Monday, May 30, 2011

Transition Clinic...back on track

1st off I'd like to invite anyone interested to a free transition clinic that I am hosting this upcoming Saturday, June 4th at 9:00 a.m. at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf, IA. The clinic will take place near the main entrance under one of the shelters. The clinic should last about 45 minutes. I'll be doing a short run following the clinic and anyone is welcome to join. I moved the clinic back this year because last year it was about 40 degrees in early May when I hosted this clinic. No guarantees but I do hope it will be warmer. There is no need to bring anything. I will have my bike and the gear that I would set out in the transition area. I will go over ways to increase speed getting through both transitions in a triathlon (swim to bike and bike to run). I will be able to answer any questions you have related to transitions or triathlons in general. My hope is that the clinic will be very helpful at calming the nerves of anyone getting into the sport preparing for their 1st triathlon. In addition I hope even veterans of the sport will be able to pick up an idea or two that will help them lower transition times in the next triathlon they do. As an added bonus for anyone who attends GU Energy has graciously provided me with some GU gels to hand out at the clinic!

The week of training and eating was a great one for me. I was frustrated last week with my lack of training...especially on the bike. On Monday my "coaching" self had a great "chat" with my "athlete" self. It was a pretty one-sided conversation as my athlete self nodded in agreement as my coaching self gave me a good old fashioned butt chewing. The message was well received and I got after it this week both in training and eating healthy. I weighed in this morning at 158 lbs. which is 5 lbs. less than I was last Monday. For the week my total training time was 26.5 hours. I biked 222 miles, ran 60 miles, and swam 13,000 yards. I also lifted weights three times, jumped rope and did lunges four times, plyometrics twice, core work nine times, and push-ups, speed drills, and strides all three times. I got a great long bike ride in with Adam Bohach on Saturday. We went 85 miles and the time passed very quickly without the presence of crazy winds. That was my longest ride in about 7 weeks. I got great running workouts with some quality on the track on Monday and Friday. I also did my longest run in 7 weeks on Sunday morning when I went 13 miles. I'm excited for the summer to be here. Friday was my last day of school and now I can train and recover much more effectively. I've always thought a 30 hour week of training in the summer is easier than a 20 hour week during the school year. I'm able to get more sleep, spend extra time stretching, get ice baths as needed, have more time for awesome massages from Laurel Darren, and the absenc of a school week still leaves more time to train.

I've outlined a training schedule for the summer. An average week with no race will be 20 workouts for the week consisting of 6 days running, 6 days biking, 5 days swimming, and 3 days lifting. If I have a race I'll most likely cut out a couple workouts that week and also lower the overall volume. I won't cut back for the entire week but I'm only race 4 times this summer so the ones I do will have anywhere from 3-5 pretty easy days before them. I'll also have at least 3 weeks this summer that I call "camp" weeks. During a training camp week my goal is to completely overload the training volume. The intensity will be sacrificed because it is difficult to combine crazy volume with intensity and still live to tell about it. A training camp week will result in 22-23 total workouts with a total workout time in the ballpark of 35-40 hours. I will bike and run every day during a training camp workout and will swim 5-6 days during those weeks. I'll also lift 3x. The difference between a training camp week and a regular week is that I'll be running and biking very large amounts of miles, and swimming more yards than a regular week. My first training camp week will begin next Monday. I'm hoping to get 350-400 bike miles that week as well as 70 running, and 20,000 yards swimming.

On Sunday I'll be traveling to Cedar Rapids, IA to compete in the 20th annual Pigman Sprint triathlon. It is a 550 yard swim, 15.5 mile bike and a 5k run. They always get a very competitive field. 2 years ago I did this race and placed 11th. 5 of the guys who finished in the top 12 are now professional triathletes. On Sunday I expect there will be four or five of us within about a minute at the finish. I need to have the best swim of my life and run under 17:00 if I want to be in contention to win. I used today as a recovery day after a 6 hour training day on Saturday and 4 more on Sunday. I'll get good volume in through Thursday and then rest up for a couple days with easy workouts so I can give my best effort on Sunday without sacrificing an entire week of training. Thanks for reading! I hope to see you at the transition clinic on Saturday. DREAM BIG!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The need to refocus

