Thursday, May 31, 2012

TTT: Swim, Bike, Run ...PR

Previous Sprint Triathlon PR - 1:12:01 (2010/07/01)
Tonight's New Sprint Tri PR - 1:03:25 (2012/05/31)

That's three things - a swim, a bike, and a run.  It counts!

I'll have a report next week once I recover and race Rev3 on Sunday.  But overall, I was beyond happy with that time!  Time for sleep!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordy Wednesday - Dream Rev3 Report

I can't remember who I saw do this type of thing first, but I'm sure it goes far further back than I would know.  I'm a big fan of mentally visualizing a race.  So this is my dream race report for the upcoming Rev3 Half.  If everything goes according to plan, the post-race report will be a copy & paste of the following...

Rev3 Quassy Half Rev DREAM Race Report

Pre-Race
I woke up at 4:00am.  Everything was already set out the night before.  All I had to do was get up, wake myself up, eat, and get out the door.  I made breakfast - a bowl of oatmeal, three eggs, a banana with peanut butter, and milk/OJ - and got dressed.  It can't hurt to be cautious, so I went ahead and applied the first round of BodyGlide.  I rechecked the packing list and packed everything in the car.  Before I headed out, I grabbed my mp3 player, hit play, and spent 15 minutes with the foam roller and magic stick. 

I made it to Quassy by 5:30 and up to transition by 5:45am.  First, I set my transition up, got the bike ready, rechecked the swim start/exit and water temp, and rechecked my gear.  The rest of this time was filled with lying in the grass listening to my playlist.  I watched the pros head off as I waited patiently on the beach.  This was it, the first big test of the season. 

SWIM
As they hit the horn, a thought went through my head - "Get out of your head!"  The nerves were gone as I ran into water and dove in.  With a swim background, I'm better prepared than most for the swim and I took advantage of it.  I took frequent breaths out to the first turn buoy as I dodged hands and feet.  The field thinned out a bit and I start switching between swimmers to draft off of.  I took the next couple buoys to ease off my pace and recover.  Then I started slowly increasing the pace.  The back half of the swim couldn't have been more perfect; a steady, strong pace while picking off the leaders.  I was out of the water and across the timing mat in 31:00.  Awesome!!

T1
My legs felt like they could break a 5:00 mile and loved it.  I got to my bike, stripped off the wetsuit smoothly, stepped in my water trough, slipped on the shoes, race belt, sunglasses, and helmet.  I grabbed my bike and took off for the bike course.  I hit the timer just before getting on the bike and turns out it was 3:15; not bad!

BIKE
This was nothing short of 56 miles of luck and "you've got to be kidding me!!"  The first 20 miles were net downhill with rollers and I took advantage of it as much as I could.  I was at a 23 mph average by the time I hit the small town at mile 22.  I took it easy for a couple miles before the hills and got in my second round of big nutrition.  At mile 24, the 7 mile climb began.  Overall, a few people passed me, but I did a lot of damage to those around me.  Just like the preview day, I hit the top at mile 31 and felt awesome!  Time for downhill!!  Having dropped down to 19 mph average, I needed to make up some time.  At 35 miles, I hit the out & back - I'll admit now that this was the worst 5 miles of the entire race.  I made it a fartlek ride and got in my third big nutrition round.  I hit the turn around and that's when I started the mantra "Do Not Break."  Making it out of that section was like heaven!  The last 16 miles went by like clockwork and I hit T2 at a perfect 2:40; 21 mph average.  "Now it's time for pain!"

T2
I was off the bike and to my spot before I knew what I was doing.  The athletes around me hadn't gotten back yet, so it was easy to rack the bike, toss the helmet, switch shoes, and grab my hat before dashing for the start of 13.1 miles of planned pain.  I ran out of transition one more time at 1:45 and repeated again "Do Not Break."

Run
I headed out down Rt. 64, a 1.5 mile downhill to our first turn.  My goal was to simply hit my goal pace while I loosened up my running legs.  I grabbed two waters at the first station and they went right on my head.  By the first turn, my legs were under me and I knew all I had to do was keep from breaking and I'd be golden.  If I hadn't already been racing since 7:15am, I would have started tearing up right there. 

I hit the first hill, slowed it up, made it up, and soared over the top.  I had to pull myself back; I couldn't dig into the energy just yet.  I could feel the fatigue right on the edge as I pulled up to the main hill of the course.  I could see people all the way up; some jogging, some walking.  This was my moment.  I had mapped out the course, drove it, watched the videos, and visualized it.  The only thing I planned for this hill was the words "Do Not Break."  If I could make it up this hill without stopping, I could do anything.  As the road started to incline, I put my head down and closed my eyes.  I listened to my breathing, I paid attention to how my legs felt and allowed them to shorten the stride, I widened the arc of my arms, and I breathed a little deeper.  "Just like any other training day," right?  Knowing that I didn't have to do it again, I crested the top and just about wanted to celebrate right there and then.  Don't worry - I didn't.  I turned onto the out and back and focused back on nutrition - still 8.5 miles to go.  On the way out, I let my legs recover and then back I pushed the pace.  I hit the highest elevation and then started the two mile downhill.  I had to slow a few times to preserve my hips and quads, but it felt amazing (as amazing as it can feel at that point in the day).  And then I dug deep.  I had been slowing down and knew that the last 5k had to be pushed in order to stay under 5 hours. 

