Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not Months, But Days

The countdown to Ironman Louisville started when I registered back on August 31, 2010. At that moment it seemed like I had a lifetime to prepare. I found a 36 week training program (Triathlon Dominator) that I wanted to follow and it didn't even start until the week of Christmas...which felt like an eternity.

Time has flown by (this happens with two small children) and I am now just 60 days away from the big race. These next 8 weeks are very critical to my training. I've got several very long swims, rides and runs to do...along with some very important heat acclimatization and nutrition planning in the two weeks leading up to the race. 

I told someone the other day that I was getting a little burnt out from all the training. I couldn't believe the words as the came out of my mouth. I instantly thought to myself that it wasn't true. I'm not sure why I said it; maybe because I've heard of other athlete's reaching that point while training for Ironman and I thought that I should be there. Truth is, I'm still excited about all of my workouts. I'm planning a long run (19-20 miles) on Friday and a long ride (100 miles) on Saturday and I can't wait! What I'm really worried about is the low that will come when the race and training are over.

Thanks to TrainingPeaks, I'm able to take a look back at what I've done over the first 28 weeks of training for IM. Since December 21st, here's what I've been up to:

Swim - 56.66 hours / 88.75 miles
Bike - 70.81 hours / 1,318.43 miles
Run - 41.49 hours / 296.63 miles
Brick (Bike/Run combos) - 25.02 hours / 384.80 miles
Races - 13.07 hours / 134.67 miles
Crosstrain (elliptical and rowing machine) - 2.10 hours / 9.10 miles
Strength training - 10.28 hours
Grand total - 219.43 hours / 2,232.38 miles

The other thing that I like to take a glance at once in a while is my Performance Management Chart

TSB - Training Stress Balance - represents the balance of training stress or how well I've been juggling my training load and my rest periods. A positive number (see vertical axis on the right side) would mean that I have a good chance to performing well because it means that I'm both fit and fresh. A negative number means that I'm most likely tired from a high training load and will not perform well. The very low negative numbers recently have been right after my long brick workouts.

My training load can come in many ways, but this chart looks at both recent and long term training. The ATL - Acute Training Load - looks at only my training load in the most recent days. The CTL - Chronic Training Load - looks at my training over the long term and how it is impacting my performance now. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm looking for a gradual increase in CTL leading up to Ironman...so far, so good.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I generally love everything about training for endurance sports. I actually enjoy my early morning workouts in all three sports, I like seeing gains, I like researching ways to become faster and stronger...what I don't like is stretching. Despite everything that I know about it's benefits, I just never have made stretching a consistent part of my training over the last three years.

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about stretching before runs or rides. I do dynamic stretching before every run and most rides to get my muscles loose. The stretching I'm referring to is that static stretching that you are supposed to do after the workouts, when your muscles are good an warm. I've never been flexible. In fact, I'm probably considered very inflexible. My hamstrings, quads, shoulders and back always seem to be tight.

Think about what happens when you stretch. Your muscle fibers are forced to lengthen when you stretch. As you increase the angle of your stretch, those fibers will eventually (very quickly for me) reach a point of maximum elasticity. While these fibers are being stretched, something called your muscle spindle is also being stretched. The spindle records the change in length of the muscle fibers and how fast that change occurs and sends signals to your spine and brain and triggers a stretch reflex. This reflex keeps the fibers from stretching too far and tearing.

Along with stretching, using a foam roller or massage therapy to work the fascia that surrounds the muscle fibers is important. If the fascia (connective tissue) is in bad shape, it will keep your muscles from stretching, no matter how flexible the fibers are. Since having (painful) deep tissue massages after my last two races, I know that my fascia is all jacked up in my legs and shoulders. I've made and effort to spend some time on my foam roller for 15-20 minutes a few times a week in the evenings.

So why is all this important? Having more elastic muscles protects them from injury. Tight muscles pull and tear...pulling and tearing are bad.

So what are some good stretches for triathletes and runners? I turn to none other than "The Man", six-time Ironman World Champion Dave Scott to get the answer. I've seen ton's of video and picutres from Dave's epic races in the 80's. Here's what he looked like then, rockin' the mustache and the short shorts:

Here he is in present-day, showing six great stretches. He's the dude standing in the back of some of these screen shots:

#1 - Lying Leg Crossover (targets hips, glutes and lower back)

(Little TMI there dude, get some longer shorts!!)

