Ironman Finisher

Hope this finds everyone enjoying their holiday weekend! I finished Ironman Arizona in 10:51:28, 58th out of 237 finishers in my age group. Not bad, not bad at all. Met my goal of finishing under 11hours, so that was great! The race overall was quite an impressive event. Almost 3000 participants started and somewhere around 2500 finished. My wife and her parents came down for the event, as did my friend John. Their help was awesome! I saw them twice on the bike course, and three times on the bike. Looking for them made that portion of the bike and run a little easier. Since I began training for this, everything I've read has said that at some point during the race you will feel really, really awful and want to quit. Not so. At no point did I feel really, really awful and want to quit. There were times when I didn't feel good, and I certainly felt tired the last half of the marathon, but I was so happy to be on the last half of the marathon that it didn't matter. I felt like the vast majority of the race was behind me at that point. Just had to hammer the rest of it home. My entire race strategy was to arrive at mile twenty of the marathon with something left in my tank, and I did. I came up on mile twenty and thought to myself "two more easy miles, then I'm going to hammer it." Two miles later I said the same thing to myself, and then the last mile and a half I picked up the pace for a strong finish. It was awesome!

I can't say enough about the volunteers in AZ. They were outstanding! Every one of them worked hard to put on an awesome event and take care of the athletes… I don't think I'll ever forget the guy in cowboy drag at the Phoenix multisport table handing out water… he made me laugh and put a smile on my face for the next several miles. These races would not be possible without all the volunteers, so thank one next time you race, or better yet, volunteer yourself!

I also owe thanks to everyone who donated to the SOF Warrior Foundation I was raising money for with this race! For those of you who donated, thank you very, very much! Janus hasn't given me a total yet, but heartfelt thanks from me and those kids you help send to college!

Next challenge: Ironman St. George, May 1 2010!


Race Week

Race week is finally here! I'm ready, rested, and ready to get this thing done! Did I mention I'm ready? I'm into the period where I can't possibly gain any fitness, so it's just a matter of finishing my taper and taking it easy all week. Of course, school being school, I've got two lab finals and an organic chemistry test this week, so it's hardly stress free. That said, I feel strangely relaxed and ready. For all of it. I've got three brick workouts left, then race morning! I'm really just ready to start already. I don't want anymore prep. My whole year has been moving towards this race. I know what I need to do, and I feel good. No worries. I'm just going to go out and treat it like a long training day, not take it too hard, and hit my target wattage. My target watts for the majority of the bike are 215, with my do not exceed level around 250. There's only one hill on the three lap course, and it's only about 2-3% for a couple miles, nothing compared to what's around the big CO. My goal is really just to be as fresh off the bike as possible. Then to survive the marathon. It won't be fun, the marathon. But it will be the end. I'm really looking forward to that finish line!


Rehab, Taper, and Riding Outside in November

    Record highs let me ride outside this Friday, which was a very, very pleasant change from the hours I've put in on the trainer in recent weeks. Don't get me wrong, I love the trainer. It's the best workout for the time you put in that you can get. You have minimal prep time, don't have to worry about cars, clothes, light, or weather, and there is no resting. No coasting or recovery on the downhills. That said, I don't know anyone that fell in love with riding bikes because the trainer is such a great way to spend your time. Everyone I know rides because they love to be outside, love the views, and like to go fast. Oh yeah, it also happens to be a great workout. Most of my friends thought I was nuts to ride inside two days a week during the spring and summer this year. None of them could ride with me outside yesterday, either. Apparently they have 'jobs' which 'pay' for things like 'rent' and 'food.' Suckers. So now they are stuck inside while I get to ride outside every-so-often. All things considered, I was really lucky to get out this Friday, as I'm about two weeks from race day and needed some time on the asphalt to remember how to ride a bike outside. It's been almost three weeks since I was last outside. That's kind of a while for me. No matter, did about 4hrs at an average wattage of 176 or so. Not as easy as I should have gone, as I hammered up some of the 7000ft of vertical harder than I should have, but still lots of fun and not so hard that it ruined my taper for IM AZ. Hopefully I can get outside next week as well!!!


