Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Race Goals for Beach 2 Battleship...3 days

In my classroom I place an emphasis on goal setting.  Each quarter students create goals that are both school related and out of school related.  We have a lesson early in the year on how to set specific and measurable goals that have deadlines.  I use their goal sheets throughout the quarter to inquire about progress.  I like to be able to model goal setting for them.  My first quarter goal was to weigh under 160 lbs. by October 12th.  My starting weight was 176 lbs.  I put a plan together and posted it in my classroom.  Each week I updated where I was at.  On October 12th I hit the scale at 155 lbs.  Although the 6 week lead-in to this race was not flawless it was solid and I feel good about my current fitness.  I was able to get in 5 runs of 17 or more miles, and 5 bike rides of 100+ miles.  Those were both positives.  The negative was that I had to reduce the overall volume I typically do while preparing for an Ironman distance race due to soreness in my right knee.  As I gave my class my final update on Monday and outlined my specific goals for the race I told them I have only 2 things that I worry about...both which are out of my control so I don't actually lose any sleep over them. 
1.  Mechanical issues- I've had this one time in an Ironman distance first one ever and it sucked.  It is beyond my control if I get a flat tire or have other problems so I will just pray it doesn't happen. 
2.  Tightness in my back- lately I've been dealing with some tightness in my lower back and I don't know what that will mean with a 5 hour bike on a course that is good for staying in the aero position nearly the entire time.  I've had some long rides where I was forced to get off the bike to stretch my back.  I'd like for this to not be an issue on race day. 

My goals for the race are...
Swim: Under 45 minutes (we should have a strong tide at our back on the swim
Bike: Under 4 hrs. 52 minutes (Something I did on this course 2 years ago)
Run: Marathon PR of under 3 hrs. 8 minutes (I've been under 3:10 on 3 occasions but never under 3:08)
Transitions: Under 8:00 total (I initially said under 7:00 but the reality is I'll probably run better if I spend a minute stretch in transition before heading out on the run)

Overall I'll be thrilled if I see anything with an overall time that starts with the number 8.  Hopefully that would put me in the top 5 so I can earn some money for the iHope Foundation.  There are 9 pro males racing and I'm not one of them.  Most are guys I can be competitive with.  The weather is supposed to be outstanding with highs around 70 degrees and lows around 50.  The wind out of the north means we will have wind hurting speeds in the first half but helping in the 2nd half.  I feel good about my nutrition as this will be the 10th time I've started one of these events and I've learned a little bit from each of the past 9 experiences.  This will be my last Ironman for at least 2 years.  Hoping to make it my fastest one yet!  You can follow along at  I'm not sure how many timing mats they will have but I do know they will at least update swim and bike overall times.  I don't know if they have many other timing mats out on course or not.  Can't wait to get to Wilmington, NC!  I have so many awesome memories from my first win at this distance coming at this race 2 years ago.  DREAM BIG!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trust the Process...16 days from Beach 2 Battleship

On August 24th I began a 6 week block of Ironman training preparation.  This will be my 10th Ironman race with my first resulting in a DNF after crashing at IM St. George in 2011.  Typically for these long distance races I like to put in a 6 week block of training from 8 weeks before the race lasting until 2 weeks before when I begin to rest up through a taper.  After winning Challenge Atlantic City in June my training lacked structure or much substance.  I had managed to gain over 20 lbs. and tipped the scales at 176 as I entered this 6 week block.  I realized the lack of training for an extended period of time and then jumping right into a high volume block would come with a higher risk of injury.  My last few Ironman blocks have gone almost to perfection.  I've been able to pile up tons of volume and drop to race weight rather easily.  This year has not gone that way.

