Wednesday, September 26, 2012

IMAZ Training Week 1...Super Mom

After taking 1 week completely off of training to recover from Rev3 Cedar Point in Ohio I got back into the swing of things last week.  It was a decent first week back.  Last year I took 2 weeks off after Ironman Wisconsin before resuming.  This year I knew I didn't need 2 weeks off since the 8 weeks leading into Rev3 were not a lot of training.  I felt like I was getting in better shape each week leading into Ohio where last year I felt like I was just barely hanging on by the time I got to IM Wisconsin.  The 2 week break was needed last year but not so much this year.  I felt pretty decent.  Early in the week I could tell I still had some lingering tightness in my hamstrings.  For the week I ran 40 miles, biked 190 miles, and swam only 5,500 yards.  I also got back to the little things I think make a big difference in my training like weight lifting, lunges, plyometrics, core work, pull-ups (I added this one because Jen got a pull-up bar for the basement and has been doing these regularly and I don't want my wife to be able to do more pull-ups than I can do), speed drills, strides, and push-ups.  Where I was most disappointed was with my swimming and my eating.  I planned to begin eating clean because I know I need to get leaner than my current state if I want to break 9 hours in Arizona.  In my week off I gained 9 lbs. and weighed in at 171.  I lost 5 lbs. in the first few days probably mostly water weight but ended the week at 164 which was still higher than what I was for Rev3 by 2 lbs.  I need to get more focused with what I'm eating.  I also know I need to make myself get to the pool.  I've been angry about my swimming since Racine and I've avoided the pool too often.  I need to put that behind me and get back to swimming more.  I realize that the swim is the shortest portion but the field in Arizona will no doubt be huge for the pro race and it could make my race if I can exit the water with a good rider or 2.  This is a bike course I went 4 hrs. 45 minutes on last year and I believe I can go under 4:40...maybe faster if I have the right riders around me. 
My toughest workout of  the week was on Sunday when I ran the Quad Cities 1/2 Marathon with my wife Jen.  Jen had picked this race as her peak race of the year.  Last year she ran 1:21:58.  This year she was hoping to go under 1 hr. 20 minutes.  I knew she was capable of this after running a 10 mile race in 60:30 a few weeks back when she finished 1st overall ahead of all the guys in the race in Orion, IL.  I didn't know how my body would handle a LONG tempo run only 2 weeks post Ironman.  We began at a comfortable pace and went through the mile in 6:10.  We then started cutting the pace down and she went through the 10k mark at a 6:03 average.  We were running the miles after that in the 5:50 range.  My hamstrings were not feeling very good...they were extremely tight and I could tell I was still not at 100%.  On paper the field in the women's race for the 1/2 was loaded.  The QC Marathon does a tremendous job taking care of elites.  They even paid for flights of some of the 1/2 marathon runners despite that not being the marquee race of the event.  One gal from Kenya had a 1/2 marathon PR of 1 hr. 10 minutes.  Another listed was from Uganda as well as a few domestic elites.  Jen was just hoping to run fast and not worry about the place.  At the 10 mile mark she was in 2nd place with a chance to crush her PR.  She began to fade a little in the final 2 miles but held on a for a tremendous time of 1 hr. 19 minutes, 15 seconds.  She finished 2nd and earned 300.00 for that place and a bonus 100.00 for finishing as the top local.  I never expected it but I also was the top local guy which means Jen beat all the local guys so I also got 100.00.  We donated all 500.00 to her younger sister's wedding fund which is coming up in May.  She finished with an average pace of 6:03/mile so actually held solid the second half of the race. 