#2 - Hip Flexor Stretch

#3 - Periformis, hip, glute stretch

#4 - Hamstring stretch (use a towel or elastic band if you don't have a partner)

#5 - Quad Stretch

#6 - Shoulder, back, lat, pec stretch (so pretty much the whole upper body)

Seeing pictures of these stretches doesn't give the full explanation of how to do them properly. Check out the video here for all the important details. 

I did a few of these stretches this morning after my workout and I can tell you that I have very little range of motion on most of these. I'll make an attempt to do these several times a week, you should too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Combining Engineering and Swimming

During the five years I spent pursuing my Mechanical Engineering Degree (so what if some people do it in four years), I had at least one course that focused solely on Fluid Mechanics. I believe that this was a 300 level class that I took sometime during my Junior year...although it's been 10+ years, so who knows. Without going into too much detail and causing you to stop reading this, I'll just say that we learned about fluid motion, fluid dynamics and the effect of forces on fluid motion. Fluid dynamics is the study of how objects in motion flow through fluids, such as water.

Figured out where I'm going with this?

When someone swims, they are attempting to move their body through the water. Water is more than 700 times denser than air. If you have ever tried to run in waist deep water, you understand what 700 time feels like. As you swim, you have to try an overcome this force and propel yourself through the water. I used to think that using brute force was the best way to become faster in the water...just muscling through every stroke. Fortunately, I learned this was incorrect before I did any damage to my shoulders.

Streamlining your body is the best way to combat this force and reduce the amount of drag that you are creating. If you've ever seen what the water in front of a barge looks like compared to a speed boat, you understand this concept. Reducing the amount of your body's frontal area that comes into contact with the water is key. I understood this concept for the most part, keeping my head down, hips and legs up, and lead arm extended - but I didn't take it into account during the most important part of the stroke, the pull (aka the catch).

After seeing some underwater video of myself two weeks ago, I learned (thanks to Coach Manuel from Train Smart) that I extend my arms almost all the way during the pulling phase of my stroke. This means that once my arms enter the water, they stay pretty much straight all the way under the water until I pull them out to start another stroke - this is no good! By extending my arms, I was significantly increasing the amount of frontal area coming into contact with the water. After seeing this in the video, I've been trying to train myself to bend my arms at the elbow once I start the pulling phase of my swim. Not only does this reduce drag, it also allows me to use my hand AND forearm to pull through the water - effectively making a larger "paddle". Doing this also engages my back muscles (lats) instead of my arm muscles (triceps), which are much larger and stronger.

After swimming with my elbows high for five swim workouts, it still feels very unnatural. I've been doing lots of drills (swimming with fists closed, paddles and single arm) to try and create some muscle memory. It's coming along, but I feel slower even though my times are about the same or better. Despite the fact that I've only been swimming for three years, it's hard to change the way I "comfortably" swim. Over time, I'm sure that this change will show up in my speed and efficiency in the water.

Unfortunately (fortunately for me), I don't have the actual video of me swimming to post here. I did find these two images that show what a good pull should and shouldn't look like:

Here's an example of what I was doing - dropping my elbow, making my arm almost straight:

Now here is what a good pull, with a high elbow looks like:

6/15/11: Swim - Train Smart Group Swim (3100m in 1:28:53) 
6/16/11: Bike - Intervals (18.5 miles in 57:00) 
6/16/11: Weights - Extreme Core I - 4 sets 
6/17/11: Swim - Easy mile - focus on form (1776yd in 32:57) 
6/17/11: Brick - Bike (50.0 miles in 2:30:38), Run (7.00 miles in 1:04:23) 
6/20/11 Run - Mile Repeats (8.65 miles in 1:22:34)
6/20/11: Weights - Extreme Core II - 3 sets 
6/21/11: Swim - Aerobic sets (3300yd in 1:07:21) 
6/22/11 Run - Hill Repeats (2.22 miles in 19:15)
6/22/11: Swim - Train Smart Group Swim (3100m in 1:14:25) 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I did one of my first long workouts in the heat on Friday. I headed out around 1:15pm for a 50 mile bike followed by what was supposed to be a 8-10 mile run. It was 87° F without a cloud in sight. I weighed myself before and after the workout so that I determine my sweat rate.