Last week was a rough one for me. I was hoping to get a great week of training in after a 1 week vacation following my crash at Ironman St. George. Monday started out like a normal big training day. For the first time in a month I lifted weights, did plyometrics, and lunges. I think I made the mistake of jumping back in right where I left off a month ago. By Tuesday night I was more sore than I've been in a year. Wednesday was the worst. I had to really back things off just to avoid getting injured as my muscles were not happy with me. By Thursday things were beginning to get better. I had a decent week running with 48 miles and swimming I went 4 times for 13,000 yards. I had a great open water swim with Adam on Sunday. My biggest disappointment was that I only got on my bike for 50 miles. That is absolutely pathetic. I didn't ride at all over the weekend. I'm not sure why I couldn't get myself motivated to get on the bike but I'm definitely frustrated with myself right now. Since reaching a low weight of 153 lbs. in early March I've let my eating habits fall completely off the table and I've gained about 10 lbs. I am not supposed to be racing at 163 this year. That is what I raced at in 2009 during my last year as an amateur. I knew at that time I had more weight to lose and that I would be faster when I lost it. I was running so well this winter at 153. Now I feel pathetically fat. The week started out well but the soreness threw me off and then I could not get myself to train at a high level and instead chose to eat anything I could find. It's tough for me to admit the loss of focus. I have high goals for the summer and this is not really acceptable. I knew it was important for me to write about it so I could begin to hold myself accountable for the mental lapse. I decided to run a track workout today to assess the damage and I surprised myself a bit. I ran 6 times 800 meters with 90 seconds rest after a 6.5 mile warm up. I set a target time of 2:35-2:40 which is nothing to be proud of but it is a start and I would feel good about finishing a workout knowing I could do more. I ended up feeling better than expected as I ran 2:35, 2:34, 2:31, 2:30, 2:27 and 2:23. I was able to put a "+" in my workout book which signifies a day of Junk-Free eating. I need to string a bunch of those together to get back down to fighting weight by mid-July. I'm a little disgusted with myself right now. Hopefully I can get a good week in this week and start feeling a little better about things. Pigman is 2 weeks away and it will be a very competitive race. I'd like to be in the hunt to win but I know I'm the only one to blame if I get toasted. Thanks for reading. Work harder than I did last week. DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Images from Summer Daze Triathlon

Photo with Team Tri-Fit members (L-R) Tim Jansen, Andrea Wood, Jeff Paul, and Brian Garrels

Overall female winner Andrea Wood and myself at awards

A happy (and cold) family at the finish!

A happy family at the finish line

Jason in the swim

Justin in the Swim

Me in the swim

Justin heading out on the bike

Jason finishing the run with a smile!

The things in transition that we all take for granted...

