Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2 months until Challenge AC!!

While out for my run today I realized we are exactly 2 months until I will be toeing the line for my 8th Ironman.  Yesterday also marked 5 years since I had my left Achilles tendon operated on by Dr. Tuvi Mendel from Orthopaedic Specialists.  I am so thankful I decided to have this procedure done by Dr. Mendel.  My Achilles had given me problems off and on for nearly 8 years dating all the way back to my collegiate running.  It had gotten so chronically bad that I could no longer bike or run.  Since the 4 month recovery from the surgery I have not missed a day of training due to Achilles pain.  I have completed 7 Ironman events and logged thousands of miles biking and running.  I am SO thankful for good health!!

The past 2 weeks have been very solid training weeks.  I'm into a great routine of hard days on Tuesdays and Thursdays with long workouts on the weekend and long recovery (easy training) days Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I'm feeling more fit each week.  I've been very diligent about my nutrition paying attention to how I'm fueling based on the daily workout schedule and I feel that has left me feeling extremely strong on my hard days and recovering quickly on my easy days.  I try to fuel with more carbs on my hard days, especially early in the day and through lunch.  Following my hard workouts and on my easy days my protein consumption is much higher and my carb intake is reduced.  I'm going to get my body fat % tested at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care next Monday and then will retest after my 6 week block of Ironman training that begins on Monday.  Not a lot changes in my training Monday-Friday during the 6 week block.  The big change is on the my long workouts each weekend.  I'll try to get at least 4 rides of 100-120 miles during that time with much of each ride at my Ironman goal wattage for Challenge AC.  On the other weekend day I will run long between 17 and 23 miles. 

For the past 2 weeks I biked 225 and 247 miles, ran 52 and 41 miles, and swam 5,300 and 8,700 yards.  This Friday will be my first lake swim of the year and I'm excited to be back in my Xterra wetsuit.  The last 2 weekends I have raced a 5k.  2 weekends ago I raced a VERY hilly 5k in Davenport and ran 17:00.  This past weekend I won a race in Rock Island in 16:52.  It was cold, raining, and VERY windy.  I earned $150.00 for the iHope Foundation for winning that race.  I don't run many races all out with a busy triathlon schedule but I don't have any early season triathlons or duathlons to work through the initial race soreness and my first race is only 8 days before my Ironman at Challenge AC so I'd like to use these road races to get over that initial soreness so I can recover quickly from the QC Triathlon on June 20th to be prepared for Challenge AC.  Speaking of the iHope Foundation we have received 3 more VERY generous corporate sponsorships.  The first was from First Central State Bank.  They have been a generous supporter for the past 3 years and renewed at a Silver level again!!  The next was a new supporter at a Gold level, Greenwood Cleaning Systems.  I'm very excited about having Greenwood Cleaning Systems on my jersey in 2015!!  The latest was from the Pleasant Valley Girls Basketball program!!  I'm VERY proud to be part of this program in my off-season coaching our 9th grade girls team and I was very humbled by their support of the iHope Foundation.  If you'd like to help out with the foundation to provide iPads and scholarship money to low-income students in our community who display outstanding character and work traits you can click either the link to donate to the iPads or the Scholarships above on my home page. 


This week's off to a GREAT start.  Thursday I'm going to run the Elite Mile with our junior high kids.  All boys who ran under 6:00 in the fall and all girls under 6:30 were invited to run a mile in a competitive heat at 2:45 at our junior high track.  Parents and students are coming out to watch and the PE department invited me to run it also.  I haven't run an all out mile for a LONG time and I'm excited to see where I'm at.  I'm hoping to be somewhere between 4:45 and 4:50 based on my current workouts.  I'm not sure what the time will be but I am SURE that it is going to hurt.  I'm looking forward to that.  This past week a student in my class asked me what made me want to do an Ironman.  I responded, "Because it's hard."  He asked why I would want to do something that is hard.  My response was, "When you complete the greatest challenges you get the greatest satisfaction."  Although I've had more success at the 1/2 Ironman distance I think the incredible challenge of Ironman is what continues to draw me back hoping for more.  I know my best races have not happened and I'm continually looking for that greater satisfaction from conquering that race distance and going under 9 hours.  DREAMING BIG that 2 months from today will be the day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Week 8...Starting to Feel Fit!

