Monday, June 27, 2011

Live Uncommon! Davenport Duathlon Race Report and Results

My wife Jen and I are thrilled to be part of an initiative in the Quad Cities called "Live Uncommon". The idea for Live Uncommon was brought to us by Jim and Michelle Russell who through the support of Russell Construction wanted to promote active lifestyles in the Quad Cities. We couldn't be more excited about the goals of Live Uncommon. The goal of Live Uncommon is to encourage people to live active lifestyles while maintaining balance with family, work, and community service. So often I hear people say they would like to exercise more but they don't have time. Whether it be due to work or business that comes from leading a family many people neglect making physical activity a priority. Live Uncommon believes you can still live a healthy and active lifestyle while balancing all the other very important aspects that life brings. Jen and I have two kids of our own and we believe it is very important to model for them the importance of living healthy and active lifestyles. One thing we did about a year before our oldest child Payton was born was purchase a treadmill. We debated about what kind to get, how much to spend...etc. We decided to go with a cheeper model from Dick's Sporting Goods that cost us about $800.00. 4 years later that treadmill is still being used very regularly. It gives us many more options for exercising with the business of a family and work. We can run in the morning before the kids wake up without leaving the house. We can run in the evening after they go to bed. We can run while they are taking naps. I asked Jen last week what we would do if our treadmill broke and very quickly she responded, "We will buy another one." We both believe that we have gotten more than our money's worth from this one. I know it does cost money. I know it is also an investment into our health. It's tough to put a pricetag on one's health. How much is it worth to be healthy? Does the cost ever get repayed? Do the doctor bills go down? Can you put a price on living longer? So often people invest into stocks, retirement funds, money market accounts, life about investing in your own health? I believe it is very important. One of the other investments I made that has proved invaluable was a trainer for my bike. I don't mean a personal trainer like a coach, I'm talking about a stand that my bike goes on so I can ride indoors. I bought my first Cycleops trainer in 2000 and it lasted me 10 years. It was about $175.00. I put thousands of miles on that trainer and it was well worth the investment. It gave me chances to ride at home without having to drive to a gym. I cut down on driving time and costs. Once our kids were born this trainer was even more valuable. This winter I rode over 3,000 miles on my trainer and most of it was while my kids were sleeping. I would not have been able to leave the house to train but I made it work. I am currently coaching an athlete who is a husband and father of 3. He has found a way to add triathlon to his balance in life. He does nearly every single bike workout on the trainer at his house and he runs on a treadmill. He has done extremely well in competitions while maintaining this balance. We would love for you to check out the website for Live Uncommon at and join the movement. We are excited about it and hope to inspire more people in the community to be active and lead balanced lives. None of this would be possible without the support of Russell Construction and Jim and Michelle Russell who had a vision for helping get the community to be more active. We are very thankful for their support and creation of "Live Uncommon".