3 brothers at the finish of the race

Justin finishing the race with a new 5k PR

Jason heading out on the bike

Vacation Week...Summer Daze Triathlon Report and Results

Following my Ironman disappointment last week I decided to take a 1 week vacation. I needed the vacation much more mentally than physically. I've been training hard since November 1 and since that day I only had 2 days where I did not train up through Ironman St. George. I also wanted to let my injuries from the crash heal. The only one that would have made training tough was a big hole on the inside of my hand. I knew it would be extremely painful to swim or hold the handlebars on a bike. I exercised a little bit this week only when I really felt like it. My total workout time for the week was about 6 hours. It was great. I ate whatever I wanted to this week, ran with family members, friends, co-workers, and even students in my class during their gym class mile. I'll begin what I call "Season II...Post Ironman Crash" tomorrow morning...perhaps as early as midnight depending when I finish this post. I'm extremely excited to begin a regular rigorous training schedule to prepare myself for a big summer of racing which will culminate with Ironman Wisconsin on September 11th. For now my plan is to race June 5th in Cedar Rapids in a very competitive sprint, on June 18th at the hometown Quad City Triathlon, and then getting back to the pro circuit with 1/2 Ironman events on July 17 in Racine, Wisconsin and August 14th in Benton Harbor, Michigan before finishing the year out on September 11th at Ironman Wisconsin.
The highlight of my week was going to Newton, Iowa for a small sprint triathlon called the Summer Daze Triathlon. It was put on by the Newton YMCA and involved a 300 meter pool swim followed by an 18 mile outdoor ride, and finished with a 5k run. I was excited to do this event because my two older brothers would be competing in it with me. My oldest brother Jason would be doing his first triathlon since losing his arm in a terrible car accident last October. My other older brother, Justin would be doing his first ever triathlon. I was really excited for them as they've both been working really hard to prepare for this day.
On Saturday morning we were greeted with some extremely cold weather. I've only raced one other triathlon in anything comparable. It was 41 degrees with the wind chill and also included 17 mph winds, and a very cold light rain. I had a hard time sleeping the night before because I was worried about my brothers doing the race. Justin had only ridden his new bike one time, and Jason would be racing for the first time with one arm. He had practiced his transition 10 times before this race. Jason has a much tougher time doing things in transition with one arm than most people probably realize. So much of what we take for granted is a struggle for him. Think about how you would put on a race belt with 1 arm...socks...the prosthetic arm...snapping a chin strap...putting on shoes...putting on a camelback (since grabbing a water bottle is not possible while riding). All those things are a much bigger challenge and I was impressed that he was able to do it in 5 minutes even though he said in practice he had it down to 2 minutes. It's a bit tougher when the adrenaline is flowing.
SWIM: I started as the 3rd swimmer to enter the water. They had one person start every 10 seconds. We would swim down the pool and back in our lane before going under the rope and moving to the next lane. We did this until we had swam down and back in all 6 lanes. The pool was in meters so it totaled 300 meters. The swim time included our run from the pool to transition area. I was surprised to find I had the fastest swim time with a 4:37. This was the first time I've ever had the fastest swim time in any triathlon. My brothers got stuck later in the swim when it became really congested. Even Jason, swimming with 1 arm was having to wait for people as it is extremely tough to pass people with this swimming format.
BIKE: Out on the bike I quickly realized we were riding this out and back course with the wind at our back on the way out. It didn't take long to exceed 30 miles per hour and the Zipp Sub-9 disc rides extremely well at high speeds. It almost feels like the bike has a motor powering it. The course only had a couple turns getting out of town before traveling on the same road until the turnaround. It was a nice smooth road but it was pretty constant rolling to challenging hills. I had a hard time standing on any of the hills because my hand still hurts to hold the drop bars due to the skin I've been missing since my crash last week. I hit the turnaround averaging almost 31 mile per hour and it was a blast. I knew it was going to be a much tougher ride on the way back and it certainly was. I was struggling to average 20 mph on the ride back to transition. I saw my brothers looking great when I passed them on the return trip. It was a very cold ride and when I got into transition I had trouble getting my helmet unstrapped due to the cold hands I had. My overall bike average was 24.4 mph. It turned out to be the fastest bike split of the day by about 4:30.
RUN: I headed out of transition with the Garmin GPS on so I could find out what kind of pace I was capable of. I certainly did not feel in very good shape after a 12 day taper for St. George and then a week of eating like crap and keeping my exercise to a minimum. I stayed pretty steady between 5:37 and 5:40 pace for the entire 5k. My time was 17:39. I would really like to knock off about 50 seconds off that time for Pigman sprint in 3 weeks. That will be a very competitive race and I'll have to be under 17:00 for the 5k if I want to have a chance at a high finish. When I finished the run I changed clothes and waited for my brothers to arrive in transition. Justin came in looking awesome and I was relieved he did not crash. He said the bike road great and I headed out on the run with him. Justin has been working extremely hard since the new year began. I think he's only had 1 or 2 days of not working out and he did his first 5k a couple weeks ago and ran 29:02. As we progressed through the run I realized he had a chance to better that time after swimming and riding 18 miles which I thought would be pretty friggen awesome. He stayed consistent with his pace and ended up running 28:45. I was really proud of him! While we were waiting for Jason to come in I was talking to a guy at the race who said, "There is a guy out there competing with 1 arm. He should be coming in soon." With great pride I told him that was my brother and we were anxiously awaiting his arrival. Not long after, Jason entered the parking lot for his finish and you could tell how excited he was to have finished this race only 7 months after the accident that took his arm and nearly his life. After Jason saw the results he said he was disappointed in his time! He was hoping to be faster than last year. We all had to put things into perspective for him. With that said, I do think Jason can be faster than he was before losing his arm. It will take consistant hard work but I know he has a lot of room for improvement if he's willing to put in the work. I think he is! This race was a great reminder to me what multi-sport is all about. Everyone has a personal journey to physical fitness. It doesn't matter whether you are first across the line, last, or somewhere inbetween. The key is striving for personal improvment in health. I believe striving to improve in triathlon or some other sport by setting short and long term goals and working like crazy to reach those goals is what allows people to reach their physical fitness goals. It helps so much to have something to measure that. Congratulations to the women's winner in Newton, Andrea Wood. Andrea swims at the same pool I do and I've seen her working extremely hard all winter and spring. Way to represent the QC Andrea!! Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here. I saw something else this week that reminded me the importance of proving to yourself that you are capable of more than anything you ever dreamed of. I have a student in my class who is quite obese. I watched him finish the mile last week while I was doing some drills on the track while our 8th period kids were running the mile for gym class. I saw this boy walking and I encouraged him to run short periods of time between his walks. He did this and finished the mile in 13:40. This week I asked him if he would run it again and I said I would do it with him. I had a plan for him to run the first 1/2 lap and then we would alternate running 100 meters followed by walking 100 meters. On the last lap we would run as much as possible. I could tell he didn't really want to run it again but he agreed to do it if I ran it with him. I met him outside during our 8th period and we took off as planned. By the end he ran 12:18!! It was a 1 min. 20 sec. drop from his time last week. I could see his confidence grow! He learned something about himself and how much he was capable of. It was awesome. I hope I can inspire more students to live a healthy and active believe that they are capable of much more than they ever dreamed.
I've had a lot of people tell me how bad my luck in St. George sucked. It did suck. Sucking more than the crash was all the mechanical problems I had before it. Prior to this race I've never had a mechanical problem during a race. I was certainly disappointed but I also know to put things in perspective. For me the most important part of the preparation that went into the 6 months leading up to St. George was getting myself in great physical condition. The accident did nothing to change my fitness. I had gotten myself into the best shape of my life. That is more important than the result of the race. Races are a chance to prove that fitness. I didn't get to do that but I didn't need to. I knew from the workouts I completed, from the weight I lost, that I was in the best shape of my life. I'll have many more races to prove my fitness. Some will go great, and unfortunately some will not. In life and in sports we have good days and bad days. Unfortunately we don't get to pick when the bad ones are. We have to control the things we can, which for me is my training. After that the rest is to chance. I'm super proud of my brothers for taking a chance on this sport and for working hard to achieve their goals. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dealing With Adversity...Ironman St. George Race Report & Results

