Monday, May 26, 2014

It's about to get real.

Memorial Day marks the month of May coming to a close.  Next up is June and oh boy is June a busy one for me.  This week was the end of 15 weeks since I began training for 2014 back in February.  It was an awesome one.  My streak of "+" marks continues on and I stepped on the scale today for my weekly weigh in and I was down another 3 lbs. to 160.  In the 2 weeks since my initial race that served as a good wake up call I've gone from 167 down to 160.  I have not eaten any junk and that's really all it takes for me although it is easier said that done.  Nearly every day I'm confronted with junk food and being a sugar addict if I give in a little look out!  For the week I biked 214 miles on 5 rides, ran 40 miles in 3 runs, and swam 4 times for 10,600 yards.  Every swim I did was in the lake and I'm still amazed how quickly I become a better swimmer when I'm out there versus the pool.  I also attended my strength class at Barre563 twice.

It's about to get real.  In the month of June I am racing 5 times and none of those are on the first weekend.  I am racing June 7, 8, 14, 22, and 29th.  The 29th was one I just added this week on a whim...just an Ironman distance race out in Atlantic City, NJ.  I'd considered this at one time but thought better in April when I was not rounding into shape to start a big training block I would have liked to get to make this an "A" race.  Now that I'm starting to feel really strong and am committed to these other races I thought why not just go see where I'm at.  I won't focus my training around the race.  It isn't a peak race...but it is one I'm really excited to test myself in.  I did not do a pro race last year.  This race in Atlantic City is put on by a European company that is bringing 3 races to the United States.  It is called "Challenge".  They are HUGE in Europe.  The world record Ironman distance time happened at "Challenge Roth" where if you don't break 8 hours you stand no chance of the podium.  I already signed up for a 1/2 Ironman distance race they are putting on in Ohio in late July.  That will be a race I taper for.

A few nights ago I started looking at Challenge Atlantic City and I got hooked on the idea.  I was lying in bed and the more I thought about it the more excited I got.  I got out of bed and looked at airfare and that made my decision.  I got great airfare out of Chicago and a good price on a rental car.  The course is smoking fast with only 700 feet total elevation gain on the bike and less than 300 feet on the run.  To put that in perspective if I rode to McCausland and back for 30 miles my elevation gain would be over 1200 feet...and that is only 30 miles.  The swim will be in a wetsuit which is something that is a plus for me.  The flat run course is to my strength as I do well when I can get into a rhythm.  My goal will be to place top 10 which is what they pay to and I badly would like to earn an award in a pro race before I'm done racing professionally.  In 2011 I missed by 1 place at Racine 70.3.  Regardless I'll be thrilled if I can break 9 hours which is another goal I'd like to cross off my list of goals.  I feel I can do it with the base of training I have put in despite not having a lot of really long rides or runs.  This weekend I bumped up my long ride to 102 miles on Saturday and then Sunday bumped my long run from 14 to 20.  I actually felt awesome on the run despite it being warm and sunny.  My last 5 miles were my fastest 5.  I won't get many more chances to ride or run long from now until the race.  I plan to race, recover, and repeat through June.  I hope to continue leaning down so I can be mid 150's at the most for the Ironman distance race.  The first 4 races in June are a great opportunity for me to earn some money for the iHope Foundation and I'm still planning to race Ironman Chattanooga in late September when I won't have so many races under my belt.  I'd like to earn $1,000.00 for the iHope Foundation through racing this month.  If you'd like to help with the iHope Foundation you can click here to make a tax deductible contribution.

One last reminder, next Saturday morning at 8:30 AM I will be putting on a free triathlon transition clinic hosted by Healthy Habits.  We've got some great samples of GU Energy to give out to those who attend along with some things to give away through a drawing.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 14 summary...trying to earn a "+"

Week 14 may have been my best week of training yet this year.  I had good volumes and good workouts.  For the week I biked 171 miles, ran 55 miles, and swam a 2014 high of 9,500 yards.  Today was my first open water swim and although the lake was pretty cold (60-62) degrees it felt really nice after about 5 minutes in my Xterra Vendetta full sleeve suit.  I was a bit scared when I arrived at the lake and saw what I thought was a large log floating in the water.  As I watched it moving rather quickly it suddenly disappeared.  I began to worry this wasn't a log.  About 10 seconds later I saw the "large log" reappear and realized it was some kind of creature.  I almost turned around and left but optimistically convinced myself it would be just as afraid of me churning up water as I would be of it...although I'm not sure that would be the case if I came face to face with whatever was out there.  I have to admit I sighted more than I usually do in this 45 minute open water swim.  The wind was blowing 25 mph giving the lake some nice chop.  I enjoy swimming in that.  It's almost like practicing in my own wave pool and I think it helps when I get to a race where the water isn't calm.

