Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2008 Summer Olympics Best Moment

During my group swim this morning, as I was doing my 25 yard sprints to finish out the workout, my coach mentioned that my form "goes all to hell" when I try to swim fast. I knew this.

He then asked me if I remembered Jason Lezak's amazing anchor leg in the 2008 Beijing Olympics 4 x 100 meter relay. Our course I remembered this race. It was one of those moments that you will won't forget if you were able to watch it live.

Anyway, the reason that he brought this up was to illustrate that you can swim fast without sacrificing form. He said that I should find a video of this race and watch Lezak as he comes from behind. His stroke is smooth and he isn't splashing all kinds of water around. He just glides through the the fastest 100 meter split in history!

So I found the video...pretty amazing. Just in case you don't remember, or were living in a cave in the summer of 2008, here's the situation. The French had an all-star relay team and they had talked a lot of trash leading up to the race. After the first three swimmers had gone, the French had a built a big lead and had their best swimmer going last. After the first 50 meters of the last leg, the lead seemed insurmountable (a full body length). The announcers even said that they hoped the US could hang on for second.

But as he flipped and pushed off the wall for the final 50 meters, something changed in Jason Lezak's mind. His quote was "I'm at the Olympic Games, I'm here for the United States of America. I don't care how bad it hurts, I'm going after it!"

With that smooth stroke and a powerful kick, Lezak gained inches. With 25 meters to go, the crowd saw that he was gaining ground and began to cheer. With 10 meters to go, the crowd was roaring and Lezak found a gear that no one (including himself) knew he had.

In the final stroke, Lezak reached for the wall and with perfect timing, he beat the eight-hundredths of a second. That's faster than an eye blink!

Here's the video:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Running For A Cause

I've often thought about using my triathlon training and racing has a vehicle to raise money for a charity or cause. Over the last few years I've looked into several charities and non-profits that I feel strongly about or have a connection to, but I never pulled the trigger on getting something set up.

That all changed about four months ago when I was approached by The Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies. My wife Jessica has done some volunteer work through her photography business for the Kids Center over the last few years. Some of her work can be seen here. Through some casual conversations with the staff at the Kids Center, they learned that I was a triathlete. They mentioned to Jessica that they were looking for people to help them organize a training/fundraising team for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon held here in Louisville every April. So upon learning this, Jessica suggested that they give me a call to discuss. I met with the Director of Marketing and Development over lunch in late September and I was immediately on-board.

Before I get into the details of what exactly my roll has been/is with the training team, I want to share a little bit about what the Kids Center does. They are a multidisciplinary treatment center for children with developmental delays and/or disabilities. They help infants through young adults. The mission of the Kids Center is two-fold. First, to involve children with needs and members of their families in the mainstream society, ensuring their ability to assume their rights as equal citizens. Second is to ensure their ability to receive services as needed to minimize the effects of their disability.You can get more details at their website,

The Kids Center is an awesome place and they have never, and will never, turn a child away - regardless of the health-care or financial situation. That's why fundraising efforts like the one I'm helping with are so important.

Now on to what I'm doing to help. We've managed to pull together a group of about 25 people (so far) that have agreed to run the half marathon or full marathon on April 30th and raise money for the Kids Center as they train for the race. I sent out requests to just about everyone I know that runs, asking them to join us. Many did, some haven't - yet. Since many of the runners are new to the sport or the distance, I also developed a training schedule for them to follow. We are doing group runs every Saturday morning and have lined up three workshops to help educate runners on gear (i.e. shoes), injuries, and nutrition.

Each runner has a fundraising page set up where friends and family can donate directly to the Kids Center. Here's a link to my page -

The Kids Center is an awesome place and I feel a tug at my heart every time I'm there. These kids are working so hard to overcome disabilities that they did nothing to deserve. If only we could all have this much motivation and positive energy!

I'm hoping to raise at least $500 for the Kids Center on my own and overall we are looking to break the $10,000 mark as a group. We have a great group of runners, so I don't think reaching this goal will be a problem!

I have a link to my donation page on the right bar on this blog, so if you feel compelled, please's going to a great cause!

1/18/2011 - Bike
Started off with a 10 minute warm-up then did a 45 minute Spin Class with some good hill work. Finished off with 8 x 2 minute hills in a big gear - remaining seated.
Total workout was 1:00:00 and my Avg HR was 130 bpm with a max of 154.

