Sunday, January 30, 2011

Try Melon Tri Race Report...Week 13

I began week 13 with my Monday morning weigh in and I saw a number I hadn't seen in nearly a year. I was 153 on Monday morning which was the lowest I got last year before the surgery that derailed my season. I thought it would take me much longer to get back to this weight and to be honest there were times in the summer when I thought my achilles wouldn't heal and I would never see 153 again. That number means I have lost 18 lbs. through 12 weeks since I began training on November 1. It also means I'm only 5 lbs. from my goal race weight for Ironman St. George on May 7. I can tell a huge difference running at the lower body weight and I'm chomping at the bit to get outside for some test rides to find out how much faster I'll be on the leaner frame. I will need to be faster than I've ever been on the bike if I want to be competitive at the pro level.
Jen e-mailed me Monday to ask me how I was feeling coming off the 12 hour weekend training that I call "Ironman Prep" weekend. I told her I felt pretty good but was a little bit sore as expected. After school when I went for my hour run I found out just how tired I was feeling. My legs were filled with deep muscle soreness. It wasn't painful soreness...more of a dead leg feeling. I had very little power in my stride. My turnover felt very slow. I realized the weekend had put me back a little more than I assumed earlier in the day. It was completely expected however. As a total guess I was thinking that was how my legs would probably feel 1 week after finishing Ironman in May...not really sore but just totally dead leg feeling. I quickly called the world's best massage therapist, Laurel Darren and she was able to schedule me for a Tuesday massage. That massage hurt bad but it was a great hurt. By Wednesday I felt completely back to normal. I was again reminded of the importance massage plays in helping me recover from hard training and racing efforts. Laurel also writes for the Moline Dispatch and runs a weekly column that I was mentioned in this week. That story can be found by clicking HERE.
Sunday morning Super Mom, Payton, Owen, and I drove to Muscatine for the 18th Try Melon Tri. This was an event I had won the past two years. It is a really nice event that the Muscatine YMCA puts on every January. It is extremely well run with tremendous volunteers. It consists of a 900 yard pool swim, a 10 mile Kaiser M3 Spin Bike, and a 2.5 mile run on the legendary 100 meter banked turn track. The spin bike was new this year replacing the torturous Schwinn Airdyne bikes. Upon arriving I went for a 3 mile run to loosen the legs up. I also wanted to get a longer warm up in than normal to get to my weekly running mileage goal. I then did speed drills and strides and waited for my 11:30 start time. The start times are seeded by the expected swim time we submitted and I would be in the 2nd fastest heat. I watched the 11:00 guys start and they were all swimming faster than I could. I knew Adam Bohach from Clinton, Iowa would be really tough to beat. He moved to the area last year and had a great summer of competing. He's strong in all three disciplines, but especially the run. He ran a 2:28 marathon last year which is only 8 minutes off the Olympic Trials standard for the marathon. I knew the only way to beat him would be to either swim or ride faster than him. I was really excited about this race because one of my best friends, Beau Perkins would be competing in his first triathlon. Beau was a school record holding swimmer on our team in high school at Pleasant Valley. I have always thought he would be great at triathlons as he is very strong and stays in pretty good run shape as well. Beau and I were in the same swim heat with only one person between us.