Weight before my ride/run = 169.8
Weight after = 165.0
Weight lost = 4.9 lbs!

Fluid intake during workout = 64 oz on the bike, 10 oz in transition, 14 oz on the run = 88 oz total (5.5 lb)

Time - 2:30 (Bike), 1:04 (Run) = 3:34 total

So I take the amount of weight I lost (4.9 lbs) and multiply it by 16 to convert it to ounces. This comes out to be 78.4 oz. See how that Engineering degree paid off right there?!

I then add my water intake (88 oz) to that number and get 166.4 oz....this is the total amout of fluid that I lost through sweat. Crazy.

I then divide this number by the length of the workout (in hours), which was approx. 3.5 to get how many ounces of water I need to take in per hour during exercise.

166.4 oz / 3.4hr = 47.5 oz/hr

That actually seems pretty reasonable to me. I'll do this test again next time I workout in the heat and have this dialed in before Ironman.

It also explains why I bonked about 2.5 miles into what ended up being a 7 mile run. I only took in 14 oz during the hour that I was running. I need to find a way to carry 33.5 more ounces of water per hour on my runs. Actually, the 64 oz that I took in on the bike wasn't enough either. Although I felt good on the bike and even on the start of the run, the effects of dehydration had already started to set in.

Hard to believe the heat makes this much of a difference in my sweat rate...but the proof was there. I was struggling to hold 10 minute miles at the end of my run. 

I drank over 120 oz of water in the first few hours after my workout and didn't have the urge to pee until right before I went to bed. I even had a bit of a headache when I woke up Saturday (another sign of dehydration). After eating breakfast and drinking lots of water on Saturday morning I weighed myself again and I was back up to my normal 174 lb.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bricks / Group Rides

Brick workouts (bike followed immediately by a run) are going to be part of my weekly routine from now until Ironman. Getting your legs used to running after being on a bike is something that takes time and that your legs will forget how to do if you go too long without reminding them!

This past Saturday I did the same 80 miles of the Ironman course that I did two weeks prior. That ride was supposed to be with a group, but I ended up going solo. This week I was invited by two fellow triathletes to join them on their ride. I know these guys...they ride hard. I was a little worried about being able to keep up, but the bike has always been my strongest discipline, so I looked forward to the challenge.

We met up at 7:00 am and headed out. As usually happens in a group of riders, we took turns riding out front. I wasn't sure exactly how fast they wanted to go, so I let them take turns leading for the first 15 miles or so. I jumped out in front right before a big hill and hammered it up the hill pretty good. I looked back once I reached the top and they were several hundred yards behind me. I slowed a bit to let them catch up and after a few comments about how I rode the hill, they took off...I knew I was in trouble!

I spent the rest of the ride trying to keep up. I was able to hang with them on the uphills, gain ground on the downhills, but the flat/rolling hills were a struggle. I kept an eye on my heart rate and it wasn't getting too high, but higher than normal.

When it was all said and done, I had completed 79.01 miles in 3:55:05, for an average pace of 20.2 mph. My avg HR was 135 bpm. In comparison, I did pretty much the same route (82.86 miles) two weeks ago in a time of 4:22:51, with an average pace of 19.0 mph and an average HR of 132 bpm.

So the moral of the story is that riding with faster riders makes you faster! I'm sure that they will let me tag along again if I want...I just need to make sure I eat my Wheaties before we ride!

I jumped off the bike and did a short run to complete my brick workout. I had planned on getting in 6-8 miles in my aerobic heart rate zone, but I just couldn't keep my HR down. I need to be around 150 bpm and I was in the high 150's - low 160's the whole run. I don't know if it was the heat or that my body was fatigued from the ride. Either way, I managed 5.27 miles in 44:19 (8:24 min/mile pace) with an avg HR of 158 bpm.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Buying Organic Foods

Research over the last few years shows that pesticides, hormones and other chemicals that are used on/in the foods we eat have a link to various cancers and other serious health problems. Plus, we now know that our government is even failing to test meat for the harmful chemicals that it's supposed to by law! Armed with this knowledge, more and more people are looking to buy organic food.