On Thursday at 3:45 a.m. my older brother Justin arrived at our house to take us to Midway Airport in Chicago, IL for a flight to Las Vegas so we could make our way to Ironman St. George. Before I left Dan Angell from the Quad City Times ran a really nice story on my journey that can be found by clicking here. My training buddy Adam and his girlfriend Flannery would be making the trip with us. Adam and I have been training together for this race most weekends since February. He is a tremendously accomplished runner and I knew he would be one of the top amateurs in the race. It's awesome how this sport has helped us develop a new friendship through training.
We had no problems getting to Las Vegas and then getting our rental mini-van so we could get to St. George for the "mandatory" athlete check-in by 4:00 p.m. We got there with 7 minutes to spare. I was pretty sure we could have stopped to take some pictures of the awesome scenery driving through Arizona and we could have walked in to registration at the last possible minute. We picked up our race packets got ready for the stressful day of gear checkin that we would be faced with on Friday. When I unpacked the bike I found it was not in the perfect working condition that Healthy Habits has put it in before we left for the trip. This is another reason I don't like flying with my bike...besides the costs of bringing the bike on the plane. Inevitably the bike gets moved around much more than I want to imagine and the shifting was no longer perfect like it was before I packed it into the box. Moved to the top of my Friday list was getting the bike fixed by an Ironman mechanic.
Friday we got the bike fixed early and then took our run gear to the transition area. The two transitions were about 20 miles apart from each other so we would have to drop our bikes out at the Sand Hollow Reservoir where we would be swimming. I was able to get all my GU's taped to the bike and probably had more nutrition than what I needed on the bike. I think I had stockpiled over 3,500 calories onto the bike and about 30 salt tablets. After we dropped our run gear we went to drive the bike course. Since the course had 2 loops we didn't actually have to drive 112 miles. We knew it was a tough is rated the toughest Ironman in North America. Despite knowing it would be tough Adam and I both thought it looked easier driving it than we had imagined. Don't get me wrong...there were some tough climbs on the bike but more of it was rolling climbs than steep. There were about 4 climbs that looked like they would be pretty tough...and those were to be repeated on the 2nd loop. The run course was a different story. It looked plain ridiculous. One huge hill after another. Up and down with very little flat spots to get a rhythm. Following the drive we went out to the lake to drop the bikes off and get a short swim short I mean I was in the water for about 1 minute. It was 62 degrees and I didn't want to put my wetsuit on knowing it would still be wet in the morning making it a much bigger challenge to put on.
Race Day: On race morning I was up at 3:15. My wave was scheduled to begin at 6:45 and I wanted to be finished with breakfast 3 hours before the cannon shot. Jen and Flannery drove Adam and I to T2 where our run gear was. That is where all the athletes would drop off special needs bags (bags of extra nutrition that can be picked up 1/2 way through the bike and run course if desired). After dropping our special needs bags we then boarded a shuttle that would take us to the lake. Upon arriving at the lake I pumped my tires to 110 psi and make sure everything was ready to go with my bike. I normally pump them to 120 for a race but the morning temperature was about 55 degrees and the afternoon highs were expected to hit 91 so I knew the tire would be expanding a little and I didn't want to blow a tire by filling to the max and then having it over expand in the heat.
SWIM: This was my 1st Ironman swim. The professional men and women pros were starting together which I was excited about. With swimming being my major weakness I hoped if I couldn't catch any feet of the guys to draft on I would at least be able to get on some of the girls feet. When the cannon sounded we took off and I was in the group. It was awesome. In San Juan I got my doors blown off from the start so this was a much better feeling. I stay in the pack for about 600 yards when I began to feel my shoulders getting tired. My plan for the race was to stay really conservative until late in the bike ride or start of the run so when I felt like the swim pace was getting too difficult for me to sustain I slowed it down and focused on long relaxed strokes. I knew there were some swimmers behind me and I hoped to jump on their feet to draft them. This is exactly what happened. One of the pro women was swimming at a pace I could sustain without much effort at all. I believe her name is Uli Bromme. I hope I didn't upset her too much as I stayed right on her hip in the perfect drafting position. I felt like she was annoyed by me as I bumped into her on more than 1 occasion. When I would pass her my level of effort increased a lot and I wasn't going too much faster so I decided it would be wise to stay on her hip and take the free ride into T1 without costing myself any energy. I knew it was going to be a long day with the heat expected to be so high and I didn't care if I was 5 minutes slower than my goal time with the amount of energy I was saving from