SWIM: I elected not to warm up in the 90 degree pool this year as I felt it may have lead me to be slower last year. In truth I was probably just slower last year because I'm not a very good swimmer. When the whistle sounded to start I knew the guy between Beau and I was a stud swimmer. Rumor flying around the YMCA was that he won an Olympic swimming medal as part of a relay in the 80's. That was a long time ago but I'm sure even an olympian who hasn't swam for 20 years could outswim me. For the first 150 yards or so I stayed about even with him and when he went by me I tried to move closer to him to catch some of his slip stream but that didn't last long and he was long gone. I did a good job of breathing every 3 strokes instead of every 2 like I used to. I never felt in a great rhythm but I tried to continue pushing hoping to drop a little time off my 12:20 from last year. I haven't swam near the yardage of last year, instead choosing to spend more time on the bike and run but I still thought I may be able to swim faster guessing that my technique is better than a year ago. I finished behind Beau by about 15 seconds in a time of 12:29...9 seconds slower than last year. I was also about 1 minute slower than what Adam Bohach had gone from the previous heat.
BIKE: After a quick shoe change I made my way to the new Kaiser Spin bikes. I was a little skeptical about this portion of the race because everyone had to keep the bikes on level 6 and they go up to level 24. I knew that would mean it would be really easy to pedal. I was also warned that if you pedaled above 130 cadence the RPM monitor of the bike would not display. It still kept track of the distance but without the monitor. Right when I jumped on the bike and started pedaling I knew there was no way for me to win this race. The pedaling was simply too easy. I was over 130 cadence from the beginning. The RPM monitor turned off as promised and I kept trying to pedal as fast as I could without bouncing my rear end off the bike. My heart rate was actually going down as I pedaled because it was so easy. I could see Payton waving her sign for me and I was able to talk to her for parts of the ride. It was quite enjoyable but was not good for helping me make up time on anyone because it seemed almost everyone riding was able to push the cadence up above 130 so even weaker riders would be riding just as fast as I was. The coolest thing about the ride was that I was on the bike next to Beau so I was able to talk to him. He had a great swim and was spinning the bike super fast as well. He stayed in the aero position almost the entire time and I kept thinking...this sport is perfect for him. He's going to be a great triathlete if he enjoys the sport. The ride was not as easy on the legs as it sounds because of the absolute uncomfortable feeling that comes with pedaling at 140+ cadence for 15 minutes. It ended up being 14 minutes and 20 seconds for me. This was a couple minutes faster than the Schwinn Airdynes took me. As much as I hated riding those things I would say I wished we could have been on them because at least with them it separated the race a little bit because the stronger riders could gain some time on the weaker ones. With the spin bikes I'm sure I will see in the results that the top 30 riders were separated by less than a minute due to the ease of the pedaling.

RUN: I got off the bike knowing I would not win the race but that wasn't my big goal in this one. I knew things would be unusual with the new bikes. My bigger goals were to drop time in the swim and run portions. Those were consistent from last year to this year...same distances and the same courses. I was already -9 seconds on the swim so I knew I was not going to be happy if I also ran slower. Last year I ran 13:52 (about 5:33 pace). When I started it felt like I was going really slow. I know I'm in the best run shape I've been in a long time. I think going from the 140 bike cadence to the normal run cadence is what made it feel like my legs were not moving fast. I went through the first 16 laps (1 mile) and saw 5:26 on my watch. I was pretty happy with this because I could tell I was feeling stronger now that my legs had gotten into a normal rhythm. I kept thinking...this pace feels like 1/2 Ironman pace. It isn't hard to hold. I pushed hard and other runners began to enter the track which made the run a bit longer because you are passing people so frequently on a 100 meter track and we always pass on the outside. I could tell with each passing lap I was speeding up and I ended the run to see that I had gone 13:18...34 seconds faster than last year and a 5:19 mile pace. This is faster than I've run any distance off the bike in a race. I also felt like I could have kept the pace up for a while longer. My finish time was 40:58, 1 minute behind the winner, Adam Bohach. Despite not winning I was pretty excited about the progress. I made a decision earlier this year to swim less so that I could become a stronger biker and runner. The decision cost me 9 seconds on the swim but gained me 34 on the run so a net gain of 25 seconds. I could double my swim yardage and I don't know if I would drop 25 seconds and I certainly don't feel I would run as fast as I did. Also, Adam is a stud! I tried to find him after I finished but I think he left after he was done. I'd love to get together for some training with him. Someone after the event told me he said he is planning to do Ironman St. George as well so it would be awesome to get together for some long rides or runs to help us both prepare to do well there. My friend Beau had an awesome day which was probably my highlight of the race. Beau finished in 46:50 and when I left the YMCA he was sitting in 4th place overall for his first triathlon ever!! Now he just needs to get a bike and he'll be ready for a big summer.
This next week will be a big training one. This past week was pretty low in terms of total volume. I'm excited to get things going with a ride in the morning to start things off. I only have 7 weeks left until my first pro race in San Juan. Today's swim made me realize how much work I'm going to have when I exit the water. Mentally I'm trying to get myself ready to overcome a significant deficit out of the water so I don't panik. I 100% believe I can ride and run my way back into a top 8 finish. The field entered is incredible. Ironman posted the San Juan Pro race preview this week which can be found by clicking HERE. Just reading my name on the start list with those guys got my heart racing. I have made my resolution this year to be fearless. I will control what I can which is my own race. I certainly will not be afraid to toe the line with the best in the world and I intend to prove that I belong on that starting line. Thanks for reading!! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Inner Conflict...Week 12 Summary

