Monday, August 10, 2015

My Triple Crown Summer

I've written quite a bit this this summer but it's housed here over at the Pikes Peak Sports website. Follow the link and scroll down a bit to get to my posts. I'm working my way through the Triple Crown Of Running and it's been awesome. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Backward To Go Forward

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling invincible. I had been turning over great weeks of training, specifically with running. I increased my mileage up to 60+ miles and my legs were holding up great. I did one of those long and slow Team Crud runs on March 21st. I felt really good, even when we were in snow up past our knees. It was so fun to get out and enjoy the climbing and descending that I've been missing over the years. I just felt bullet proof even with post run soreness My quads were a sore after close to 5k of downhill but that was expected. What I didn't expect was my body being torn to pieces the following Monday. Vomiting and the other stuff came out of me for the next four days. I couldn't eat much so those sore quads weren't repairing themselves quickly due to lack of nutrition. It was supposed to be a recovery week so the lack of mileage was not an issue but this is not how I wanted it to play out!! Anyway, I was back out for 3+ hours March 28th and held up well. I continue to build a foundation of time on my legs to prepare me for the specific rigors of ultra running training. I'm trying to put a bit of speed in my legs with my first trip to the track (see here) in some time. It's all coming along but not the way I thought it would. Never does, right?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Back to My Roots

After years of being solely focused on triathlon, I’m back to running! This was a decision born from life circumstances but it’s a very welcome return. For years, I’ve had my focus on Ironman triathlon but the pull to the running scene has grown stronger and stronger over the past 3 years. I’ve missed the trails, running with Team C.R.U.D, Sunrise Striders and some of the other amazing groups in our Colorado Springs running community.  Well, I’m no longer being pulled. I’m back and I can officially say “I’m a runner”! I’m more excited about endurance sport than I’ve been in 7-8 years. A big thing that has been burning in my mind is the opportunity to go back and “get things right” in races where I tried and failed because I really didn’t know how to train and prepare. I will do this over the next two years. Triathlon training taught me a lot about how I should train to maximize my specific strengths and weaknesses. When I was focused on running in the early 2000’s, I was just running based on others training plans. I got faster so thought all was good. Being able to look in the rear view mirror, I see all the opportunities I missed in training. That will change.
Team C.R.U.D. at San Juan Solstice 2003. My worst race ever. I intend to fix that.
 I will update this page as accountability for myself. I’m going to write once or twice a week with what I am doing out there to prepare for my races and how this is impacting my life as a whole. This year will see me take on new challenges such as my first 100 miler in September. I will also revisit old challenges like the Pikes Peak Ascent in August (with a big PR as the goal!).  I am fully away from triathlon for a few years, if not forever. I am excited about this new adventure as is my family. My friends are surprised more than anything but support my shift from triathlon as they can see the passion I have for the trails. I look forward to meeting a whole new group of people that I’ve missed out on over the past 10 years of triathlon training. I’d write more but the trail is calling….got to get out and run!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Process of Change