I know the importance of sleep in performance.  There are countless studies out about the value of sleep and I believe all of them.  Despite this getting adequate sleep is still my toughest challenge.  It's extremely difficult for me to average even 7.5 hours of sleep/night when I'm working full-time, fathering 2 children, and trying to train 20-25 hours a week.  Almost all of my bike miles this time of year come on the trainer after the kids are in bed.  That means I often don't get on the bike until 9:00 at night.  I may ride until 10:30 and by the time I'm done stretching, showering, doing core...etc. it's often 11:30 by the time I get to sleep.  I am up at 6:00 and if I ride 30 minutes in the AM before school I'm up at 5:25.  Doing the math this is not good.  I don't know why but last year in the lead in to Arizona I was training like crazy and sleeping about 6 hours a night.  It never seemed to phase me.  I should have been tired but my motivation trumped my lack of sleep and it never seemed to affect my training or performance like it should have.  This year has been more difficult.  I can tell when I'm tired that I make poor decisions in terms of nutrition and my motivation to train is much less.  My swimming is absolutely terrible when I'm tired...not sure why it seems to affect my swimming more than my running and biking.  On Monday night I went to bed when the kids did and skipped my evening ride.  I slept from 7:30 to 6:10 the next morning and I felt incredible on Tuesday in all my workouts.  The sacrifice however was only 1 hour of training on Monday compared to my usual 3.  I also ate healthy and didn't have the cravings for junk food that I have when I'm tired.  I need to get this problem nailed down so I can have more days like Tuesday without sacrificing training but this is the toughest challenge I face in terms of balancing all of this.  I'm excited to keep building for the next 6.5 weeks before I rest up for the last 10 days prior to IMAZ in hopes of breaking 9 hours.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Make A Wish Walk For Wishes

Following the Rev3 Full Iron distance race on September 9th I took 1 week off of training.  It was a great week of rest and recovery.  I felt decent after the race except for my left piriformus which was so tight I couldn't straighten my left leg out.  Walking was painful on Monday.  On Tuesday I made a visit to Kaminski Pain and Performance Care and Dr. Lake worked her magic and by Wednesday I was walking normally with more range of motion than I could have expected 3 days post IM.  By the weekend I felt 100% and I started workout out again on Monday.  I'm more motivated for training than I've been all year.  I realized in Ohio that a sub-9 hour Ironman is 100% possible in Arizona if we get a decent day of weather.  I need to put in the work to make this happen and I'm excited about putting that work in.  It is a goal I wake up every day thinking about and one I think about often throughout the day.  This is a far cry from a month ago when I wasn't sure I even wanted to train any more this year. 
The title of this post is about an event I am helping promote and volunteering at next month on October 13th in Davenport, Iowa.  It is the Make A Wish Walk/Run for Wishes which is actually a 5k run/walk or a 1 mile family walk to raise money for the local chapter of Make A Wish Foundation.  If you are unfamiliar with the Make A Wish Foundation it is an incredible organization that works to help grant wishes for children who have life-threatening illnesses.  Children who are faced with these extremely difficult illnesses/conditions are given the chance to make a wish that will brighten their lives and give them something to remember forever.  Some children wish to go to Disney World with their family.  The trip is organized and paid for through the Make A Wish foundation.  I have a student in my class whose brother had cancer at a young age and he wished for a trip to Disney World and the family was granted that wish.  I know a young man who was in my brother's graduating class that was born with a severe heart condition and not expected to live long.  His wish was to meet Michael Jordan and the wish was granted through Make A Wish.  He met Michael Jordan for dinner and it was something he talked about until he passed away much later than expected a few years back around the age of 24.  180 wishes were granted in Iowa in 2011.  All the proceeds from this event go to Make A Wish.  You can actually sign up and do the event for free but they are hoping people will choose to at least pay for a shirt which will cost $25.00 with the profits going to Make A Wish.  Last year my family attended the event and did the 1 mile walk together.  It was a great time.  They have lots of activities for kids to do at the finish and there is a park halfway through the walk that our kids stopped and played at.  The event starts and finishes at Modern Woodman Park in Davenport and it takes place on Saturday, October 13th.  The 5k begins at 10:00 am with the 1 mile following at 10:30.  You can sign up online by clicking HERE or you can sign up the morning of the event between 8:30 and the start of the race/walk.  There are lots of options for supporting this cause.  If you want to create a team or have a business that enters as a team you can select that option.  If you want to sign up as an individual or family you can do that as well.  If you would like to just donate towards a team that is already signed up you could do that as well.  Last year this event was attended by about only 50 people.  This year the goal was set at 200 by new race director and friend Kevin Wolfe.  They already have 100 signed up and are well on the way to achieving the goal.  If you'd like more information contact me and if I can't answer I will get you Kevin's contact information.  This is an event where our community has a chance to make a real difference to people.  It's much like the Run for Renewal that saw participation numbers triple last April.  I hope you will consider to mark this event on your calendar whether you are running to set a 5k PR or just running or walking as a family to support the great cause.  My family will be there and we'd love to have you with us.  Thanks for reading!! DREAM BIG!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rev 3 Cedar Point Race Report and Results