When things are going well my confidence grows quickly. Through 11 weeks I had gained much confidence and fitness as I prepare for the 2011 season. When things don't go well however my confidence seems to slip faster than I gained it. It is my biggest inner struggle. If I miss a pool workout I begin to think I'm going to lose fitness. If I miss a long run I start to worry if I'll have the endurance required to finish the marathon at the end of an Ironman. Week 12 was certainly a test of my inner conflict. I woke up on Monday feeling super congested. I had felt a sickness coming on last weekend but it was bad enough to keep me home on Monday. My only workout was a short 30 minute bike ride. I missed my scheduled weight room session and my run. Tuesday the sickness was even worse as I was coughing uncontrollably. I missed my swim on Tuesday and managed only 2 hours of workout time. I only slept about 3 hours on Tuesday night because I was coughing so hard I couldn't get to sleep. I was home from school again Wednesday to see the doctor. I missed my weight lifting again and had to cut workouts short. My confidence was slipping quickly. For the first time in 12 weeks of training things were not going as planned. On Thursday I was feeling better and was back at school but Super Mom had a really long meeting at work so I was home early after lifting weights to pick the kids up and get them dinner, baths, and to bed. 4 days in a row away from my routine. I began to wonder how out of shape I would slow I'd be in the pool since I hadn't swam in a week. Then I decided to call on my coaching mind. My coaching mind reminded me how fit I am. My coaching mind told me I could lock myself in a closet for a week and come out ready to race fast. I had nothing to worry about. It is impossible to go through any season, especially one as long as the triathlon season (10-11 months) without going through periods when things don't go as planned. A few easy days are probably the best thing for me long term. Endurance athletes tend to be type-A personalities who hate missing workouts but in most cases the rest is better than the workouts. I remembered when I was coaching cross country and we had a kid by the name of Devin Allbaugh who was the best runner in the state his senior year. Devin had racked up over 700 miles through a 10 week summer heading into his senior year. He had a lot of miles in the bank saved up if he needed rest. He went through the first 2/3rds of the season without losing to anyone from Iowa. He was going to win the state meet. We knew that. Near the end of the season he had a stress reaction in his leg and we wanted him to rest. He had trouble listening to that advice. I realized this week that I was in the exact same boat as he was. Devin believed that if he didn't run every day his fitness would deteriorate quickly. As coaches we told him he could take 2 weeks off before state and still win the meet. We had no doubts that he would be just fine with the rest. He had done more than enough work prior to the injury to rest and still be a stud. We were able to convince him to take some time off and he did win the state meet. This week I needed to step back and remind myself that there was absolutely no reason to begin doubting myself just because of a few days away from my routine. I had to put to call on my coaching mind to help me out of this inner conflict.
It ended up being a great week. On Friday I did a track workout of 4x 1200's with 2 minutes rest between each. I didn't want to hammer them coming off the sickness so I ran them at 5:15/mile pace (3:56, 3:57, 3:56, 3:57) and then finished with 4x200's in 33 seconds. It felt good to be back on the track and I could tell the sickness had nearly run its' course.
The weekend was the highlight. I put together what I called an Ironman Training prep weekend. Each time I increase my volume to a level beyond what I've hit in training I adapt really well it it. Early on in training that was getting a 4 hour day in. After a few of those I noticed my body had adapted to that level and 4 hours was no longer taxing. In December I started putting in some 5 hour days and felt I had adapted to those so this weekend was about putting 2 big days in back to back. On Saturday my total training time was 6 hrs. 25 minutes. It began with a 2.5 hour ride with a nice group at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care with 3 minutes at low cadence/high wattage on the 10 minute intervals through the entire ride. I then did a 6 mile brick run right after the ride. In the afternoon I went to the pool for my Ironman Swim Day in which I do long straight swims of 40 min., 10 min, and 10 min. with only 60 sec. rest between each. After my swim I did a core workout and my speed drills and strides. I then did a 90 minute ride in the evening with my 5x5 workout in the middle where I couldn't believe I was able to hit 320 watts on the first 4 and then 330 on the last one. I did the workout fresh at 320 watts for the first time 2 weeks ago and I know I'm stronger now by this week's effort. Following that workout I did a short 2.5 mile brick run with my first mile at goal 1/2 Ironman pace (5:43) before cooling down. I woke up on Sunday and continued the big weekend with my longest run of the year at 14.5 miles (1 hr. 40 min.) There is being tough and there is being stupid...I think I fell into the ladder for my long run today. It was -7 degrees wind chill outside and I have mile frostbite on my left ear right now. It's really red and sore to touch. I need it to warm up soon. After the ride I went to the pool and swam 3,400 yards and then came home and rode for 1 hr. 15 minutes on the trainer. After enjoying the Bears game...or should I say the time with family during the bears game...I lifted weights and jumped rope and did lunges. I finished off the day with a 30 minute bike ride and core work. Sunday totalled 5 hrs. 35 minutes so my 2 day total for Ironman prep weekend was 12 hours workout time with 7,100 yards swimming, 115 miles biking, and 23 miles running. I felt pretty tired on my afternoon ride but much better tonight after getting in calories at dinner. I relied on a lot of aweomse GU Energy products to get me through the weekend. They have a new flavor of chomps, Peach Tea, which are amazing! They are like the best fruit snacks you've ever tasted and they contain amino acids and carbs to fuel 2 hours of workout in a single pack! Chomps are the best energy chews on the market. You can find an awesome comparison of the top brands here and you'll find just what makes the GU Chomps the best! Notice they are the only ones on the market with amino acids. Histidine is proven to delay the onset of lactic acid and it is why I use Chomps and Roctane in races. Speaking of GU Energy products, next week at our Saturday morning ride at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care we'll have some great GU products for everyone to sample. I have no doubts that right now I'm fit enough to race a good 1/2 Ironman. I have some work still to be ready to race a good full Ironman. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my 1st pro race in San Juan just 8 weeks away and my first Ironman in St. George, Utah which is now only 15 weeks away. Next weekend I'll be doing an indoor triathlon in Muscatine, IA which consists of a 900 yard pool swim, 10 mile bike ride on a spinning bike (they got rid of the Devil's Schwinn Airdynes), and a 2.5 mile run featuring 40 laps around the banked race track at the Muscatine YMCA. I'm hoping to have time drops over last year in the swim and run. The bike is on something different and I don't put a lot of stock into spin bikes when everyone has to pedal at level 6 and the instructions say if you hit 130 RPM's you must slow down because the bike monitor will shut off. On a side note I've decided to do all my bike training on my Orbea Ordu this year which means I'll be selling my 2004 Trek Equinox 7 (size medium- 54-55 cm) that I have trained on for the past 3 years. The specs of the bike can be found here. I'm also going be getting a new Zipp rear wheel with a power tap in the wheel so I'm selling my Cycleops Power Tap integrated into a Mavic rear wheel. If you know anyone interested in either of these have them contact me. $600.00 for the bike. $400.00 for the Power Tap. The Power Tap has been a great training tool for me and I wouldn't train without one since I've seen the benefits from it. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 11 Summary...Owen's 1st Steps!