I hit the last out & back and drew energy from everyone out on the course.  In training, I always run faster when I go by the local college or past other runners - the male ego at it's best I guess - so I did just that.  I put on a "this is easy" face and tried to push the pace a second or two at a time.  Before I knew it, the road began inclining and this was it, the last push.  After who knows how many waters, I still felt the dehydration setting in.  My legs had been screaming for a break since I started the downhill at mile 8 (it'd just been a kind request up until then).  It would have been nice to have the finish line in sights earlier, but I played the mental games and rounded the last corner.  There it was!  I didn't even have the energy for a push, but I maintained my speed.  Across the finish line in 4... 56... 15; a run of 1:40.  

I'd love to say I felt awesome, jumped for joy, and was ready for another lap, but that's not true.  I collapsed in the shade, poured cold water on my face until I turned blue, and enjoyed every bit of my finish line twinkie!! 

One step closer! ...and so much more work to do.


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Questions
1.  How do you mentally prepare for a race?
Do you visualize the race?  Do you write out a dream report?  Do you just wing it?  Is it different for various races?

2.  What's your next race and the ultimate dream goal for it?
I actually have a sprint tri Thursday, but Rev3 is my next big race and my goal is under 5 hours. 



Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Love My Multi-Sport Days on Taper

Man do I love when a taper comes together!

One thing I do more on a taper than I do during the normal build phases of my training is multisport days.  Instead of only swimming, biking, or running, I'll pick two or even all three and do them. 

After Sunday's multisport day, I took Monday off.  Then today I hit up all three again.

I woke up at 6:50am, downed some pb and orange juice and was out the door.

4.24 mile run
2nd Breakfast (eggs, banana w/ pb, milk)
5.7 mile bike
1 hr yoga class
1000 yard swim
5.5 mile bike
NAP


Run
It's the week before race day and I don't want to tax myself more than needed.  Yet, I want to keep the pace up.  Sunday had been an easy run, so today I wanted a bit of a push.   The idea was that I obviously feel better running now without having swum and biked, so warm up, tax myself, and then THAT would be closer to race day conditions.

I was only doing 4.24, so I went easy the first mile, went hard the next just over a mile, hit the turn around, and simply tried to keep a steady pace the whole way back.

Easy ended up being 7:22 pace.  Hard was a 6:09 pace.  Then I held an easy 7:00 pace the whole back half.  I was happy!!  I'm cautious to say I think I can beat my 7:30 HIM goal pace, but I don't think I'd be surprised if I do.

Thursday May 31st - Sprint Tri 
Sunday June 3rd - Rev3  Half
Monday June 4th - Glorious Day of Rest & Recovery



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Questions
1.  What do you do different in the weeks before a big race?
I do a 2-week taper before my A-races - decreasing volume and increasing speed.  I do more multisport days (bricks) and do my best to only wear what I'm going to have on race day.  Every workout from two weeks in is about visualizing the race day and having a plan for every obstacle.  I also start including carbs in my diet in the last week. 

2.  What did you do for Memorial Day?
I did my best to not melt.  haha 

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Training Week Revew (05/21 - 05/27)

TOTALS
Swim - 5064 yards (2.9 miles)
15.6% increase in weekly mileage

Bike - 40.03 miles
68% decrease in weekly mileage

Run -19.22 miles
23.5% decrease in weekly mileage



MONDAY

OFF

TUESDAY

 BIKE
(trainer)
14.16 miles in 37:38 at 22.57 mph

RUN
2.94 miles in 17:45 at 6:02 pace

WEDNESDAY

SWIM
1.4 mile OWS

THURSDAY

BIKE
13.11 miles in 43:35 at 18.05 mph


FRIDAY

RUN
4.18 miles in 29:44 at 7:07 pace


SATURDAY

RUN
5.02 miles with 10k group

SUNDAY

SWIM
2600 yards

500 FBB
5x 100s on 1:45
200 Swim
5x 100s on 1:40
300 Swim
5x 100s on 1:30
100 Swim

** Today was a test of how long I could hold a pace with decreasing rest.
Turns out I felt better than ever as I decreased the interval!
AWESOME! **

YOGA

BIKE
12.76 miles in 38:25 at 19.94 mph

** I went out with the idea of hitting race pace
somewhere above 20 mph.
I was at 20.12 with 0.2 miles to go.
The final hill was torture!
But MAN did I feel great! **

RUN
7.08 miles in 48:31 at 6:51 pace

** I went out on the brick run hoping to hit HIM pace (7:30).
I started at 7:00.
Then as I got out of the T2 legs, I sped up.
6:51 pace without a push.
AWESOME!!! **

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Looking ahead to Rev3 race day (June 3rd), I feel I am ahead, right on, and well behind schedule all at the same time.  My swim is right where I expect it to be.  My bike, however, has as usual gone to the back burner.  My goal has been 21 mph since January, but I never put in the work I needed.  If I pull off 20 or 21 mph, I'll be lucky.  The run is where I've found I have exceeded even my own expectations.  I'm shooting for 7:30 and after 57.2 miles I may be right there, but after my recent runs, I might be faster. 