Trainer Rides, Persistence, and Sore knees

I am a persistent, stubborn guy. Ask my wife. So after last weeks' five and a half hour trainer ride, I figured a six hour version would suck just as much, but be doable. Six hours on an indoor trainer tests even my stubbornness. It hurt. It hurt my buddy who did it with me (http://therecoveryride.blogspot.com/). Worst of all, it hurt my knee. Through my entire season I have been very lucky and avoided injury. So when my knee started hurting about hour 3 during the trainer ride, I didn't really think about it too much. At hour four, it really hurt, so I switched my cleat position a little bit and continued. Hour five it hurt badly enough that I couldn't sit upright for more than 30 seconds; I had to be on the aero bars. The 35 minute run off the end of the bike was the most miserable I've been in a long time. My knee hurt. I finished the run anyway. Like I said, I'm stubborn. I figured it was just my IT band tightening up and causing the pain in my knee. So I stretched it after the run, iced it for the next 24 hours, and started on some ibuprofen. After all, I had a three hour run coming up on Sunday and I wasn't interested in missing it.

I woke up Sunday and the leg felt ok. By the afternoon it was feeling pretty good, actually. So I stretched it out for 15 minutes or so and started my run. I've got a really, really pretty route for my long runs that leaves the front door of my house and heads west up to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains through Bear Creek Park and then Red Rocks Amphitheater. It gains about 2100ft over the 20 miles, depending on how exactly I run it. I ran about 2 miles to the first hill and my knee started hurting. The only saving grace was that the pain changed location based on whether I was ascending or descending. So when I was running uphill, I couldn't wait for the downhill, and when I was running downhill, I couldn't wait for the next uphill. The flats were pure misery. I contemplated just quitting. More than once. I thought about it a lot. It would be easy to just stop running, start walking, call my wife, and wait for her to come get me. I figured I'd do that when I got to the top of Red Rocks Amphitheater. I mean, I couldn't actually quit before I got to the top. So then I got to the top, turned around and started down. I figured I'd call her at the bottom of the descent…. My knee was hurting in a different place, and it would be a fast downhill. Seemed silly to waste all that speed sitting in a car. So I ran down the major hill into the town of Morrison. I couldn't very well quit in front of all the tourists in Morrison. So I slogged on, gritting my teeth. Then I was back in the park. It's downhill through the park, with one flat section, and one uphill on the way home. I looked at my knee, gritted my teeth and thought to myself there was no way in hell I was letting a little knee pain ruin this perfectly good run. It was, after all, 75 degrees and an absolutely beautiful day outside. I wasn't interested in spending it feeling sorry for myself as I walked home or waited on a ride. As I got to the last hill, I figured the run was in the bag. Yeah right. My knee started to hurt bad enough I felt nauseous. I've enough medical experience that I know that's not really a good thing. I figured I'd finish the run. I mean, it's not like it was that far at that point. I couldn't have had more than a couple miles to go. So I took off down the hill. Ran hard the rest of the way home. Came in right around three hours. We live on the third floor, and I was standing at the bottom of the stairs. My whole lower leg hurt. Foot was a little numb, and I thought about calling my wife to help me up the stairs… and then I put my hand on the railing and started up. I'm stubborn, remember? Oh, and my knee still hurts, but it's healing.


Good times and cold rides

    Went for a long Friday ride a few weeks ago with my buddies. Colorado is beautiful in the fall, except that it gets really, really, cold (like the past two weeks). So that outside ride was the last one up that road for the winter. Locally known as 'Oh My God' road, it's a fairly steep gravel road that ascends from 7200ft to 9000ft in 5 miles. It's awesome. A really great climb. After we hit that pass, we hit Golden Gate Canyon as well. It was a great five hour ride with over 11,000ft of climbing. The best part was the view! I'd forgotten what fall was like in the Colorado High Country. The leaves on the Aspen were gold and orange in the middle of an evergreen sea. It was great. The company was rather nice as well. It's rare I get to ride with my friends these days. Time, life and my training schedule has cramped our collective style lately, but I'm sure we'll knock out some trainer rides this winter. Maybe we'll venture outside. My friend Jeff and I tried last Friday, but it was 23 degrees at 7 when we had to start, so we endured five and half hours on trainers. I have an ironman coming up, so I was obligated to do it. Jeff wasn't, but he kept me company anyway. I think I'd be a drooling idiot without him. The conversation and mutual suffering kept me sane somehow. We went through two and half movies. Layercake, by the way is a really good British gangster film starring Daniel Craig, who is excellent. I'd advise watching it without fans blowing though. British slang is somewhat hard for me to understand as it is, and I had a hell of a time on the trainer. Anyway, averaged 197 watts on the trainer, and 184 outside. My power continues to go up, which is awesome. I also feel really strong right now, which is great. Hopefully the trend continues. 6 weeks till Ironman Arizona!