On Sunday Jen and I drove to Credit Island Park in Davenport for the inaugural Davenport Duathlon. The duathlon was advertised as a 2 mile run, 14.5 mile bike, and a 5k run. The distances were a bit off but we had a blast supporting this event. We had spent Saturday with the family at Adventureland and when my alarm went off at 6:00 (a little later than for a typical race) I was really tired and began to wish I had not signed up for this. I had a little coffee and a small breakfast before packing the bike into the car and heading for the park to get a short warm-up in.
RUN 1- The first run was a loop around the park on the road. I knew it was going to be longer than 2 miles because I've run this loop many times and know it is nearly 2.5 miles around the park. We began at a very fast pace. I was in 5th place for the first 1/2 mile and was beginning to wonder if I was going really slow or if the guys ahead of me were just moving really fast. I glanced at my Garmin GPS watch and saw I was on an average pace of 5:02/mile. Okay, that question was answered. I tried to stay in a good an comfortable rhythm. My big goal for doing this race was to see some improvement in my running. I have been great in workouts but not so great in races. I wanted to get a better run showing to build some confidence heading into Ironman Racine 70.3 in a few weeks. I went through the mile in 5:08 and by that time I had moved into 3rd place. My goal pace for the run was between 5:15 and 5:20/mile and just after the mile I moved into 2nd place behind Phil Young who competes for an elite running team from Iowa called Runablaze. I knew I would not be able to match his running pace. I stayed comfortable and finished the 2.6 mile run at 5:18 pace so I was right on my goal and it felt relatively easy to hit.
BIKE: Out on the bike I passed Phil about a mile in. We took a left out of the park and rode on River Drive for about 1.5 miles before turning onto Concord Drive. Concord was a pretty bumpy road but dead flat. I kept my eyes glued to the road looking to avoid potholes. I was riding pretty well on this section between 26 and 27 miles per hour. Just after the 5 mile mark I looked up and saw the lead vehicle making a sharp right hand turn. The road was really torn up with lots of gravel on it so I quickly came ot almost a complete stop so I could make the turn without wiping out. We then went across two sets of railroad tracks that I took pretty conservatively and went up the only hill on the course. It was pretty steep but not very long. I got out of the saddle and my back tire began slipping on the wet road so I just sat down and shifted to an easy gear so I could get up the hill without my tire slipping. Not long after the top we turned around and I knew the course was not going to be 14.5 miles. We were just barely past mile 6 at the turn. I did a time check and found I had about 1 minute 30 sec. lead on 2nd place so I had no need to take any chances back down the hill, across the tracks, and back through the dangerous turn. I was very conservative through all of that back down to Concord Drive where I could start going fast again. I got off the bike with a time of just over 30 minutes. The results said it was 26 mph but that was figured on a distance of 13 miles and it was probably closer to 12.5 so about 25 mph average.
RUN 2: Out on run 2 I knew I had a big enough lead that I could just cruise in to still win but I thought about what my goals were for the race. I wanted to run fast and didn't really care about the overall placing. I pushed from the beginning and I was averaging about 5:35 to the turaround. On the way back my legs began to feel even better and I dropped my pace to about 5:25/mile. I knew this run was going to be a bit longer than 5k and I wanted to see what my time would be as I went through the 5k mark. My last couple races have been terrible times in the 5k off the bike compared to what I should be running. Last week I was 18:36 for the 5k at the QC Triathlon. As I pushed harder my legs felt even better. It was cool to see Jen running on her way out as I passed her when I headed back. She teamed up with Rick Solis who did the bike portion extremely well. Jen was running in 3rd place. As I went through the 5k mark I glanced down at my GPS and saw it turn over to 17:00. That time is much more in line with where I think I should be running right now based on my fitness. I finished with an overall time of 1:02:15. The 2nd run ended up being 3.25 miles so it was closer to the advertised distance than the other portions of the event. It was fun watching people finish after I got done. Michelle Russell had only ridden her bike a handful of times over the past few years and she finished as the 3rd overall female. My swim Coach Stacey Zapolski and her daughter Haley both did the event and finished looking great. My friend Aaron Maurer did his first duathlon ever on a really old mountain bike and he was awesome. I was super impressed by Aaron's running. He began exercising a lot a year ago with a goal of doing a 1/2 marathon. He trained diligently and completed that even last Septemeber. Now he has moved on to preparing for a marathon. He ran his last 5k faster than he could have run a 5k without biking or running before it a year ago. It is fun to see people improve so much when they commit themselves to being healthy and living an active lifestyle. Congratulations to all the finishers. Complete results with split times can be found by clicking here. Remember the distances they have are slightly off. It was 2.6 mile run, 12.5 mile bike, and 3.25 mile run.
The week was a good one. 28 hours training with 62 miles running, 200 miles biking, and 18,600 yards of swimming. As I hoped I have cut the volume down a bit but had a lot of good quality workouts focusing on intervals with the bike and run hoping I can prepare myself to go fast in Racine in 3 weeks. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quad Cities Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Saturday I was excited to compete in my hometown triathlon, the Quad Cities Triathlon. This race was one of the first triathlons I ever did back when it was in its' first year in 2000. It is a race I badly wanted to win since it is in my hometown and many family members, friends, and locals would be on hand to watch. Last year I was recovering from surgery and opted to volunteer at the event. Two years ago I had placed 3rd in a time of 1:04:47. I was thinking even after the Training Camp week I went through last week I could still go about a mid-1:03 if I dropped about 20 seconds in each of the 3 areas. It helped to get a massage from Laurel Darren early in the week to speed my recovery from Training Camp. Wednesday was 5 hours of workouts and they left me pretty tired on Thursday so I opted to take Thursday and Friday both easy so I could try to get recovered for a good effort on Saturday.
I was awake at 3:15 even though my alarm was set for 3:45. I kept waking up about every hour in anticipation for this race. I went for the Belgium waffle as my race fuel and I was out the door by 4:45 a.m. headed to West Lake Park where the race takes place. At 5:10 I arrived outside the park and was greeted with at least 100 cars in line to get in. This race is extremely well organized and it is awesome that race director Eric Sarno donates much of the proceeds from the race to Stroke Awareness programs. After getting parked I sprinted to the bathroom and then got my race packet and chip. I was ready to start my warm up at 5:30. After getting a late start at Pigman I was going to make sure I got a proper warm up in for this race. I ran 2 miles with drills and strides on the end to get really loosened up. Then I rode the bike a few miles making sure the gears were all shifting well. The bike was running well so I racked it and put the wetsuit on for a swim warm up. The race begins with a time trial start (2 swimmers entering the water together about every 5 seconds) and I wanted to go in early. My plan was to start the swim in one of the first groups and then as I got passed I could try to get on the faster swimmers feet for a bit and catch a draft.

SWIM: I began the swim with a 16 year old kid who was a really fast swimmer. We were the second pair to hit the water. After a few dolphin dives we reached deep enough water to start swimming and I was swimming hard. I have gained a lot of confidence in my swimming lately under the guidance of Stacey Zapolski. The swim workouts she writes for me have been tough and I've been swimming more days a week and more yards than I was before school got out. 2 weeks ago, Pigman was my best swim of the year and I expected this one to be even better. 1/2 way out to the first turn bouy I was still on the feet of the 16 year old kid I went in the water with. I felt great. Just after we reached the first turn I lost his feet and I began to lose ground pretty quickly on him. 2 guys I coached in high school were starting behind me and they were both all-state swimmers...John Beck and Will Horvat. I expected them to be going by me any second and I would try to get on their feet. I kept swimming for the 2nd bouy and I never saw them. The swim is triangular shaped so there are only 2 turns in it. I was headed for home. I was tired but was still pushing hard knowing the swim would be over soon and also knowing I was having a good swim for myself. Just after the 2nd turn Jen Foley came flying by me. I didn't know how much behind me she started but I know she is a super fast swimmer. I jumped in behind her and stayed on for about 100 yards which also surprised the crap out of me. I exited the water in a time of 8:33 which was over 20 seconds faster than 2 years ago when I raced this event. It was also the 17th fastest swim out of about 650 athletes. I felt great about it. I was only 16 seconds from the 8th fastest swim time. This swim leaves me excited for my next pro race on July 17th. I certainly won't be out with the leaders but the gap from me to the leaders will be much lower than it was for my 1st two pro races.

