Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ironman North Carolina...3 weeks

It's been quite a while since I've posted.  I began training for 2016 with ambitious goals and signed up for about 6 races.  Early on things were going very well.  I was feeling fit and excited to race a lot of events from June to October.  I signed up for Ironman North Carolina back in March when things were going well...and then reality hit.  In June I raced the Pigman Sprint and did not fare well.  I was not recovering well and training was getting very difficult and was not very fun.  Jen had gotten a promotion at the Arsenal and had a very demanding work schedule.  I found myself spending a lot more time at home with the kids and a lot less time training.  I was content with all of this.  I opted to stop training and skip the races I had signed up for.  I was okay serving as Super Dad rather than Triathlete Dad.  I was planning not to race Ironman North Carolina.  Life had taken over and things were just simply too busy.  And then life for me took a drastic turn.

On July 21 my life changed and I have endured the biggest personal struggle I have ever faced.  It has tested my spirit, my heart, my ambitions, my optimistic outlook on life, and my self-confidence.  I turned to working out to cope with my situation.  For the first time in a long time working out gave me a sense of satisfaction like I have not had in quite some time.  I entered in the DeWitt Crossroads triathlon after just a couple weeks and raced fairly well.  I was still overweight tipping the scales at about 170 lbs.  I won the race and felt strong knowing I had gained quite a bit of fitness in my first couple weeks back at it.  The next weekend I won the Du State Duathlon and was proud to be able to donate my winnings to the iHope Foundation (since inception in 2013 we have raised over $70,000.00 and impacted the lives of 13 individuals with a gift of an iPad and a $1,000.00 scholarship).  It was then I decided I NEEDED to race Ironman North Carolina.  I needed a goal to focus on...something I had control over.  I set my sights to getting into the best shape I possibly could by the October 22nd race date.  I haven't looked back.  I have gone from 172 lbs. on July 21 to 151 lbs.  I have done 4 runs over 20 miles with my last one of 23 miles @ 6:33 pace.  It felt effortless running the last 10 miles @ 6:10 pace.  I have done 3 rides over 100 miles and hope to get in 1-2 more prior to race day.  I have averaged just over 60 miles a week running over the past 8 weeks.  I am leaner and stronger (thanks to Cross Fit Bettendorf) than I have ever been going into an Ironman race.  Last year at this race I was on 8:40 pace with 10 miles to go.  I was humbled and forced to walk most of the last 3 miles crossing the finish line in 9 hrs. 13 minutes.  I've wanted so badly to break the 9 hour mark since I started racing this Ironman distance.  I have completed 9 of them and have been in the low-9's on 5 different occasions.  This time I'm ready!  I will go to North Carolina and go under 9 hours on October 22nd.  I am SUPER excited for this race.  My parents are driving out to watch me compete at the Ironman distance for the first time.  My brother and his family are going along with 2 of the coaches from our PV girl's basketball staff.

Since July 21 I have realized in life there are times when things don't go as expected.  Ironman has a way of throwing unexpected curve balls at you in a 1 day metaphor of life where so many emotions...highs and lows can be endured.  I have realized through my 1 day metaphors racing this distance that the lows will disappear and the highs will come back...much like they will in life.  I'm DREAMING as BIG as ever before.  I CANNOT WAIT for October 22nd...and I promise to update more regularly.  I appreciate all the support, thoughts, and prayers as this day approaches.  It will be one I will never forget.  Thanks for following...DREAM BIG!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Week 7 Training Update

7 weeks into the training for 2016 and things are starting to come together.  I've finally begun swimming after not getting into water since racing Ironman in October.  That has been a challenge but I know it will come around.  I feel like I'm re-learning how to swim every year about this time when I begin swimming.  I also know racing shorter distances my commitment to improving quickly is more important.  I can't afford to be gapped by 90 seconds in a sprint triathlon to guys who can ride and run fast.  My biking is WAY ahead of where I was last year based on power numbers from similar workouts.  My wife Jen uses and sells Advocare products (mostly Spark) and I decided to give some of them a trial this season to see if they help with my power.  I'm 20-30 watts higher right now on the same workouts I was doing a year ago.  My best average for watts in a sprint distance has been 289 and I'll be surprised if I'm not able to get over 300 this year based on what I've been doing in workouts.  I'm biking much less than I did last year when I was training for a June Ironman.  I'm running much more.  The last 3 weeks my run mileage has been 50, 55, and 60.  This week is a down week running mileage wise but a higher bike week.  I've only been biking between 100-140 miles a week (about 5-7 hours).  This week will be 200 or more.  Each week I've been getting in 2 quality run and bike sessions.  The challenge is spacing them out along with my strength training sessions that tend to leave me tired where I can be recovered enough to get quality each time.  Those 2 runs and 2 rides are my most important workouts of the week each week along with my long run that is currently at 13 miles.  I won't go over 15 until August when I switch my focus back to the Ironman distance. 

