Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week 15 Summary...2010 Goal Refelction

With the end of my 15th week of training I am closing the 1st training cycle of the year. I have not had a day off training since November 21 and I will be taking the next 3-4 days off completely to let my body rest and adapt to this first phase of training. Tomorrow morning Jen will be induced with our second child. I can't wait to meet Owen and have the new addition to the team! I'll post some pictures as soon as possible. I'm excited to watch Jen begin training herself after she recovers from the pregnancy and birth. I'm betting she gets back into great shape quickly and you'll see her racing soon.

This week was much less training than last week as planned. I set out my training goals every week and in most cases I surpass the goals I lay out. This week I wanted to make sure I did not do any extra since I was coming off a huge week last week. It was important for me to let my body recover from the big week. For the week my total training time was 19.75 hours. I biked 120 miles, ran 46 miles, and swam 12,000 yards. In addition to those totals I lifted weights three times, did plyometrices twice, lunges three times, speed drills and strides three times, core work nine times, and added in a jump rope session. Since the volume was down I had some good quality this week. I did a 6 mile progressive tempo run on Wednesday in which my mile splits were 6:05, 5:57, 5:52, 5:47, 5:39, and 5:24 to close it out for a total time of 34:47. On Friday I did a very tough hill workout with 8x 400 meter hills and 4x 200 meter hills. Sunday's long run was 14.5 miles in which I did 30 minutes in the middle at goal marathon pace (6:13). I was aiming to run that at 6:30 pace but my first 25 minutes easy ended up being 6:30 pace so I dropped down a bit.

Coming to the end of my first long training block gives me a chance to reflect on where I'm at in terms of hitting my season goals. I had hoped to increase my bike mileage over last year by 10% and I'm currently way ahead of that goal up 74% over last year's bike mileage through 15 weeks. I guess you could say I've really bonded with my trainer this winter. In the water I'm up 35% compared to last year. Running I'm down 12% mostly due to the achilles injury I had for 6 weeks. Despite less miles I'm running much faster than I was a year ago. I stepped on the scale on Monday and weighed in at 153 which is my lowest to date over the past 8 years and 11 lbs. less than what I raced at last year. One of my goals was to reduce my body fat percentage from 13 last year to 9 this year. I believe I'm getting close to that. Another big goal was to increase my leg weights in the weight room by 20%. I've already surpassed that goal on 6 of my 8 leg lifts. I'm proud of the fact that over 15 weeks I didn't miss a single session in the weight room. I have lifted 45 times (3 times every week). Another goal was to "eat to perform" as opposed to "performing to eat". I have eaten more healthy over the past 15 weeks than ever in my life and that is probably reflected in my weight. I'm stronger than I have ever been while losing weight. Another goal was to build my long run to 2 hours by May. I'm only 20 minutes away from that after getting off to a slow start running with the injury. I'm well on my way to meeting that goal. Another goal was to work on swimming more efficiently. By learning to breath on both sides and get my elbow high out of the water I feel like I'm making good progress towards that goal. Another goal was to run a 5k under 16:00 by the end of March. I'll be running in a track meet at Augustana in late March and I feel I'm in shape to run well under 16:00. My last goal was to believe I belong in the race with the professionals in the 1/2 Ironman distance. Through the training I've done and the workouts I've completed in these first 15 weeks I couldn't be more confident in my abilities to perform well at the professional level. I know I'm a much different athlete than I was a year ago. It was a great move to go to Austin last October to earn my pro license before the year ended because it forces me to think about the guys I'll be racing this summer. During nearly every workout I imagine myself on the same starting line as guys like Andy Potts, Matt Reed, Jordan Rapp, Craig Alexander, TJ Tollakson, and many others. I'm confident I belong on the same starting line and that I will be able to hold my long as I can get through the swim without too much damage done. Thanks for following. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 14 Training Summary...Story of Inspiration