BIKE: I was quick through transition and got on my bike in about 3rd place. Super swimmer Charlie Cunnick was way up the road...someone yelled to me I was 1:20 behind him exiting transition. Charlie is a great triathlete who is originally from Davenport and if I'm correct he holds the Iowa high school 500 yard freestyle state record. If not he isn't far off. I opted to put my bike shoes on in transition and run my bike up the parking lot hill that greets riders out of transition. Last year I watched people fall over trying to get on their bikes while going up this hill when I was volunteering at the race and I decided I would run in my bike shoes all the way up to the road and then get on the bike. I also decided to lay my aero helmet on the ground this race so I wouldn't risk losing my straw like the disaster I went through at Pigman. Once out on the road I shifted into harder gears and began trying to focus on pulling the leaders back. I was able to pass the 16 year old who outswam me. He ended up with the 3rd fastest swim in the entire race. When we got on the main road the course is on I could barely see Charlie Cunnick. He was riding really well and it wasn't until the turnaround that I caught him. I gave Charlie some encouragement as I passed by and I kept the pedal down. As was the case with Pigman sprint 2 weeks ago I really felt much better riding the 2nd half of the course. Probably due to all the Ironman training it seems like my legs take a little longer to get going. On the way back I felt really good. I knew I was over 25 mph ave. speed and I had the 2 biggest slowing points (the start and the turaround) behind me. I rode hard back into the park and had a great running dismount after pulling my feet out of my shoes about 600 meters before the bike finish. My bike time was 35:38 which was the fastest bike split of the day by about 50 seconds. I rode the Zipp 1080 front wheel combined with the Zipp Sub-9 disc rear wheel. I was feeling really good at this point since I'd shaved another 30 seconds off my time from 2 years ago. I put on my running shoes and grabbed my race belt and was out on the run course quickly not knowing how much time I put on the guys behind me but sure they would be in hot pursuit.

RUN: Once out on the run I knew it was going to be a struggle. I was getting some pretty bad abdominal cramping that was making breathing really uncomfortable. I've had this happen in a 1/2 Ironman a handful of times but never in a sprint. I knew from my experiences in a 1/2 that it typically goes away within a couple miles but in a sprint that's nearly the entire race. I had a decent lead of about a minute and a half but the way I was feeling that could disappear pretty quickly. We started out the run in the grass and I was trying to get into a rhthym but the cramping was not allowing me to go very fast. I eventually got to the main road where I would be running up and down some rolling hills to the turnaround. The turnaround had been advertised as having a John Deere tractor that we would run around before heading back to the main gate and finishing near where the race began. I saw the tractor and the orange arrows on the ground directing me to run around it. There was a timing mat at the turn and I went around the tractor and over the timing mat. This is when things got weird. Race director, Eric Sarno was there and he began yelling for me to go around the tractor again. I was quite confused as to why I needed to round it a second time but I began the circus-like performance by turning back and rounding the tractor a 2nd time. This time Eric was yelling to me that I needed to run further down the hill before going around the tractor for a 3rd time. I knew something wasn't right here. I was completely thrown off as to what was going on but I followed Eric's directions and went down the hill where they had another turnaround marked with a cone. I ran around it and went back up the hill and past the tractor for the 3rd time. I knew something was wrong. I could see the other runners coming down the hill and they weren't having to run loops around the tractor. The 2nd place runner, John Noland pointed at me and said, "I'm coming for you brother." I already knew this and I was still hurting from the cramps but I told myself to dig deep for the last 1.5 miles. Once I got near the entrance of the park the cramping had slightly subsided and I was able to get into a better rhythm. I glanced over my shoulder as I entered the park and I still had a decent lead so I knew I would be the 1st one to finish but I also didn't know how much behind me Noland had started the swim. I tried to push hard to the finish and I came in with a time of 1:04:41. My run time was garbage as I ran 18:36...the 5th fastest run time of the day...I was still really frustrated by the turaround fiasco because I knew that cost me 15-20 seconds in time. John Noland finished not long after me and still about 5 minutes later they were announcing that I was the winner so I figured I had still held on despite a lousy run and circus-act loops I had performed. The news and paper interviewed me about how it felt to win in my home town. I saw the volunteer coordinator Greg Hanson at the finish line and he told me he had been at the turaround and he apologized to me and said they had messed up where the turnaround was supposed to be. He said they were trying to move it quickly before I came through and they weren't able to get it moved in time. I told him I had been worried that it may make a difference in the race outcome and Greg told me if it did they would probably be able to take care of it since the race director is the one who had me run the extra amount. Greg told me it was probably near 20 seconds extra that I did. Just about then is when the timing guy Jeff Castro came over to me and said I lost the race by 2 seconds on the chip time...just as I expected with the way things have gone for me early in this 2011 season. It was out of my control now. I would have to wait to see if they made any adjustments in my time as Greg expressed he thought they would. When I told Jeff Castro what happened he said they had records of how much time it cost me because every time I went around the tractor I crossed a timing mat so they would have some data to back it up with if they wanted to make the time adjustment.

