Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 3 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

When I woke up for day 3 of camp I was really sore. I wasn't walking without the soreness yelling at me. I began by swimming 3,300 yards. I then took an hour nap and woke up for a 30 mile bike ride. I finished camp with a 9 mile run followed by speed drills and strides. I am competing in the Crossroads Triathlon tomorrow and it should be interesting because I've never raced on legs this tired.
1. 3,300 yards swimming mostly easy technique work with some fast accelerations mixed in.
2. 30 mile bike ride
3. 9 mile run
4. Speed drills and strides.
Total training time for today was 3 hours and 50 minutes.
3 Day Camp Totals- 183 miles biking, 32 miles running, 10,400 yards swimming

Day 2 "10 Days and 10 Nights"

Day 2 of camp was a tough one. This was my highest total training volume in a day ever. I started the day of camp at 8:00 a.m. with Derek Radosevich, a great local triathlete who is training for Ironman Wisconsin. We did a 100 mile ride highlighted by a deer trying to jump a fence in front of us but missing badly. It was a great ride with nice conversation. We went at a pretty relaxed pace but this was only the 3rd 100 mile ride of my life and my longest ride this year by 17 miles. Following that I got an hour nap in which has been a pretty important part of my summer training. After the nap I saw Dr. Kaminski from Kaminski Pain and Performance Care for an awesome ART session that had me feeling pretty good. I went to the pool and swam 3,000 yards with mostly easy drill and technique work mixed in with a couple 500's at tempo pace. During the swim I got a couple huge cramps in my hamstring and a lot of smaller cramps in the arches of my feet. I finished camp tonight with a 12 mile run in which I felt really tired and hungry early on but the feeling quickly went away and I felt great for the last 8 miles. After that I did core work and the claw drill before getting a good stretch in.
1. 100 mile bike ride
2. 3,000 yards swimming
3. 12 mile run
4. Core work and claw drill
Total training time for the day was 7 hrs. and 50 minutes.
2 Day Camp Totals: 153 miles biking, 23 miles running, 7,100 yds. swimming
Much easier day of camp tomorrow...DREAM BIG!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Training Camp- "10 Days and 10 Nights"

I am beginning my own training camp that will last 10 days. I have decided to title the camp "10 Days and 10 Nights" because some of the training will be late at night. The idea of this camp is to get the toughest 10 day block of training I've ever done. I will update the blog each day with the workouts. This will help me stay motivated and will provide readers with an indepth look into the training that goes into this journey. I'm hoping this camp will help set me up for my best Olympic Distance triathlon ever in Chicago on August 30th. The camp will run from Wed. July 29th through Friday, August 7th. I began the camp today with the following...
1. 60 minute run (8.5 miles)
2. 4,100 yards of swimming with a hard set of 10x 100's on 1:25 with an easy hundred after #'s 1, 3, 6, and 10.
3. 53 mile group bike ride that was extremely fast due to the drafting and constant accelerations. Our average speed over the entire ride was 22.8 mph but the hard stretches of 10+ miles we were averaging over 26 mph. We started with about 40 riders and ended with 7.
4. 3 mile evening run
5. Weight Lifting- 2 sets of 12 on all the lifts I do
6. Lunges- 4 sets of 17, Claw Drill (it's a drill I do for improved speed), Core Work

My total training time for the first day of camp was about 6 hours and 10 minutes. I'm excited for day 2 of camp tomorrow! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 38 Training Summary