Wow! I'm glad this week is over. No baby yet...could be any time now. This week was my highest volume of training during a week of teaching that I've ever had. My total training time was 29.5 hours. For the week I biked 240 miles (12 hours on the trainer), ran 65 miles, and swam 16,400 yards. In addition to those totals I also lifted weights three times, did plyometrics and lunges twice, speed drills and strides three times, and core work 12 times. In an effort to lose the extra pounds I'm carrying on my stomache I've begun doing core work twice a day. I've had a lot of people tell me lately that I look thinner in the face...maybe someday if I'm lucky they'll tell me I look thinner on the stomache! I don't know why but that has always been the place where my body hides my extra fat. In college my teammates and I nick-named my stomache "buddy" (thanks to the 80's doll commercial "wherever I go he buddy and me."
I wanted this to be a huge volume week. I'm planning to take my first 3 day break when Owen arrives...hopefully sooner than later for my training sake but more importantly for Jen's sake and because I can't wait to meet this little guy. I prefer to train in phases, with a solid break ending each phase and I'm getting to the end of my base phase. My body adapts better to the phase by taking mini breaks such as 3 or 4 days off at the end rather than taking breaks throug the phase. My last day of no trainin was November 21. After the 3 day break when I begin my next phase I will be incorporating more race specific workouts. Speaking of workouts...I had a number of good ones this week. Tuesday's bike intervals were killer as always, Wednesday was a great track workout at Augustana, Friday was my longest run of the year at 14 miles and it felt really easy. On Saturday I participated in a charity bike ride to raise money for Haiti relief. It was a 2 hour trainer ride at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. Thanks to all the riders who showed up to lend a hand for this great cause. We had a great time and a 2 hour trainer ride has never gone by so quickly! Dr. Kaminski has a really sweet new setup at his office. They just added on a great workout room with a projector and awesome sound system...a room big enough to fit 20 bikes. Saturday evening I drove to Glen Ellyn, IL to get a professional bike fit from John Cobb. Mr. Cobb is known as the best bike fitter in the United States. He has fit Lance Armstrong on many occasions and has spent more hours in a wind tunnel than anyone in the country. Check out his website at if you're interested in what bike fitting is all about. When he first saw me on my bike he said, "you're joking, please tell me you don't really ride in that's gross!" After an hour of moving things around it is a total different position than what I was previously in. It is much more aerodynamic and I should get more power from recruiting other muscles besides my quads to help pedal. I'll post pictures next week of how I looked before the fit and how I looked after. The bike shop where the fit was done is going to e-mal them to me. I have to thank the director of TrainingBible coaching, Adam Zucco for getting me this fit. I had a great run with Adam beforehand and he definitely knows a ton about how to train triathletes from the beginner all the way through the professionals that he coaches. If you're looking for a great coach check out On Sunday I got another great workout at the 4 mile Chili Chase road race in Davenport, IA. I placed 2nd in a time of 21:31...40 seconds faster than last year. Local road racing stud Ben Lloyd won the race, beating me by 20 seconds in an effort that he made look extremely easy as I slowly got further and further behind over the last 1.5 miles.
Last week I was reminded of the inspiring stories that got this entire journey started...they are the stories of so many that made me decide to leave coaching and chase this dream of finding out how good I can be in the sport of triathlon. When I was coaching I was inspired by watching countless kids go from average (sometimes below), to good, and then to great. I watched kids who ran over 20 minutes for 5k as freshmen become all-state runners by their senior year. I saw other kids persevere through injury set-backs only to go on and become all-state runners or in some cases state meet record holders. They inspired me to take this leap of faith on my own journey. Last week I was inspired by another young man who I didn't coach...nor is he a runner. He is a swimmer. I first met the young man named Matt as a student in my American History class as an 8th grader. Matt had a terrific attitude and was a hard working quiet kid. Matt also happened to be quite a bit over weight...I'm sure he was clinically obsese. Last year Matt was on the swim team and I saw him swimming when I worked out with the high school team. He was in a lane slower than the one I worked with but I could tell he was improving and working hard. I also knew Matt was beginning to lose some weight. Matt improved through the season to where he could swim under 7:00 for 500 yards by the end...which really impressed me given his size. This past fall I was swimming with the Stingrays youth club team and noticed that Matt had joined. I hadn't seen him in quite some time and when I saw him he had lost quite a bit more weight. He was swimming much faster and we were now in the same lane. I joked with him about how his mom must not be letting him eat because of how much his body had changed. Fast forward a few months to the high school season...when I began to workout with the team and I was swimming in Matt's lane early in the season. He was still improving a lot. He was leading the lane I was in and it was starting to blow me away by how much he was improving. Along with his improvements Matt was still shedding the pounds. In one of their early season meets before Christmas Matt swam the 500 in 5:46...okay, now I was really blown away! That's 25 seconds faster than I've ever swam a 500. By the end of Christmas break Matt had moved into the next fastest lane and I was no longer able to swim with him even when I tried to draft on his feet. Matt's times continued to drop and I found out last week that he swam a 5:16 in the 500 at the district meet! I was immediately inspired. More inspiring than his time is how much he has transformed his body. He has thinned out so much it is just incredible for me to have seen the progression he went through. He committed to something, changed his body through hard work, and dropped nearly 2 minutes off his time in the course of just over a year. 5:16 is averaging about 1:03 per 100 and I know Matt could not have swam a 100 in that time when he began just over a year ago. Stories of that kind of improvement are what make me believe I can compete with the best if I continue to believe and work hard. Matt probably doesn't realize how much of an impact his story has made on me...but it forces me to DREAM BIG! It forces me to believe that impossible doesn't exist when you're willing to pay the price. Thanks Matt! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Superman Cape...3k Race Report...Rev3 News!