About an hour after the race director Eric Sarno called me over and apologized to me for what happened. He told me he felt embarrassed about it and said he cost me the race. He said it was clear to him I would have won had he not sent me around the tractor 2 additional times and in his mind I was the winner. He told me he would pay me the winner's check amount but then told me he had decided he was not going to make any changes to the result times so I would be listed as 2nd. I was pretty disappointed because this is a race I have really wanted to win. It's easy to say "next year" but who knows what will happen between now and then. I learned with my brother's car accident in October you never know what the next day will bring. I hope I'm still healthy and in great shape to try to win again but at this time I really don't know how long this triathlon journey will last for me. As my kids grow older and get more into activities I don't want to miss things because I need to train. If I don't extend the pro license at Steelhead or Madison this may be my last year of training like I am. It would have meant a lot to me to win this race. Only 1 local has ever won the Quad City triathlon on the guys side and that was back in the 2nd year of the event when it was much smaller. The turnaround circus I was sent on undoubtedly cost me more than 2 seconds but the bigger blame goes to me for having a piss-poor run. It was my slowest run in 3 years of doing this. Had I run what I was capable of Eric could have sent me around the tractor 10 times and I still would have been able to win. What's done is done and I began training today for my next pro race in 4 weeks at Ironman Racine 70.3. I have a lot of positives to take from this weekend's race. My swim was my best ever and my bike time was my best on this course by 35 seconds. I know my run will be there. I had a great interval workout on Wednesday and I'm in better run shape than when I came off the bike to run 1:17 for the 1/2 marathon in Texas 2 years ago. Now I just need to put all 3 together on the same day.

Congratulations to winners Jen Foley and John Noland on their great races. Jen is going to race Madison with me in September and she will be ready to roll fast.

Congratulations to all the 1st time triathletes. There were a lot of you out there and I hope you loved every bit of the experience. Even with the turnaround circus I dealt with I still believe this race is top-notch and I hope you enjoyed the experience enough to keep exercising for another race. Training that is done to prepare for a triathlon is what this sport is all about. It creates a healthy lifestyle that promotes physical fitness and that is great for the community. Complete results of the race with splits can be found by clicking here.

It was great seeing so many members of Team Tri-Fit and they took home the top triathlon club award for the 3rd straight year. It was awesome watching Dr. Bob Kaminski duke it out to the finish with fellow club member Earnesto Raya. Team member John Pfautz not only had a great race but also was awesome singing the national anthem before the race! I had a great time watching 8 former students or athletes I had in class or coached compete. John Beck, Will Horvat, Liam Weldon, David Zimmer, Anne Leners, Tony Meyer, Joe Mueller, and Grant Duncan. It makes me very proud to see student/athletes I worked with get involved in this great sport. The volunteers and the spectators for the race were outstanding. Lastly I'd like to thank Phil Pancrazio for taking some awesome pictures of me during the race. I think Super Mom was really jealous of how awesome his pictures were and she already wants a new camera.

The Quad City Times ran a story on the race and the turnaround mishap that can be found by clicking here.

I called my training buddy Adam Bohach after the race. He was in Duluth, Minnesota for a Marathon. We chatted about our races. Adam went through the 1/2 marathon with a time of 1 hr. 9 minutes!! It was a new for the 1/2 and he still had 13.1 miles to go. He said he began feeling really bad and had some stomach problems forcing him to use the bathroom. He said he had to dig deep in the final miles and was in "survival" mode. He ran 2 hrs. 26 minutes...a new PR! I was very happy for him and I'm proud to say I train with a MACHINE!!

Don't forget next weekend is the Davenport Duathlon on Sunday at Credit Island. Information on the race with a link to sign-up can be found by clicking here. I hope we can get a good local turnout to support this new race. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Eastern Iowa Duathlon Series...Training Camp Conclusions

I was recently thrilled to hear about a new race coming to the Quad Cities as part of the Eastern Iowa Duathlon Series on Sunday, June 26th...think 8 days after QC Tri. I plan to sign up for this race and it would be great to see the race well supported by the Quad Cities multisport enthusiasts. I've been a little disappointed to see two of our local races die out over the last couple years (Swing into Spring Duathlon and Iowa Man Triathlon) so when I saw a new race was coming to town I contacted the race director Pasha Korsakov and he ensured me this race series is going to be on the Iowa calendar year in and year out. I know he is excited to see the races grow and I'm hopeful that lots of people locally will show support by signing up. The race in Davenport is a 2 mile run, 14.5 mile bike ride, and finishes with a 3 mile run. The race can be done individually or with a team. I know my wife will be there if anyone wants to ride she'll probably run for you (although I'm offering this service without asking her first...). Check out the website where you can register for the event by clicking here. Any time I get a chance to go to a race without driving more than 90 miles, staying in a hotel, or flying with my bike I'm all for it! If you are in the QC on June 26th I hope you'll consider the Davenport Duathlon so we can continue to help promote fitness and healthy living in the Quad Cities.