This week I really noticed the fitness starting to come around.  I've been placing a great deal of emphasis on hard days and easy days and sticking to a similar schedule each week.  Monday is a recovery day with all 3...swim, bike, and run.  None of them are hard with the exception of a swim set that is at a difficult pace for me to maintain this early in my swimming season.  Tuesday is easily my most difficult day of the week.  On Tuesdays I run and bike but both are hard interval sessions.  I've been tracking my nutrition since January and I've made a point to eat more carbs for breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the day and that has allowed me to get some really good quality in on Tuesdays.  I either do a run/bike brick workout with both of them at a high effort or I split them up with a running workout and later a bike workout.  I've been very happy with how I've been able to double up both quality workouts.  Wednesday is another recovery day with swim, bike, and run but all easy with lots of technique work in the pool.  Thursday is another very hard bike workout but the run is easy and short leaving me feeling fresh to hit good intervals on the bike.  Friday is swim, bike, and run with quality in the run in the form of either a tempo run or intervals.  Saturday is a long bike ride.  This past Saturday was my first outdoor ride of the year.  I went 67 miles and it felt very good for my first time outdoors on hills and in wind.  I did 45 minutes at my goal Ironman wattage and it is not a wattage I'd be able to hold right now for an Ironman but I've got nearly 70 days before I need to be there.  Sunday is my long run which is done at a comfortable pace.  This past week I went 14 miles and I felt great.  I am recovering very well and am excited about the strength gains I've been making on the bike.  For the week I swam 3 times totaling only 6,700 yards, biked 258 miles, and ran 50 miles.  The swim yardage is down from past years due to spending so much time on technique.  I do sets of 16x50 kicking without a board where I alternate between kicking on my right side, front, left side, and back.  These are very slow because I've never kicked well probably because I've almost always relied on doing kick sets with fins prior to this year.  I'm trying to spend the time at the expense of getting more yards.  The kicking has gotten easier and my balance in the water has gotten better in just 2 weeks.  I'm not planning to race any triathlons or duathlons until late June but I'd like to get in a hard 5k and a hard 1/2 marathon before those to get the first race soreness out of the system before I race a triathlon.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 7 Summary...iHope Corporate update

Week 7 was a great week of training for me.  For starters I returned to the water for the first time since Ironman in late September.  I'm really focusing on stroke development early.  I've been watching a lot of swim video and trying to make little changes to my stroke to become more efficient.  I've abandoned all the "swim toys" I've used in the past like fins, pull buoy, and kick board.  I'm doing a lot more kicking on my side and working on rotation and experimenting with head positioning to alleviate my major problem of sinking legs which create lots of drag while I swim.  I swam 4,000 yards in my 2 swims Friday and Saturday. 

For the week I biked 235 miles with almost 12 hours on the saddle.  I've spent a lot of time on the bike in the first 7 weeks averaging almost 10 hours each week on the saddle.  I put in 2 hard interval sessions.  The first was 3x10 minutes hard and after each 10 minute hard period I jumped on the treadmill for a fast mile run.  My wattage levels for the 10 minute periods were 262, 267, and 282.  The mile times were 5:39, 5:33, and 5:27.  I did this workout Tuesday.  Thursday was my other hard interval session.  I did 4x4 minutes hard following each with 4 minutes easy.  I like to build to 5x5.  I've been 5x3 for the first 6 weeks.  On the 4x4 I averaged 283, 283, 294, and 304 watts.  I'm not close to mid-season form but it's trending in the right direction. 

For the week I ran my highest mileage at 50 miles.  My long run Sunday was 13 which is my longest of the year.  In 4 weeks I will begin a 6 week block of Ironman prep training to get ready for my June 28 race in Atlantic City.  I'd like the long run to be at 18 for the start of that 6 week block.  I'll also ride 100-120 4 or 5 times during that 6 week block.  I have yet to ride outside.  All of my nearly 70 hours spent on the bike thus far has been on the trainer.  Most of my riding is after the kids are sleeping.  I ran 3 miles tempo with Jen at the Easter Egg Scramble Saturday morning.  We averaged around 5:50/mile.  It felt easy.  This week I'm going to run 5 miles at tempo pace. 

I'm thrilled by the amount of support the iHope Foundation has received thus far from local businesses.  We have already have secured 3 businesses at the Platinum level of support ($1,000.00 or more), and another 2 at gold level ($500.00-$999.00), 4 at Silver level ($250.00-$499.00), and a total of 10 businesses total that have contributed.  To date the iHope Foundation has provided 9 students with an iPad and a $1,000.00 college scholarship.  The students must be low-income students that possess outstanding character and work traits.  To make a tax deductible contribution to the iHope Foundation you can click the link at the top of this page.  The iHope Foundation has raised over $40,000.00 to date thanks to the support of individual and corporate support as well as all the prize money I win racing.  I'm motivated by making a difference in our community!  Thanks so much to the 2015 businesses that have contributed to this cause.  My goal is 20 corporate supporters and we are half way there!  DREAM BIG!!