On Friday afternoon Adam Bohach and I drove to Sandusky, Ohio where we would be competing in the full iron distance Triathlon on Sunday.  We had a smooth drive and found our Super 8 easily and hit the sack to get some good rest.  On Saturday we drove to the race site and got our packet and attended the pro athlete meeting.  This was unique for me because it was the first pro race I've done under USAT rules rather than Ironman rules.  The biggest difference between the two in the pro races is that in Ironman racing the draft distance is 10 meters and you are free to ride right behind the athlete in front of you as long as you stay back 10 meters.  USAT elite rules prohibit this with a stagger rule which means you have to stay staggered behind or next to the riders around you.  You can actually ride next to a rider or within 10 meters as long as you more than 2 meters to the side of that rider.  The rule was a little confusing but I thought I had the jist of it.  Adam and I drove most of the 2 loop bike course which was very flat minus a couple rolling hills.  I was disappointed at the meeting to hear the water temperature was not going to be wetsuit legal for the pros.  The amateur temperature in a non-Ironman branded event is 78 degrees but the pro temperature for a race at that distance is 71.3 degrees.  The water was 74 which meant amateurs would be in wetsuits but pros would not.  I was glad to at least have my new Kiwami skinsuit which has .5 mm of neoprene to slighly help with bouyancy and is legal under USAT rules.  Due to my disappointment of no wetsuits given my disastrous history of 2 pro races without them and having never beaten anyone out of the water in those races and giving up HUGE chunks of time I wasn't even sure I wanted to attempt the race.  I thought for a bit my best move may be to just swim and bike and if I was out of the race I could always go to Branson in 2 weeks to race the 70.3.  After thinking about it while lying in bed I decided I needed to go through with Cedar Point.  My friends and family expected me to race and I had already made the drive and Jen is racing a 1/2 marathon the weekend of Branson that I want to attend so I decided I would just do the best I possibly could and try to forget about the deficit I would face out of the water. 
On race morning Adam and I were up at 4:45 for a quick breakfast.  We headed to the race at 5:15 and of course I happened to get pulled over not knowing what the highway speed limit was.  Thankfully the officer let me off with a warning knowing we were racing...I think he felt sorry for the pain we were about to face.  We got our transition area set up and went out for a short 10 minute warm up jog before heading to the swim start.  There were 25 guys racing in the pro field competing for their share of a $50,000 prize purse that paid 10 deep. 

SWIM: When the gun sounded I took off with some dolphin dives because we were starting in some pretty shallow water on the 2 lap swim.  It was pretty dark out still and I had some trouble seeing the boueys so just figured I would follow the guys in front of me.  I lost the main pack early but had someone on my feet and knew that was a good sign.  The guy on my feet went around me a couple hundred yards into the swim and I jumped on his feet and stayed there until just before we got to the 2nd turn bouey.  The shape of the swim was a triangle so there were 3 big turn boueys on each lap.  Just before the 2nd one some female swimmers came flying by us and the guy in front of me jumped on there feet for a bit and got away from me.  They unhitched him soon after but he had enough of a gap I couldn't get back on his feet.  At some point he got off course because I couldn't see him ahead of me and I was swimming solo the entire 2nd lap until he went back by me in the last 500 yards.  I knew my swim was slow because when I got to the 1/2 way point my time was at 35 minutes and change.  I was hoping to swim around 1 hr. 10 minutes but knew being solo the 2nd lap I would not be able to hit that time.  After the first loop I was back into shallow water and took advantage of that by doing some dolphin dives to give my arms a break and when I started swimming again I felt pretty good.  I tried to stay in a good rhythm the 2nd lap but it felt like it was taking forever.  I knew I would be down a huge amount of time getting out of the water.  When I got out I was at 1 hr. 14 minutes which is about 10-11 minutes slower than I typically swim for an Ironman distance race in a wetsuit.  I got through transition and felt pretty good getting on my bike.  I was really quite surprised to see 4 bikes still on the rack of the pro guys besides mine.  I don't know that I've ever beaten 4 guys out of the water in a pro race.  I even told the specatators there are never 4 bikes left besides mine.  I knew that meant I was starting the bike in 21st place with a lot of work to do. 

