever had on the bike. It got me excited enough to sign up for a triathlon next Saturday in Galena, IL. It is a sprint distance consisting of a 660 yard swim, 17 mile bike ride, and 4.2 mile run. I've heard it's a very hilly course which is perfect for what I'm looking for in this race. I want to get a good week of training in and use the race as a hard training effort. It should prepare me to race better in my upcoming events.
My favorite workout of the week was a run I did with my wife and daughter on Mother's Day. I pushed the baby stroller in a 5k in Rock Island while running with my wife. We ran 19:05 and my wife won the race earning herself $100.00 in the process! The 6:10 pace pushing the stoller felt very easy for me giving me confidence that I'm in shape to get off the bike and run sub-6 pace right now in a triathlon. Later on Sunday I rode 50 miles with Stephan Marsh, my summer training partner from last year. He is home for a week before starting an internship in Omaha, NE. I'll miss training with him this year! He helped me so much last year and I don't think I'd be taking this journey without the help he gave me to realizing my potential. On Sunday night I had another confidence building workout consisting of 2x 12 minutes steady on the trainer following each one with a mile hard. My first brick mile was 5:43 and my 2nd was 5:25, a pace I hope to hold at the QC Triathlon on June 2oth for the 5k. I come...I can't wait! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Comeback Trail...Week 26 Summary

It feels like the injury lasted forever although it's only been 5 weeks since I first felt the pain in my achilles tendon. I just figured for the longest time it was achilles tendonitis which is a very common overuse injury to runners. What I couldn't figure out was why it hurt right away even after taking four or five days of rest. It also felt best in the mornings which typically isn't the case with achilles tendonitis. As it turned out I had a cyst on my achilles tendon. The ultrasound showed the cyst and when I went back to the orthopedic this week she aspirated it. For those who aren't familiar aspiration is popping the cyst with a needle and draining it. She said it wasn't very big and she wasn't able to drain much but definitely popped it. She put a little cortisone near the cyst but was careful not to inject it into my tendon as that can cause the tendon to weaken. The operation was on Thursday. The change in how I felt was instantaneous. You can compare the picture this week to last and see the swelling has gone down a lot although I still have a bit to go. I went for a ride Friday and immediately felt relieved to have absolutely no pain. As I told my wife, "I didn't have a sniff of pain" the entire ride. I got pretty excited about that and ended up riding pretty hard for 23 miles. Average speed was 22.1 mph on the training bike and my average watts was 271 for the ride. Saturday I rode 43 miles again pain free, and Sunday I rode 58 still without a hint of pain. Just like I had hoped for my legs are very fresh and none of the rides were very tiring. Along with the 124 miles I rode this weekend I also swam 13,400 yards and lifted weights twice this week. I'm far enough along in the season that I plan to keep lifting twice as opposed to three times each week. The doctor told me not to resume plyometrics for a few more weeks incase the tendon is weaker. Plyos are very high impact.

I plan to begin my running comeback tomorrow with a short run. If all goes well I'm hoping to get 25 miles running this week. After some serious thinking about my long term goals I decided not to race in Memphis in two weeks. The director of the race said he would transfer my entry to next year's race. I could have gone there and had a decent race but that's not what I'm looking for right now. I wanted to go race to the best of my abilities and without any running the past three weeks I decided the best thing for me long term is to get some quality training in that week without worrying about a race. I'm hoping this injury will allow me to extend my season into September and possibly October at the U.S. Open in Dallas, TX.

On Sunday I stopped in to Healthy Habits and the guys there gave me a really sweet package from Zipp, the company that makes the world's fastest bike wheels. I'm excited about the new Zipp products and will race in the Zipp jersey this year. I asked the Healthy Habits owner, Bruce Grell how they knew my size and he said they told him they were sending an XL because they run really tight. How tight??...I couldn't believe how tight they run! I probably better work really hard over the next month to get to "fighting weight" or I may not fit into this jersey! I've got more exciting products coming from Zipp and Healthy Habits I'll announce once they are in. I'm thankful to have these great sponsors helping me on this journey. For totals this week my training time was 14 hours. That number should start to climb now that I'm healthy. My first race will now be the Swing into Spring Duathlon in Davenport, IA on May 24. After that I'll be racing in the Elite wave of the Pigman Triathlon in Cedar Rapids on June 7th, and then back home for the QC Triathlon on June 20th and my first pro-qualifying race at Hy-Vee in DesMoines on June 28. I'm anxious to find out where my running is this week. I know my cycling and swimming are much better than they've ever been. I'M BACK. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!