It's always good to have a good race, and setting a PR is even better! I finished the Harvest Moon 70.3 early this afternoon in 4:57:45. I'll take it. My goal was to break 5 hours, though I have to admit I thought it was a stretch. It's good to have goals… and sometimes long shots work out in your favor. It was really, really cold for the swim…. And the bike…. And yeah, the run too. The water was 68, I think, which in and of itself is not too bad, but the air temp hovered around 50, which was damn cold when you are in 68 degree water. But the swim went well, and I didn't have to un-jam my own finger like I did in early August. The bike was a good time. The course was rolling hills for the most part, with one long gentle (like 2%, I think) downhill on the first leg of the loop, then a bunch of rolling hills that were generally uphill to get back to the start. Average watts on the bike were 218, with average speed around 21.5 and average HR of 151. I could have gone harder, I think. At the time, I was concerned with the run, and felt that trying to save my legs for it a little was a good idea. After I jumped off the bike, I settled in for a 13.1 mi run around Aurora reservoir. It was really rather pretty, though more concrete then I am generally a fan of. It was rolling hills with an AWESOME support crew at the aid stations every mile or so. I was hoping I would regain contact with my feet during the run, as I hadn't been able to feel them since before the swim, but they didn't decide to join the party until halfway through the run or so. I felt like I was running on blocks of wood there for a while. Good times! All's well that ends well, though, and as my exhausted body crossed the finish right around 5hrs, I was rather pleased. Colder than an ice-cube in Antarctica, but pleased.


Race coming….bike ready?

    I'm doing the Harvest Man 70.3 this Saturday, and while I know I'm ready, I've no confidence in my bike. Every ride something continues to go wrong. Despite this, I had a great ride last Friday, roughly four hours at 200 watts. A long, slow ride. It was good. Of course, that excludes the ½ hour dealing with a loose rear cassette, loose crank bolt, and a few other things. I also had a good ride yesterday. I did a real short but somewhat intense 40min ride with three five minute intervals at 270-290 watts. It was a really good workout, especially when followed by a 20 minute run. I feel physically ready for Saturday, but I'm still harboring doubts about this bike… yesterday the Garmin on it was being difficult, and the cassette was threatening to loosen up at the end of the ride. Sigh… I'm somewhat frustrated with the whole thing. I'm taking off to get worked on, again, tomorrow. We'll see how that goes. I'm rather sick of equipment problems, I have to say. I've started taking a complete bike tool set to every ride… that's not really a good sign, is it? Anyway, I should have good news on Sunday. I'll make sure everything is tightened down and lubed up for Saturday… wish me luck!


Lemon Law for Bikes??

    I haven't been blogging much lately, mostly because every ride I complete, something goes wrong with my bike and I want to throw it out the window when I get home. Seriously. The crank bolt has come loose every ride four or five times in a row, despite lock-tite. The front derailleur cable broke yesterday, out of the blue. The water bottle cage behind the seat dropped a couple of bolts somewhere on my route… the list goes on. It's not like I don't take care of the thing. My mechanic friends are getting sick of seeing me. At first it was "well, TT bikes are just finicky" and "now you know what it's like to own a Ferrari…. Constant maintenance" Now it's more like…."You?!? AGAIN?!?! Get this …four letter word, seven letter word, piece of four letter word OUT OF HERE!" Either that, or they just laugh at me openly…. Ahh… fun times. I'm sick of it. I think maybe I'll take it to a shop and have it rebuilt from scratch. If that doesn't work, I'm running it over with a semi.