I'll still be shooting for sub-5 come race day, but here's to learning lessons and doing better for B2B!

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Questions
1.  How was your training week?  


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Good Old Morning OWS

9:00 AM 1.4 mile solo OWS at Lake Terramuggus
I woke up at 6:15am today - not sure why.  Since I skipped my swim yesterday for a brick, I went for a swim today (after battling Hartford traffic for close to 30 minutes).  I tested out the Small-Long Xterra Vortex 4 sleeveless wetsuit as well.  More to come on that later. 

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Questions
1.  Do you get your workouts in early?
I like to, but sometimes I simply need the sleep more.  

2.  Would you ever go for an OWS (open water swim) alone?
Some friends think I'm crazy/idiotic for doing so.

3.  How did you start your Wednesday?
Was it a run, a cup of coffee, or hitting the snooze?


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do you 'Push The Limit'?

I want to ask a question...

Do you "push the limit?"

How many times have you recognized a pace 
(in running, cycling, swimming, lifting, or anything athletic
that you honestly believe you can hold over the distance you're planning on going 
and consciously pushed beyond it? 

With my taper in full swing (yay!!), my training is now a bit more dictated by what I feel like doing.  By doing so, I'm hoping that I'll be even MORE mentally ready to let excitement play a part on race day.  Today, while I had planned on an OWS, it was raining and I opted for a brick.  I did an easier 14 miles on the trainer and then headed out for a run.

As I walked out the door, I had no plan for how far I wanted to go (going completely on the fly).  I jogged to the end of the driveway and thought I'd go the 5 mile route at race pace (7:30s).  As I stepped up to the road, I decided that I'd prefer to do three miles, but if I did I had to push the limit.  And by "push the limit," I meant that I wanted to be tired by the turn around and absolutely gassed by the finish. 

I agreed and set off on my 2.94 mile out and back route.  Thankfully the trainer ride had me loose and I set off on what felt like a well pushed initial pace.  About half a mile in, I started feeling the damage setting in.  A couple times before the turn around I had a feeling of "I think I could hold this pace" and I immediately sped up.  On race day, I'm going to feel much more fatigue and the desire to stop and rest is going to be incredibly tempting.  With luck, the pace I need to hold will feel holdable on that day, but towards the end it very well may not.  So today, I pushed it.

My best short distance pace is my 5-Miler at 6:06/mile.  I hit today's around at 6:02 pace.  Normally I average a 10-30 second drop on the return trip because it's net downhill, but even pushing myself with every last ounce of will I had, I was only able to match it; a perfect 8:52 out and 8:52 back. 

I won't lie - it hurt.  It was only 2.94 miles and my body wanted to stop multiple times.  But it feels AMAZING to have completed it.  Now if only I can hold onto that mentality and pull out a sub-5 Rev Half in two weeks.

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Questions
1.  Do you push the pace or distance past the 'limit'?
What makes you do so?, or why do you hold back?

2. How did your early week training kick off?
Slow going, out-of-nowhere awesome, or "eh, it's ok"?


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Training Week Review (05/14 - 05/20)

TOTALS
Swim - 4380 yards (2.5 miles)
525% increase in weekly mileage

Bike - 125.61 miles in 6:00:05
203% increase in weekly mileage

Run - 25.13 miles
20% decrease in weekly mileage

There are only two weeks left until race day!   I started this week with the idea that I needed to get more miles in on the bike.  As you can tell, I somewhat overshot my goal by forgetting that I had the Rev3 Preview today.  Oh-well. 

MONDAY

BIKE
(trainer)
15.02 miles in 40:13 at 22.41 mph

TUESDAY

SWIM
3500 yards

500 FBB
3x (1x 200, 2x 150, 3x100, 4x 50)

BIKE
(trainer)
15.24 miles in 37:05 at 24.66 mph


WEDNESDAY

BIKE
12.49 miles

** I forgot to write down the info
and erased it off the computer.
My bad! **

RUN
4.88 miles in 34:40 at 7:04 pace

** I pushed off my first run until Wednesday because of my blister issues.
This was the first run in the ISO Transitions. **


THURSDAY

RUN
7.9 miles in 54:15 at 6:52 pace

** Second run in the ISO Transitions.
I couldn't believe how great I felt during this run!! **


FRIDAY

OFF

SATURDAY

RUN
(training group)
6.01 miles

BIKE
(H.E.A.T. group ride)
24.86 miles in 1:29:47 at 16.61 mph

 RUN
(H.E.A.T. group run)
3.1 miles in 21:45 at 7:01 pace

SWIM
1/2 mile OWS

SUNDAY

BIKE
58 miles in 3:13:00 at 18.0 mph

RUN
3.24 miles in 23:01 at 7:06 pace

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Questions
1.  How was your training week?  