I had some good interval workouts on the bike and even running despite some lingering deep tissue soreness from last week's race.  Saturday I ran a 5k for a workout that Jay Whitmore had told me and my wife about.  He thought there was a chance I could earn $200.00 for the iHope Foundation if I could win and I was able to do that without digging to deep.  I was still able to get my longest ride of the year afterwards hitting the roads of Scott County for 72 miles.  Sunday I ran 14 miles which was my 2nd time at that distance this year.  My legs handled it better than the first time which is a good sign.  I have had a lingering infection that has drained me a bit but mostly keeps me up coughing late at night which has hindered my sleep.  I saw the doctor today for some stuff that will hopefully help me put the infection behind me.

The highlight of the week was not in the workouts.  What made this week the best of the year was being able to put 7 "+" marks in my workout next to each day.  You see, I began keeping track of days I eat 100% clean with no junk food a few years ago by adding a "+" or a "-" in my workout log next to the day.  This year has been a struggle.  My weight is higher because of my lack of discipline with eating right.  I am not someone who is blessed with the ability to eat crap without gaining weight.  The old line about drinking a milk shake and having my butt jiggle for a week is true for me.  I'm also pretty addicted to sugar so there is no such thing as having 1 cookie for me.  It's 0 or it's 7 or more.  No joke.  Same thing with about every other kind of junk food.  My longest streak of "+" marks in my workout log through 13 weeks was 3 days.  I am now on a streak of 9 days and it is showing in my weight.  Last Monday morning my weight was 167 which means that was probably my race weight last weekend.  Today I was 163.8.  Looking back through my workout logs I tend to add about 2 seconds/mile per additional pound of body weight regardless of race distance.  When I weighed 150 two years ago I was doing workouts that put me in shape to run a 5k in 15:40.  My 1/2 marathon that year was 1:13:10 and I weighed 150.  Right now I'd be about 1:18 and that formula holds true with my current weight.  That motivates me because I know I'll be disappointed in my results if I allow my weight to hinder my progress this season.  I'm running out of time so the "now or never" for 2014 is in full swing.  It's much easier when I have a streak going.  Yesterday I was at a graduation party with cake, chips, candy...etc.  I didn't even get the shakes when I turned it down.  I'm looking forward to adding 7 more "+" marks this week and seeing if I can knock a couple more pounds off that weight...2 lbs. would be about 12 more seconds off that 5k time...thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!

Monday, May 12, 2014

1st Race of 2014...Lake MacBride Duathlon

Sunday was my first race of the 2014 season after beginning training 13 weeks ago.  I was excited to test my fitness to see where I was at.  Going into the race I felt like my running was lagging a bit mostly due to my increased weight this year.  Weighing in at 166 on race day was the heaviest I have raced in 4 years.  Biking has gone really well over the last couple weeks.  I was expecting a good ride.  I did not do a single interval workout until 4 weeks ago and I have seen quick increases in my bike power since I began interval training.  The race was near Solon, Iowa and featured a 2.5 mile run, 18 mile bike, and an advertised 5k run that turned into just over 3.5 miles.  It was the first of 3 events making up the Scheels Duathlon Series.

I had my new Zipp Super 9 wheel put on the bike Saturday at Healthy Habits.  I am expecting a new Specialized Shiv hopefully later this month.  Dan Adams at the shop was tremendous in getting my 11 speed wheel set up to work on my 10 speed bike.  Jen was also racing and we left the house at 5:45 AM for the drive to Lake MacBride State Park.  We were a little later than we hoped because we drove to the wrong entrance of the park and it turned out we had to drive 10 miles to get to the correct entrance.

Run 1: On the first run a couple guys went out really fast.  I figured that would be the case because it was that way in every duathlon of the series last year.  I sat back a bit and worked my way up.  At the mile mark I was running in the lead with one other guy.  At the 1/2 way point I was in the lead and was quite surprised by how I was running considering my weight.  I realized that due to gravity I was having a much more difficult time whenever the course went uphill.  We ended the first run up a long hill and I almost gave up the lead.  I knew the biggest challenge would be from fellow Iowa professional Daniel Bretscher.  Daniel is one of the top triathletes in the United States and is someone I have always looked up to.  He's a great athlete and a great person who was always very helpful and supportive when I earned my pro license back in 2010.  He relocated to Iowa from Indiana last year and went on to finish 2nd in 5 professional races including Ironman Wisconsin last September.  My first run was the fastest of the race in a time of 14:08.  I had a quick transition and was out on the bike in the lead.

