Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 5 Training Summary IMAZ

Post Edit (Monday): I stepped on the scale today for my weekly weigh-in and saw a number I haven't seen in 9 years...151. My senior year of cross country at Augustana I weighed 148 the week of the regional meet. Within about 5 hours of that last race I'm sure I was over 151 and I have not been down to that weight since. I gradually put on weight until I reached 202 lbs. in January of 2008. It was November of 2008 that I decided I wanted to devote myself fully to the sport of triathlon and I've been as low as 153 on two different occasions until today when I saw 151. It was a loss of 3 lbs. for the week and it brings the 5 week total of IMAZ training to 17 lbs. lost. When I decided I wanted to race one more time this year I knew one thing I wanted to do was get lean for this one. I have always believed over the past couple years I could compete in the low 150's but I never had the mental strength to do it. In a typical week I would have 5 "+" marks in my workout log meaning a day of junk free eating and I would have 2 "-" signs in my workout book meaning I ate some kind of junk. I wanted this race to be different. 8 weeks to train for a big race is not a lot of time. I hoped it would be short enough I could stay focused throughout and so far through 5 weeks I have managed to eat healthier than I ever have over a 5 week period. I have 35 straight days of "+" marks in my workout book. I plan to continue that for 21 more days. What surprised me most about losing 3 lbs. this week was that I lowered my volume and focused more on quality workouts. I made sure to fuel myself a bit more than I have been so that the workouts would be quality. I actually thought I might gain weight this week but I've added some muscle over these past 5 weeks and it has definitely boosted my metabolism. End Post edit
I'm now 5 weeks down and 2 to go before a week taper leading me to Ironman Arizona. I'm feeling more fit than I've ever been which has really been a surprise to me. After 2 weeks off following Ironman Wisconsin where I managed to gain 8 lbs. I've really gotten into great shape quickly. My weight on Monday was 154...down 14 lbs. through the first 4 weeks of training. I expect to lose a bit more this week but I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out exactly where I stand. I'll do a post edit once again to report where I come in this week. This week my goal was to reduce the volume a bit but increase the quality. I had gone up each week through my first 4 weeks. Combining the increased volume with a reduction in calories to get to a low weight for this race had made it tough to get high quality work in. This week I ate more and really saw the benefits of how strong I was on the hard workouts. Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday I did high quality bike intervals. Wednesday I did a 10 mile tempo run in 58:42. It felt great and I got faster as I went. Friday I had a great track workout of 4x1200 meters starting at 5:15/mile pace and cutting down to 5:00 pace. I finished the 1200's and ran 4x 200 meters in 32 seconds. I haven't done much speed training while training for the Ironman so it felt good to get the legs moving a bit faster. I had some great swims. My best one was probably when I got to the pool late and only had 50 minutes to swim. I swam a straight 3,000 yards comfortably hard and came in at 45:08. I felt really good about this. With a wetsuit on in cold water I should be able to finally break 1 hour in Arizona. I have averaged nearly 17,000 yards/week through my first 5 weeks of training. That is a higher 5 week average than I had all year. My total training time this week was 23 hrs. 15 minutes. I ran 57 miles, biked 170, and swam 15,300 yards. I lifted weights and did plyometrics twice, did lunges, speed drills, strides, jumped rope, and did push-ups all three times, and did core work 11 times. I received some samples this week of a new flavor of GU. I was super excited to taste the newest addition to the GU line. The flavor is Peanut Butter which is perfect for anyone who loves peanut butter. The GU tastes exactly like peanut butter. It was amazing!! Look for it to be available to the public this week. It is my new favorite flavor. I have cut out peanut butter from my diet over the past 5 weeks. I have only had peanut butter once so it was nice to get it in GU flavor. Speaking of GU Energy they are running an awesome special right now. It is called the Gu Performance Energy Sampler. The sampler pack includes 9 GU gels, 5 Roctane gels, 2 packs of GU Chomps (they are like the best fruit snacks ever:), 2 electrolyte brew packs, 1 recovery brew pack, and 3 electrolyte brew tablets all for $23.99. The value of all that is over $35.00. The link to the special is at

Jen and I have finished booking our trip to Arizona. We have our flights taken care of and this week booked our hotel and rental car. I am super excited to race again. I ready to put this hard work into action. My goal is pretty simple...I want to take as much time off my 10 hr. 6 minute PR from Wisconsin as possible. I know that time does not do my fitness justice. I'm much better than that and I hope to show it in Arizona. I'm nearly 10 lbs. lighter than I was in Madison and I believe that will help me. I have been using GU Energy electrolyte tablets in my water and will continue doing this especially the week of the race to make sure I don't have the cramping problems like I had in Wisconsin. The pro field is huge and that will make for a fun race with more people around me the entire time. I know I have more work to do these next 2 weeks. My goal remains to the same in training...get better every day. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 4 Training Summary IMAZ