So I wrapped up my week long Training Camp on Sunday night and boy was I glad it was over. I detailed each day in the post below if you are interested in reading about "Camp Activities" I had for the week. The week totaled 44.5 hours training with 466 bike miles, 82 run miles, 20,100 yards swimming, three times of weight lifting, lunges, push-ups, claw drill, and jump rope, two times of plyometrics, and 10 sessions of core work. I finished the week with a ride called TOMRV (Tour of the Mississippi River Valley) which consisted of 115 miles riding for me on Saturday. The route was 106 but I got a late start since I ran the Race for the Cure with the family and I took the backroads to start the ride and also had some extra miles trying to find our hotel. Sunday's return trip was supposed to be 90 miles but I added a loop when we were riding near my hometown and it ended up being 101 miles. I was very thankful my training buddy Adam Bohach went most of the way up to Dubuque and back with me. Adam is going to roll in a marathon next weekend and didn't want to do the entire thing. If you've never done TOMRV you should consider. It's a tremendously well run event. I found out it is possible to weigh more after riding 216 miles in 2 days than you did before you started the ride. The route is very scenic and challenging. I only saw 2 people the entire weekend walking their bikes on hills and Saturday I was almost a 3rd. I couldn't believe my massage therapist Laurel Darren did both days on a big mountain bike with those big bumpy tires. I didn't see any other mountain bikes and thought that was pretty beastly! TOMRV has amazing stops along the way stocked with free food for the riders and then the dinner at Clark College ensures that you roll out of the dorm and down the hill because your tummy is so full. I hadn't seen a soft serve machine like that since my freshman year at Coe! The volunteers are amazing and the route is very challenging.

Some of the toughest parts of camp? Thursday night when I completely bonked, the heat index of 100 degrees Monday-Wednesday, dealing with the thunderstorms when I wanted to run, and Saturday's entire bike ride to Dubuque...but especially the last 30 miles when I was running the gas tank on completely nothing...searching anywhere on my bike for just 1 more GU. My favorite part of camp, besides the food on TOMRV...the bike ride home from Dubuque on Sunday was awesome...Adam and I even made some comparisons of Floyd Landis (for you with cycling knowledge) except for the drug part. What made this ride awesome is that it was a much needed reminder about how every day is a new one. When things are bad forget about them and move on. Saturday I was riding in terrible pain and was in a land of suffering. Sunday I felt strong as ever. It is a reminder that in training and racing some days are good and some are bad. Don't dwell on the bad never know how soon the next good one may come. Sunday's "comeback" was a reminder that you're never finished. I woke up thinking it was going to be a long ride home but as we got started I began to think my protein shake, GU Roctane, and good night of sleep may have been enough to get my body ready to go again.

This week brings the QC Triathlon. The event has only been won locally one time on the guys side. I've had a lot of people ask me lately if I can win. I'd sure like to...but I can only control my race. I don't know who's coming. I hope to do my best and go in the low 1 hour 3 minute range. That would be a nice time drop from 2 years ago. Win or lose I'd be very proud of that improvement. If I was trying to peak for a great performance at QC I would not have done Training Camp last week. If anyone is interested in coming out to West Lake Park to watch the race begins early at 7:00 a.m. They are running a shuttle from the church right outside the park until 6:45 so if you get there by 6:45 you'll get a ride in and out. This race is extremely well organized and it would be great to see a good crowd out to support all the athletes who have worked hard for this day. For many at this event it is the 1st one ever...and I can ensure you it won't be the last! The last picture on here is from Saturday's Race for the Cure courtesy of the QC Times. Jen made me work to catch her in the last mile...she said she was going to run 6:30's and then ran sub-6 pace. After stopping to tie both shoes I thought I wouldn't get her but with a late surge we were able to finish together as a family. I lunged with the stroller so Payton could be "1st girl" in the race. The best part was Jen put her hands up to break the tape and there was nothing to break because the stroller beat her to it. Super Mom will just have to win the next one to break the tape. This may be my new favorite picture. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Training Camp Updates

I'll put this post together so readers can get an up close look into what goes into a training camp for Jeff Paul. First off, I call this a training camp because the only real goal is to pile on the volume as high as possible without getting injured. The quality of workouts this week gets trumped by sheer volume. The idea is that I tear myself down physically and mentally this week before allowing my body to adapt to this load with a very easy week next week. I also have lots of fun testing myself to see what I'm capable of putting my body through. I'll update this post daily through the week by adding to the entry below with each day's camp activities. The camp is free so if you are in town and want to join me for part of it let me know. It would be great to have company.

Sunday: The last day of Training Camp finally has arrived. I got a good night of sleep after suffering through day 6.

Bike: Began the day riding home on TOMRV. What a difference a good night of sleep makes. I felt awesome riding today. There were some really long and tough hills going out of Dubuque but I felt really strong on them. Adam and I moved at a really good clip today. We skipped some of the aid stations to keep the ride moving. Adam stopped near his home town and I finished the ride on my own. I added some miles so I could get over 100 miles for the 2nd day in a row. I finished the ride at 101 miles today.

Run: Tonight I finished camp with a 12 mile run followed by speed drills and strides. My legs felt surprisingly pretty good. I kept thinking I hope they feel like this in Madison for Ironman in less than 3 months.