1/18/2011 - Swim
Shoulder Rotation Drills
Warm-up 480yd swim (8:31)
1:00 rest
Shoulder Rotation drill - 8 x 25 of this drill (4:16)
1:00 rest
Swim 192yd focusing on high shoulder (3:53)
1:00 rest
Shoulder Throw drill - 50 Shoulder Throw, 50 freestyle x 5 (10:11)
1:00 rest
Swim 192yd focusing on high shoulder (3:38)
1:00 rest
Cool-down 528yd (9:54)
Total 1824 yd in 45:35

1/19/2011 - Elliptical
Steep Hill Repeats
I'm still a little hesitant to do steep hill work outside on my ankle, so I regretfully headed to the elliptical this morning. After a warm-up, I did 13 x 60 second repeats on level 20 with 90 second recoveries between each on level 10. Still couldn't get my heart rate high enough, but it was better than nothing.
Total time was 45:00, Avg HR was 126 bpm with a max of 151.

1/19/2011 - Swim
On Wednesday mornings, I've started to workout with a group organized by Train Smart Multisport - a local triathlon training and coaching organization. There's typically 12-16 people participating in this hour-long workout each week. It's lead by a swim coach with several national championships to his credit. He works us hard...and I love it!
Here's what we did today:
200yd warm-up
Drills (most 4 x 100yd with 2 x 100yd freestyle in between) - legs only, high elbow, catch-up, single arm, 5-3-5, head-up, limited breathing
After the drills, we did 6 x 100yd progressions
200yd cool-down
Total was 3100 yards in 1:17:00

In other news, last week I had a post with some lovely pictures of runner's feet. I asked readers which foot was mine. I received a few guesses in the comments, some via Facebook and even a few over email. Out of all the guesses, only two people were wife and my mom (despite the fact that my mom hasn't seen my bare feet in years). The correct answer was #2.

Monday, January 17, 2011

USA Triathlon Hall of Fame

This past Saturday, three individuals were inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame...including one from just a few miles down the road.

The third class of inductees were Dave Scott, Dave McGillivray and Susan Bradley-Cox.

Dave Scott (aka The Man) is simply put, a legend. Dave has competed in the Ironman World Championships 13 times and has racked up a recorded-tying six 1st place finishes, along with three 2nd place finishes, and a 5th place finish in 1996 at age 42.

Dave McGillvray is one of the top race directors on the planet. McGillivray has produced or consulted on more than 900 mass-participatory athletic events throughout the world, including 23 Boston Marathons; the 2004 and 2008 USA Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials; the 1990 Triathlon World Championship, the 1998 Goodwill Games Triathlon, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. 

Susan Bradley-Cox is one of the most decorated age-group triathlete's of all time. She owns 11 national titles and 11 ITU (International Triathlon Union) world championships. She is the only athlete to be a member of Team USA at every ITU Age Group Olympic-Distance World Championship Contest - from 1989 thru 2010. She also just happens to live in Lexington, KY!

Congrats to the three new members, who join the ten existing members of the Hall of Fame.

PS - Feel free to nominate me for the 2011 class!

1/15/11 - Run
It had been 20 days and two hours since I incurred a Grade 3 sprain of my right ankle (not that I was counting). I've been doing strengthening exercises combined with icing nearly every day since. I've been extra cautious even when just walking up and down avoid further damage to my fragile ligaments. All of the treatment and rest came together this past Saturday morning. I headed out on my first run since the injury. Not exactly sure what to expect, I decided to take my first run as part of the group that I am working with the raise money for the Kids Center (more on this in a later post). So this group run was just a 3 mile jog at an easy pace on a flat course. Thankfully, everything went well and I only felt minimal pain discomfort in my ankle.
Totals: 3.15 miles in 33:45 (10:44 / mile pace)
Avg HR = 133 bpm

1/17/11 - Run
Based on the successful run Saturday morning, I decided to get back into my scheduled run training. Today's run workout in the Triathlon Dominator plan called for some hill work.
1.2 mile Warm-up in 10:26 (8:39 / mile pace)
4 x Double Hill repeats with a relaxed stride up the hill with easy jog back down the hill (I did the two overpasses on Browns Lane, the first over I-64, the second over I-264, very little flat ground between the two).  I did the double hills 4 times.
(Times were 6:16, 6:06, 6:15, 6:07)
1.2 mile cool-down in 10:05 (8:20 / mile pace)
Totals: 5.24 miles in 48:18 (8:39 / mile pace)
Avg HR = 147 bpm

It took about half a mile before my ankle warmed-up and got loose (the 24° temp didn't help). After that, everything felt normal. I still didn't want to push it and it will definitely take me a while before I don't have that running on ice feeling every time my right foot strikes the ground!