Bike: I felt very good on the bike early on.  This was my first race ever with power output being measured.  In past years I have trained with power in the hub of my wheel but never had it for races because I raced with a different rear wheel.  This year I bought a Sram Red Quarq Elsa Powertap crankset from Healthy Habits so it won't matter what wheels I'm using...I will always be able to get power readings.  In a sprint I won't pay too much attention to it but can gain valuable data from it after the race to determine if I'm getting stronger, racing tired...etc.  When people asked me in the past what kind of power I raced with my complete guess for a sprint distance was 290 watts.  I held the lead into Solon for about 5 miles and got a glimpse behind me and Daniel was not far back.  I knew he would probably pass me but hoped to be strong enough to stay behind him at 10 meters.  At the half way point he passed me and I was able to stay at 10 meters until we got to some hills.  With each hill the gap would stretch out and by mile 13 I had lost contact.  I would slowly watch the lead grow bigger and bigger giving up a minute over the last 5 miles.  My overall bike average was 24.6 mph and it was 2nd fastest to Daniel's 25.4 mph average.

Run 2: From the beginning of the run I did not feel my turnover was very good.  In the first 1/2 mile there was a pretty nice hill and I felt like I was going SUPER slow up it.  I was getting hamstring twinges and was hoping to keep the cramps from derailing a so far solid race.  Once we got on the downhills on a park trail I felt back into a good rhythm but anything resembling an uphill was not good.  I knew I was running slower than my tempo pace and the run kept feeling longer and longer.  At the only out and back point I thought I had about 45 seconds on 3rd place which was comforting but the last 1/2 of the race would not come soon enough and it ended up being nearly 1/2 mile long which was not something I enjoyed in my current state.  I finished in 2nd place and my 2nd run was the 3rd fastest.  My overall time was 1:19:55 which was a little disappointing because I was on pace to beat my time from last year throughout until the 5k got long.  Not long after I finished I got to watch Jen win the women's race on Mother's Day which was great.  She's worked very hard over the past year getting stronger at QC Cross-Fit and also has spent more time on the bike trainer than she ever has. Her first outdoor ride was the day before the race for 10 miles and she said the crosswinds made her feel very uncomfortable.  I was also SUPER impressed by fellow PV teacher and 9th grade boys basketball coach Drew Croegaert.  I get to ride the bus to some 9th grade games with Drew and enjoy watching him coach but had no idea he was such a good multi-sport athlete.  Drew finished 11th overall.  I've seen him a a couple Barre563 classes and know he's been training hard.  Looking forward to seeing him at more races.  Congrats to all the finishers of the Lake MacBride Duathlon and thanks to Scheels for supporting this event.  Complete results with splits can be found here.

Overall I was pleased with how the race went.  I thought my first run was better than expected, the first half of my bike ride was solid, and then things started to go downhill.  I thought I tired on the bike sooner than I would have liked.  This was probably due to the increased effort I put out once I was passed by Daniel.  I think when he passed me my average watts was 279 and by the end I was at 292.  I thought my 2nd run was pretty poor.  I definitely have a long way to go but it's only May and I think I'm ahead of where I was a year ago despite weighing 5 lbs. more.  I earned $200.00 for the iHope Foundation through the race which is always exciting for me when I can use my talents to help with this cause.  Last week we awarded 2 students with iPads and each a $1,000.00 scholarship upon graduation in 4 years.  If you'd like to help make the next one happen please click here.  We would never have been able to give 2 more iPads and scholarships this year without the recent support of so many.  THANKS!!

This past week we received iHope business sponsorships from Crawford Company and from Russell Construction.  Crawford Company joins on as a Bronze level sponsor.  I was thrilled to add them to the helmet for the season.  Russell Construction becomes the 2nd Gold Level sponsor and I will be adding their logo to my race jersey.  I am sending those logos this week to Kiwami to have my jersey made for the rest of the season.  We are up to 12 iHope business sponsorships.  My goal was 15 so I'll be working hard to find 3 more businesses that want to support this foundation.

Crawford Company specializes in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, laser cutting, specialty welded fabrication, brewing equipment, and custom architectural products. Crawford products and services are found within commercial, industrial, and residential markets. Crawford's foundation was built in the residential heating and cooling market. Over time Crawford moved into the commercial heating and cooling market and into specialty fabrication.  