In the US, federal organic legislation defines three levels of organics. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled "100% organic". Products with at least 95% organic ingredients can use the word "organic". Both of these categories may also display the USDA organic seal. A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled "made with organic ingredients". In addition, products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them (there's lots of certification bodies). Products made with less than 70% organic ingredients can not advertise this information to consumers and can only mention this fact in the product's ingredient statement. 
So look for 100% Organic or the USDA Organic symbol on the packaging. 
Also keep in mind that just because something is organic, doesn't mean that it's healthy. Lots of things that may be labeled organic are unhealthy. Examples - macaroni and cheese, ketchup, chips, cookies, etc.
Beware of farmer's markets as well. Just because it is grown/raised locally doesn't mean that it's chemical free!

Buying organic is not cheap. Unless you are raking in huge amounts of cash, you can't buy everything organic. So what foods should be at the top of your list?
  1. MEAT/EGGS - chickens, cows, pigs...they are all raised using hormones to speed up their growth, antibiotics to resist disease and feed products that contain pesticides and chemicals. All of this stuff is eliminated when you buy USDA Organic meat. Grass-fed is the best.
  2. MILK - Pesticides and other man-made chemicals are found in most dairy products. With the amount of milk that children and pregnant/nursing Mommy's drink (trust me, I know), this is one product that you do not want to skimp on if you have children!
  3. CELERY - Because it has no protective skin like most other vegetables and fruits, it is impossible to get all of the chemicals out/off by washing. If you eat celery...which you should, buy organic.
  4. PEACHES/STRAWBERRIES/APPLES - Not only do humans like these fruits...so do insects. You can find these fruits year-round. If you buy them out of season they most likely are imported...from a country that probably doesn't have regulations on pesticides!
  5. BLUEBERRIES - I separate these from the fruits above because they are treated with more pesticides than any other fruit when grown in a conventional orchard - over 50!
  6. PEPPERS - While they have a skin, it doesn't provide a very good barrier to pesticides. They are also imported heavily.
  7. SPINACH/KALE - These leafy greens are something that I try to eat a few times a week. After finding out that they are usually sprayed with almost as many pesticides as blueberries, I'm going to start buying them organic!
  8. POTATOES -Because they are a root vegetable, they absorb just about everything that's in the soil...like the chemicals used in fertilizer. Washing a potato just isn't going to remove the chemicals that have been absorbed.
  9. GRAPES - I grew tried to grow grapes a few years ago. After leaving them alone for the first year, insects destroyed them before they could ripen on the vine. I resorted to using a mild insecticide...and I can only image what large orchards do! Grapes have a very thin skin and no amount of washing or even peeling will eliminate contamination.
So when buying organic, you don't have to get the most expensive offering. There are some companies that do only organic and they have a name that you will see all over the place in a health food store. Nearly every large supermarket (walmart, Kroger, Safeway, etc.) has a store-brand organic option for many foods. Look for the non name-brand organic food, it will save you some money while saving your health. You can also find coupons for organic milk and yogurt, so use them! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

TriFest Triathlon Race Report

A little background info first:

I make the 40 minute drive from my house down to Taylorsville Lake fairly often, maybe 8-10 times a year or so. I've done a total of four races there over the last two years and made several other trips to get in training rides/runs on the hills that surround the lake. The roads leading there are mostly two-lane roads with farmland on both sides. There is a small town that you pass through, but other than that it's just rolling hills of wide open space. The speed limit is 55 the whole way with the exception of the mile or so stretch through the town. If you go 55 on these roads, you will be tailgated and then passed as soon as the oncoming lane is clear. I usually don't even pay attention to my speed, it's one of those roads where you kind of just go as fast as you feel you can safely go - usually somewhere between 65 and 70. Now that you know all of this very useful information, I'll get on with my race report.

I packed up all of my race gear the night before, like I always do. Everything was in order and I was able to get a solid six hours of sleep. I woke up at 5:00 am and ate a sweet potato while mixing up my nutrition for the race. I loaded up the car and was on the road by 5:35 am. The race didn't start until 7:30 am, but I like to get there early and take my time setting up transition.