drafting. We exited the water in 1:04:03. It was faster than 1 other male pro. I felt awesome and the time in the water passed by so quickly with someone else next to me. I shot up the boat ramp feeling supercharged heading into transition. I was excited to get on my bike. I wanted to skip the changing tent so I ran right towards the bikes. The volunteers yelled to me that I had to go through the changing tent even if I didn't want the assistance getting my wetsuit off so I turned around and headed toward the tent...but went to the female entrance! I was diverted once again toward the guys entrance and ran through it to find my bike waiting for me in transition. The volunteers in Ironman are amazing! They will do everything for you minus the swimming, biking, and running. They will put sunscreen on you if you want, they will let you lay down and they will take your wetsuit off...I was in a hurry and didn't want any of those things done for me. I got out of the suit quickly and was off on the bike within about 2 minutes of getting out of the water. Despite all the extra running around in transition it was right in line with the other pro times.
BIKE: The bike is where I typically begin to enjoy races. I get far behind in the swim but then hope to ride my way up the pack during the bike. I hoped to get myself into the top 12 by the end of the ride. The race began with 23 pro guys. I was off and moving well without going too crazy early on. It was not long before things started to go sour. The course begins with a 22 mile stretch that takes you into town. There are some hills but nothing too crazy. I was averaging 24.5 miles per hour through mile 18 when all of a sudden psssssssssssss....I heard this terrible hissing sound from my front wheel. This could be only one thing...a flat tire. I couldn't believe it! I haven't flatted on a training ride in over 3 years and haven't flatted in a race in 6 years. Here I was 18 miles into my Ironman debut and I had a flat front tire. Thankfully at the last minute before leaving home I decided to pick up a Vittoria Pitstop (flat fixer) from Moon at Healthy Habits. Moon went over with me what to do if I had a flat. My Zipp wheels have tubular tires (they are glued to the wheel with no tube in them). I have never flatted on a tubular wheel and the process for ripping off a glued on tire and trying to glue a new one on is not something I want to get into. When they glue the original tire on the wheel they let the glue set for 4 days before riding it. My only chance was the Vittoria Pittstop to get the puncture sealed and new pressure into the tire. I said a quick prayer and pounded the pittstop onto the tire. It let out a crazy hissing noise and I could see the glue coming out of the tire onto the road. I took Moon's advice and spun the tire to let the glue settle. I felt the pressure and it seemed like the wheels was full of air again so I got back on the bike and continued down the road. The total time lost was just under 3:00 so I didn't let it bother me. I knew it would be a long day and although I would prefer not to lose time 3:00 is nothing in the big picture. As I took off riding I could still hear the tire hissing so I knew it wasn't full of air. I was hoping it had enough air in it to make it 95 more miles.
I made my way through the 1st of two loops once I got into St. George. I was feeling pretty good about things. I thought about the flat and realized that God challenges us through adversity. We are faced with stressful situations because how we handle those is what leads us to becoming stronger. I passed a few of the pro guys on the first loop and someone told me I was in 17th place. I could see another guy up ahead and passed him just before we began the long and fast descent into town. On this descent my speed hit 47 miles per hour to give you an idea of how fast these were. We went up a short hill and then began descending again really fast. I hit a bump and my chain jumped off the bike. Not only did the chain fall off but it wrapped itself up and I couldn't get it untangled. I wasn't even able to pedal forward or back. It was completely stuck. I tried to reach down to untangle it while flying down the hill at 40+ mph but I couldn't reach it. When we got down to a flat stretch I had to pull off the road in an attempt to untangle the chain and then put it back on the bike. More adversity. This stop only took me less than 2 minutes. The chain had wrapped itself up pretty good. I had to force it to untangle the mess and then put it back on. I began riding but something wasn't sounding right. I didn't know what the problem was but when I pedaled I was getting a strange clicking noise. When I went up hills the chain was slipping off the gears in the back and it was like it was shifting on it's own but the chain wasn't catching on the gears so I was pedaling but not going anywhere. It was a terrible grinding noise so after 5 miles or so I pulled off the road for the 3rd time to see if I could find the problem. As I looked things over some nice specatators applied sunscreen to me. I found the chain was bent. It was not fitting over the gears (cassette) like it is supposed to. This was not good. I still had 45 miles to go and I couldn't pedal up hill without my chain slipping. I decided I needed to keep going but within 5 miles I realized when I got to the big hills I would have to walk my bike up if I didn't get this fixed. I began asking every spectator I passed if they had any