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Drunk Kurt Reporting... Alive!

For those of you who don't know, I rarely ever drink.  So no, I'm not drunk.  What I am is extremely dehydrated from today's Rev3 Preview ride and my friends like to call that person "Drunk Kurt."  So here I am!

Today was the Rev3 Quassy Course Preview Day.


I woke up today at 5:50am, got my stuff together, ate a good sized breakfast knowing I wouldn't eat again 'till mid-afternoon, and drove to Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, CT.  The directions told me it should take 37 minutes.  I gave myself an hour just in case.  It only took 20.  Better early than late, I guess.

The whole day was rather loosely coordinated, but on Rev's behalf, what they could coordinate they did well.  The rest was bound to get chaotic.  We all milled around the parking lot until 8:15am.  They took us down to the beach to show us the swim start and exit.  It was pretty simple.  "This is the way you're going to go, these are the buoy colors, and you exit over there - got it?"  One surprising thing i that the water temp has gone from 63 one week ago to 67 today; might be in 70s by race day. Then we grabbed our bikes, chose a riding group based on pace and headed out.

I planned on probably a 16 mph pace - nothing pushed but not mind-numbingly slow.  I went with the 16-17 mph group and for the first 10 miles or so we stuck together.  After that, a group went off the front and I wanted to test myself on some of the hills, so I bridged the gap and stretched my legs so-to-say.  At mile 24, we started the 7 mile climb and that was when this new group broke apart.  Personally, I can't hold back on a hill.  I don't care about where I am in the group, but it will kill my knees to slow my cadence too much, so I had to go on ahead.  Once I hit the top, I was with a group of 3 for a mile and then we hit a downhill and for whatever reason, I went off the lead easily.  I was feeling great!  I had dropped a ton of people at the toughest section of hills and didn't feel a burn in my legs at all - talk about psyched. 

Up ahead of me was a single rider, so I thought I'd just slowly catch up to him/her.  I did, and then we hit another long hill.  Well, again, for my knees sake, I got up and rode on ahead.  Ahead of him was another rider.  Awesome!  I didn't know the course, so at least I could leap frog from rider to rider to stay on course.  I caught up to this woman and quickly realized she was NOT with our group - mountain bike and no helmet.  Oh-well.  I rode on ahead.  When I looked back there was no one.  I stopped at the top of the next hill and as that same lady passed me again she said "If you're with that big group, they all turned at the bottom of that last hill."  Oh-Great!

My over-zealous body had taken me off course!

I U-turned and got back on course.  At this point I had given up trying to push the pace at all.  I slowed down and hoped that some of the people I had previous passed would catch up so I didn't get lost again.  After 3 miles or so one did and I stuck with him.  We hit an out-and-back - which I hated - but I figure this is going to be my late stage nutrition section. 

Now, for this entire ride, you had to carry whatever you needed with you; there was no aid support.  That meant I had one water bottle (aero), one double concentrated Gatorade Endurance bottle, and I ate one of three GUs.

P.S.  Mint Chocolate is a melted Peppermint Patty.  
Delicious!  
I will have a few on hand for the race in two weeks!

With what turned out to be 4 miles left, we had a series of S-turns and I was desperately hoping that around the next turn would be the park.  As we went around the third turn I even mentally shouted "Where the F&#* is this park?!"  At that point, I knew.  I was extremely dehydrated.  It's either loopy don't-make-sense thoughts or getting angry easily that clues me in.  Can you blame me though?  At that point I had gone over 50 miles at 18mph in 80+ degree sun with only two bottles.  You can blame me for not slowing down though.  Go ahead!

The only remaining big uphill was within the last couple miles.  It was a two-mile long hill.  The even better part was that we got back to Transition and realized we missed a turn and weren't supposed to take that hill.  At least that's a bonus for race day.  Righr?

I put my bike back in the car, switched to my running shoes, and headed out.  I wanted to run 4-5 miles around a smaller loop of the run course, but given that it was 80+ out and I was dehydrated, I didn't want to push it.  I just went down to the first turn and came back; supposed to be 1.62 miles each way so 3.24 out-and-back.  Made it about 6:50 pace down (it's downhill going there), and then struggled up the hills coming back.  I promised myself if I ran straight without walking I'd stop and get a pizza on the way home.  I made it back in a straight 7:40 pace. 

My pizza is currently cooling off on the counter!  =D

Overall, I'm very happy I did the preview.  There are a couple downhills that have quick turns I'm glad I'm now aware of, I'm completely ready to tackle the 7 mile climb without reserving too much, and I have a good idea of where/when I'd like to focus on getting in nutrition.  The course rolls 90% of the time; 10% at most might be flat with the rest being either up at 8mph or down at upwards of 50 mph. 

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THANK YOU Rev3, Eric the Race Director who led my group (until we broke off), Target Training for coordinating the preview, Muscle Milk for providing post-ride protein shakes, and all the traffic and residents in the Middlebury, CT area for putting up with us. 

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Questions
1.  Have you ever done a race that has a preview day?
I'm sure Rev3 does them for their other races, but do any other companies?