Week 11 was highlighted by Owen's first steps (taken tonight) which can be witnessed by all in the video at the end of this post. The week of training was also great this week. I began to build my mileage back up after a recovery week last week and I felt great. Monday morning I had my weekly weigh-in and I was 156 lbs, down 2 from last week and down 15 lbs. through my first 10 weeks of training. I'm now only 4 lbs. from my goal weight for San Juan, and 8 lbs. from my goal weight for Ironman St. George on May 7. I can tell a HUGE difference in my running with a leaner fram. For the week my total training time was 23.5 hours. I ran 56 miles (my highest since last Feb.), biked 170 miles, and swam 11,000 yards. In addition to those totals I also lifted weights, did speed drills, strides, lunges, push-ups, and jumped rope all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work 8 times. I'm sure some people would recommend that I swim more than I am right now. I've had my own debate internally and my coaching mind has convinced me that although swimming is my weakest area of triathlon I'm better served right now spending the extra time building my cycling and running up. In a 1/2 and full Ironman the swim only makes up about 15% of the total race time. The bike on the other hand makes up about 55%. Based on the experiences I've had I could double the time I'm spending in the water and the gains I see are minimal. I may drop 1 minute over a 70.3 race or 2 minutes over a full Ironman but by increasing my swimming I would be cutting my running and biking where I feel I would lose out on more time than I am gaining in the swim. My mind may change as I get some race experience but for right now I feel good in the I'm still improving with 3-5 hours a week. I will continue to put most of my focus on the bike and run for now.