pliors. I thought I might be able to bend the chain back if I could get some. Thankfully at an intersection one of the police officers directing traffic told me he could get me some pliors. I pulled off the road for a 4th time and waited for him to find them. By this time my goals for placing in the top 1/2 of the pro field were completely shot. The adversity had worn me down mentally and I began to reassess my goals. I now knew I would be racing to finish this Ironman. I had lost too much time to the pro field. All the guys I had passed were now well ahead of me. I used the pliors and to my disbelief I was actually able to bend the chain enough that it would stay on the gears without slipping. I got back on the bike and continued on to finish the last 35 miles of the course. I wasn't riding nearly as fast as I thought I should. I noticed my front tire was making some really weird noises that were getting worse with every down hill. I began to wonder if my front tire had lost so much pressure I was basically riding on the rim. Over the last 15 miles I was getting quite scared by the noise. I was getting back to the really steep downhill section of the course and I knew with my tire low there was a chance it would roll off the wheel. I was using my breaks down the really steep descents but was still approaching 30 mph on them. Many riders from the amateur wave began to pass me and even some of them who were still on their 1st loop began passing me. I had a lot of people riding by me saying, "There's something wrong with your bike" as if I wasn't aware of my situation...I was just hoping to make it into T2 so I could head out on the run. Adam came flying by me with about 7 miles to go on the bike. He looked awesome and said, "Jump on my wheel" hoping I could stay close so we could head out on the run together. He looked awesome and was in about 15th place for the amateurs. Just as I was finishing my 2nd loop with 4 miles to go there was a short steep downhill into a 90 degree right turn. I slowed down as much as possible entering the turn but when I made it my bike shot out from under me launching me off the bike where I would skid across the road. It didn't feel too good. I was yelling in pain and thankfully this turn was well staffed with a lot of volunteers who raced to my aid. I was in the road where other riders were turning and I tried to move but my back hurt so bad I couldn't move out of the way. The volunteers surrounded me and diverted the riders around us. They told me if they helped me in any way medically I would not be able to continue the race. I was scraped up pretty good with blood coming from my hand and various scrapes on my right side. Due to the fact that I couldn't stand up or move out of the way I told them I needed help and my race was over. They brought a stretcher since I couldn't move on my own. I asked for a phone to call Jen. This was the toughest part of the entire day. I had been training for this race for 6 months. I'd invested hundreds of hours into this and so had Jen. Now I was going to have to call her to say I wouldn't be able to finish. It was tough to hold back the tears during that call. In the ambulance they gave me and IV and transported me to the medical tent where I was taken care of. My back had been tight in the final miles of the ride and it completely went into a spasm with the accident. It took awhile for it to loosen up but eventually I was released with no major injuries. As much as it sucks to DNF this event I realized I was pretty lucky. Had that tire given out down any one of the earlier downhills this could have been so much worse. The highlight of the day was watching Adam finish the race. He was awesome. He finished as the 8th overall amateur, 2nd in his age group, earning him a spot to race in the world championship in Hawaii next October. It was awesome to see him finish. I'll live to fight another round. There will be another Ironman in September for me and there will be plenty more races before that. I had planned to take a few weeks to recover from IM St. George but that won't be needed now. Jen and I even kicked around the idea of going out to Ironman Coeur d'Alene in Idaho next month since I wasn't able to finish in St. George. When we checked the calendar we realized that date is when we planned to take the kids to Adventureland. Ironman can wait. My family has been tremendously supportive and patient with me in training for this race and I want to enjoy the time with them at Adventureland on June 26th. It looks like I'll be in Madison, Wisconsin on September 11th for my Ironman debut. Although it sucks to not finish the race the journey goes on. Through training I got in the best shape of my life, made new friends in Adam and Flannery, and I have lived to tell about the 1st experience I had in Ironman. Congratulations to all the finishers! It was an extremely tough day. We went back later that night to watch people finish who had been out on the course for over 14 hours. It was pretty inspiring to see what those people could do! Thank for reading. I wish it was better news...but looking back and dwelling won't make anything better so I'll wake up tomorrow and the days to come with complete optimism. The glass will always be 1/2 full for me. DREAM BIG! (I'll post pictures in the days to come. It's late and we got home just a few hours ago. Results from the race can be found here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ironman St. George Tracking Info