I was cruising along, jamming some Def Leppard when I noticed a police car sitting on the opposite side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. It was still dark out and he was just on the other side of a hill, so I didn't see him until I was about 100 feet away. I immediately looked down at my speedometer - it read 72 mph...uh oh. I got that sinking feeling as I let off the gas and slowly eased on the brake. I checked my mirror and I saw him turn on his headlights. I knew what was coming. He made a u-turn (which is illegal, by the way), and came up right behind me. I turned off my Def Leppard in disgust and began looking for a spot to pull over before he even started flashing his blue lights.

The inevitable happened and I found myself sitting on the side of the road, getting my registration and proof of insurance out of my glove compartment. He came to the window and told me that he clocked me going 75 in a 55. I explained that I had just come down a big hill and didn't realize how fast I was going. He just asked for my paperwork and went back to his car. I knew that I was going to get a speeding ticket and while I wasn't happy about it, I was more concerned about getting out of there and to the race!

I sat there in my car...waiting...and waiting...and waiting some more. I looked at my watch when he pulled me over. It was 5:52 am. At 6:05 am I started to wonder if I should go back and make sure he hadn't suffered a heart attack and wasn't slumped over the seat! It was starting to get light by this time and I could just make out some movement in his car, so I just waited...and waited some more...and watched cars and trucks with bikes racked on the back pass me by. My fellow triathlete's were headed to the race, no doubt wondering who it was the was busted my Johnny Law. The officer FINALLY opened his door at 6:08 am (16 minutes after he walked away from my window!). But he wasn't walking towards my car. He went back and opened his trunk. Then opened the rear door on the passenger side, leaning in to look for something. What was this dude doing?!? I was getting very agitated by this point. When he finally made his way up to my car window things quickly went from bad to worse!

Here's a direct quote from the officer:

"Well, we've got two issues here. First of all, my printer ran out of ink (showing me his empty printer cartridge), so I called someone to bring me another. I can't print your citation until he gets here. The other issue is the fact that your license is expired."

Really? I was just at the Driver's License Branch a few months ago to have the restriction for glasses removed (I has Lasik surgery a few years ago and finally remembered to get this done). I had assumed that my license was renewed at that time. Apparently not. It clearly showed an expiration date of 5-20-2011. I explained this to the officer. His response:

"Well, it's expired...and I can't let you go."

What? I can't go. What does this mean. Am I under arrest? Will I be spending the morning in the Taylorsville jail instead of racing?

He then explained that he couldn't let me drive with an expired license and that someone would have to come and get me. Fantastic. He also made it a point to tell me that he was "doing me a favor" by not taking me in. Driving on a expired license apparently warrants some time in jail in Spencer County, KY.

So I had to call my wife and make her scramble out the door with a 10 week old baby to come and get me and take me to the race...hopefully getting me there before it started!

I've already made this story way too long, so I'll just skip there rest of the details and tell you that she is awesome and somehow got me there by a few minutes after 7:00 am.

By the time I got all my gear unloaded in transition, it was time to head down to the water. The water temp was 80° F, so now wetsuits required (or allowed). We listened to the pre-race instructions and then with just a one minute warning, we were off!

My nerves were still out of control and my pulse was higher than normal thanks to the stressful morning that I had already had. I started close to the front of the pack and headed towards the first buoy. The course was shaped like a triangle and we were to make three loops around it to complete the 1500 meter swim. I felt like I was getting passed a lot early on, but I tried to get in a rhythm. There was the typical punching, elbowing and kicking that comes along with an open water swim, but nothing too bad. I settled in and felt good during the swim, increasing my turnover and power on the last loop. I was actually surprised when I exited the water and saw 31 minutes and some change on my watch. I though that my pace and sighting were right on and that I would be done in under 30 minutes. Oh well. No time to worry about what's already done. Time to ride.

Official Swim time (including run from the water to T1) - 32:13.6
5th out of 9 in my age group and 24th fastest swim out of 68 total

I ran up to T1, put on my socks, race jersey, race belt, helmet and sunglasses. I hopped on my bike and peddled out of the parking lot with my feet on top of my bike shoes, which were already clipped in.