2.  Do you study, ride, check out the course of your race before race day or do you just wing it?
I like to check out the course when possible, but even today I skipped checking the run course.  I'm more comfortable winging the run than the bike.  


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

No more water cups at Rev3 run aid stations?!


This weekend is PACKED and I love it.  I'm only half way through, so before I go make some dinner, prep for tomorrow, and pass out, I'll quickly jot down some thoughts.  The Rev3 bit is below. 

The Weekend's Agenda:

Saturday
(Coaching & H.E.A.T. picnic)
Up at 6:10am
6 mile run at 7:30am
20-25 mile ride at 10:30am
3+ mile run at 12:15pm
Picnic with the H.E.A.T. tri club
1.4 mile OWS (first of the season)

Sunday
(Rev3 Quassy Preview Day)
Up at 5:30am
56 mile bike at 8:45am
Run portion of course
(most likely a 13.1 mile ride)


How I plan on surviving this schedule I'm not quite sure, but I'm super excited about it!!

Run vs. Jog?
During this morning's coaching run, one of my trainees brought up the question "What is the difference between running or jogging?"  Honestly, I know so many people that have different definitions that I can't say there is a specific answer.  All I know is that I have a hard time considering a 12:00/mile pace worthy of writing in my workout log as a workout.

I could fast walk faster than they were running this morning!  I ended up running between different groups "to see how everyone was doing" (aka, give myself a break at my own pace).  I made up for it later though (see below). 

Making up for pace
After the morning 6 miles, I got my bike and headed to the park.  We did a 25 mile ride and then hit up trails for a 3.1 mile run.  I kept with the group of three other guys for about a mile - something around 8:30 - and then my desire to go my own pace took over and I took off.  I made the full loop in 21:45, finishing the remaining run in a rough 6:20 pace.  Man did that feel good!!  My knees were bothering me this morning with the slow pace, but after my own speed run I was all better!  Take that people who say running is bad for your knees!!

GU Testing
I purchased a few different GU flavors to try out before Rev3 and after trying Mandarin Orange today, that one is not on the accepted list.  First, it has caffeine which I'm not a fan of taking.  Second, it has a weird after taste.  So far, I'm going with Peanut Butter and Lemon Sublime.  I still have a Mint Chocolate to try though as well.  I'm usually a fruit gel person, but I'll let you know how that goes. 

Rev3 Run Water
Ok, this is big!!  You know those cups that they hand you at the run aid stations?  From what I heard today at the picnic, Rev3 took an idea from Costa Rica and changed how they hand out water at running aid stations.  Check out the 82GO pack.


Online, I found HERE that Rev3 states 82GO will be available at the Knoxville event, but there's no mention of it on the Quassy homepage.  Maybe I'll find out tomorrow.  I think these things are awesome and I have a couple to test out.

Post-Edit:
I just heard back from Rev3 and 82GO will definitely be on course for Rev3 Quassy.


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Questions
1.  What are your plans for the weekend?  How has it been so far?
Anything exciting?

2.  Do you have a "natural" pace range that you fit into?  Does it feel wrong to go above or below that?
My knees and shins don't like running slow.  Neither does my mind.  It can literally cause me to loose my temper if I don't stick to my pace range at times.  

3.  What are your thoughts on water cups?  
Good, bad, needed to be changed?  Do you think 82GO will go over well?


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My New Puddle Splashers!

Have you ever thought "Oh-Man!  I have to wash my running socks already?!"  Have you ever run shortly after a rain remember the good ol' days of splashing in puddles as you do your best to jump over or around them?

Well, those days are over!!  
Introducing the revolutionary new running shoe...

Pearl Izumi ISO Transitions (aka, Puddle Splashers)


Yesterday, I took my new Pearl Izumi ISO Transitions out for their virgin run.  I did an easy two miles out and back to see how they felt.  They felt great, so I did another three mile out and back.

The two greatest things I like about these shoes thus far are the drain holes on the bottom and the fact that I can go without socks.

I've long wondered how people can just pour cup after cup after cup of water on themselves during a race.  I understand it keeps you cool, but from sweat alone my shoes can get soaked and start feeling like bricks.  Those days are gone!  During the run, I actually did my best to HIT every puddle because it cooled my feet off a bit and within four steps, the water was gone.  Incredible!!  Bring on the buckets of water!!

I also love that I can run without socks.  Not only does this mean that I can cut time on my transitions, but if I choose to train in the ISOs, I can avoid having to do laundry so often.  Honestly, 90% of the reason I decide to do laundry when I do is because I need clean running socks.  Since I still shudder at paying so much for these shoes, I may very well reserve them more for racing, but they will still always be an option.  My PI Streak IIs also have drain holes for rainy day runs.

Then today, I did my first brick - 13 mile ride & 8 mile run.  I used the ISO Transitions for both and while they're certainly not the ideal cycling shoe, they held up brilliantly on the run at 6:52 pace.  Aside from my debate of what to wear cycling (the ISOs or an old pair or sneakers), I can't wait for the season to start! 