6 days from now (Saturday, May 7th) I'll be taking my place at the starting line for Ironman St. George (rated as the toughest Ironman in North America). The pro race begins at 6:45 a.m. Mountain Time Zone...7:45 Central. I recently realized I'll have to deal with the confusion of going between 3 time zones within 2 hours on Thursday when we make our trip to St. George. We fly out of the central time zone, touch down in the Pacific time zone, and then drive our way into the Mountain time zone which is 1 hour behind our time here at home. The work over the past 26 weeks has been done to prepare for this day. I'll be asking my body to do something it has never done before when the gun fires on Saturday. I'm confident that I am ready. The numbers for the 26 weeks of preparation include over 520 hours of training. I have swam 286,700 yards, biked 3,874 miles, and run 1,187 miles. Those numbers only tell part of the story. I've paid close attention to doing the small details that make a big difference over the long haul. I've been to the weight room 55 times, done 62 sessions of lunges, and 48 sessions of plyometrics as well as over 120 sessions of core work. I've been religious about getting speed drills and strides in 3x every week leading up to this race. I added push-ups and jump rope 3 times each week this year to my other exercises. I realize there are others out there who have posted bigger numbers...but for the schedule I have holding a full-time job, parenting two wonderful children, as well as being a husband to an awesome wife...I'm proud of the workload I have been able to put in for my Ironman preparation. The weather in Iowa hasn't exactly been ideal this spring for Ironman training but I dealt with it the best I could. I was really fortunate to meet Adam Bohach through this journey. Training with him on most weekends has made a huge difference and we've developed a great friendship. We will be traveling to this race together and I know he'll get a Kona spot and I wouldn't be surprised if he were to win the overall amateur title. I fully believe he can post the fastest run time of any athlete on the course...pros included.