Wednesday I had a great track workout with my alma mater, Augustana College. We began with a 5 mile warm up outside and then did a fast 800 in which I ran 2:14. I was slower than most of the distance guys in my group but I haven't done an 800 that fast in a LONG time. I also need to start brining my flats for workouts like these so I can run a little faster. After the 800 we did 2x 600's at 4:55 mile pace with 90 seconds rest. We then ran 4x 400's and I was 74, 71, 71, and 69 with rest intervals of cutting down after each one starting at 70 seconds and dropping 10 seconds after each. We then finished with 2x 200's in 32 and 31 seconds. It felt great to get some good speed work in. Many coaches would say it is too early to be running speed workouts like this but I have found my body adapts really well with workouts that are fast. My threshold ceiling is dramatically improved when I train with speed in the run. When my body does workouts like this at 4:40 mile pace or faster I feel super comfortable when I get to 1/2 marathon race pace and want to run 5:45's. That pace feels easy because I've gone so much faster in workouts. The key is that I also have to build the aerobic engine so my body holds up for the long runs like the 1/2 and full marathon. It is why running long every weekend is so important to me. Today I went my longest yet at 14 miles and I had the GPS watch on because I did a new route from home. I went on the hilly county roads from my house which gave me a total of about 15 hills in the run. The route has some big climbs and is pretty constantly up and down which I will benefit from when I compete at St. George for the Ironman on May 7. That course is entirely up and down. I averaged 6:40 pace for the 14 miles today and it felt easy. The toughest part is that there is no protection from the wind out on the county roads and it was REALLY cold today.

My best workout of the week was on Saturday. As I stated last week I will begin to design workouts that will build my confidence as I get closer to the racing season. Saturday's workout was designed to be that kind of confidence booster. I began the day with a 2.5 hour ride in the morning at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. Dr. Kaminski has been kind enough to open up the workout room at his clinic for anyone who wants to bring their trainer and bike every Saturday from 7-10 a.m. There is room for up to 20 riders and you can come ride as long or short as you want to any time in that window. We've had great turnouts for these rides. If you want to attend contact me and I'll get you in touch with the RSVP contact for these rides. We put a movie on the big screen and the rides go by much quicker with good company and a movie. This week's was the movie Ironman...not the triathlon movie, but the Superhero one. Following the ride I went home and got the kids ready to go with Jen to a 5 mile road race at Scott County Park called the Frostbite Footrace. My plan was to run the first 4 miles at tempo effort between 5:45 and 5:55 mile pace and then run the last mile as fast as I could. The course had some really nice hills which made me think over and over about how well I'll be running hills with my leaner body. When the gun fired we took off at a very slow pace. Jen asked me why we were running slow and I said, "Because it's January and most people are not in shape right now." I had no intentions of being in the lead at tempo pace so I let about 5 other guys set the pace and we went through mile 1 at 5:55. I didn't want to get any slower than that. It felt too easy. At about 1.5 miles in we went up a really big hill and I started to pull away from the pack. I really didn't want to lead but I also wanted to make sure I stuck to my plan of running 5:45-5:55 and I found myself alone at the front. My next mile splits were 5:45 for 2, 5:44 for 3, and 5:43 for 4. Just before the 4 mile mark there was a big hill and I thought that may make it tougher to change gears in mile 5. When I hit the 4 mile I dropped the pace down and ran the last mile fast in 5:08. It had one big downhill and then a big climb back uphill going into the finish. I finished in 28:17, about 1:45 ahead of the 2nd place finisher. Jen won the women's race which was awesome. I felt great when I I was finishing an interval in a workout. The Super Smile was out in full effect for the post-race picture with Jen. The race was a big boost to my confidence. It felt almost too easy running 5:45 pace which will be my 1/2 Ironman goal run pace in San Juan on March 19th. The key will be whether or not I can do that in warm conditions after a really tough bike effort...and continue it for 13.1 miles. As easy as it felt I think I'll be ready with 9 more weeks to prepare for it. Congrats to everyone who did the race and braved the cold weather for this one!
Lately I've gotten a lot of the same responses when I tell people I'm doing Ironman St. George on May 7th. I get two responses that have become pretty common. The first is people asking me why I would want to do a course as tough as St. George. It is rated the toughest Ironman in North America. My answer to that is pretty simple: I want to race St. George because it is the toughest and I believe my greatest strength is my mental game. I'm fully aware of how tough that course is and I believe it will play to my strengths as I'll be stronger and lighter than ever before in a race. The second thing that seems to be asked from everyone is "Why would you do an Ironman that is in the spring when you live in Iowa and training through the winter is tough?" It's almost become comical to Jen and I to hear this one from people. They have no idea how much training I do week in and week out. I have no doubts my volume is high enough to compete well in a spring Ironman. Someone asked me after the race if I run outside this time of year...Here's a couple pictures that come from the end of my Sunday long runs. I don't care how cold it tough...yes I know that's ice hanging from my hat...I know I look like a ninja in my new thermal hat Jen bought me so I don't get any more mild frostbite. Those conditions are the very ones that will prepare me best for St. George. Mentally it makes me tough.