My first weekend of the block I did a 100 mile long ride and ran 15.5.  Things seemed to be off to a good start as I logged 230 bike miles and 50 run miles the first week.  Week 2 of the block was incredibly hot and I cut the long ride back to 80 miles but got up really early and ran 18 the following day on Sunday.  For the week I ended with 52 run miles and 210 bike miles.  The next morning, on Monday, September 7th I could feel a bit of pain in my knee.  I ignored it and forged on to my 3rd week of the block logging 255 bike miles  and 52 run miles.  That 3rd week I biked 126 miles on Saturday and ran 22 on Sunday.  My knee was beginning to accumulate more swelling.  I realized I was on a collision course with a full-blown injury if I tried to continue at that rate.  I was still weighing 166 lbs. which is not a weight I want to attempt an Ironman race at.  Knowing I would have to cut back training meant I would have to become even more disciplined with my nutrition.  I cut back in my 4th week to 200 bike miles and only ran 28.  I thought the running was causing the knee pain.  I biked 100 that weekend and ran 18 for a long run.  My knee hurt bad at the end of the 100 mile ride...the worst it had hurt yet.  It made me realize the biking is what was causing the swelling more than the running.  I also knew I was becoming for fit and getting closer to being ready to race.  If I wanted to make it to the start line healthy I would have to scrap the lofty 6 week training block volume goals and make adjustments.  During an Ironman block I typically bike 6-7 days a week.  These past 2 weeks I have dropped that to 3 days.  Every ride involves quality.  I have completely eliminated my base mileage rides where my sole goal was to burn fat.  I have kept a strict eye on my calorie count and made sure those calories were quality ones as I've been only eating 2,500-3,000 calories/day on average through the week while training for an Ironman.  In a 100 mile ride I burn about 3,600 calories so I'm continuing to operate on a deficit but it's much tougher without all the extra training.  Week 5 of the block I biked only 160 miles and ran 44.  My long ride was 100 of those miles with nearly 1/2 of it at my Ironman wattage.  My long run was 18.  The reduced volume has allowed my knee pain to subside although it has not disappeared.  I have been able to manage it to a point I'm comfortable it will have no impact on my race.  I have been in the water swimming 5 days a week which is more than I was before the knee pain.  This AM I weighed in at 158 lbs.  After beginning this block at 176 I set a goal to be under 160 by October 12th which is 5 days prior to the race.  I'm very proud to have been disciplined enough with my nutrition that I could get there despite not putting in the training I like to for an Ironman.  My power numbers on the bike have been good with the extra time off the bike. 

I'm SUPER excited to get to Wilmington for what will be my last Ironman race for at least 2 years.  I've already decided next year I want to race shorter distances which require less hours on the weekends.  The next Ironman distance event I do I want my kids to be old enough to attend without adding a ton of extra stress for Jen to manage while watching the race.  They are not close to that point yet.  I intend to go under the 9 hour mark knowing that I won't be racing this distance again for some time.  It's been a goal of mine since I started racing this distance in 2011.  I've been close on a number of occasions but have never seen the lower side of 9 hours.  It should not take a magical performance with a swim aided tide.  I should swim around 45 minutes, bike around 4 hrs. 50 minutes, and that would leave me a with a good chance to break 9 hours unless I implode on the run.  A 2ndary goal is to run a PR marathon.  I've been 3 hrs. 11, 3 hrs. 10, and 3 hrs. 8 minutes twice.  I'd like to knock a few minutes off that time and go 3 hrs. 5 minutes or better. 

This past weekend my highlight was getting a text during my long run that one athlete I've coached this year, Chris Chamberlin reached his season goal of running a 5k under 6:00 pace.  Chris is extremely disciplined.  I have been sending him workouts for the last 30 weeks and 29 of those weeks he hit the exact goals for the week without missing a single workout.  He 100% trusted the process...much like I have through this Ironman block despite having to cut back training...and he ran 17:45 which comes out to 5:45/mile pace.  I was thrilled for him!  I'm looking forward to traveling to Wilmington in 2 weeks to make this sub-9 hour goal finally a reality.  I'm hoping to bring home some money for the iHope Foundation in the process to put a cap on a tremendous year for the foundation.  To date the iHope Founation has received just over $51,000.00 in contributions which has lead to 10 students being awarded an iPad while in junior high and a promise of a $1,000.00 scholarship when they graduate high school.  It has completely blown away the vision I had when starting the iHope Foundation.  This would not be possible without the support of so many local businesses and individuals who have generously contributed.  I cannot thank you enough!  Sub-9...DREAM BIG!