Official T1 time - 1:11.5
2nd out of 9 in my age group and 17th fastest out of 68 total

I've done all three of my races this year with my bike shoes already clipped in the peddles. My new peddles have a larger surface area and it's harder to get my shoes clipped in...so I figure it will be easier to get my feet in the shoes on the bike than try and clip them in. This plan worked well for the first race, but not so well on race number two and even worse this time! Instead of trying to get my feet in while still on the fairly flat parking lot, I focused on passing someone and then decided that it would be a good idea to try and get my feet in while climbing a very steep hill...bad call. I got my left foot in, but lost all of my momentum in doing so and nearly came to a stop. I peddled a few more times and then tried to get the other foot in. The shoe had flipped over (I forgot to attach it to the frame with rubber bands because I was so rushed in setting up my transition area). While trying to flip the shoe over I lost all speed and came to a stop. I tried to unclip my left foot in time, but I couldn't. So anyone that's been on a bike with clipless pedals knows what happened next...I fell over. Yep, I fell over like a four year old trying to learn to ride. As other riders continued to pass me, I got up, uttered a few cuss words and tried to figure out what to do. The hill was too steep to just start riding and try to get my feet in the pedals. So I walked my bike off the road to a wooden post and leaned against it while I got my feet in the shoes and clipped in. I then had to ride on the grass about 10 feet before getting back on the road. I felt like I was going to wipe out at any moment, after all, Flash is no mountain bike! Fortunately for me, my buddy Charlie (a fellow triathlete) was volunteering for this race and had a front row seat while all of this was going on. He graciously pointed out to me that I had lost my bottle off of the back  of my bike when I fell, so I had to walk back and pick that up too. He snapped the following picture of me during my first attempt at getting my foot in the shoe.

Once I was rolling again I was angry. This day was going horrible. I figured a flat tire and cramps on the run were in store for me! I hammered down on the bike, not worrying about blowing up my legs and having nothing left for the run. I only shifted into my small chain ring once, just mashing up the hills, burning my quads. I finished the bike in an hour and fifteen minutes, but I guarantee that I lost about two minutes at the beginning, so my average moving speed was over 20 mph. This is pretty quick considering that the course is ALL hills. I passed a good 15-20 people on the bike and since it was a straight out-and-back course, I was able to count the riders as they went back the other way. At the half-way point on the bike, I was in 15th place overall. I passed two more riders on the way back and knew that I was in 13th place off the bike.

Official Bike time - 1:15:15.9
2nd out of 9 in my age group and 8th fastest bike out of 68 total

I had a quick T2, taking off my helmet and quickly slipping on my run shoes and hat. On the way out of T2 I noticed that my jersey was unzipped. I had forgotten to zip it up after putting it on in T1 and had ridden the whole bike with my jersey open, acting as a parachute. Not that slows you down or anything!

Official T2 time - 00:37.1
2nd out of 9 in my age group and 7th fastest out of 68 total

I started the run and immediately found two people up ahead that I set me sights on. I passed one at the top of the hill and then another around mile 2. The run was also an out-and-back, so I once again counted racers as then passed me going the other way. I counted 10 and then right before the turn around I saw a guy up ahead. I really wanted a top 10 finish, so I told myself that I WOULD catch him. I hit the turnaround at 23:35, which is a pace just above 7:30 min/mile. I was feeling good and despite pushing it hard on the bike, my legs felt pretty strong. I just concentrated on keeping my form good and my cadence high. I started to feel some cramping in my calves on the way back, so I switched to Gatorade at the aid stations. With just under a mile to go, I had gained considerable ground on the guy in 10th place...then I saw him start to walk near the top of the second to last hill. He turned around to see if anyone was behind him (a clear indication that he's worn out). He saw me and immediately started to run again. My competitive side came out as I said out loud "oh yeah, I got ya now!". I increased my speed and caught him within a few minutes. I gave him some encouraging words as I ran by and I just held that pace until the end, never looking back. I ran the second half of the course in 22:39 for a pace of 7:18 min/mile an a good negative split! I'm running back down the huge hill in the photo above, so don't make fun of the way I look, I'm trying to keep from falling forward!