And finally, the highlight of the week for me...watching Owen take his first steps! Payton was more excited than anyone. She'll soon have somone other than mom and dad to race down the hallway. Owen better get used to hearing his sister say, "On your marks...get set...go!"

Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm in! Week 10 Summary

The biggest news for week 10 is that I'm officially registered for my first two races of the year...both professional events. The first will be the San Juan 70.3 on March 19th. The 2nd will be Ironman St. George on May 7th. I had been planning to debut at St. George but after feeling I'm way ahead of where I thought I would be at this point I began looking for an earlier race than St. George. For one, I would like to have one race under my belt before St. George just to make sure the bike is running smooth and to get my race legs under me a bit before attempting an Ironman. San Juan worked perfectly into the schedule. It falls exactly 20 weeks into training (I'm half way there now) and it also falls during my spring break week so I won't need to take any days off of school. Jen and I booked our trip this week. We are flying out of Chicago on Wednesday, March 16th and we'll be returning on Sunday, March 20. I'm very excited to find out where I'm at. It will have been nearly a year and half since I have raced a 1/2 Ironman event and since I did any race 100% healthy.
I began week 10 with my Monday morning weigh in and I was 158, down 1 lb. for the week and down 13 since I began training on Nov. 1. I hope to squeeze out 10 more lbs. of bad weight between now and May 7th for Ironman St. George. I'm hoping to be down to 152 or less by San Juan. This week was a recovery week following 4 weeks of increased training volume. For the week my total training time was only 16 hrs. 45 minutes. I ran 35 miles, biked 105, and swam 10,400 yards. I also lifted weights, did speed drills, strides, lunges, push-ups, and jumped rope all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work six times. Although I dropped the volume I still had some very quality workouts.
I did two very hard bike interval workouts with my best one coming on Saturday night when Jen and I had "date night" again on the trainer and treadmill. I was on the trainer and she was next to me on the treadmill. She followed the workout I was doing which was 5x5 minutes very hard followed by 5 minutes recovery after a warm up. I did the 5x5 at 320 watts which was my highest this year. It was very tough but I survived all of them and was very proud of the effort as this workout was circled as my single most important of the week. Jen ran her 5 minute periods at an impressive 6 minute/mile pace. One of my goals is to be able to do this workout at 340 watts before St. George. I'm well on my way to accomplishing that feat.
My toughest running workout was on the indoor track at Augustana College on Wednesday. Jen's college coach Ron Standley has been kind enough to help coach me through some of these grueling track workouts and after I warmed up Ron told me I would be running 6x (4 lap repeats from lane #6). Lane 6 is always the lane the team trains in because it reduces the tightness of the curve. Because the running is in lane 6 each lap is about 230 meters. 7 laps is equal to 1 mile in lane 6. The tough part of the workout is that during my 4 lap repeats I would begin lap 1 at 5:30/mile pace, then run lap 2 at 4:40/mile pace, lap 3 was back to 5:30 pace, and lap 4 was back to 4:40 pace. When Ron told me the target times for each lap it was one of the first times when I doubted that I would be able to hit the times he was asking of me. I haven't done any work yet this year at 4:40/mile pace. What I knew is that I would take the workout one at a time and work like crazy to hit them as long as I could. I was able to surprise myself and hit all of them. It was really tough changing speeds and dropping the pace down so much on laps 2 and 4 but I think the toughest part was lap 3. I had just finished running a lap at 4:40 pace and knew I could slow down a little bit. Mentally I wanted to recover on this lap but 5:30 pace is still quite a bit faster than I can recover so mentally I had to work hard to hit this "slower" lap.
I had my longest run since March 14th of last year this morning. I went 92 minutes outside when the wind chill was 3 degrees when I began the run. I felt great. I've been very conservative with how quickly I've increased my long run. I've added 5 minutes every 2 weeks. This was my first week at 91 and it ended up being 92. I may have to increase slightly faster to get to my goal of 2 hrs. 15 minutes by St. George but I won't have to add anything crazy to what I'm doing. I can tell I've gotten much stronger from the long runs every week.