In my 4th week of training for Ironman Arizona I am really beginning to feel like I am back into great shape. This was my highest volume of training for a week in quite a long time. For the week my training time was 29 hours. I have had people ask me before what I do in times when I don't feel like training. My answer is pretty simple...I don't train. Most days I look forward to training. I don't plan enough rest days and when my body gets run down I know it's time to take it easy. Typically when I'm deprived of sleep my motivation to train is low. That was the case on Wednesday. I had some aweful swim times in my workout on Tuesday and I got out of the pool early knowing I was tired. I had put in over 15 hours of training in the previous 3 days. All I did Wednesday was run 1.5 miles. This was enough to get me really motivated for a big weekend of training in which I was able to get 17 hours of training in from Friday to Sunday. For the week I biked 240 miles, ran 60 miles, and swam 18,200 yards. I also lifted weights and did plyometrics twice, lunges, push-ups, jump rope, speed drills, and strides all three times, and core work 13 times. I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out if all this workout time helped bring my weight down any. I know from the workouts I'm back into great shape. On Friday I ran 2x 3 miles at tempo pace with 1/2 mile easy between them. I ran the 1st in 17:21 and the 2nd in 16:51. I did a bike interval workout on Tuesday that was 5 minutes at 300 watts, 4 minutes at 320, 3 minutes at 340, 2 minutes at 360 and 1 minute at 380 before climbing back up the ladder with the same wattages. I took equal rest after each hard period. 16 days prior to this workout I did the same thing but cracked on the 2nd 2 minute period. By cracking I mean I was not able to pedal at the wattage. The awesome thing about my trainer is that I can program in the wattage and if it is too much I just won't be able to pedal. That's what happened 2 weeks ago. This week I was able to make it through the entire workout and although it was tough I was never in jeopardy of making the wattage levels. It's a good confidence builder to know I've gotten that much stronger in just 2 weeks. Combine that with losing 10 lbs. over that time period and my power to weight ratio has increased dramatically. I rode 105 miles on Saturday and then ran 2 hrs. (17 miles) on Sunday morning. I'm really looking forward to this race in Arizona. The start list for the pro race is HUGE! There are 55 guys on the start list and 35 ladies. That will make for a really fun swim with lots of feet for drafting options. It will also make the ride much more enjoyable because there will be people around. All the pro athletes will be wearing a GPS tracking device so fans not in attendance can get instant updates beginning when we exit the swim. That will keep me going when I'm tired knowing that people can see what my current pace is at all times. After 3 weeks in a row over 25 hours of training time I'm planning to cut back the total volume this week but really focus on getting more quality work in. I need to get 3 quality interval bike rides this week and 2 hard running workouts. I'll do a post edit tomorrow to report the weight.
Post Edit: I almost forgot to report...I was 154 lbs. on Monday. That is -1 lb. for the week and -14 in my 4 weeks of training. It will be tough to lose much now that I've gotten rid of most of my extra baggage and I'm trying to get more quality workouts in which requires a bit more fueling.
153 is the lowest I've been in 9 years and I've been there on 2 separate occasions. I don't think I'll be that low but the scale will tell tomorrow. Only 21 more days of hard work. I'm at 28 straight days of junk-free eating. I can't wait for Nov. 20th!! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 3 Summary...Dodging a Bullet!

I'm really starting to feel like I'm getting back into great shape. I am recovering quickly from workouts and I'm feeling stronger every day. I have 28 days of hard training remaining before I will back off to get rested up for Ironman Arizona on November 20th. My total training time this week was right at 26 hours. I ran 61 miles, biked 201 miles, and swam 17,100 yards. I am feeling stronger in all 3 areas right now but especially noticed a difference this week in my swimming. I decided I would swim more in my prep for Arizona than I ever have during the school year. One thing I learned as a pro triathlete this summer is the importance of being in a decent spot out of the water. A bad swim makes it extremely tough to have a good bike ride. If there are no other riders around it can be extremely difficult mentally to ride an Ironman course alone. My better pro races were when I had other riders around. Arizona will be a huge pro field and I know I'll be able to get out of the water ahead of some of the other guys. By swimming more I'm hoping I have more riders with me when I exit the water. In addition to the running, swimming, and riding I also lifted weights twice, did lunges, push-ups, speed drills, strides, and jumped rope all three times, did plyometrics twice, and core work 10 times. My weight is continuing to drop. I thought after losing 7 lbs. last week it would be tough to lose anything this week but I know I'm down once again. Tomorrow morning I'll get the official weekly weigh in and I'll do another post edit to report what that is. Post Edit- Monday morning weight was 155.0...-4 lbs. for the week and -13 in my first 3 weeks of training. I'd be thrilled to average 1 lb./week loss for the next 4 weeks.