Week 38 has been a good recovery week for me. I needed a mental and physical break and had planned to take 3 days off after the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon 2 weekends ago but when I got into the 1/2 Ironman I changed my plans and decided to take the break this week. Monday through Wednesday I didn't do any training. It felt weird going 3 days without a bit of training but I believe it is important to have some recovery time when I can allow my body to catch up with all the training and racing I've been doing lately. I raced 4 times in the previous 5 weeks which is more than I would typically recommend. The time off was also necessary to let my achilles tendon heal. I went to the doctor and found out it was nothing too serious...just achilles tendonitis. I had some physical therapy treatments as well as some helpful ART treatment from Dr. Kaminski. It is feeling much better. On Saturday I ran the Bix 7 mile road race with Stephan Marsh, my training partner from last year who was in town for the race. I ran it pretty easy and we ended up running 43:16 which was a nice drop for Stephan as he ran 44:50 a year ago. We did a 50 mile easy bike ride on Sunday morning. My achilles felt pretty good the first half of the race but then started to hurt a bit. It isn't bad so I know it's getting better but it's not to the point where I want to start hammering lots of running on it. I'm hoping to get back into a solid training routine this week and begin a tough 10 day "camp" on Friday assuming my achilles is 100% healed by then. I'm calling this camp "10 Days and 10 Nights" and I'll post more about it in the middle of the week. I'm going to use it as a final huge block of training before school starts in preparation of my last big race on August 30th in Chicago. My goal for that race is to be in the top 10 of the Elite Amateur field and to go under 2 hours for the Olympic Distance for the first time in my career. If I can do that I'll be very satisfied with the progess I've made in the Pro-Qualifying races. So far in the two I've done this year I started with a 20th place finish at Hy-Vee and then moved up to 12th in Minneapolis. If I can finish out the year with a top 10 in Chicago I'll be very excited to get rolling for next year before moving up distance with a focus on the 1/2 Ironman. If I'm feeling 100% healthy this week I'm going to race a small sprint triathlon in DeWitt, IA next Saturday. It's a race I won a year ago about the time I decided to embark on this journey. I'd like to have a chance to defend the title but it will only come if I'm healthy as I don't want to jeopardize my race in Chicago for this one. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spirit of Racine 1/2 Ironman Report and Results

On Saturday I left to drive to Racine, Wisconsin to get my packet for my first 1/2 Ironman. I was very fortunate to get a free entry that a friend of mine, Laurel Darren gifted to me. I had been wanting to try a 1/2 IM without interfering with training in August so I thought this one would be perfect. My recent race results have left me believing that the 1/2 Ironman would be my best distance. The swim is where I'm giving up lots of time in the Olympic distance races and I play catch-up on the bike and run. With the 1/2 Ironman distance the swim is not much further so I won't lose much more time to the leaders but the bike and run are much longer (31 miles longer on the bike and 7 miles longer on the run) so I have more time to catch up.
I arrived in Racine at about 5:00 to get my packet. It was a pretty uneventful drive and expo. Jen and Payton had to stay home because Jen had a baby shower to attend in the QC on Sunday. I went solo on this trip. After getting my packet I drove about an hour to the suburbs of Chicago to stay at a friend's house. They weren't in town and I had trouble getting in and was worried about having to sleep in my car the night before a race...all the hotels in the area were booked due to the race. By the time I registered just a week ago there was nothing left. Thankfully a neighbor had a key and let me in. I was a little worried about this race because my achilles tendon has started hurting again. It started after a speed workout on Thursday night. Friday I took the day off and I did a 2 mile easy run from my buddy's house and it hurt just as bad as Thursday. I made my mind up that I was going to race hard even if it hurt. I believe it's important to plan ahead in these situations. You either have to plan on racing or not racing. If I would have decided to quit if it hurt I'd be setting myself up for failure because it would have given me an excuse for a lackluster performance. My decision was that I would race through the pain and if it gets worse and turns out to be my last race of the year so be it. I was able to get a good pizza dinner and then had my best night of sleep yet before a race...a whopping 4.5 hours before I woke up at 3:15 a.m. I quickly gathered my things and made the drive to Racine for the 7:03 start. Upon arriving I got my body marked and did a quick mile warm-up and some drills. My achilles was still not feeling well. I wasn't going to let that effect me mentally however because I'd already decided to race through it and evaluate the damages later. Following the warm-up I grabbed my wetsuit and goggles and headed on an easy 1.2 mile jog down the beach for the point to point swim start.

