Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mass starts? I'm not even Catholic...

Sunday: Rest Day

Four weeks done of IMLP training.  28 days...not a missed workout yet.  My swimming felt exceptionally strong this past week.  In fact, I knocked out back to back 2300 yd workouts at speeds I've never hit before.  Now...speed is relative.  But it was a win in my book.  Saturday was a solid 3 hr ride...with 1:50 in zone 3, followed by a short run.  Spent the day relaxing with the family, cooking quinoa, playing my guitar, being lazy and getting ready for the next three weeks.  27 days until my next rest day.

The buzz around Ironman is that the iconic "mass" swim start is on the way out.
Ironman, no doubt is moving in this direction in the interest of safety.  Last year, with a death in the NYC Ironman swim, and numerous deaths in other triathlon swims, a growing concern has arisen regarding the safety of such starts.  Race directions have scrambled to, if nothing else, appear to be proactive.  Will a time trial start be safer?   Perhaps.  Will a time trial start help save that guy who has a pre-existing heart condition?  Not likely.  For the record...I'd rather have a mass start.  It's part of the IM experience.  It's part of the ambience that is Ironman.  It's part of the nerves before the cannon goes off.  It's part of what makes you feel like a warrior...heading into battle.
As with many things in life...I don't think there is an easy answer.  Either way, I'm showing up to Lake Placid with one goal, and one goal only.  The race is within.  If I start 5 mins behind another be it.  Why would I judge the success of my day based on the performance of someone else?  In the end, effort is between you and you alone.  Mass start?  Time trial?  Bring it the end, I'm 140.6 miles from the end...and I've got a long day ahead of me.  
Who knows...I'll probably enjoy the day a little more without a broken nose.

My favorite triathlon, swim start training video:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ironman Ate My Marriage

Just wrapped up my first 3 week training block.  Feeling very good, diet good, recovery good.  All systems go!  My first rest day of the program is today, and I am loving it.  This is a recovery/testing week, with testing on the bike, in the pool, and a 5k run test on Friday.  Time to set some benchmarks.

I stumbled across this article today: Workout Ate My Marriage  (thanks Seeds And Iron)

Man and woman get married.  Have kids.  Man turns into endurance athlete.  "Among endurance athletes, though, resentment on the part of spouses is a common topic. The phenomenon may develop into what Pete Simon, an Arizona psychologist, triathlon coach and blogger, calls "Divorce by Triathlon." "I often wonder how many lonely wives, husbands, children of triathletes are out there wondering when the insanity is going to end," he wrote."

Rather than worrying about when the insanity will goal is to not let it start.
So, how to keep the insanity at bay:
  • My wife and I were both on the same page PRIOR to signing up for this
  • This race is the exception...while some run 5 marathons a year...or an IM every year...this would be my ONE shot...for a while.  "Make it a good one" she said.  :)
  • Get it in.  Get after it.  Get done.  That's my philosophy.  Intensity > Hours slogging away in Zone1.  When I found Endurance Nation, I heard the angels singing.  Work Works.
  • "Sleeping in" is dead to me.  My wife doesn't like it...but getting up and getting a workout done prior to anyone else getting up is huge.  More training while they are sleeping means less training while they aren't sleeping.  It's not rocket science.
  • Don't be a freak about stuff to your spouse.  Don't drone on endlessly about workouts, power FTP, heart rate zones, butt cream, etc.  Make sure your spouse knows that you've got a 5 hr ride planned for Sunday morning.  Get your ass out of bed at 4:30am and be home in time for 2nd breakfast.
  • If you've got to eat something special...make it yourself.
  • Do your absolute best to stay awake...for as long as you can.  9:30 seems to be my cutoff.
  • Find some special things to do for your random times.  Flowers, text messages, corny notes, pictures, find something...and do it.
So that's how I've tried to keep the insanity at bay.  How about you?

Don't let Ironman Eat Your Marriage!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What's In Your Stomach?

AM: 2200yds in the pool

Food.  A little thing that has made a big difference over the past month.  So what's in your kitchen?  Or more specifically, what's in MY kitchen?

My wonderful wife let me take over a cupboard, so I loaded it up with a bunch of stuff that puts the ass in nasty (as I heard a fellow twitterer put it once).

First things first, the steps I took to drop a few pounds (which I figured would be difficult to do) and give me more energy:
1. Ditched breakfast (most days) for a Superfood smoothie
2. Hit a second smoothie mid morning
3. Smart Lunches (plan/prepare weekend=no work during week)
4. Afternoon snack
5. Ditch processed foods (mostly)
6. Applied the "If you have to open, don't eat it" rule (mostly)
7. Ate WHATEVER my awesome wife makes for dinner (because it's usually amazing)
8. Smart snacks after dinner
9. Drink lots of water

I've been doing several of the things listed above for years...but not on a consistent basis.  So what changed?  The game changers:
1. The obvious:  I signed up for Lake Placid.  Major goal...made nutrition/diet important to me.  If it's important to'll find a way.
2. I watched Food Matters on Netflix.  Mind blown.
3. I read up on Rich Roll.  He's plant powered.
4. Read all about the Superfoods.  Ordered the superfoods (well, some of them) from  The website is amazing, with great prices and delivery.