1/17/11 - Strength
Extreme Core I Training Routine for 3x through, 10-12 reps
1. Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press (on stability ball)
2. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
3. Single Leg Layout One Arm Dumbbell Row (stick one leg out behind you as you perform a dumbbell row)
4. Single Leg Squat (use ball behind you as a support)
5. Alternating Dumbbell Curl to Overhead Press

Friday, January 14, 2011

Swim Aerobic Threshold Test

During the first week of my training plan, I did Aerobic Threshold tests for both biking and running. I was scheduled to do the swim test on the next Monday...but my ankle injury the day before put this test off. I finally felt that my ankle was no longer hampering my swimming, so I went ahead and did the test this morning.

These aerobic threshold tests are crucial to tracking my training progress in the build-up to Ironman. I will record the data from these tests to ensure that I am indeed getting faster as the training progresses.

So here's what I did this morning (pool is only 24 yards long, so that's why the distances are weird):
96yd free (1:36)
30 sec rest
48yd with kick board (1:43)
30 sec rest
96yd free (1:35)
30 sec rest
48yd with kick board (1:31)
1:30 rest
Main Set: This set will establish my “T-time.”
1008yd at a constant pace and good effort, as if racing (My time was 18:52).
I then took this 18:52 time and divided by 10 to find my average pace per 100. This pace is my “T-pace" or "T-time". Mine is 1:53.
1:30 rest
240yd free (4:53)

The goal is to see an increase in my average 100 yard/meter speed without an increase in perceived exertion.

After this test, I did about 35 minutes of weights (squats, dead lifts, shoulder presses and flat bench presses).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Runners Toes

If you are a runner, or live with someone that is, seeing deformed feet and toes is nothing new. The wear and tear that the feet take from running is easily visible. My feet have been jacked-up ever since I started running again almost three years ago.

The most common ailment is black toenails. They are caused by the constant rubbing of your toe(s) against the front or top of your shoe from the inside. This rubbing causes a blood blister to form under the nail, and the blister can't breathe, so it takes a lot longer to heal. Often a new nail forms under the dried up blood blister and the old nail falls off - sounds fun, huh?

While getting properly sized for running shoes and wearing wicking socks can help, if you log enough miles, it's will get a black toenail or two. If you are a woman, don't worry about not being able to wear those open-toed high heals that you love - just slap on some nail polish to cover it up. OR, wear it proudly as a battle scar!

There is also no way to treat black toenail. It will be tender for a few days (always painful when my 18 month old inadvertently steps on a freshly-blackened toe), but it will get to where it doesn't hurt anymore. Don't try and pull the nail off - even if it looks dead. This could cause infection and will have you sitting in a doctor's office explaining what you did.

WARNING! WARNING! If you are easily grossed out, now might be the time to quit reading this post!

So take a look at all the lovely runner's toes below and try and guess which one is mine! Fun game, right?








Now that you have been throughly disgusted, I'll do a quick recap on my training.

My ankle is slowly coming around after my Grade 3 sprain on 12/26/10. I went to the Dr. Rudy Ellis Sports Medicine Center last week and learned how to tape it up and also got a list of exercises to do. It's definitely getting stronger, but I'm still maybe a week away from running any distance on it. I'm getting extremely anxious, but I want to make sure it's healed before I run - a lingering injury is no fun.

Recent Workouts:
1/4/11 - BIKE: 1:05:01 - spin class with lost of hill intervals, some riding in aerobic zone after class. Avg HR - 138 bpm
1/5/11 - ELLIPTICAL: 0:35:01 - Closest thing I can do to running. I did 10 x 2 minute hill repeats. Avg HR - 123 bpm
1/6/11 - BIKE: 1:30:00 - spin class with speed intervals plus 30 minutes at aerobic threshold (AT). Avg HR - 139 bpm
1/7/11 - SWIM: 1991 yards in 0:44:51 - Slow Endurance with warm-up, 1 mile at easy pace (34:45) and cool-down
1/9/11 - ELLIPTICAL: 0:45:01 - Tried to do 45 minutes at AT, but it was hard to get my HR to 145 on the elliptical. Avg HR - 130 bpm. After this workout, I got on the treadmill and jogged half a mile at a slow pace. My ankle held up well, but I didn't want to push it.
1/10/11 - SWIM: 3021 yards in 1:06:27 - 528yd warm-up, 3 x 767yd swims at 75% of full speed with 90 seconds between each. Times were 15:35, 16:11, 16:17. Finished with a short cool-down.
1/11/11 - BIKE: 1:23:01 - Spin class followed by 9 x 2min fast spins at 110rpm or higher with 1 minute rests. Avg HR - 142 bpm.

I've also been mixing in some weight training circuits about 3-4 times a week. Focusing on core and upper body strength. I don't want to do anything involving legs that might hamper my ankle recovery!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Let Me Upgrade U...