I'm training for an Ironman triathlon. This means 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running back to back to back. Because of the distance, nutrition becomes a big part of the success or failure of race day. I did my first Ironman at Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2005. I had no idea what proper nutrition looked like. During training, I would deplete myself on EVERY bike ride and come home on fumes. I thought this was normal. I would eat sandwiches, pretzels, energy gels, sport drink....whatever I had at home prior to the ride. I wouldn't eat enough of it and suffered every ride. After finishing the race and deciding I wanted to keep doing Ironman, I learned that bonking during a ride is not normal and I would need to start practicing eating/drinking just as much as the physical part of triathlon. I tried a lot of things settling on a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein drink. It worked well for me and got me through the 2007 Ironman Coeur d'Alene and Silverman Full Distance Triathlon. I continued to use it but in 2010, it just stopped working for me. I would get stomach bloating, gas and sometimes a feeling of nausea. I fought change at first but eventually, my body won the battle and I started experimenting again. I found that I do not handle solid foods well. I tried different products, settling on PowerGel. These worked great for me and were incredibly easy to use. I have used these, almost exclusively, since 2009. This year, I haven't been doing great during races with my nutrition. I had made some changes in electrolyte timing during races and I wasn't eating as well in general in my everyday diet. This was the case at all three Ironman 70.3's I did this year and many long training rides. I have tried some different things since then. I tried a superstarch, I've tried solids and tried using sportdrink as my main fuel source. Nothing seemed to work. Along the way, I have cleaned up my diet and am seeing the changes in body composition. After trying all these different methods, I looked up my personal notes from the 2010 Ironman Coeur d'Alene. Starting 45min into the bike, I was taking a gel with 6-8 oz of water every 20-25 minutes. I also took an electrolyte capsule every 30 minutes. After reading this, I decided to go back to this formula with one change. In addition to what I mentioned above, I started my ride by taking a dose of X²PERFORMANCE®
I also took one 2.5 hours into the 5+ hour ride. This combo was absolute gold! I know, I was just one training session but it was the best one I've had so I'm not changing a thing. I had gradually changed the timing of my fuel over the years and I think that negatively impacted my performance. Going back to what worked did the trick last week and expect it to do the same again this week. I sure hope so since Ironman Arizona is coming soon. I learned a valuable lesson here. Change is good but don't wait so long to make it. My race is coming soon and I'm not 100% dialed in nutritionally. That is a rookie mistake. I have some big goals in 2014. In order to reach them, I have to have my nutrition become so second nature that it's almost like breathing. I will try new things next year if I find that my current process doesn't work come race day or the sessions leading up to it. My point is, identify the problem and fix it early so you don't have to go to an important event with any questions marks.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race Report

On September 8th, I raced the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. The race is in Henderson, Nevada starting in Lake Las Vegas and finishing in the center of the city. This report has been along time coming. Part of the delay in this race report was due to me not knowing what to make of the day. As you'll see, I still haven't quite figured it out. This was not a race I was expecting to qualify for or even trying to. After what was a completely surprising race at Ironman 70.3 St George, I qualified for Vegas. My amazing friends, Glenn Strebe and Tim Parchinski made sure this event happened for me and I am so grateful. It was a great experience.

Swim-This was the part of the race I was most excited for. My friend Tim Parchinski had been working with me to gain some efficiency during the swim. I had seen considerable improvement in my overall swim times with less fatigue at the end of sessions. While I wasn’t expecting a fast swim compared to some of these fast guys, I did expect to race well for my ability. This race is a non-wetsuit swim so it’s slow compared to most of the 70.3 races that allow wetsuits and I was mentally prepared for this. I didn't want to be discouraged by my time if it was a minute or two slower than wheat I thought I'd do with a wetsuit. I started in the middle of the group as that is where I felt my ability level was. The gun went off and it was the usual aggressive swimming that you would expect at a World Championship event. Keep in mind, all of these people qualified to get here so they are all good. They aren’t the type to passively swim the early part until things even out. I got beat up on but it didn’t really impact me as I was totally prepared for this. I was swimming great, all the way out to the first turn buoy. I kept getting on faster swimmers feet, accelerated to get on others feet and was moving through the field. This NEVER happens for me. I don’t pass people in the water. Not only was I passing them, I felt as if I was getting stronger as the swim went on. After the craziness of the turn buoys, I didn’t have any feet directly in front of me. I kept swimming knowing I would come up on some feet with how good I was moving. After a couple of minutes of not finding any feet, I looked up and noticed I was way off course. There were no feet because there were no swimmers where I ended up. I swam back on course and started back in the right line. I was still swimming well despite the time I lost. There is a bridge a couple hundred meters before the finish. When I got within about 150 meters of it, I decided to put my head down and go hard until the bridge. After a minute or two, I hear this crazy yelling. It was one of the safety kayakers who was trailing me. Apparently, I swam almost directly right, all the way over toward the other side of the lake making no forward progress. He straightened me out and I went into the finish. I was very disappointed in my time because I felt the actual swimming part was pretty good. Sighting is just as much a part of racing and I had failed here costing me minutes. Swim time 35:33