My other big progression this week in training was that I bumped up the weights on 10 of my 20 lifts in the weight room. I track the weight I lift every time I go to the weight room and I had not increased weight since early last summer. It felt good to be strong enough to be able to bump up the weight in half of my lifts. One of my yearly goals was to increase all my leg weights by 10% and a few of the increases were enough to do that.
I'm 10 weeks in now. Each week I have a checklist of goals I want to accomplish in training. Through 10 weeks I've had 321 total weekly goals and I've hit every single one of them! I'm stronger, faster, lighter, and much more physically fit than I was 10 weeks ago. I am still not where I was mentally before my injury last year. Before I got hurt I had the mentality that I could conquer the world. I was completely fearless of racing in the professional division. I was so fit I didn't have any doubts. Although I'm getting closer I know I need to continue to gain confidence. I plan to do that with some benchmark races on the track, roads, and in an indoor triathlon over the next couple months. I'll also do a few of the same tough workouts I did last year so I can prove to myself I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm very pleased with how things are progressing. The biggest area I need to work on is getting more sleep. I have found a direct correlation between how tired I am and how motivated I am to train. When I'm not getting enough sleep I find I don't feel like putting in long days of training. I need to be more disciplined about getting my goal of 7.5 hours of sleep each night. If I can take care of that and continue everything else the way it has gone I wouldn't have anything more to wish for. I'll now begin a few weeks of increasing volume. I'll begin adding in some brick runs and some other race specific training as I progress through this next block of training. I'll be ready on March 19th. It can't come soon enough! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year! Goal Setting in 2011

I'm quite excited to see 2010 come to a close from a triathlon standpoint. It was pretty devastating to be derailed by injury and the start of 2011 has me as optimistic as ever. This week was an awesome one. It was my highest volume in a week outside of my training camp 2 summers ago. My total training time was 31 hours. I only had 2 days that were under 4 hours training time and they weren't under by much. For the week I did 21 workouts as planned covering 55 miles running, 255 miles biking, and 20,400 yards swimming. It was my highest totals in all three yet this ye. I had a plan to pour on the volume since I wasn't working. I wanted to find out how well I could recover 8 weeks into training from high volume. It went very well. I had two great interval workouts on the bike and one on the track. I put in a lot of yards over 4 swims with 3 of them being with the Pleasant Valley high school team. Those guys put in a ton of yards over break! In addition to the totals above I lifted weights, did speed drills, strides, push-ups, jump rope, and lunges all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work 10 times. This week was enough to convince me that I'll be ready to race on March 19th in San Juan, Puerto Rico if Jen and I can ever get the trip booked. There are way too many logistical things to figure out to make that an easy plan...airfare, bike shipping, park and fly, hotel in San Juan, registration for the race, rental car...etc. We hope to get it done this week as I'll have some extra time with a recovery week planned to let my body adapt to the big volume. I've built up 4 weeks in a row and it's time to rest up a bit with a much lighter training week and a return to school.
I was thankful to get a massage this week from Laurel Darren and that got my body feeling really recovered so I could put in this kind of volume. I always feel really fresh after the massages from Laurel. I also went through a lot of GU Energy to fuel this kind of volume and I'm thankful to have GU supporting me again in 2011! Owen has noticed my liking to GU and he always goes crazy when I mix up some GU Recovery Brew so I had to fill the bottle with some water for him. It's great to see that Owen is a GU fan at such a young age!!