Watts Pyramid

    Just did a sick workout in my hotel room… had to share. Warm-up for 10 minutes, then start at your CP60, do 5 minutes, then 5 minutes at CP30, then 5minutes at CP20. Active recovery for two minutes, then 3 repetitions of the following: 1min @ CP20 plus 20watts, 1min @ CP20 plus 15watts, 1min @ CP20 plus 10 watts, 1min @ CP20 plus 5 watts, 1min @ CP20, two minutes of active recovery. Over the next two weeks, I'll add one interval each week, for a total of five. This workout is excellent, really puts a burn in your legs and increases your FTP. With a five minute cool down, a three interval session takes about an hour, and I'm fairly beat afterward, but it's a great workout. Gotta give the credit to my coach for turning me on to this one.

On a side note, no stomach problems for me, though my diet is a tad more restricted than I'd like, but it's a small price to pay for the clean bill of health I'm shooting for. In addition, I get back to Colorado in 8 days…. But who's counting ;)



    Wow. It's been a crazy few weeks. Got back to Colorado from Fayetteville, where I was working, to try to cram a summer's worth of errands and life into one week. I was busy, but got a lot done. My training suffered more than it should have, but I did get a sweet ride up Mt. Evans in! Of course, on my truncated schedule, I couldn't do the whole thing, but had a really good time with some friends. I'm traveling again, so I don't have the numbers in front of me to put up, but it was a good sustained 120min of climbing and then 30min or so home, followed by a twenty-five minute run. Then it was off to Seattle for more work. Just in case you were curious, traveling takes a toll on your bike. Every time I take mine out of the case, no matter how much padding and care I put into packing it, something is wrong. So I tinker and get it back to race ready in about a week. This time it was the brakes and the rear derailleur. Of course, it didn't matter because I spent the next four days in bed. I had incredible pain in my left side. For a while, I thought it was pancreatitis, the treatment for which is nothing by mouth for a few days and some serious drugs. Of course, the onset was directly after my medical coverage through the army stopped and before my wife's picked me up. My coverage had literally lapsed for less than 48 hours before I got sick. However, I know a few doctors, so I called one, and he (nicely) explained to me that I was an idiot. Told me to take a bunch of tums and if I felt better it was an ulcer and I should take some over the counter H2 blocker, like Prilosec. So the tums worked, I started on Prilosec, and felt better after 24 hours. I started the drugs Wednesday, and had a race Saturday. I talked to my coach, and was like, well, screw it- I'll race. I got one workout in Friday afternoon, a pre-race brick. The bike portion was 27 minutes with an average of 176 watts…. I was weak as a kitten. I felt good and was pain free though, so I couldn't complain too much.

My race plan was two giant scoops of "Take it easy", and I did. Not that my body really gave me a choice. I swam well, finishing in 26min. The bike was awesome, right along Lake Chelan. I never really noticed the scenery, but I sure did Saturday. My average watts were 201 (a normal zone 2 easy training ride for me), but my average speed wasn't bad at 21mph. I finished right around 70 minutes. The run was the bane of my existence due to stomach discomfort, and I had to stop to…. let's just say I stopped and started again because my stomach became very violent and persistent. I momentarily panicked because of the ulcer, but I had no pain. I found out after the fact that my wife was sick that morning as well, so we're betting it was food poisoning from dinner the night before…. the hits just kept on coming! Finished up the race 14th out of 40 in my age group, hardly a bad showing for the week I had.

Healthy, organized, and connected again (I've had constant computer and internet problems on the road), I'm back at the training. I have to say, it feels great! I got two and a half hours in on the bike Friday, with a 25min run afterward. Average watts were 161, so I'm hardly recovered entirely, but my HR was right where it needed to be and I feel great, so my numbers should come right back up.


Recent Comments

  • Rachel on Race Week

    Good luck tomorrow. And have fun!

  • Jeff S on Lemon Law for Bikes??

    eff that loctite crap. We're going after that betty with a tube of 2-part epoxy and a heat gun.

  • Rachel on Watts Pyramid

    Thanks for sharing. I'll keep that workout in mind. Trainer time always goes faster for me when I have a plan to follow.

  • jeff on Travel

    Tip for eating healthy on the road #1: Don't eat anything you find on the floor.

    Tip #2: Anything that starts or ends with "Mc" is probably going to make you sad.

  • jeff on Intervals, Intervals

    ZB4? I'm so confused.

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