Official Run time - 46:04.5
2nd out of 9 in my age group and 9th fastest run out of 68 total

I crossed the finish line and as soon as I stopped running my hamstrings and calves cramped up. I grabbed some bananas and water and walked it out. Jessica and Adrian were there to meet me. I knew that I had finished 10th overall, so I figured that it would have been good enough to place in my age group. So we stuck around and sure enough, I ended up second in the 30-34 Male age group. Adrian and I went up to get my medal. It was a good moment and everyone enjoyed seeing my little chubby buddy go up there with me!

Official Total time -2:35:22.6
2nd out of 9 in my age group and 10th out of 68 total

Despite the way the morning started, the race ended up going well. I clearly need to work on the issues I'm having coming out of T2. The 9th place finisher was over 3 minutes ahead of me and the 1st place guy in my age group was probably loading up his gear by the time I finished, so it didn't cost me anything other than my overall time.

This was a good race and all indications are that there were no problems on either day. Hopefully VO2 Multisport and Train Smart will do this race series again next year!

Official Results:
Swim (1500m) - 32:13.6 (2:09/100m pace)
T1 - 1:11.5
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:15:15.9 (19.8 mph)
T2 - 0:37.1
Run (6.2 miles) - 46:04.5 (7:24 min/mile)
Total - 2:35:22.6

Gear used:
Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles
Pearl Izumi Elite Tri Top and Shorts
Tifosi Dolomite sunglasses
Argon 18 E-112 Triathlon bike
Asics Gel Foundation-9 shoes

Nutrition used:
  • Nathan Catalyst Electrolye tablet (1 in a 24oz water bottle) - sipped while sitting in my car waiting for the kind Officer to serve me my citation
  • Clif Shot Blocks - ate these while setting up my transition area - about 20 minutes before race start

  • Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem (2 scoops in one 24oz. bottle of water) - took two sips every 15 minutes, drank the rest of the bottle with a few miles to go
  • Millennium Sports Athlytes capsules (3 total) - one every 20 minutes

  • Clear water at every aid station during first half of run, Gatorade on the second half
  • Millennium Sports Athlytes capsules (2 total) - took them at the first and second mile aid stations so I could take them with water

  • Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition Recover-Ease capsules (Qty. 4)
Nutrition plan worked well. I had a gel with me on the bike and run, but never felt the need for either. I never felt dehydrated or fatigued until the last mile or so, and nothing matters at that point.

Next race is the Captain's Quarters Half-Ironman on July 9th. Some very long brick workouts coming up in the next few weeks...and it's starting to get HOT!

Friday, June 3, 2011

TriFest Race Preview

My third triathlon of the 2011 season is this Sunday. I'm racing in the three race/two day even known as TriFest. This is the first year for TriFest and all indications are that it's going to be an awesome weekend and will be an annual event going forward. On Saturday there's a Super Sprint and Sprint distance race. Then on Sunday there is an Olympic distance race that has an Aquabike (swim and bike - no run) that coincides with it. I'm just doing the Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday, but lots of people have signed up to do all three triathlons - which would be a pretty cool experience!

The weekend is being organized by my favorite triathlon store, VO2 Multisport and my favorite coaching/training organization, Train Smart Multisport...so I'm excited to be able to support both of these guys!

I've done more triathlons at this distance (Olympic) than any other. It consists of a 1500m (0.93 mile) swim, a 40K (24.9 miles) bike and a 10K (6.2 miles) run. My times have ranged from 2:56:41 down to 2:25:11. Funny thing is, the race that I'm doing on Sunday is pretty much the same course (with the exception of the bike) down at Taylorsville Lake State Park that caused me so much trouble last June...leading to the 2:56:41 finish time...which included some walking in the run. The temps were in the mid 90's that day without a cloud in sight. Looks like it might be a repeat this year. Hopefully I've learned a little bit about hydration and keeping cool in the last year!

I went to pick up my race packet this morning and the rumor is that the lake water is right around 78° F, which is the cutoff for wetsuits. So I'll take my suit and see what happens. If the water is still at 78° F when the race starts, I'll wear it. 

As for my goals, it would be awesome to set a PR at this distance, but duplicating the near-perfect race I put together at last year's BoilerMan Tri is going to be difficult. Especially since that race course was probably the flattest in existence and this course has lots of hills on both the bike and the run. I will be happy with a time somewhere around 2:30:00. This is just a training race for me and it's a priority - meaning that if I have even a minor injury during the race, I'll drop out. I never want to quit a race, but the next two months are VERY critical to my Ironman preparation and I simply can't afford to be sidelined.