Day 7 Total Training Time- 6 hours 35 minutes

Day 6 of Training Camp can be summed up in 2 words: Friggen Brutal!! I was hoping to tear myself to shreds this week before letting my body adapt to the volume and today got me there...problem being I still have 1 day of camp left and I'm 93 miles from home with only a bike for transportation which makes it tough to skip.
Run: I began camp with a morning road race. I was supposed to be warming up and cooling down long to get some extra mileage and then running with Jen at what she said would be "6:30 pace". It was her 1st race back off missing a couple months with a bad achilles tendon. I ran 8 miles total and pushed the kids in the double running stroller for the 5k while Jen went on to win. We finished together as a family. She was 18:40. I was 18:22 because I had to stop and tie my shoes at one point before catching her and I stopped the watch.
Bike Ride: This was the killer. Day 1 of TOMRV was 113 miles almost entirely north with a wind out of the north. It wasn't a strong wind but on tired legs from camp I was absolutely cooked! It was one hill after another and I was feeling terrible. Luckily for me Adam joined me for the ride when I went through a town near his house and he came the rest of the way with me. We had a great dinner with a lot of local QC guys who didn't have any trouble with the ride. I'm not going to lie...this was one of the toughest rides I've ever done. It took me about 6 hours and 15 minutes of riding time to get here. The circumstances with camp this week are undoubtedly what made it so tough. I have broken myself down...I need to bike 91 miles home tomorrow and then try to run 10 miles to finish camp. Off to bed...I will have no trouble sleeping.

Day 6 Total Training Time- 7 hours 15 minutes

I got started with camp early on Friday. Payton woke up puking at 2:30 and after getting her fixed up and back to sleep I was wide awake so I drove into the high school to start camp at 3:45 a.m.
Weights- 1 hour 5 minutes with 2 sets of 10 on all my lifts at my heaviest weight of the week. Finished with lunges, plyometrics, jump rope, and core work
Run- 5 miles on treadmill in weight room as there was another super intense thunder storm outside.
Swim- 1 hour workout with 2,700 yards with my swim coach beginning at 7:00 a.m. It was nice to get some valuable feedback on my stroke. 14 days swimming in a row.
Nap- 2 hours
Swim- A 2nd swim to get to my weekly goal yardage of 20,000. I went 2,100 yards in a workout that only lasted 40 minutes. I followed this with core work
Nap with Payton- 1 hour
Bike- 55 miles. It was really nice out. Cool temps and little wind. I got wet the last 32 miles.
Run- 10 miles. Began with 3.5 miles out easy and then saw lightning close by so I turned around and headed back to school fast at sub-6 pace. Finished the last 3 miles inside school.
Tomorrow I am off on a bike ride from the QC to Dubuque known as TOMRV (Tour of the Mississippi River Valley). I'll be staying in a hotel in Dubuque and riding back on Sunday. It is about 110 miles tomorrow and 90 on Sunday if I don't add any to the ride. I'll report from the hotel tomorrow night.

Day 5 Total Training Time- 7 hours 20 minutes

I waited for the storms to clear this morning and then got on my bike at about 9:15 to ride for 3 hours. It was pefect out. I decided I was going to go 80 miles. There was no wind, cool temps, overcast skies...absolutely perfect...until I got a phone call at mile 17 that Payton had an earache and I needed to pick her up from daycare. This would throw a major wrench into day 4 of Training Camp but it serves as a good reminder to me what is most important in my life. Being able to balance triathlon training, a full-time job, being a father of 2, and a husband is perhaps what makes my journey as a professional triathlete most unique. I got 35 miles outside and another 10 miles (30 minutes) on the trainer while Payton and I watched Pocohontas
Swim: 1 hour 10 minutes with 3,500 yards
Run: Here is where I began to was evening and I was pretty tired already and I had to go treadmill again due to T-storms outside. I was at 3 miles and feeling really weak, lightheaded, and super hungry. I stopped and stretched for a bit and tried to get the weak feeling to go away. I got back on and made it 2 more miles but felt like I was going to fall over. I stopped and did push-ups, claw drill, and core work and cut my losses for the day. Tomorrow was supposed to be my 1 day of lower volume but it looks like I got that today. On the positive side my muscles actually feel really recovered and fresh...I'm just lacking something that is making me feel really naucious.

Day 4 Total Training Time- 4 hours 10 minutes

Began camp with a 4 mile morning run. It was supposed to be 10 but I felt like the Tin Man and everything hurt. I had to stop and walk 8 minutes in. I had terrible abdominal cramping and the heat was pretty bad. I managed to suffer through 30 minutes.
Weights- 1 hour 5 minutes. Did 2x 12 on all my upper and lower body lifts and then finished with lunges, jump rope, plyometric stair hops, and core work
Swim- 1 hour 25 minutes with a 4,100 yard workout.
Bike- 45 miles. This was supposed to be the weekly Wednesday night group ride but I realized I forgot my shoes right before I pulled in so I had to drive back home to grab them. I attempted to drive back to catch them where they start going hard (about 7 miles in). Right as I pulled to the spot I saw the peloton fly by and I assembled my bike as fast as I could and then tried to get my bento box on the bike but had problems so I left it. I lost 3-4 minutes on the group and set out on a ferocious time trial to see if I could catch them. I went through 13 miles at 25.3 mph and still couldn't see them so with my legs fried I settled into a normal training ride for the rest. I only had 1 bottle of water and the heat index was near 100 degrees. When I got to Riverdale High School I saw a door open and went in where they were having volleyball camp. I saw a big jug of gatorade and I filled my bottle without being spotted and slipped out the door and got out of there. Riverdale moved up on my "Favorite High School" list!
Run- 6.5 miles. With storms looming I opted for the treadmill tonight. I went through periods of good and bad but made it 6.5 miles.
The heat is supposed to break tonight and I can't wait!!!
Day 3 Total Training Time- 6 hours 10 minutes