For my toughest workouts this week I did 5x 1 mile repeats on Wednesday. I tried to keep them fairly relaxed. I took 2 minutes rest after each one. I started at 5:37 and cut down each one by about 5 seconds ending with a 5:14. I did a 5 mile progressive tempo run on Friday in which I began my first mile in 6:06 and cut down each one running the 5 miles in 29:02. Saturday after my 76 mile long ride I did 3.5 miles of brick running. I wanted to keep it really comfortable to simulate Ironman pace. I couldn't believe when I got to the turnaround I was averaging 6:14/mile and that was into the brutal wind we had on Saturday. On the way back I averaged 5:50 to finish the run at 6:02 pace. I couldn't believe how easy it felt. Speaking of the ride...I totally dodged a bullet. In my first 3 miles I was going into the 25 mph wind out of the west. I was riding in the aero position and looked up to see a HUGE log just in front of me. There was no way I could avoid hitting it. I hit the log hard and headed for the side of the road knowing I was going to crash. I didn't want to crash in the road or on the gravel shoulder so I headed straight for the ditch. The bottom of the ditch along this rural road is about 10 feet below the road. Right when I hit the grass going down into the ditch I was launched over my handle bars and my bike flew over top of me. I was fortunate they never mow the grass in this ditch and it was about 5 feet long. That helped to cushion my crash. I knew right away I had no serious injuries. I was able to get up right away and realized how lucky I was. The next thing was to find out how bad the bike was. I was expecting a blown tire and broken spokes but found nothing! My seat had dropped over 1 centimeter and the wheel needed to be adjusted but I was very lucky to not have anything wrong with me or the bike. It is weird how a crash goes in slow motion. In the split second I realized I was going to crash my mind went into survival mode and I had flash backs of other crashes I've been in. Thankfully this one ended much better than any of my previous crashes. I was able to get back on the bike for 74 more miles battling the wind. To put the wind in perspective when I was riding into it I was going between 15 and 17 miles per hour working like crazy in my small chain ring. When I turned to have the wind at my back I was in my biggest gear going 31-33 mph with 1/2 the effort. On Sunday I got my longest run in over 2 months when I went 15 miles. I felt very strong the entire time. I can tell a huge difference running with the weight I've lost. I feel like I'm floating when I'm running now. After last week I was hoping to average losing about 1.5 lbs. each week for the last 5 which would put me in the 151-152 range going into IM Arizona. That weight would be the lowest I've ever raced a triathlon at and 10 lbs. under my weight at Ironman Wisconsin. My confidence is growing by the day which may be the most important factor of all this training. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Every Day...

Counts. When you are starting a training plan with an Ironman 8 weeks away every day counts. I have chosen to break it down into 7 weeks of hard training and then 1 week of easy training and lots of rest. Every day will still be very important during that 1 easy week...especially things like sleep, outside stressors, nutrition...etc. Right now every day in training my goal is to finish the day knowing what I did made me better than I was the day before. So far, so good. For week 2 of IMAZ prep my workout time increased to 25 hours. I ran the same mileage as last week...50, but went up quite a bit in the swim and bike. My bike total was 212 miles, and my swim total was 17,100 yards. I also lifted weights and did plyometrics twice, did speed drills, strides, lunges, push-ups, and jump rope all three times, and core work 10 times. I had 3 high intensity bike interval workouts and a 14 mile long run. I can't believe I was able to get 2 open water swims in this weekend!! 2 years ago I was training for Longhorn 70.3 during the month of October and I distinctly remember being out for a long ride on October 3rd only to have it start SNOWING on me. I never used to have all the high-tech bike clothing that I've now invested in through Healthy Habits and I remember my hands were so cold in standard running gloves that I couldn't move my fingers to shift. I was having to shift with my forearms. Eventually on the brink of what I thought was frost bite I pulled into a gas station and called Jen to pick me up. Now here it is 1 week later and I'm doing open water swims in 62 degree water which is my favorite wetsuit temperature. It's cold enough that I can swim for a long time without getting warm in the wetsuit yet not so cold that my feet go numb.