SWIM: I started in the 2nd wave. The first wave was all the pros and elite amateurs. Typically I race in the elite amateur division but since this was my first 1/2 IM I decided to go in the amateur division. I was guessing there were about 40 men and women in the Elite/Pro wave. Since this race cut out the big prize purse for the pros this year there were only two that I know of that showed up. At 7:03 the swim began with a long run through the water. We started on the beach and had to swim to the first bouey to start but since the water was so shallow most of the way out was high knee running and dolphin diving. Just before the bouey the water got deeper and the swimming started. It was the roughest start I've had this year in terms of the amount of contact. I got kicked and had my feet pulled on many times. I tried to swim hard to get out of the mess and within a couple hundred yards it began to separate. I felt great on the swim but it could be because I was one of the first guys in my wave. That's the biggest difference for me from the Elite waves to the amateur ones. In the amateur waves I'm one of the better swimmers but against the Elites I'm one of the worst swimmers. I found a set of feet that I was able to draft behind for the majority of the swim and it went by very quickly. I gained some confidence when I passed a few guys from the elite wave since I don't normally make up time on the faster guys in the water. I exited the swim with a time of 24:26 which ranked 94th out of the 1,200+ competitors in the race.

BIKE- I had a goal on the bike of averaging 24 miles per hour. I got this from looking at last year's results. I knew the course was very fast and we were racing in ideal conditions. It was cool, overcast, and little to no wind. I chose to ride with the Zipp 1080 front wheel and the Zipp disc on the rear. This Zipp wheelset is extremely fast and the conditions were perfect for it. It took me about 4 miles to get my average to 24 and just after that I was passed by a guy from the Elite wave that I had passed in the swim. He wasn't riding much faster than me so I let him get about 5 bike lengths ahead of me and then settled in behind him. USA Triathlon rules do not allow riders to get closer than 3 bike lengths. That is called drafting and it carries a 4 minute penalty in the 1/2 Ironman race so I made sure to stay back so I wouldn't have to worry about a penalty. More than anything by staying fairly close without breaking any rules it is a mental advantage. It lets me focus on staying relaxed because I feel like someone else is setting the pace. I stayed behind this guy for the remainder of the race. At times I would lose focus and the gap would open up considerably and then I would have to work really hard to close it back down. There were a number of aid stations on the ride which was something new to me. My inexperience showed when I hit the first water bottle exchange. I slowed down to 15 mph for the handoff of a bottle and when I hit it of course it went flying. I had to slow more to get one. Speaking of something new...nutrition in a 1/2 IM is important and I didn't know how much I should eat so I overpacked. I brought 5 Hammer Gels, 4 Power Bars, 3 packs of Cliff Shot Blocks, 3 packs of Jelly Sport Beans, and one Cliff Bar. I think in total it was over 2,000 calories. I didn't end up eating all of it but did manage to get most of it finished by the time I got off the bike. The course had a lot of turns and it was actually a pretty boring ride because after passing a lot of guys early on it started to spread out by the 25 mile mark. I finished the bike leg (which my computer measured six-tenths of a mile short) in 2:16:18. My bike ranking was 6th of 1,200 with an average speed of 24.7 mph.

RUN: When I began the run someone told me I was in 7th place. I knew the guys ahead of me had a 3 minute head start so I was probably a little higher than that. This was when the big question mark would be answered. I wondered how my leg would hold up. I grabbed my Garmin GPS watch in transition to help keep me from going out too hard. I looked down a 1/2 mile in and saw I was running 5:45 pace...too fast! I slowed down a bit and got into a very good rhythm. My achilles tendon was hurting but I was going to keep going regardless. I knew I was having a great race and wanted to gut it out no matter how bad it hurt. My goal for the race was to go 4:13. I thought if I raced very well I could go 4:09. Now I was in a position to go 4:04 if I could hit my goal pace of 6:10 per mile. The run course was a double out and back. I would have plenty of chances to see where everyone was at. I began passing guys within a couple miles and my average pace was under 6:00 per mile. At the first turn I was in 5th but was closing on the top 4. At that point the leader was well ahead and had the race locked up. By the time I got back to the start line to begin my 2nd loop I was in 4th and had closed the distance on the next two guys to 2 and a half minutes which actually meant I was ahead of them since I started 3 minutes back. I continued pushing the pace. At times I thought my achilles hurt a lot and other times I didn't notice it whether the pain subsided or I just quit thinking about it. At this point I knew I was going to have a great overall time barring a major setback. I didn't take any nutrition during the run since my stomache was still grumbling from all the gels and shot blocks I took in during the bike. I took a few sips of water and Heed every couple aid stations. I stayed in my rhythm and continued running sub-6 pace through the finish line. I passed one more guy and came within 8 seconds of the next one. I crossed the line in 4:00:58...well ahead of my goal time. My run time was 1:18:06, just 16 seconds from the fastest of the race. It ranked 2nd and my average pace was 5:58. For the race I finished 2nd overall. The winner was Blake Becker, a well-established pro triathlete from Wisconsin. He was 3:54:04 but I believe would have been faster if not for some bike problems he told me about after the finish. 3rd place was the guy I almost caught from the Elite wave at the end of my race. He finished in a time of 4:03:51. Complete results with splits can be found at (Notice the fastest run time of the day was a 4 minute 1/2 marathon...pretty sure that's a mistake. Either that or they were running so fast no one saw them. Actually I timed a 1/2 marathon in the car to pass time and I hit it in 10:50 on the drive to Racine...yes the solo drives get really boring)