I have lots of exciting news to report for my week 13 training summary. It was a solid week, down from last week, but still 20 hours of total training time. On Friday I received a package containing my 2010 race jersey. Upon opening the package and seeing the jersey I was amazed beyond belief. I knew Kiwami Triathlon Wear made awesome jerseys but until I actually picked it up I didn't realize how awesome it was. The entire tri suit weighs less than a pair of underwear...seriously! I will race in the Kiwami Amphibian 008 suit thanks to Kiwami Triathlon Wear. I really need to thank the entire Kiwami staff and especially Andre Bennatan for designing me this jersey. I couldn't have been more pleased by how it turned out. I tried it on immediately and I didn't want to take it off. The suit feels super fast...I told Payton it was my Superman cape. I can't wait to debut this suit. If you're looking for a top of the line triathlon jersey check out the line Kiwami produces at They have a very nice variety of suits based on your individual needs and they have the ability to custom print whatever you want on the jersey.

On Saturday I went to Augustana College, my alma mater to race unattached in a track meet held at the indoor Pepsico Center. Augustana was mainly hosting the intrasquad meet with a few guys from Iowa Central Community College also racing. I entered myself in the 3,000 meters (200 meters short of 2 miles). I raced this event last year on the same weekend and ran 9:31. I was hoping to go under 9:20 this year. Before leaving home I looked up my college PR knowing it was around 9:10. It was actually 9:11 run 10 years ago back on Feb. 4th of 2000 in a meet at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I knew it would be a long shot to better that time but planned on getting out hard as Augie had loaded the event with all their top distance runners. My resolution this year is to approach races with no fear. If I plan to race with the top guys in the world on the long course scene this summer then I knew I better plan to have the courage to go out with the leaders for as long as I could in this 3k. I knew that would mean that I would also be faster at the mile mark than I've run a mile in over 8 years. When the gun went off I got out hard to get a good position just behind the lead pack. I had told myself I would hang in as long as I could. I settled in at what I knew was a quick pace but it didn't feel nearly as terrible as I thought it would. I hung right on the leaders for the first 7 laps and then could feel myself starting to slip. I made myself stay in the pack through the mile mark and glanced at my watch to see 4:43. That was faster than I ever went through the mile in a 3k during college. Now it was time to suffer for this move. I died a long, slow, painful death to the finish but it was well worth it. I didn't get any other splits through the race until I had one lap to go. I began getting passed by some of Augie's other runners after the mile. I think I only managed to pass one or two of the other guys who suffered from the quick pace. With 1 lap to go I glanced down and saw 8:38. I knew I would be under 9:20 but I pushed the last lap with the little bit I had left in the tank and finished in 9:12 just missing my college PR from 10 years ago. 9:12 would be roughly the equivilant of 9:49 for 2 miles. Despite missing that PR I was thrilled with the finish time. To be 19 seconds faster than a year ago on just 5 weeks of regular run training has me very excited for the run portion of the triathlon. A year ago I went out conservatively at 4:59 trying to run even pace and I was still 3 seconds slower on the 2nd half of the race than I was this year after going out very hard. I wasn't sore at all after the race and was able to run 13 miles on Sunday as part of a 4 hour training day. I have to give GU Energy credit for this as I used some of the GU Chomps and Roctane Gel to help combat the lactic acid that should have built up by running faster than I have in years. Both of those GU Energy products contain amino acids that fight against lactic acid buildup in muscles while competing. I may run another 3k at their first outdoor meet in mid-March but it depends on the training load that week. I don't want to sacrifice great training weeks to run well in track meets that ultimately are just tests of fitness and great workouts for me.

My last bit of exciting news is that I confirmed my entry into my first "full" distance triathlon on September 12th. I call it a "full" distance rather than an Ironman because it is an awesome event put on by a new company called Rev3. The event will take place at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. The "full" distance is the same as an Ironman...2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike leg, followed by a 26.2 mile run. I chose the Rev3 full over Ironman Madison because of the tremendous atmosphere that Rev3 is putting on. They are not out to make a gazillion dollars like Ironman events are. They are putting out a huge $100,000 prize purse in the pro race, paying to the top 10 finishers, donating a percentage of the entry fee to charity, providing 2 amusement park tickets to everyone who signs up, and giving away a ton of cool stuff to all race participants. I teach my history classes the definition of Revolution is "a big change" and this race is bringing about change to how triathlons are put on. They are catering bigtime to participants and spectators. The Rev3 company is putting on 3 races this Olympic distance race in May, a 1/2 distance race in June, and the full in September. They would probably get sued by Ironman if they called their race an Ironman distance. If you're looking for an awesome experience at a race check out the Rev3 series information at They have put together a page displaying all the confirmed pro athletes racing the full distance at!/race-info/professional-triathletes/cedarPoint2010.htm Jen laughed when she saw LeClaire, Iowa listed on my bio as all the other athletes had their country listed or some big name city. I won't be afraid to race a great field for my first full distance triathlon. I want to place in the top 10 and stand on the podium representing LeClaire, Iowa and all the people who have followed this great journey. This next week should be a big training one but we expect the arrival of our first son, Owen any day now and when he comes I will be taking my first 3 day training break. I've put it off longer than last year because I thought it would be better to take the 3 days when Owen arrives. Owen means "Young Warrior" and I hope I can set a good example of what it takes to be a warrior for Owen. For Owen's middle name we picked he could always remember where his dad became a professional triathlete. I can't be more excited for his arrival! Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week 12 Summary...and my coach