I bought my current bike back in July of 2008 and loved every minute of time I've spent on "White Lightning". However, she is a good bike for a casual cyclist, or someone that is just beginning in the sport of triathlon....I am no longer either of those things.

So as Beyonce is famous for saying, it's time for an upgrade.

Sorry to torture you with that video, but I felt the need to explain the title of my post to those who may not remember this commercial.

I was hoping to have the money to get a new bike for 2011 and thanks to selling White Lightning and a few other things coming together, I feel comfortable spending the money on a nice bike. In order to make sure that my hard-earned money was going to be spent on the perfect bike for me, I had a bike fit done a few weeks ago. After over an hour and a half on the EXIT Bike Fit Machine, the technician was able to come up with three bikes that will work well for my body geometry and comfort. They key numbers are the stack and reach.

My ideal stack (for a 78 degree seat angle) is 53.0cm and my reach is 44.0cm.

So based on my budget and geometry, here's what I have to choose between:

Argon 18 E-112 (Size L)
Stack =  53.6cm
Reach = 42.8cm

  Cervelo P2 (Size 56cm)
Stack = 53.1cm
Reach = 42.9cm

Jamis Zenith T (Size L/56cm)
Stack = 53.1cm
Reach = 43.2cm

All three bikes are similar in price range and each has some unique features. If anyone has ridden any of these and would like to share their experience, please leave a comment below. There are lots of other factors involved, but I'm going to choose between these three...decisions, decisions...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cleaning Out The Cupboard

Not only am I following the training plan Ben Greenfield outlines in his Triathlon Dominator program, I'm also going to follow the guidelines he has set for eating (fueling). I've eaten what I considered a "healthy" diet for years now, even before I started doing triathlons. However, after reading Ben's book "Holistic Fueling for Ironman Athletes", I've decided to step it up a notch!

The book taught me that choosing the right food is essential to staying healthy, injury-free and having the energy to complete all of my workouts.

The book spends a lot of time focusing on inflammation and allergens. Inflammation is the body's natural way of fighting off illness, and lots of food can actually cause inflammation. The most common culprit is sugar, because of its significant effect on insulin levels. Common allergens such as the proteins found in dairy and wheat, as well as peanuts, eggs, and soy can cause digestive issues and cause an inflammatory response as well.

Obviously, you want to avoid inflammation in your body. It can lead to insulin problems, a deficient immune system, gastrointestinal issues (i.e. gas), fatigue, high cholesterol, lower bone density and lots of other health issues.

So yesterday, I cleaned out of cupboard and fridge...taking out all almost all of the foods that could cause inflammation. The picture to the right is what I took out of our cupboard (canned soups, boxed dinners, crackers, peanuts, pretzels, icing, etc.). Don't worry, we didn't throw this food out - it's going to be given away. While I was doing this, Jessica made up some meal plans for the week based on recipes and idea's from the book and we headed out to the grocery to re-stock.

After an hour and a half in the store, we had a cart full of food and very bored 18 month old daughter! Our cart contained lots of fruits and veggies, lean meat sliced fresh from the deli, nuts and grains...and hardly anything with a label on it. The philosophy here is that if a food is in a box, it's meant to sit on a shelf. If a food can sit on a shelf at room temperature without spoiling, it is full of preservatives, nitrates (used to maintain color), sodium (salt) or other chemicals that are foreign to our bodies.

We spent the majority of our time shopping around the perimeter of the store. The packaged, "fake" foods are usually on shelves in the aisles, while the "real" food (produce, fruits, vegetables, cheese, dairy) is found around the edges of the store.

This week will be interesting. I have a feeling it will take us a few weeks to figure out exactly what and when we are supposed to be eating, but I have no doubt that our body's will be thanking us in the long term!

It's been a full week and despite the Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation tactics, my ankle/foot is still swollen and bruised. A trip to my PT buddy at Dr. Rudy Ellis Sports Medicine is in order...and I'm nervous as to what the prognosis will be.
Since I can't run, I've been focusing on biking, swimming and weight training for the past week. I've been logging some good "skill" workouts. Here's a summary:
12/28/10 - 45 minutes on the bike (speed intervals with 110rpm or higher)
12/29/10 - 41 minute swim, drills focusing on body rotation / weights - chest and arms
12/30/10 - 60 minutes on the bike (hill repeats) / weights - back and abs
12/31/10 - 58 minute swim, slow endurance 600yd repeats
1/2/11 - 60 minutes on the bike (big gear, low caedence) / weights - chest and shoulders
1/3/11 - 46 minute swim, drills focusing on shoulder rotation

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