The iHope Foundation Corporate campaign has gone exceptionally well.  My goal was 25 business sponsorships this year.  We are currently at 14.  The level of support they have given the foundation has been so incredible.  Combined they have provided over $11,500.00.  To date in the 3 years since the iHope Foundation was created we have awarded 12 students an iPad and a $1,000.00 scholarship.  One of my long term goals is to set this foundation up to be around long after I'm done racing.  My goal is to have an endowment of $100,000 which would annually provide about $5,000.00 in aid to students in the form of technology and scholarship money.  The endowment is nearly half way there and we have money saved to provide students in the near future with iPads.  I'm hoping I can race fast enough to help bring that level up.  To learn more about the iHope Foundation or help fund a future iPad for a low-income student in our community that displays outstanding character and work traits you can click the links on my home page. 

This year I'm coaching 8 athletes.  I'm excited about the progress they are making.  It's a challenge to balance my family, job, coaching high school basketball, my own training, and the training of others but it's also very rewarding and motivating to watch their progress!  I can tell the ones who stay consistent with meeting goals each week are making progress quickly.  There's a good reminder and my advice for this post...stay the course...set short term goals along the way to bigger ones...and always DREAM BIG!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


It's been a long time since the last update.  I raced Beach 2 Battleship Ironman distance on October 22nd and after being on pace for a HUGE lifetime best through the 1/2 marathon mark of the run I completely and utterly fell apart the last 6 miles.  Mentally I knew all I had to do to break 9 hours was shuffle jog home.  I was unable.  It got very ugly.  I was visiting the facilities nearly every mile.  My stomach was shredded and I was bleeding where you don't want to bleed.  I started weaving back and forth through the road with 4 miles to go and with 3 to go I was stopped by medical personnel.  I could no longer run.  I walked the last 3 miles to cross the finish line in a disappointing 9 hrs. 13 minutes.  7th place.  I was in 2nd-3rd most of the run.  I lead most of the bike.  I had my best swim and best ride ever but this distance can humble you quickly.  It did just that. 

The off-season was a great mental and physical break.  I did nothing until mid-December when I began climbing back on the bike on the trainer with a goal of riding 5 hours a week.  In January I began running modestly while still coaching high school basketball.  I build from 15 miles a week running to 25.  I continued riding 5-7 hours a week and added in interval training.  My strength has improved a lot.  When basketball ended almost 5 weeks ago I began structured training.  My run mileage the first 4 weeks went 40, 44, 47, and 40.  This week will be 50.  My biking is going really well.  2 hard interval a week and a focus on adding strength has gone well.  I'm riding interval workouts at power numbers I didn't hit until June last year. 

In 2016 I will focus on racing short stuff early on.  With 2 Ironman events last year (early summer and fall) I spent most of my time training and raced less often.  This year I want to race more often in an attempt to make more money for the iHope Foundation.  I have 3 sprint races in June, an Olympic distance event in July, a 1/2 Ironman in August along with a sprint, and then I'll turn my attention to an October Ironman...Ironman North Carolina (formerly Beach 2 Battleship but purchased by WTC- World Triathlon Corporation and branded Ironman).  I had planned to take the year off Ironman distance racing but the collapse last October still stings.  I KNOW I'm capable of gong well under 9 hours on this course. 

March kicked off the iHope Foundation corporate campaign.  Last year the campaign was VERY successful with 21 businesses supporting the foundation totaling over $17,000.00.  To date we have awarded 12 low-income students an iPad with each recipient also receiving a $1,000.00 scholarship at graduation.  I've been blown away but the support.  I will again be donating all my race winnings to iHope.  So far we have received support from 9 businesses.  Platinum level support ($1,000.00 and up) has generously been provided by Solis Russell Services, Tri-City Blacktop, C&W Transport, Hawkeye Paving, and General Constructors, Inc.  Silver level support ($250.00 and up) has been generously provided by Happy Joe's, Crawford Company, Well Fargo, and Lederman Bail Bonds.  I cannot thank these iHope supporters enough for the difference they are making in our community.  If you would like to help out with iHope you can visit that page or click the donation links from my home page.  I'm exciting about making 2016 my best year yet!  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!!