This race reaffirmed to me that the 1/2 Ironman Distance will be my best chance to hit a pro qualifying standard next summer. I need to sign up for a couple 70.3 trademarked events and have a great race to do it. Lots of work needs to be done between now and then. I need to improve in all three disciplines. As for the's really sore right now and I plan to have it checked out this week. I had planned to take Monday and Tuesday off before the injury happened but I'll try to find out what is wrong and then decide where to go from here. Either way I'm happy with the outcome of today's race and the last 2 weeks have been my best races ever. If this is it for the's been a great journey and I'll rest up and resume it when I'm healthy. If this injury heals quickly I'll be hitting the training hard in a week and then trying to peak for the Chicago Triathlon on Aug. 30th. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Thursday Jen and I left the Quad Cities to head to Minneapolis, MN for the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon which would be held on Saturday, July 11th. We were fortunate enough to have Aunt Shanna watch Payton while we were gone. This was a race I had penciled in as an "A" race on the calendar since I signed up for it last December. I knew that by July I should have gotten good training in but I also knew that would mean I would have to train through some of the early season races if I wanted a peak performance. Each week I typically list out mileage and yardage goals I want to hit for the week. For this week the only goal I wrote was "be fresh and rested for the race on Saturday". This was one I wanted to taper for through the week coming off a big training week last week. I did just was definitely a weird feeling to cut back training as much as I did. I have always believed that peak performances can be achieved by resting up only if the work has been put in prior to the rest period. Since I'm coaching myself this year I was really hoping to get a good race off the rest. If I didn't race well I would have begun to question my training leading up to this effort.

Jen and I had a great drive on Thursday up to Rochester, MN where we stayed with college friends Liz and Chris Coon. Liz is in medical residency at the Mayo clinic in Rochester and Chris is studying for the bar exam in Minnesota since they moved from IA a couple months ago. They were awesome hosts and it was great meeting their new grayhound dogs. After a good night's rest on Thursday I went for a short run with Chris before Jen and I drove the rest of the way to Minneapolis to pick up the race packet and check out the course. At packet pick-up I was able to meet US Olympic triathlete Andy Potts who was really nice. He warned me of the rough roads out on the course and signed a poster for me. I continued the tradition by sleeping terrible the night before the race. I'm guessing this one was 3.5 hours as I woke up numerous times and just laid there looking at the hotel ceiling thinking about the race. I ended up getting up just before the 4:00 a.m. wakeup call. We were packed and ready to head to the course by 4:45 to prepare for the 7:08 start time.

Upon arriving at the course I got in a good warm-up run and then put on the new Blueseventy Helix wetsuit. The suit arrived at the house about 1 hour before our departure on Thursday. It felt just awesome and I was hoping for a much better swim than at Hy-Vee. There were 58 guys entered in the Elite Amateur division and I was really hoping to drop time from my 2:04:38 time that I went at Hy-Vee two weeks ago. Little did I know that the bike course was a 41k instead of the 40k that is standard with Olympic Distance races. That would add about 1:30 to my final time.