** Disclaimer **
Some of you might scoff at the idea of running 12 miles in two days in new shoes.  I want to let you know that I've run in the Pearl Izumi Streak IIs since January and aside from a slight change in upper material, the ISO Transitions are the same shoe - same sole material, same heel-to-toe drop, etc.  If this were not the case, I would have started much slower.  

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Questions
1.  Do you have a triathlon specific running shoe?
These are my first and I love 'em!

2.  What do you use for cycling in?  A cycling shoe or your running shoes?
Do you really notice THAT much of a difference with cycling shoes?


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gosh Darn You Blisters!!

I'm a triathlete.  It's a given that I deal with the occasional blister; most often from running.  I even have my own sort of protocol when it comes to them too.

If I get a minor blister, I take one day off of running and let the skin "reattach" as I call it.  I'll be sure to use some vaseline on the next run.

If I get a major blister, I let it sit for a day without running.  Then I puncture it to let the liquid drain.  Leaving the skin where it is, I'll run on that for a few days.  Once I feel the skin underneath has toughened up a bit, I'll remove the blistered skin layer and expose the new skin.  If I timed it correctly, I can run on the new skin without a worry.  If I did not time it correctly, this is when it gets interesting. 

Thankfully, since I switched over to more of a mid-foot strike, I've avoided the majority of blisters I used to get.  However, on long runs, it becomes more and more likely that I'll end up with s-o-m-e blisters.  And with a 14 mile Friday afternoon run and 7 mile run Saturday morning (21 miles in under 18 hours), I should have known it was coming. 

I got a blister on the outside of both pinky toes.  They were a good size and I could tell there was built up liquid.  I figured with a few days off from running ahead, I'd expose them early and get the worst part over with.  Wrong!  I drained 'em and let 'em sit for a day.  Then on Sunday I exposed them.  Even walking now makes me aware of their presence.

I did 15 mile rides yesterday and Monday which weren't bad.  I can feel them there, but it's easy to ignore.  Running is going to be difficult though.  I really want to test out my new Pear Izumi ISO Transitions though!!  +\  What to do?  What to do?

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Questions
1.  Do you get blisters?  Occasionally?, all the time?, or rarely?
I've got a couple places that get them on my feet, but only on long runs.

2.  What is your most annoying minor injury?  Blisters?, muscle that is continuously sore?, shin splints?, etc.
Blisters are annoying, but black toenails are my least favorite.  They've put me out for weeks at a time before!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

9th Anniversary is... Carbon Fiber?!

Trust me, this is good.

I was at the LBS Saturday wasting some time when I should have been doing multiple workouts and I met a lady who was looking at hydration systems.  We got in a discussion with one of the employees and they decided to bring her bike to the back room to test out different setups.  This lady's husband walked back with the bike and after looking at 3-4 different setups told her, "Honey, I already spent so much on the bike, you might as well get the expensive setup.  If you go cheap, it's going to ruin what you got with the carbon bike."  Not usually what you hear the significant other saying - telling you to spend more money.

At this point another LBS employee was listening in and says "What a nice gift!"  The bike was a Fuji - I think a D-6 2.0.  This lady responds "Yeah, this is a 9th year anniversary gift."

Hang on a second!

I thought the 9th anniversary was supposed to be Pottery - or Copper for those following the U.K. version.  I guess athletes have their own list they go by. 

I totally want someone who goes by the triathlete's anniversary gift listing!  Heck with pottery!

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Questions
1.  For those of you who are married, do either of you go by the actual anniversary listing?
Anyone know where I can find the triathlete anniversary gift listing?

2.  How many times have you heard your significant other encouraging you to spend more money?!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Indecision over Rear Hydration Systems

How I go from wanting one thing to feeling I need ten others, I have no idea, but I guess that's the US marketing system at work.

Initial Posit: I need a way to carry my flat tire gear on the tri bike.

Initial Conclusion: Purchase the Xlab Mini bag.  $19.99 at the LBS plus my 15% discount.  Awesome.

Seems simple enough, right?

Confounding Posit: I looked at the mini bag and ended up looking at the Xlab wings.  Then I got to thinking.  My tri bike has one less cage than the road bike I've raced with before.  On a 70.3, I'm sure I could get away with only two bottles.  But with the 140.6 in October, I'll bet I'm going to want a 3rd bottle if not a 4th for crazy training rides, especially since they'll be supplying HEED which I can't stomach - I'll need extra Gatorade bottles.  The XLab Mini Wing comes with a mini bag.  That could be the best of both worlds, but it's more $$ up front.  The guys at the shop also suggest switching the cages to avoid launching - that's even more $$.  Therefore, do I bite the bullet and get the full rear hydration system now or just the bag?

Possible Solution #1: Just the bag
If I get the Xlab Mini Bag, it should fit all my gear - 1x tube, 2x CO2s, valve, and levers - but I will need to get the hydration system later. 

Possible Solution #2: Get it all now
If I get the whole system (mini or turbo wing, bottle cages, Xnut, mini bag), I'll be set, but it's going to be rather expensive. 