With only 35 days left to train hard I've been more disciplined with my nutrition than ever before over a 2 week stretch. I'm pretty much in a routine with what I'm eating on a daily basis so I hope I've got all the major necessities covered. I do supplement a multi-vitamin, fish oil, and Vitamin D each day. I'm restricting calories a bit right now which I won't do as the race gets closer. I know if I took in more calories I could probably feel a bit better in the workouts but at this point I'm trying to get lean for this race so it's a trade-off. I'm trying not to eat any wasted calories and I'm up to 14 straight days with a "+" in my workout book signifying a "junk free" day. I know tomorrow's official Monday morning Weigh Day will be a good number. I'll do a post edit tomorrow letting you know what it is. I'm actually quite amazed how fast the weight has come off with this disciplined nutritional approach.
Post Edit: On Monday morning for my weekly "Weigh Day" I was 159 -7 for the week which may be my most lost in a week ever. -9 in my 2 weeks training for IMAZ.
Every morning I have 2 bowls of cereal...this week it was Wheaties Fuel. I also have a protein shake and 2 pieces of wheat toast with honey, and coffee. During the school day I don't eat a standard lunch. Instead I pack a bag of food and try to eat consistently throughout the day to keep my metabolism high. Metabolism is shown to slow down when the body goes long periods of time without food (like between meals for most people). To keep mine high I begin eating something during about every class period I teach starting with 3rd period at 9:30. I typically pack 1 apple, 2 bananas, 1.5 servings of Wheat Thins, 1.5 servings of carrots, and 1 granola bar. Jen has been amazing at making dinners. Lately we have bought a HUGE variety of fresh vegetables that she cuts up and puts in a pan with a few pieces of chicken breast. She throws it all in the oven for about 1 hour and it is amazing. A typical dinner will be chicken breast, zuchini, tomatoes, onions, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and "B" size potatoes. Before every breakfast and dinner I drink a 20 ounce glass of water to help fill my stomach before I begin eating. I also drink a minimum of 48 ounces of water throughout the day at school. I have begun to prepare my mind for the suffering I will go through on November 20th. I watched the live coverage of the Ironman World Championships and all the top finishers they interviewed talked about how much physical suffering they went through. I know an Ironman involves tearing the body down to the core. I have to be willing to get to that point of suffering.
I spent much of Saturday afternoon and evening following my good friend and training partner Adam Bohach online as he made his way through the Kona heat. Adam was awesome. He finished in 9 hrs. 17 minutes and was 101st overall including all the pro finishers. He was somewhere around the 60th amateur finisher and was one of the top American amateurs. He ran a 3 hr. 6 minute marathon on the end on pavement that was 135 degrees! I was really proud of Adam. He called me afterwards and told me how bad he suffered during the race. He was vomiting macadamia nuts on the bike ride, and his feet were hot the entire run. He missed the sunscreen before he bike portion and told me he got roasted. His performance was very inspiring to me. The other inspiring performance of the weekend for me was from a college teammate and friend named Randy Bill. Randy has been training like crazy for the Chicago Marathon and was hoping to hit an Olympic Trials qualifying time of under 2 hrs. 20 minutes. He placed 37th overall in a time of 2 hrs. 24 minutes. I am sure Randy was disappointed with the finish time but what inspired me the most was that he went after his lofty goal. Randy went through the 1/2 Marathon in 1 hr. 9 minutes...on pace to qualify for the trials. He is certainly Dreaming Big and the work he has put in has him in the best shape of his life. He has taken a risk to be great with his incredible training schedule all while holding a full-time job and being married to a wonderfully supportive wife. He is a great example of what Live Uncommon is all about. Time to get some rest...tomorrow means only 35 days left to get back into incredible shape. I'll be ready for Nov. 20th. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Week 1 Training Summary

It's official! I'm planning to race Ironman Arizona on November 20th! The more I thought about doing 1 more race in 2011 the more excited I got about going to Arizona. I took 2 weeks off after Ironman Wisconsin and then began training last Monday. I wanted to see how my body would respond to training before I made my mind up about another race for this year. I began the week with very tight upper hamstrings...the same thing that plagued me in the month leading up to Ironman Wisconsin. I backed off my training a lot that month with a fear that if it got worse I would not be able to race. With nothing to lose last week I decided to push the training a bit to see how they responded. Early in the week I had my doubts but I continued to train knowing I needed to give myself at least 10-14 days to make the decision. The big turning point came when I visted Kaminski Pain and Performance Care last Thursday. Waking up Thursday after 4 miles of tempo running on Wednesday I felt like an 80 year old climbing out of bed. My hamstrings had