Good luck to everyone that's participating this weekend, should be lots of fun!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Take A Hike, Food Pyramid!

This morning, the USDA, First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin unveiled the new food icon, called My Plate. This new icon replaces the old USDA Food Pyramid, which had been around in one form or another since 1980. 

The USDA has a long history of steering people in the wrong direction when it come to dietary habits. After President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in the 50's, they told everyone to stop eating meat to lower their cholesterol. In the 70's, they recommended that 60% of what you eat be carbohydrates without explaining good versus bad carbs. I remember learning the "4 Food groups" when I was a kid. They were Milk/Dairy, Meats, Fruits/Veggies and Bread. They've since revised the Food Pyramid several times (most recent version shown here). ALL of these recommendations and advice were dead (yes, I used that word on purpose) wrong.

Regardless of how you feel about the US Government coming into your kitchen, the fact is that they continue to recommend a diet for people to follow...and some people (including schools) following these recommendations. Let's be honest, the food pyramid was garbage. It was confusing and no one knew if the proportions were based on mass of food or calories (big difference). It also had a base of grains for the majority of the time it was in existence. Any surprise that the USDA would recommend people eat so many grains?? Either way, I'm glad that it's gone.

The new recommendations, issued this morning, are shown on a plate. This makes since because most people eat off of a plate, not a pyramid. Here's what it looks like:

While they don't give the exact percentages of each category, it looks like about 20% Protein, 30% Grains, 30% Vegetables, 20% Fruit and then a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt. The website that goes with this new plate does a pretty good job and detailing exactly what foods fall into each category. They also talk about empty calories that you get from eating sugary foods and to eat these in moderation.

While I feel like this is a HUGE improvement over the Food Pyramid, I still have some issues with it. Advising people to fill more than a quarter of their plate with grains is a bad call. If you look for more detail on the website, they differentiate between whole and refined grains - telling you to make at least half of your grains whole grains. But looking at this plate, it doesn't tell me that. I have a problem with white bread and muffins being in the same category as rolled oats and quinoa! Not to mention that consuming this amount of grains and starches will cause problems with blood sugar levels, inflammation, blood pressure and weight gain.

They also don't show fats anywhere on the plate. Starting about 15 years ago, people began to see the word "fat" as all bad when it comes to food. All fat was considered the cause for weight gain. So what did companies do? They started making "fat free" items and loaded them up with sugar to make them taste the same. I don't need to go into the problem with that, do I...or with "sugar free" stuff? Good. There are bad fats and good fats. Good fats are Omega 3's, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These fats are found in nuts, avocado, olive oil and salmon. Bad fats are saturated and trans fats, found in packaged foods and probably most things you order from a fast food menu. Good fats are a very important part of your diet. They help nutrient absorption, aid in your nervous system function, and help maintain cell membranes. Good fats should take up about 15-20% of your daily diet.

So what would this plate look like if I designed it? Keep in mind, this is for an active person (which everyone should be)!
55% carbohydrates
30% protein
15% from good fats
(% of calories consumed in a day)

5/25/11 Run - Mile Repeats (5.20 miles in 48:36)  
5/25/11: Swim - Train Smart Swim Group (3100m in 1:14:02)
5/26/11: Bike - Zone 2 Spin (22.5 miles in 1:10:00)  
5/27/11 Run - Hill Repeats (2.36 miles in 22:09)  
5/27/11: Swim - Endurance Swim (3504yd in 1:05:32) 
5/28/11: Bike - Endurance Ride (82.9 miles in 4:22:51)   
5/30/11 Run - Recovery Jog (4.32 miles in 36:59) 
5/30/11: Weights - Body Weight Only - 3 sets 
5/31/11: Bike - Recovery Ride (13.0 miles in 45:00)   
5/31/11: Swim - Drills (1056yd in 21:23)
6/1/11 Run - Fartlek with Stairs (3.31 miles in 31:45)
6/1/11: Swim - Train Smart Swim Group (3375m in 1:14:55)
6/2/11: Bike - Sprints (14.0 miles in 40:01) 
6/2/11: Swim - Sprints (1344yd in 37:11)

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