Began the day with a 50 mile bike ride and it was already super hot, humid, and windy!
Swim- 1 hour 15 minutes totalling 3,800 yards. Main Set was 8x 200's alternating swim and pull on 3:20 for 4 and 3:10 the last 4. This was my 11th day in a row swimming and I'm feeling great despite being tired. Averaged 2:41 on the swims and 2:47 on the pulls.
Run- Ran 3 miles with Jen at West Lake Park in the heat of the day before our "Live Uncommon" photo shoot. This run sucked. I was light headed and hungry.
Run- Ran 10.5 miles tonight mostly after the sun went down and I felt awesome. Amazing what 10 degrees difference does for the body.
Misc.- Did core work twice, claw drill and 3 sets of 25 push-ups
The good news is the heat is supposed to break tomorrow night. I expect tomorrow will be my toughest day of camp as I'm really tired and it is going to be 100+ heat index again...I can't wait til the big storm rolls through tomorrow to cool things down.
Day 2 Total Training Time- 5 hours 35 minutes

14.5 mile run started at 5:30 a.m. Great way to kick off the first Training Camp week of the summer. Followed it up with speed drills and strides.
Weight Room- 1 hour of 2 sets of 15 on all my upper and lower body lifts. There are 20 lifts that I do. I finished the session with lunges and jump rope. I have gotten stronger doing single leg jump rope this year.
Swim- 1 hour 15 minutes with 3,900 yards. Mostly drill and technique work today with a long swim of 1,500 yards. Some old guy at the Fitness Center stoke my fins while I was on my long swim and he left me his which were way too big and caused me to get blisters on my feet.
Bike- 55 miles with Adam Bohach. It's nice having Adam around. He's a great triathlete coming off his 8th place overall amateur finish at Ironman St. George. It was nearly 100 degree heat index for this ride.
Run- 3.5 miles before bed.
Core work- did this twice today.
Day 1 Total Training Time- 7 hours 20 minutes

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pigman Sprint Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Sunday morning Jen and I drove to Cedar Rapids, IA for the Pigman Sprint Triathlon with our kids and the world's best baby sitter and our friend Maddie. I opted not to get a hotel for this race because it's only about 1.5 hours from home and we'd have the kids with us. I like to be up 3-4 hours before a race so it worked out that we could drive the morning of. I did not sleep well Saturday night. I was pretty nervous for this race...more nervous than I have been for either of my pro races this year. Being in a race that is not a pro event certainly raises the expectations. I had high expectations for myself. I knew some of the names on the start list and expected a close race but was hoping to be in contention for the win. I finally fell asleep at about 12:30 and I woke up at 3:15 so doing the math it was not an optimal night of sleep but I had slept well in the nights leading up to this so it probably made no difference. The adrenaline of a race makes it easy to get out of bed regardless of how much sleep I get.

We made the drive to Cedar Rapids and I had to stop twice to use the bathroom. It took a little longer than expected to get on the road and I still needed to pick up my packet, get my transition area set up, and get a warm up in. I knew it would be an abbreviated warm up. I got everything set up and had time to squeeze in about a mile of running and then put the wetsuit on. I was able to get a good swim warm up in which is probably the most important of the 3 since that is what the race begins with. There were 9 guys who showed up to race in the Elite wave. Our wave would go in the water 8 minutes after the Elite females. Pigman pays 5 deep but awards a $750.00 bonus to the first person to cross the finish line...male or female. The women get the head start. It adds to the excitement of the race. Before the event started I thought I was capable of going 7:00 in the swim, 37:00 in the bike, and 17:00 in the run. I thought those estimates were very doable and perhaps if I had a good day I may be a little faster in all 3. Adding in time for transition I was hoping to be under 1:03:20. 2 years ago I was 1:04:53.

SWIM: My plan was to swim really hard. 2 years ago when I did this event I placed 11th and I had the 35th ranked swim. I knew I would need to keep the gap to the leaders less this year if I wanted to be in contention for the win. I've been swimming more since school got out. This race would be my 9th straight day of swimming infact. I took off fast the first couple hundred yards. The swim is only 550 yards. I was in a nice group and decided to settle in with them and stay on their feet for the remainder of the swim if possible. Strength is in numbers on the swim. I was in a really nice draft spot at the turnaround of the out and back swim. I stayed there and exited the swim with a time of 7:12. It was the 16th fastest swim out of 648 participants. This was my best swim of the year by far. It was 13 seconds faster than I swam the course 2 years ago. I also was out with 2 other guys in my wave.