The bag itself is roughly $16.  I can get the XLab Mini Wing system for $50 which includes the bag and two cages.  But if I go with the LBS suggestion, the XLab Turbo Wing is gonna' cost me $50 and doesn't include the bag or cages. 

Possible Solution #3: Mix the Pros and the Age Groupers as one.
Did you notice how Chris Lieto and Craig Alexander (among others) mount their rear hydration?



I'll admit that Alexander's setup (right) look a little more official than Lieto's taped cage (left), but they both zip tie a single bottle cage to the saddle.  Quite simple.  However, this leaves me with the issue of where to store my flat tire gear.  Well, the age groupers from Kona have a solution...


Electrical tape!  And I thought duct tape solved all problems; apparently not.  I even had a customer at the LBS suggest this to me too.  I guess it's more common than I thought. 

Decisions!!


Any thoughts?

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Questions
1.  Do you have a rear hydration system?
If so, what do you use and/or what would you suggest? 

2. Have you ever taped anything to your bike?  
Would electrical tape really be strong/durable enough?


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The kid who hates dressing up just bought TWO suits!

That's right.  This kid (yes, kid.  I will forever refer to myself as kid.) absolutely detests dressing up. The only exception is when it is not required/assumed and I can have some fun with it.  Aside from that, I'll rock a pair of jeans, a race shirt, and old running shoes every day of the week!


But stop the presses!!! 
I now own two suits.

Want to see 'em?

The first one arrived yesterday.  To tell you the truth, I even ordered two of these just to get the size right.  I'll send the extra back.

That's right.  Suit #1 is a wetsuit.  Don't look at me.  I didn't lie to you.  It's a "suit" isn't it?  Maybe not something they'd prefer I wear out to high scale restaurants or interviews, but a suit all the same.  Actually, if I could wear that to an interview and not get thrown out right away, that's the kind of job I want!!

After much debating, I went with the Xterra Sleeveless Vortex 4 wetsuit.  I went with sleeveless because I have a swimming background.  The idea of a restricted arm movement makes me shiver.  And while it would have been ~$20 cheaper to go with a clearance Orca S3, I didn't have the ability to send that one back.  So for an extra $20, I bought peace of mind.  Plus, I got this suit at 60% off through my triathlon group.  I swear, that was the best $35 membership fee I ever paid!  So far, I'm liking the Small-Long better than the Medium-Long, but I need to take both out to the lake next weekend to test them out.

Ready for suit #2?  No, it's not a wetsuit.  It's a Zoot Suit!


Get it?  Triathlon "suit" by Zoot.  =P  Even if you're not laughing, I got a chuckle out of it.  The Zoot tri shorts I've had for two seasons already and I love them.  When it's time to replace them, I'm pretty sure I'll get another from Zoot.  The jersey, however, is new.  I've looked at a number of jerseys and knew I'd prefer side pockets to a back pocket and I would need a half or 3/4 zip.  But I've gone bug-eyed at the prices.  Even the cheap ones are $50.

But yet again, my tendency to procrastinate and the fact that I'm thrifty (and that's putting it nicely) worked for me.  I found the jersey at my LBS on the 75% off rack!  Granted, I wasn't thrilled it was red, my least favorite color, but on the bright side, now I match my wife.  I'm sure she's enjoying that!


Lastly, you can't go wearing a suit without proper shoes!  This was actually the main reason I went to the LBS today.  I had ordered some dress shoes in my size.  They don't exactly match the suit, but I don't have to wear dress socks with them and they're quite comfortable!  The Pearl Izumi ISO Transitions, in size 11.5 (the exact same size I wear in the Pearl Izumi Streak IIs)




I've already planned on not having a positive budget this month.  With these purchases plus a bike case I'm picking up next week, a bike bag still to decide on, and nutrition to find, I'm screwed.  These purchases will get me through Rev3 at Quassy in June and then I'll probably be in the negative again in October with purchases for B2B. 

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Questions
1.  Do you like dressing up?
I've never liked it.  It was always uncomfortable as a kid, but now screams conformity to me.  Why can't we all be respected while wearing comfortable clothes?

2.  Do you own a wetsuit?  How the heck do you get them off quickly?!
I spent longer getting the suits off than I did getting them on!

3.  Do you have brands that you are loyal to?, doesn't have to be sport related.
I love Zoot's apparel - it just fits right.  Pearl Izumi hasn't steered me wrong yet. 


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Paleo Bail
That's right.  I've completely bailed on the Paleo diet.  (*gasp*)  During the first week, I was incredibly low on energy and was hungry 24/7 even while eating every 2 hours.  My workouts suffered because I didn't have the energy to push them to the level/length they should be at and I even skipped a few in order to rest.  I stuck with it anyways and then had my one cheat day which fell on the same day my dad came to visit.  We hit up Panera Bread, Ruby Tuesday's and got hibachi at a local Japanese restaurant.  The next day, I had the best training session in two or three weeks.  I decided then to add back in some non-Paleo foods in order to keep up on calories, but even after two days of that, I felt my energy drop again. 

Therefore, in order to preserve what I've accomplished through training since January, I bailed on Paleo for the time being.  As much as I still believe it can work, I am going to need more time to test it during training in order to get it right. 