Swim- When the start horn sounded we ran to the water and I dove in doing a few dolphin dives until the water was deep enough to swim. I wanted to change my swim strategy a bit by swimming the first couple hundred yards really hard to get in a good spot. It was a little rough with 58 of us competing to get into a good spot. After the initial 200 yards I settled into a good rhythm and tried to stay with the group. Just before the first bouey I was hit by a kayak paddle and I popped my head up to hear a volunteer telling me I had to swim around the bouey. Apparently I had gotten a little off course and had to swim back to the bouey and go around it. It wasn't too far to get back with the group. From the first bouey to the 2nd was a LONG swim. I'm guessing this was 800 yards or so. I was in a decent rhythm when I spotted the first Elite Amateur woman swimming by me. I knew they started 2 minutes back. I got right on her hip and kept with her for the next couple hundred yards and it made me realize I have the ability to swim faster but I must not swim very straight when I'm on my own. Once I couldn't hang with her I jumped in next to another one of the Elite Amateur women and stayed with her for another couple hundred yards. Eventually I exited the swim and I glanced at my watch to see 22 something which was almost 3 minutes faster than my swim at Hy-Vee. When I entered transition I saw something I haven't seen much of this year...other bikes still on the rack. This photo is the evidence that I'm telling the truth on this one. I quickly grabbed my bike and headed out to make up ground on the field. My official swim time was 22:50 and my ranking was 38th of the 58 elite amateurs.

Bike- Out on the bike I got passed by a guy early who was just flying. I haven't been passed all year on the bike. It's not that I've ridden faster than everyone but most races the guys who are riding faster than me are already ahead of me when they start riding. I knew this was my chance to jump in behind someone going fast and try to hang with them. It isn't legal to ride within 3 bike lengths as that is called drafting but more than 3 lengths is perfectly legal. They call this staggered riding. Mentally there is a big advantage to staggered riding. I tried to hang back about 4 bike lengths but within 4 miles I couldn't hang any longer. Although I let that rider get away it did get me out to a very fast start. I was riding by a lot of guys who had gotten out of the water earlier than I did. The bike course was very flat and fast but there were lots of sharp turns. Around the first one I went too wide and thought I wasn't going to make the turn. I leaned sharp at the end and my pedal scraped up against the curb. I thought I was going down but managed to somehow make it through the turn. I continued passing riders through the 15 mile mark when I got behind a guy who was riding really well. I passed him but then he passed me back and I decided I would be better off to position myself 4 bike lengths back for the remainder of the race and rest my legs a bit for the run. When I got to 24.4 miles I pulled my feet out of the shoes not knowing the course was actually 41k. I had to ride almost a mile with my feet on top of the shoes before I was able to do the running dismount. It worked out well as I passed the rider I'd been trailing in transition. I was out on the run feeling very well knowing there were lots of guys to catch. My total bike time was 1:01:30 for a 25.0 mph average speed. My overall ranking was 12 out of 1100 riders.
Run- I felt great out on the run. I was in a good rhythm when just after the mile I got passed by a couple professional guys who were on their 2nd loop of the 2 loop course. They started 8 minutes ahead of us and the guys who passed me weren't running that much faster than I was...about 10 sec./mile I would guess. I knew I was moving up in the run as I was passing guys from the Elite Amatuer race. When we got through the first loop I knew I could negative split my second loop. I was feeling good and wanted to run the last 5k really fast. I timed my 4th mile and saw 5:36. That was faster pace than I've run any races so far this year. I passed a couple more guys from the Elite Amateur race in the last couple miles and finished strong with a final time of 2:02:28. This was a new personal best by 2:20 which I was really excited about especially considering the extra 1000 meters on the bike. My run time was a new personal best of 35:38 (5:44 average). It ranked 7th out of the 1100 competitors. I'm hoping to drop that time to under 35:00 by my big peak race in Chicago on August 30th.