For anyone who is interested in watching the race unfold, the entire thing will be televised on the internet thanks to Universal Sports. The website for the Universal Sports race coverage can be found by clicking here. Race coverage begins at 7:45 a.m. central time. The pro race begins at that time with the amateurs to follow 15 minutes later. I'm not sure how deep they will follow in the pro race but I do know they show everyone finishing. Being a weak swimmer it would probably not be until the middle of the run when I'm in the picture if at all. I watched nearly the entire race last year in the week following my surgery while I was still elevating my leg in a cast from my couch. This past Wednesday marked my 1 year post-op anniversary. It was while watching the Universal Sports coverage last year I made the decision that if I was healthy St. George would be my 1st Ironman. I will be wearing my new Kiwami Konami jersey for the race. This jersey is exactly what I was looking for in an Ironman jersey for a number of reasons. The jersey is mostly white which will help detract the sun. It has a long front zipper that I can open up during the run if I'm heating up. It also has two pockets in the back I'll utilize to carry some nutrition during the bike and run portions of the event. It also has a small pocket on each leg large enough for a GU to fit in. I'll put those in when I begin the run. You may also be able to track my progress through the race by visiting the Ironman home page at on race day. From that page you will see a "Live Race Coverage" box and if you click "Athlete Tracker" and then click "GO" you will be able to see the progress through the race. If you click on the athlete names you will get even more updated info as they have timing mats placed periodically throughout the race and the times will be updated through those checkpoints when you click on the name of the athlete you are tracking. My wife Jen will also be sending out text updates for anyone who is interested when she sees me. Her updates may not be as frequent as the ones on the Ironman page because once I leave on the bike she will probably not see me again until I return. There are 28 pro athletes on the starting list. I'm hoping to place in the top 1/2. In an ideal race my goals would be to swim under 1 hour, bike somewhere between 5 hrs. and 5 hrs. 10 min., and run 3 hrs. 5 minutes for the marathon. My total time would then be between 9:10 and 9:20 when factoring in transitions. That would put me at the finish line between 4:55 and 5:05 p.m. Central Time. I realize a lot of things can happen in an Ironman and wish I could promise that I'd finish in that 10 minute window...but unfortunately I can't do that. You'll be able to figure out if I'm ahead or behind schedule if you check the ironman page for tracking updates. I've worked tremendously hard for this race and more than anything I want to enjoy the experience. As much as I'd love to race well and I dream about a top 8 finish...finishing an Ironman is a tremendous accomplishment in itself. The scariest thing about it for me is that I'm not going into this race with a mindset of just finishing. I have no doubts with my fitness that I could finish the race if I approached the race at a training pace. The thing that makes it so tough is that I have to find that line between conservation and death...if I go too far under the line I'll certainly finish but not at the position I've been dreaming of. If I cross that line I'll pay dearly. I've rehearsed exactly what I'm going to think about when the storms come...and they will come during the course of a 9+ hour race. I can't wait to get it started. Thanks for following the seems so long ago I was a 203 lb. out of shape fat guy neglecting my own fitness. Now I'm dreaming of a top 8 finish against some of the best triathletes from around the world. I hope the journey has inspired some of you...and I hope my race on Saturday will inspire a few more! DREAM BIG!!