Brooks Running Superfans
If you have no idea what that means, you need to watch this video...

video

Runner's World posted that to Facebook and that's where I saw it.  And if you check it HERE on youtube, you'll find a bunch of other hilarious videos. 


Days Off
My gym is currently undergoing renovations, which means I get three days off (today through Saturday).  What am I doing with my days off you may ask?, I'm taking the opportunity to secretly test out classes with the trainers at our other locations.  I also jumped into doing a Crossfit workout tomorrow with some ladies from my own classes.  Since I can't do class with them Thursday, I promised if they go to the local Crossfit gym on Friday, I'll join 'em.  They agreed immediately.  So now I have to ride my bike 14 miles to get to a 7AM bootcamp, ride home, rest, and then ride 15 miles to Crossfit.  Oh the things I do to encourage fitness!  haha



Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Training Week Review (04/30 - 05/06)

TOTALS
Swim - 7750 yards (4.4 miles)
48% increase in weekly mileage

Bike - 63.46 miles
105% increase in weekly mileage

Run -12.53 miles
35% decrease in weekly mileage



MONDAY

OFF

TUESDAY

CROSSFIT
5 Rounds

10x Squat Clean Thruster (75lb)
10x pushup
400m Run

Round 1 - 3:01
Round 2 - 2:44
Round 3 - 2:51
Round 4 - 3:01
Round 5 - 2:59
TOTAL - 14:38
(1:09 faster than last time)

SWIM
3000 Yards

500 FBB
10x 50s on 0:50
5x 100s on 1:40
5x 100s on 1:35
2x 4-3-2-1 swim
5x 50s on 0:45
250 FBB


WEDNESDAY

RUN
5.28 miles in 36:17 at 6:52 pace

THURSDAY

BIKE
(trainer)
1:10:00 ride without computer
Approximately 24 miles


FRIDAY

SWIM
3000 Yards

500 FBB
10x 50s on 0:50
500 Swim ()
5x 50s on 0:45
500 Swim ()
5x 50s stroke/swim on 0:50
4-3-2-1 swim
250 FBB
SATURDAY

RUN
7.25 miles in 59:51 at 8:15 pace

** I took the lead of our 10k training group 
and was able to push one of them to well under his 10k goal pace.
He's now shooting for a pace, one full minute faster.  **

SUNDAY

SWIM
1750 Yards

500 FBB
5x 100 IMs on 1:45
2x 4-3-2-1 swim
250 FBB

YOGA

BIKE
(outdoors)
39.46 miles in 2:17:32 at 17.21 mph

** After Saturday's Paleo cheat day, 
Sunday was one of the best training days I've had in weeks. 
However, my ride took too long and wasn't able to fit my ride in. **

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Questions
1.  How was your training week?  


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Paleo Energy Low (Day #4)

I'm on Day #4 of Paleo and I just had one of the worst trainer rides I can remember. 

I woke up and made a sizable breakfast.  A half hour later, I racked the road bike into the trainer (the tri bike is still at the shop getting adjusted) and I hopped on for an hour and a half ride.  I knew right from the start that I was low on energy and it didn't take long to figure out why - I didn't even get five minutes in and my stomach began growling. 

I ran into the kitchen, stuffed a handful of peanuts in my mouth and grabbed a couple mandarin oranges.  I started pedaling again and ate one of the oranges.  The growling was abated, but not for long.  At the 40 minute mark it began growling again.  I ate the other orange and only lasted another 30 minutes. 

Time Travel back to yesterday...

I had a late breakfast and went out for a run within a half hour; 5.28 mile tempo.  I was going to cruise the first two miles, pick up the next two, cruise the fourth plus a bit, and pick it up on the final mile.  The first mile went fine (7:30) and then my tummy started growling.  Seriously?  You're hungry already?  I still pushed it to a 6:35 pace, cruised at a 7:20 pace, and brought it home at 6:20 pace.  I quickly showered and made lunch, only about 1.5 hours after having breakfast.  Then I got to work and the tummy was making noises within another hour. 

It took time in the last Paleo round to get used to the volume of food, which I'm sure is what's happening again - this time with training involved it's going to be even more.  But if it continues on this path and I can't balance it by early next week, I'm considering putting milk back in the mix as a post-workout drink.  My body is processing this food so quickly and they are much less calorie dense that I'm getting hungry much sooner. 

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Questions
1.  Any good ideas for strict Paleo snacks?
I might go get raw cashews this weekend despite them being a bit expensive. 


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Rewind...

Some stats from the month of April...

Swimming Total: 21,000 yards (11.93 miles)

Cycling Total: 190.7 miles

Running Total: 93.36 miles

Strength Training Workouts: 6

Yoga Workouts: 3

No. of Races Completed: 1 (goal - 12)

Experiments Initiated:
- Cadence on 04/24
- Paleo Round #2 began on 04/30

Monthly Budget Report: Positive (4th month straight!)

Yearly Savings Goal: I'm at ~75% of my goal and only 66% of the year to go.  Thank you Tax Return!!



Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.