Week 12 was my best week ever training with a full week of school in the mix. My total training time was 26 hours and 45 minutes. I was able to do this much volume by getting up early before school and getting some easy bike rides in. Along with that I finished most nights by getting a late night ride in often times climbing off the bike at 11:00 or midnight. I'm feeling extremely fit...I'm feeling the benefits of the hard work. It always takes the body some time to adapt to the training load but by this point I feel I'm adapting very well. For the week I biked 200 miles (10 hours of trainer time), swam 14,300 yards, and ran 60 miles. This was my 4th week back to regular running and I haven't felt a bit of achilles pain in that time. I'm starting to log the kind of running miles I hoped to be in the pre-season. In addition to those totals I lifted weights, did speed drills and strides all three times, did lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work a record 8 times. In my 12 weeks I haven't missed a session in the weight room. I'm considerably stronger than I was at this point a year ago. I write down my weights and keep a close eye on my progress each time I lift. To give some examples on my improved strength...last year on my heaviest day of the week I was doing a leg press with a single leg at 160 lbs. This week I did my single leg press at 270 lbs. I do some lifts on a multi-hip machine. One of them is where I press the weight down working the glute. A year ago I was doing 120 lbs. on my heavy day. Now I am at 170 lbs. Some of my best workouts of the interval workout on the bike Tuesday, a track workout at Augustana on Wednesday, a 5 mile progressive tempo run on Friday in which my mile splits were 6:00, 5:54, 5:47, 5:44, and 5:31 to finish it off in a time of 28:58. It was very comfortable until the last 1/2 mile when I dipped the pace down below tempo pace. On Sunday I got a 5 hour training day in. I began the day with my longest run of the year at 13 miles which felt very easy. Immediately following that I went to the pool where I struggled through the first 500 yards. I took 2 GU Energy Gels and almost immediately felt much better. I finished a 3,000 yard workout and then later in the evening I rode the bike for 2.5 hours during the Super Bowl. This was my 3rd or 4th five hour training day this year and it was definitely the best I've felt at the end. Once again, I'm adapting to the long days in preparation for the 1/2 Ironman race distance.
The two questions that I field most often from people when they find out I'm a professional triathlete are...1. Do you have any sponsors?...and 2. Do you have a coach? As for the first I'm happy to have a great group of people helping me on this journey. As for the 2nd I now answer that I have a great coach. My coach is a tremendous motivator. He keeps me excited to train day in and day out. He sets up my training plan in detail a week ahead highlighting the goals of each workout with the weeks and months ahead in mind. He is great about helping me realize when the workout goal is to recover and when the workout goal is to hammer. My coach pushes me to set weekly training goals that will lead to long term improvements and success. My coach knows the importance of easy days when I'm feeling fatigued mentally or physically. My coach reminds me of the importance of eating healthy. He knows that to a great degree I have lots of untapped potential by reducing my body fat percentage. My coach reminds me of the importance of balancing family, work, and training. My coach helps me visualize success on long lonely rides and runs. When I worry about my swimming weakness he reminds me not to worry about things beyond my control...just to work hard and believe that improvements will come by the summer. My coach shouts words of encouragement to me on the toughest workouts. My coach forces me to DREAM BIG each and every believe that nothing is impossible. He has me believing that I can race and compete with the best long-course triathletes in the world. Who is this guy?? It is me. I am self-coached and am having blast doing this. It is one of the things that makes this journey so much fun. There may be advantages to hiring a coach. There are lots of great coaching companies out there like if you need advice on how to set up a training program. I believe my background in competing and coaching has helped me. As I set up my training program I know that developing my mental toughness and confidence are 2 of the most important things I can get out of now when people ask me if I have a coach, I respond by saying, "yes, and he is doing a tremendous job of preparing me for success." Next Saturday I'll be racing 3,000 meters at an indoor track meet at Augustana College. A year ago I ran 9:31. This year I think I'm ready to run under 9:20 (equivilant to a sub-10 minute 2 mile). I'll post a race report next Sunday night. THANKS FOR READING! DREAM BIG!