not bothered me while working out but every morning I had some serious tightness. Following my visit with Dr. Lake at Kaminski P&P Care I felt awesome. On Friday my hamstrings felt less tight than they have in over 6 weeks. I completed the week with 21.5 hours of training time. I ran 50 miles, biked 140 miles, swam 13,000 yards, lifted weights twice, did speed drills, strides, lunges, and jump rope all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work 14 times. After seeing Dr. Kaminski yesterday I felt no tightness at all today. We ran the staff mile this afternoon after our inservice. I ran it in 4:47 which isn't a great time but I had a ball-busting interval workout on the bike last night and my training over the past 3 days was over 11 hours so I wasn't disappointed knowing I am still getting back into shape and I am broken down. The exciting part was that nothing hurt and I recovered really well within a couple hours of cooling down. I chose Ironman Arizona over Ironman Florida for a couple reasons. The flights to Arizona are much cheeper. I just booked my flight for 65.00 direct from Moline to Phoenix via Allegiant Air. They really rape you with the extra fees but the total still came out to 212.00 for both Jen and I so almost 100.00 each. That is tough to beat. The bigger reason I chose Arizona is because it is 2 weeks later than Florida. With a month of low volume before Madison and then a 2 week break I knew it would take me some time to get back into really good shape. From when I started training the race is 8 weeks away. That gives me 7 weeks to work hard and then 1 week to rest up. I really like having 1 race to focus on over this amount of time. It makes every day important. In my first 10 days I've been able to put a "+" in my workout journal which signifies a day of junk free eating. No candy, peanut butter (which is my downfall), ice cream, desserts, chips, pop...etc. I weighed in last Monday at 168 which is 10 lbs. over fighting weight. I lost 2 lbs. in my first week bringing me to 166 which had me excited because based on my previous weight loss patterns it typically takes me 2-3 weeks before my metabolism really speeds up. I'm going to continue posting my weight each week to help hold myself accountable. I hope to be between 156 and 158 at the highest for this race. I was 155 when I went to San Juan last March but sometime after that I lost focus on my eating and the rest of the summer I basically hovered around 160. My training schedule is pretty much set. I'll be on 19 workouts/week. I am running 6 days, biking 6 days, swimming 5 days, and lifting 2 days each week. Most of the bike workouts will be indoors on the trainer because they will be done at night after the kids go to bed. I despise spending long hours on the trainer so I will focus on quality over quantity. I found out in my month between Racine 70.3 and Steelhead 70.3 that I can get a lot stronger on the bike by doing quality interval workouts on my Cycleops Powerbeam Pro trainer without spending endless hours on it. I am able to program the wattage levels which force me to work really hard. I'll do outdoor rides on Saturdays (long ride) and Sundays (medium ride with some intervals). For running I will do 1 interval session each week on Wednesday, a tempo run on Friday, and a long run on Sunday. The rest of the miles will be base miles. For swimming I will do longer and more difficult workouts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with Monday being a short swim focusing on drills and technique and Sunday being a lower yardage day with longer paddle swims and some technique work but not a lot of hard swimming. Mondays and Fridays are my lifting days. M,W,F are also days when I jump rope, do lunges, speed drills, and strides. Plyometrics are Mondays and Fridays. Push-ups are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Core work is every day. It's been going well so far. I've always felt it takes about 10 days to start feeling the benefits of the workouts. Last week I was sore and tight. This week I'm feeling fresher every day. My goal for this race is pretty simple...take as much time off my 10 hr. 6 min. PR from Wisconsin as possible. The field in Arizona will be completely loaded with a lot of guys racing this one coming off the world championships in Hawaii. I am not focusing at all on the other guys or my placing. I am focusing on having a better race so I can get a PR I am satisfied with. Next year may be my last year with this kind of devoted training and I really want to focus more on the 1/2 Ironman distance so I want to get 1 good full in so I have the option of not doing one next year. I don't want to end this journey with a 10 hr. PR. I am much more fit than that and I would like to show it. Arizona is a very fast course which can be slowed a bit if it gets windy but even last year it was windy and about 20 guys went under 9 hours.

This week I'll be thinking a lot about my training buddy Adam Bohach who is in Hawaii for the World Championship. I rode, ran, and swam with Adam last weekend for the final time in 2011. He is in awesome shape. I can't wait to see how he does. He is going to be great!! Thanks for reading. As go the famous words in Monty Python and the Holy Grail..."I'm not dead yet!"...although I wonder sometimes if I need to visit the psychiatrist when I think back to last month in Madison when I was swearing I would never do an Ironman again! DREAM BIG!!