T1-It was still pouring rain and it was a long run from swim to the bike staging area. I was a little apprehensive running on the slick surface, especialy on the mud and grass during the downhill part. I cautiously made my way to my bike. I had a few issues getting my gear going but got out of T1 and was ready to start what is my strength, the bike. T1 time 4:39

Bike-The rain was pouring so the roads were dicey. Lots of standing water. Add in a lot of people on the course and the first mile or two was pretty sketchy. The way out of Lake Las Vegas is either up or down and in the rain, I was nervous. I made the decision almost immediately not to pass anyone here as I was afraid of what they might be doing as I passed. This allowed me to relax and get my heart rate steady. Once out of
Early in the bike with a lot of rain
Lake Las Vegas, I started going harder. Due to the caliber of athlete at this World Championship, I found it a little harder to make passes in the flat sections that ruled the first 15 minutes after getting out of Lake Las Vegas. Once the terrain started changing, it got real easy to pass. The first hill had me passing a large group of guys. I was very much under control knowing that the hills would be nonstop for the next 35-40 miles. I continued on in the rain taking in my nutrition. I was focused on hydrating as the cooler temps and rain can make things deceiving. The bike was not very interesting for me. I wasn't very aggressive but held a steady pace that allowed me to pass many. Once the rain stopped, with about 10 miles to go, it got real humid so I knew the run was going to be a scorcher. As I rode those final miles on the flatter terrain, a train of people I recognized from some of my late uphill passes formed behind me and just kind of stayed there. This was disappointing as I was hoping to have left them behind. Being a light athlete helps on the climbs but those big fellas can really hammer on the flats!! Anyway, I completed the bike having moved up almost 500 places from my swim position and was feeling pretty good for the run. Bike 2:32:28

T2-As is my custom, I smoked through the second transition. As a result, that train that had formed behind me late in the bike were all well behind me to start the run so that was nice. T2 1:15

Run-I felt pretty good. It’s the only discipline on the day where I had an actual time goal. I wanted to run sub 1:30. I felt that based off of my effort on the bike, I had the legs and energy to knock this out. The first part of the run is a significant downhill. Leg speed was up immediately as a result. That along with the humidity due to the rain had me sweating buckets early. I knew within two miles that I wasn’t dissipating heat well. This is usually never an issue for me being a bit smaller guy. Today however, it was a problem (more on that later). I finished the first loop of the up/down run feeling ok but still struggling with the heat. As I got halfway
It wasn't my day on the run
through the second loop, I did something I have never done. I ran off to the far end of the course where the spectators are to give my wife a kiss. Spur of the moment and glad I did it. This sport is so self centered and in that moment in time, I was so appreciative of what she puts up with so I can enjoy this hobby. Now that I’ve said that, I don’t plan on doing it again at my next World Championship qualifier at Ironman Arizona. It cost me 4 age group spots and 15 overall spots in the results. After I passed my wife, I stuggled up the hill, focusing on form. At this point, I felt this was the only thing that could really help me. I continued to have slower splits but I wasn’t blowing up. The third loop was really tough but I managed to get through it. The final downhill had all all kinds of people blowing past me. I just had nothing left. Run 1:35:05