BIKE: Out on the bike I knew it would be a lonely ride for quite some time.  I knew with a 1 hr. 14 minute swim I was probably down at least 15 minutes to the main field.  One thing I've gotten used to in the pro races is riding alone.  It can be very frustrating mentally not knowing if you are gaining on anyone and feeling like you are the only one on course.  I've been pretty happy with how my cycling has been going lately so I wanted to just test myself and be confident that someone would eventually come back to me.  I passed a couple females early and at mile 13 I passed the first guy I saw which moved me into 20th place.  I wanted to get my splits every 28 miles as that was 1/4 of the ride.  I was breaking the course into 4 sections and hoping to average under 1 hr. 14 minutes for each one which would put me under 4 hrs. 55 minutes for the ride.  I went through my first 28 mile section well under pace at 1 hr. 9 minutes and some change.  I wanted to work hard to keep that pace.  At mile 40 I caught the next guy ahead of me.  I gave him some encouragement to stay with me and he did just that.  It helped a lot to have somone along for the ride.  The tougher part was that I couldn't sit back 10 meters right behind him like in an Ironman branded event since the stagger rule was in effect.  It was noticably harder being staggered behind him than when racing an Ironman branded event.  It did help just to have someone along and we traded the lead every few miles.  At mile 50 we approached the special needs point and I was excited to get my special 850 calorie bottle and my coke.  I had finished my first 850 calorie bottle in the first 25 miles so I was ready for those calories.  Unfortunately for me they couldn't find my bag and I was left without it.  I was not very happy with this but continued on with little choice.  At about mile 70 we caught another guy moving us into 18th and 19th.  I had gone through my 2nd 28 mile check at 1 hr. 8 minutes and change so I was on pace to ride just under 4 hrs. 40 mintues which would have been a huge bike PR.  At the 3rd 28 mile check I was 1 hr. 9 minutes and change so I was still under 4:40 pace with one 28 mile stretch to go.  With about 5 miles of this checkpoint I was really starting to feel the effects of missing my special needs bag.  I was getting a little naucious and was starting to feel like I was bonking.  The guy I had been riding back and forth with for the past 45 miles started to get away and I was not able to put as much power into the pedals.  We did pass another rider moving us up one more spot.  I was not back by myself and was wanting to get off the bike.  I had one more attempt at my special needs bag at about mile 95 and of course they still couldn't find it.  I stopped for a brief moment to give them time to locate it but they couldn't so I continued on knowing my speed was dropping as I was beginning to suffer.  I started to prepare myself mentally to run a marathon knowing I was hurting.  I finished the bike split with a time of 4 hrs. 45 minutes which was only 1 minute faster than my PR.  I lost about 5 minutes in the last 28 mile stretch with a little of it due to the wind we rode into the last stretch and a lot of it to do with suffering. 
RUN: In my 2nd transition I took my time.  I was hurting getting off the bike and was not very confident with how the run would go considering how tired I was and my lack of run training over the past 8 weeks.  I put on my Live Uncommon race jersey and grabbed my GPS watch and switched socks since mine were soaked from going to the bathroom 3 times on the bike.  I headed out for the run at what felt like a terribly slow pace but when my GPS located satellites it said I was running 6:40's.  I was pretty surprised by that because it felt easy.  I don't race with heart rate but I knew my heart rate was down so that was good.  My back felt good which I think was due to the massage I got from Mike Eskridge before I left on Thursday.  Mike worked on my back a lot because I had back problems at Steelhead.  I wanted to make sure I didn't get going too fast too soon like I did in Arizona last year.  I made sure to remind myself to be patient but the miles kept feeling easy in the 6:30-6:40 range.  A few miles into the race I started asking spectators for a Bears/Colts score update.  No one was helping me out with this but a lot of the people on the side of the road said they would get me the update when I ran by them later.  I got to see Adam at around mile 7 and he looked great.  I was still feeling great and was taking my GU's until I ran out of them.  At the aid stations I was taking water and coke.  At mile 10 I started thinking I might be able to break 9 hours even with the terribly slow swim.  I knew it would take a huge effort and I had no room to bonk on the run.  I had to run a 2 hr. 55 minute marathon which is right about what I was on pace for.  I started getting excited when people on the road gave me Bears updates and when I heard they were up 24-10 I ran a 6:00 mile which I would pay dearly for later.  Just before the 1/2 marathon point the run started to get hard.  It went from effortless to lots of effort in a hurry.  At the 1/2 way point I took my special needs bag and drank part of a Red Bull which didn't make my tummy feel too great.  I also too more GU's out on course with me since the run course served PowerBar gels and those are so runny my stomach wasn't liking them.  In the 2nd half of the run I had to start digging really deep.  My pace was slowing quickly and I knew it was going to be a sufferfest to the finish line which an Ironman should be.  I kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other.  My pace went to about 8:00/miles by mile 15 but then at mile 17 I began to feel better for about 5 miles.  My pace came back down to 7:15 and I passed a couple of the guys who had earlier passed me.  I saw some of the guys in the pro race were starting to drop out and knew I was in around 15th place.  One guy passed me with 2 miles left afte we had exchanged places 3 or 4 times on the run.  I couldn't go with him as I was totally running on empty and just wanted to get to the finish line.  I crossed the line with a 3 hr. 12 minute marathon after going through the 1/2 way point in 1 hr. 26 minutes.  I really need to put in some serious run training before Arizona and I know I can run under 3 hrs. if I don't go out too hard.  My total finish time was 9 hrs. 17 minutes for 15th place of the 25 guys that started the pro race.  I was really proud of the effort.  I went from not even being sure I wanted to race without a wetsuit and then gave up about 15 minutes to the main field to battle back and finish respectively.  It was definitely my best pro race without a wetsuit in the 3 I've done.  I also went into this race not feeling like I was very fit.  I have averaged about 30 miles running a week over the past 8 weeks.  Before Arizona last year I averaged 60 miles/week for 6 weeks.  I plan to take this week off to get recovered and then will have 9 weeks left until Arizona.  I'll put in some big training and also get leaner for this one.  I weighed about 164 lbs. for this race in Cedar Point which is a lot for me.  I'll be around 150 for Arizona but I need to make sure I get there without sacrificing the power I've gained on the bike.  I have plenty of bad weight on my stomach to get rid of. 