The staples of my green smothies (my breakfast most morning):

  • I use Bolthouse Green Goodness for just a LITTLE base.  I have found this to give my green smothie a smooth, tastiness that I couldn't replicate myself.  (but just a little medium bottle will last me all week)
  • Kale
  • Spirulina-great source of protein, with all the amino acids
  • Wheat Grass
  • Maca Powder-for energy
  • Flax Seed
  • Chia Seeds
  • Whey Protein
  • Greek Yogurt (plain)
  • Kiwi or 1/2 banana
  • Blueberries
  • Avacado
  • Acai Juice (just a little)
I don't put all that in every time...

The staples of my mid-morning smoothie:
  • OJ
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Whey Protein
  • Frozen Mix Berry Fruit and/or cherries
  • Bee Pollen (powder)

My lunches:

  • Salad (usually 3 per week)
    • Spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, cottage cheese
  • Quinoa, Sweet Potato (once per week?)
  • Salmon (once per week)
Afternoon Snack:
  • Almond Butter/Banana Sandwich (1 slice bread) or
  • Clif Bar (one of my exceptions to my "don't open it to eat it" rule)
  • Green Tea
  • Multi-vitamin
  • Vitamin C 
  • Glucosamine-Chondroitin 
  • Turmeric

And that's it in a "nut" shell.  There is room for improvement...but I'm really happy with the way things have shaped up in the last month and a half. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who is your "we"?

AM: 4.5 mile run, w/mile 3&4 at tempo

I still remember my first words to my wife after the 2006 Grandmas Marathon: "We did it."
The goal was simple for that race: 3:10 and qualify for Boston. I almost didn't even enjoy the race...I felt like I was going up there with a job to do. All business.
The race started well...I was hitting my early miles slightly under target pace and felt very good about finishing on time. And then the carnage began to unfold...temps and humidity soared and many had to adjust game plans. Except, I was in my own world...and just keep hammering out the miles. Unfortunately, the pace fell off. I saw my wife around mile 21...things were going south. At that point, I was pretty sure I was done. Later my wife would admit that she didn't think a 3:10 was possible at that point.
However, my all too brief encounter with my wife and 3 year old daughter...proved to be everything I needed. "We" were going to make it. And we did.
Recently, our town of Byron, IL rallied around our former high school football star, who is now with the Baltimore Ravens. After the Super Bowl, I can't tell you how many posted on social media, or made the comments that "We won!"...despite the fact that NONE of us had done SQUAT! But we felt part of the journey and part if the story. In many ways...we had won.
Our WE speaks volumes about our ME. And I'm blessed to have surrounded myself with family and friends who make ME, the best I can.
My WE certainly starts with my best friend and companions through wife and daughters, Shannon and Elinor. But it extends to the people I work with, the students I interact with, my family members who, despite months-or years, away from, don't miss a best to say "I love you" or "I'm proud of you".
So many have a hand in my journey to July 28th, 2013...and together, WE are going to own Lake Placid.
Thanks for reading! Thanks for being part of my WE! Happy training!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's Only Triathlon...

Wrapped up a good week of training with a solid weekend of training:

Friday am: 8.6 mile run
Saturday: 2hr bike (main set: 3x8 @ 100-110%FTP, 2x12 @ 85%FTP)
Sunday: 2hr bike (main set: 90 mins at 80-85% FTP) (ABP = always be pushing)

February Goals:
1. Stay heathy
2. No missed workouts
3. Continue to eat well
4. Finish Reading Racing & Training with Power
5. Keep a healthy perspective

It's easy to get wrapped up in this race.  It's way too easy to let it consume you and let yourself believe that you are doing something so important that people should stop you on the street and and tell you "Holy train for 20 hours a week in spandex and eat blue-green algae?  You must be the greatest human south of Manitoba."  But's just triathlon.

2,000 people are going to crawl into Mirror Lake.  Millions have done this before.  It's just a really expensive hobby.  We are not Seal Team Six, we are not curing cancer, nor are we changing lives on a daily basis.  I save that for my daily job.  At least I like to think I do.

With all that said...I absolutely love the adventure that triathlon is.  My journey to Lake Placid might not change the world.  No doubt, it will change my wife's world (as she adjusts to all the demands this adventure has placed on our lives).  It might change my daughters world, just a little bit.  The journey might inspire a few friends (new and old) along the way.  It might inspire a few of my students or some of my runners.  But most of all...the journey will change my world.  And in the end...that is enough for me.