I consider the day as a mediocre one. It was a fantastic experience that I probably won't be able to experience again. I'm so happy to have been able to have done it. Without the support of Tim and Glenn, it wouldn't have happened. With triathlon being my biggest passion in life (outside of my family, friends), it means so much to have competed at this World Championship. I wish I would have competed better but that's how things are sometimes. I think I may know some of the reasons but I'm still working it out. One thing I know had an impact was my body composition. I have been making poor nutritional choices for the past 12 months or so. While I was still within 2lbs of my ideal race weight (145 vs. 147 on race day in Vegas), it was deceiving. Within that 147 lbs was less muscle and more fat than I have had the previous 3-4 years. I think this was a critical part of me not being able to dissipate heat as well as I'm used to. There are some other parts of the day that I'm just unsure about. That's not a place I want to be going into an Ironman but I've tried to work that out since then. My food choices have changed dramatically since Vegas which has helped significantly. We'll see where this leads me at Ironman Arizona. I'm really excited to be racing that as part of Team X²PERFORMANCE®  For now, I am just grateful to have competed with the best half Ironman triathletes in the world.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Boulder 70.3-My Race Plan

I'm really excited that I get to race for the first time tomorrow as a member of the X²PERFORMANCE® Triathlon Team. I'm racing Boulder 70.3 tomorrow. It's yet another opportunity to practice for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship that I'm doing in 5 weeks. I have some specific things I want to do tomorrow.

The race plan is simple. What I need is some valuable feedback. There is a new seeding system for the swim. You self seed yourself with the appropriate time you think you will swim for 1.2 miles. I expect to swim between 32-34 minutes so I will be in the 3rd wave of athletes to head out. I will swim a nice, hard effort. I know the swim is my limiter. That being said, I'm going to push the pace a little harder on the bike than I normally would for this distance. Why? Well, it all about Vegas. Vegas will be a non-wetsuit swim making my swim deficiency even more exposed to the good swimmers. I will be in a hole going into the bike. Knowing this and that everyone racing it is a good triathlete based on the fact that they had to qualify to get there, I have to utilize what I consider my biggest strength in triathlon. I only have a power meter for my training wheels so with me using my racing wheels Sunday, I will be basing the extra push on the bike on perceived exertion. I'm not going to do anything crazy but I will push it an extra 5% or so. I want to see what this effort will do to my legs on the run. I've never raced this way so I'm hoping to see little impact and make this part of my Vegas plan. If I see a big drop off on the run, I'll know I can't race this way in Vegas. Time to find out. Also, I will approach the run differently. In a past half Ironman races, I pick my expected race pace and start running that pace from the first step. Tomorrow I will build into my pace over the first 2 miles. That is the only place where there is any kind of climbing so I will build into that race pace as I plateau the only real hill then settle into my pace for the day. I have every intention of emptying the tank so I truly know where I'm at in my Vegas prep. I'm prepared to hurt. That being said, tomorrow is about the process. The time and my overall placing is just the outcome. I'm not focusing on that piece tomorrow. It will take care of itself.

Friday, August 2, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about how I was preparing to "practice" at my upcoming sprint triathlon. This was the perfect event to see where I am for the non-physical stuff. By that, I mean things like getting in and out of a wetsuit, smoothly getting into my bike shoes while riding. avoiding dangerous situations on the bike, getting in my run shoes quickly, etc. I was able to execute pretty well across the board.

Getting ready to head out on the bike                                                                                                                                    

The definition of success for this race was always going to be determined on how well I executed all the small things. Based on that, this was a very successful race for me. I was focused on getting in and out of the transitions quickly without doing something dumb. I did that. They weren't the fastest transitions in the race but they were very solid. This a big improvement on last year's event and the last triathlon I did in early June. I had let transitions slip over the past year when it was always a strength of mine in past years. I intend to keep on practicing to make them the strength that they have always been.

Getting ready to run
The little things allowed me to execute the physical part with relative ease. No doubt, it hurt pushing myself but I didn't find myself beating myself up over a little mistake that had been make earlier. This all led to a 3rd place overall finish which I was not expecting. Results are here. I love this sport and how there is always something to work on. It constantly pushes me to find areas that will give me the biggest improvement.

Running toward a 3rd place finish
I will be racing the Boulder 70.3 this Sunday. I plan to do some more "practicing". This time, it's with the physical side of things to complement the small stuff I did for my last race. I will lay out my race plan in an update tomorrow.

I'll enjoy this while I can. Not getting any younger!