Adam finished 11th in his pro debut with a time of 9 hrs. 1 minute.  We will both be going to Arizona to break 9 hrs.  It was an awesome trip that I would not have made if Adam wasn't racing in Cedar Point.  This race definitely has me remotivated for my last race of the year.  It made me realize I can go under 9 hrs.  I realize I was 17 minutes off but I'll get almost 10 of that in the swim as Arizona is a guaranteed wetsuit swim.  After the race we went to dinner with about half of the pro field and ironically one of the guys there asked me what number I was and when I told him 42 he said they gave him my special needs bag.  He tried my drink but said it was disgusting and tossed my bag back to them.  Unfortunately they didn't get it back in the right spot for me and I never got it.  He was number 22 and when he rode through special needs they yelled out 42 instead of 22. 

 My overall experience with Rev3 was a great one.  They definitely have athletes in mind when they put the race together.  They do a lot of things to make the race a great experience for all involved.  Although Rev3 is a new series and they have some organizational things  that will get worked out like the special needs station they work extremely hard to put on a quality event for those who race there.  I'm glad to see this series grow and hopefully break up the Ironman monopoly on long distance racing.  Rev3 had free post race compression boots that served as a nice massage as well as free ART.  At my last Ironman 70.3 in Steelhead they were charging athletes for post race massage.  Rev 3 also had a very entertaining "worst wetsuit" competition on Saturday where they had people bring their worst wetsuits and they gave away 2 free new wetsuits to those who had the worst ones.  They also photograph every participant and put their picture on a huge video board when they finish.  The interviewed the overall amateur winners as the finish line which Ironman never does.  The post race meal was better than I've had at Ironman events.  The photo below is from Adam on the bike course.  We didn't have anyone to take pictures but the Rev3 crew got a few images of us.  Be sure to read Adam's report at  I'll be doing more Rev3 races in future years.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cedar Point Race Preview

I can hardly believe I am just a few days from racing an Ironman distance at Rev3 Cedar Point.  About 7 weeks ago I thought I was done for the year.  I certainly thought there was no way of doing a full in September.  I have hardly backed off training because I don't have much to back off of.  I've run and swam less for this race than any other race I've done in the past few years except for Steelhead a few weeks ago.  Part of me wonders if I should really be doing an Ironman right now.  The other part is super excited to find out.  I have no pressure on myself.  I'm really looking forward to the race.  I've been feeling tremendous on the bike lately and know that is probably my strength going into the race.  The run is a big unknown for me.  The pro race begins at 6:50 am on Sunday, September 9th.  The water temperature is borderline wetsuit and I'm hoping it drops to allow them of course.  My goals for the race are first and foremost to enjoy it and feel like I'm racing much like I felt at Steelhead.  If all goes well I'd like to swim under 1 hr. 5 minutes if we are in wetsuits, 1 hr. 10 minutes if we are not.  I'd like to ride the bike course under 4 hrs. 55 minutes, and complete the run under 3 hrs. 15 minutes.  For a total time I'd be satisfied if I could go under 9 hrs. 20 minutes.  I do feel like if my body is feeling good I could go faster.  My yearly goal is to go under 9 hours and I'd like to do that at Ironman Arizona but if things are going well on Sunday I'm prepared to make myself suffer if that goal is in reach.  The pro field is now at 28 which is a huge increase over the past couple weeks so a top 10 may not be in the cards but it's still something I'm aiming at.  Mostly I want to be competitive and not ride 112 miles alone.  Adam and I are heading out there together.  He's going to have a tremendous race.  I'm excited to be on the line with him in his pro debut.  I hope we cross paths out on the course at some point.  I don't know if my excitement to race has ever been higher.  I'm really looking forward to pushing the bike portion hard as my bike workouts lately have been better than I can ever remember.  Say a prayer for me if you get a chance.  You can check the Rev3 site for race updates at  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!