My favorite workout this week was a bike interval workout on Saturday night. My benchmark workout is 5x5 minutes at the highest wattage I can hold. Last week I did 310 watts and I knew with the volume this week that 320 was going to have to wait a week but I planned a workout to help get me ready to handle 320 watts. I programmed the entire workout into the new Cycleops Powerbeam Pro trainer and it went well. I did 4x 3 minutes at 320 watts followed by 10x 1 minute at 370 watts with a 1 minute easy recovery after each. This workout was my favorite because Jen and I used it as a date night as I moved the trainer right next to the treadmill and she did the same workout on the treadmill running her 3 minute hard periods at 6:00/mile pace and her 1 minute hard periods at 5:40 pace. Having two kids and both being into training a lot this may become a pretty standard date night in the Paul household. Payton didn't want to go to sleep and watched "The Little Mirmaid" from the couch next to us probably thinking that mom and dad were nuts for sweating through this insanity from 9:00-10:30 at night.

I have very high goals for 2011 and I hope all of you reading this blog have thought about your own personal goals. Here is some of the latest research on goal setting:

1. Goals are more likely to be met when they are written down

2. They are even more likely to be met if they are told to other people...hence why I am going to put my goals out there for everyone who cares to see. (If you want to share your goals with me send me an e-mail and I will periodically check in with you throughout the year to see how the progress is going. Seriously, I'd love to do this.) My biggest reason for this journey has turned to inspiring others to do something they never thought possible!

3. Goals are more likely to be met if they are specific and measurable. Simply put...if your goal is to lose weight you are more likely to do it if you are specific about how much weight rather than saying, "I want to lose weight."

4. I read one time that people who are obsessed with their goals are much more likely to achieve them. I'd say I'm in that category. I'm obsessed with reaching these goals in 2011. I think about them every day. I e-mailed them to myself and they will stay in my inbox throughout the entire year. They are posted in my workout book that I carry with me every day.

5. Long-term goals are most likely achieved when they are broken down into short-term goals. This is why I use a weekly goal checklist and list out my mileage/yardage goals every week in addition to all the small things in training I want to accomplish. If someone has a goal to lost 20 lbs. in 2011 it will be better to set a short-term goal in January to lose 3 lbs. than to think of the big picture 20 the entire year. When long-term goals are all people have they tend to lose focus much easier and much quicker. are my goals for 2011 for the entire world to see...or anyone who stumbles on this blog entry.

1. I will develop the confidence that I belong in the professional races with the best triathletes in the world.

2. I will get my body fat % to 9 or less by May.

3. I will get my race weight to 148 lbs. or less by May 7.

4. I will build my long run to at least 2 hrs. 15 minutes by mid-April

5. I will lift weights 3x a week until March and then 2x a week through the end of the season

6. I will increase weights on leg lifts by 10% over last year

7. I will build my running mileage up to 65 miles/week by mid-April

8. I will "eat to perform" instead of "performing to eat"

9. I will build my "Ironman Swim Day" up to 1 hr. 5 minutes by mid-April

10. I will complete the 5x5 workout on the bike at 340 watts by April 1

11. I will build my long ride to 140 miles by April 10th

12. I will make the podium at a professional race this year

13. I will continue to do all the little things like lunges, push-ups, jump rope...etc. week in and week out knowing those things will make the difference.

That's it. You can check in with me any time to ask my progress on those goals. The only goal in here that I don't have complete control over is making the podium at a pro race. I can't control who shows up for the races that I am doing. It's important to set goals that you can control. I believe by meeting all of the above goals that I can control it will put me in a good position to make the podium in a professional race. Set small goals and if you meet them time after time the big goal will take care of itself. Thanks for reading. Set high goals and tell them to someone...I would love to hear them. DREAM BIG!!