Russell Construction provides pre-project services including planning and project management services, real-estate development and property management.  As a long term solutions provider, Russell predictably delivers cost effective construction services.  Having completed more than $1 billion in projects in educational, healthcare, manufacturing, and federal government markets across 29 states, Russell remains a market leader in its core construction markets.  The firm has been recognized by Engineering News Record Magazine and Inc. Magazines's INC 500 listing of America's fastest growing companies.  Employees at Russell Construction give back an incredible amount to our community.  Over the past 15 years they have contributed over 1 million dollars to non-profit and community agencies.  Read about those here.  Russell Construction was also influential in creating a non-profit foundation called Live Uncommon that aims to encourage health, fitness, family-values, and giving back to the community.  Live Uncommon supports races that are non-profit making lasting impacts on the organizations behind the races.  My wife Jen and I are proud to be part of Live Uncommon.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 12...what a week!

As I think about the most exciting weeks I've had in the sport of triathlon including earning my pro license in 2009 by winning the Longhorn 70.3 amateur race, a 6th place finish at Racine 70.3 in 2011, Ironman Arizona in 2011, and winning Beach 2 Battleship full Ironman distance last fall...this past week falls right into that category...and I didn't even race.  It had nothing to do with the 47 miles running, 140 miles biking, or 2,400 yards swimming.  I was pretty excited about a 5x3 minute bike interval workout I did this week averaging 340 watts on the hard periods after hitting 298, 305, and 307 earlier in the month.  I was surprised by the big jump in power although I could tell I had really good legs when I began the workout.  The thing that made this week so exciting was the record-setting week of iHope Foundation contributions.  I met this week with the iHope Foundation board and we are going to be able to award 2 more iPads and $1,000.00 scholarships this week!  We are up to 10 iHope business sponsorships thanks to the following businesses helping with the foundation this past week.

Wallaces Garden Center located in Bettendorf and Davenport is a Platinum level supporter

Green Buick GMC located in Davenport, IA is a Platinum level supporter for the 2nd year in a row!

Online Freight Services is a Bronze level supporter and a 2 year supporter of the iHope Foundation

Tri-City Blacktop is a 1st year iHope Foundation supporter with a Silver level support so I'm thrilled to have them on my jersey in 2014!

UnityPoint Clinic surgeon Dr. Andrew Stevenson is a 2nd year iHope supporter and very thankful to have Silver level support!

First Central State Bank located in Eldridge, DeWitt, Le Claire, and Long Grove is a 2 year iHope Bronze level supporter!

Schebler Co. is a 2 year iHope supporter and I am thrilled to add them to my race jersey as a Silver level supporter!

I have included more on these businesses under the iHope business sponsorship page.  I am grateful for their support of this foundation as well as proud and excited to represent them this year while I race!  I will be sending the jersey off to be created in the Kiwami Triathlon lab in 1 week.  Silver and Gold level sponsorship will include business logo on the 2014 jersey.  I have had business sticker logos made for bronze level sponsorships and up.  I hope to fill the helmet up this year and have room on the disc wheel.  Also, outside of businesses we had very generous support from Nick and Jessica Ludwig (2 years in a row!) and Creston Fenn this week.  Thank you all so much for the support of this foundation.  I cannot express how excited I am about the great things we are able to do through this foundation.  With 10 business sponsorships we are not just 5 away from the goal I set out to hit this year for the iHope Foundation regarding business sponsorships.  My own goal is to earn $2,000.00 for the foundation through racing.  If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribtuion you can click here 

This upcoming weekend I will begin my season with the first of three races that make up the Scheels Duathlon series.  Jen is also racing the series this year so it excites me that we will be able to race together.  Fitness-wise I'm where I would have hoped going into the first race although I had hoped to be a few pounds lighter.  I'm working hard to reach that goal by June when I will race 4 times in 16 days. I'd also like to announce I'll be putting on a free triathlon transition clinic again this year hosted by Healthy Habits on the morning of May 31st.  I just confirmed this today and we have not set a time yet but I would expect around 8:00 AM with a bike ride to follow for anyone interested.  The clinic will focus on transitions but will also include tips and experiences I can share.  Last year we had 37 brave people in attendance...I say brave because it rained the entire time and we did not have a big enough tent to keep everyone dry.  There will be GU Energy products for all who attend as well as some door prizes to be given away.  I'll have more details and nail down a time in the coming weeks.  Thanks for reading.  Check back next week to see how the 2014 race debut went.  Last year I raced the 2.5 mile run, 18 mile bike, and 5k run in 1:18:26.  My goal is to be 2 minutes faster this year.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!!