I waited for the results and saw that I ended up 12 in the Elite Amateur race which was also 12th overall including the 1100 amateurs. This was my best race ever. Complete results for the Elite Amateurs with splits can be found at Many of the guys who raced at Hy-Vee also raced in Minneapolis and most of them were slower in Minneapolis so I was excited to have such a nice time drop. I was able to beat a few guys who I'd never beaten before and some who beat me just two weeks ago at Hy-Vee. I placed 3rd in my age division out of the Elite Amateurs. It was the first time I placed top 3 in my age group for an Elite Amateur race. I also closed the gap between myself and the 3rd place finisher. The top 3 qualified to race professionally if they choose to do so. My swim time is where I closed most of the gap although I still have a long way to go. I realized after Hy-Vee that I'm probably not in position to qualify to race professionally right now. I need another year of committment to the sport and to continue to develop my swimming. I also know that the 1/2 Ironman will be a race that is more to my advantage since the swim isn't much longer but the bike and run are both more than double the length. I'm excited to report that I was fortunate enough to be gifted a complimentary entry into the Spirit of Racine 1/2 Ironman next weekend. My massage therapist, Laurel Darren was given the entry and gifted it to cool is that! I'm super excited to make my debut at this distance next weekend. I'll up the training a little bit this week but still won't put in a huge week. I want to thank my sponsors, Kaminski Pain and Performance Care, Zipp, and Healthy Habits for helping to make this race happen. I felt great after a visit to Dr. Kaminski on Thursday and the bike also got a super tune-up provided by Healthy Habits that same day. I am also very thankful to Jen for making the long trip with me to the Twin Cities. We had a great weekend...especailly competing in a game on the way up to see who could sing the lines of random songs on the radio first...she beat me on that one! It was great seeing Payton when we returned home. She was so excited that she wouldn't put my swim cap down so we took this picture together. She cracks me up!

On a sad grandma passed away on Saturday morning. I was glad to be able to see her Wednesday night for the last time. The roots of my work ethic come from my grandparents who taught me to work extremely hard for things. When we wanted to put in a swimming pool in our back yard growing up that was fine but we had to dig for it and build the foundation ourselves. They taught me that a tremendous work ethic can lead to endless possiblities. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Training Summary Week 35

Week 35 was my last big week in preparation of next week's Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, MN. 4 weeks ago, after the Pigman Triathlon I decided I wanted to up my volume through this week and then back off for this race in hopes of a time drop. I feel good about how I stuck to that plan. I probably sacrificed some time at the QC Triathlon and Hy-Vee by keeping the volume up but I know that time drops come after rest following hard blocks of training. I finished this last hard week with my highest volume ever. My total training time was 30 hours and 30 minutes. For the week I ran 57 miles in 5 days of running, Biked 220 miles, and swam 20,200 yards. In addition to those totals I lifted weights 3 times, did core work 4 times, plyometrics and lunges once each, and speed drills and strides 3 times each. On Sunday I did my longest run of the year since the achilles injury of 14 miles. On Saturday I got my longest bike ride in at 82 miles. I did the ride after running the Firecracker Classic in East Moline with Jen. She won the women's 10k race in just under 40:00 on a course that was almost 1/4 mile long due to a mess up on the final turn. It was fun running with her and watching her do so well. I was in the pool over 8 hours this week working hard on my discipline that needs the most work. I did a hard hill workout on the bike Tuesday and followed it up with a tough group ride on Wednesday. It was actually quite fun riding in a group although I have to admit it scared the crap out of me because I was way out of my comfort zone in the drafting mode. I saw my wattages on the bike change dramatically as I moved up the pace line. I was typically around 130 watts while drafting in the easy row, and then it moved to 180 when I moved to the harder line. As I moved up the line it went up quite a bit. When I was 2nd in line I was over 300 watts and when I took the short turns leading it was up over 500 watts. It was really more like an interval workout. I'm thankful for having good guys help me out learning the order of the pace line.

I'm excited to rest up for this race next weekend. It will be a very tough field once again...similar to what I raced against at Hy-Vee. I'm hoping for a top 10 finish and another Olympic Distance personal best time. I'd like to go under 2:03. To do that I need to have a much faster swim than I had at Hy-Vee. This will be a very easy week of training in hopes that it leads to my best race yet...I would label this my first "A" race...the first time this year I'll be tapering for a race. I can't wait! DREAM BIG!