BIKE: I had a good transition and began the bike with 3 guys right in front of me. I did have one major mishap during transition. When I got out on the bike I went to take a drink from my aero bottle and noticed the straw was gone. I assumed it bounced out while I was running through transition with my bike. I would not be able to drink on the bike which didn't really concern me because it is a sprint distance race and the temperatures were very reasonable at about 70 degrees. The winds were also very calm for this was pretty much perfect out. I had a full bottle of fluids with no straw so I decided I didn't want the extra weight and when I thought no one was looking I unstrapped the bottle and chucked it to the side of the road knowing I would pick it up later. The reason I had to wait until no one was looking is because it is a USAT violation to abandon trash or equipment during a race. I wasn't really littering because I would pick the bottle up later but I didn't want to risk a penalty so I waited until it was clear to get rid of the bottle. Early on in the ride while I was messing with my bottle 2 of the riders got away from me. I passed one guy who passed me back and I was pretty excited because I thought we could work together to pull back the field. I was sitting in about 7th place at the time. I passed him back after dropping out of the draft zone first and gave him some encouragement when I went by him but he was unable to hold onto me so I would be trying to pull the field back solo which is a position I've gotten used to in pro races. The sprint race goes by so quickly I was trying to put a lot of power into the pedals but I could not seem to pull back any of the racers in front of me. At about 5 miles in we entered a short loop through the small town of Palo, IA and I could see my own shadow in front of me. I noticed something long sticking out of my helmet like an antenna...of course it was my straw!! In disgust I grabbed it out of my helmet and put it in my race jersey knowing I would not find it if I left it along the road this far into the race. I had no use for it since I had already gotten rid of my bottle. Later Jen informed me that she was screaming as I left transition that I had a straw sticking out of my helmet...I'm sure the guys I passed wondered what the heck I was doing with a big straw sticking straight up from my helmet. After the Palo loop I could tell I was at least 30 sec. from a group of 3 riders I could see. One of them was starting to come back on the return trip and just before we made a turn at mile 11 I passed him. I was gaining on another guy as we entered the park and when I got off the bike Jen told me I was in 5th and was 15 seconds from 4th. I had a good dismount off the bike and moved through transition quickly. I ditched the straw in transition so I could get it later. My bike split was 37:30...24.9 mph and it was the 4th fastest of the race. It was only 4 seconds faster than 2 years ago when I took a wrong turn at one point in the race so it really would have been slower than 2 years ago had I gone the right way that day.

RUN: I was pretty excited about the run. I thought I was certainly in shape to go under 17:00 from the workouts I've been doing. Leading up to Ironman I lost a lot of speed doing longer, slower intervals but I thought the past couple weeks I made good progress in getting that speed back. I took off and was moving well for the first mile but I was not gaining on anyone ahead of me. It was pretty demoralizing knowing I was not making up any ground and this was a race I had hoped to win. I started slowing down just after the mile when we went up some short gradual hills. At the turnaround I was down about 20 seconds to 4th place and he was the only one close enough for me to have a chance. I also knew I had lost ground to him in the 1st half of the run. I had another pro triathlete, Aaron Bachman hot on my heals at the turaround. I was guessing I was only 15 seconds ahead of him. I got into a really good rhythm at about 2 miles in and thought I would be able to hold him off but at the top of a hill with just under 1/2 mile left he went by me pretty quickly. I tried to go with him but I just did not have that extra gear. I was stuck at 5:35-5:40 range and I couldn't drop it down at all during the run. I went on to finish in 6th place with a run time of 17:39 and a finish time of 1:04:38. The run was only 2 seconds faster than 2 years ago and it was the 6th fastest of the day. All 5 guys who beat me ran faster than I did. Complete race results with splits can be found by clicking here

The race was extremely frustrating to me for many reasons. I expected to be in contention to win and I was not ever in the picture. I was only 15 seconds faster than when I did this race 2 years ago. My bike and run times were barely faster than 2 years ago and I'm in way better shape right now. I'm really at a loss right now as to why I raced so poorly. I hope that it has to do with training for an Ironman. I did not ever feel like I had that extra gear today which is so important in a sprint race. I get stuck in this 5:35-5:40 pace on the run and I can't seem to go faster. This winter when I was doing track workouts with Augustana I was in shape to break 16:00 for a 5k and thought I could run 16:30 off the bike. I actually did a 3 mile time trial off a 30 minute bike time trial and I ran 16:15 which would be about 16:40 for 5k. That was then...and now I'm looking for answers. It was tough to find any positives to take from this race. After searching I'd say the swim was good. I went from being ranked 35th 2 years ago to 16th this year. Part of that was due to a less quality field at the top of the race. After I finished on Sunday there was almost a 4 minute gap to the next finisher. About the only other positive was that I recovered very quickly. My legs felt really good within minutes of finishing. I was able to run a 4 mile cool down no problem and was able to begin my week long training camp today without any problems. This picture of Payton sums up my race pretty well. This is of her when I finished. In times like these I begin to question whether or not what I'm doing is working. Is there something wrong with the training? It would be easy to say yes but this is the same style of training I did 2 years ago and the results later that summer were very good. I decided I will continue to trust in the that things will get better. I have a lot of hard work to do. The reality may be that I'm not as good as I hoped to be or wish I could be. After earning my pro license my goal shifted from getting there to proving I belong there. I have not done the ladder. Infact I may be learning that I'm just not good enough. I would be okay with that if I give it my best shot. A pro license only lasts for 2 years and after my injury last year that leaves me with 3 more pro races to hit the renewal requirements which I never thought would be tough to hit. Now I'm I nearing the end of this journey? If I give it my best shot and know when I'm done I just wasn't good enough I'll be okay with that. I don't think I've given it my best shot yet and my goal now is to be ready to do that 3 more times this summer...Ironman Racine 70.3, Ironman Steelhead 70.3, and Ironman Wisconsin.

Today I began a week long training camp. I'll post updates of what each day of camp was like on a nightly basis. For today it began with a 14.5 mile run at 5:30 a.m. and then I lifted weights and did lunges and jumped rope. Following a nap I did a 1 hr. 15 minute swim workout which totalled 3,900 yards and then I did a 55 mile bike ride with Adam. Making things tougher than the volume is that the heat index was over 100 degrees today. From the morning weigh-in to after my bike ride I was down 9 lbs. Time to fuel up and get in a short evening workout before hitting the pillow and getting ready for more punishment tomorrow. Quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail..."I'm not dead...yet." Pigman wasn't how I envisioned it but I'll continue to get myself ready to race best late in the season. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!