Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Road to St George - Weeks 6-8

Well it seems i have gotten a little behind with the updates, sorry folks!  I will redeem myself by catching up today.  It has been a similar picture to the last several weeks overall.  Some good key workouts achieved and unfortunately some very key workouts missed.  Good things are my health and body, both are in a good place.  A not so good thing is that wine consumption seems to be back where it was before I entered my preparation phase ;).

So to give you a quick summary of where things are at from a training standpoint.  Week 6:
  • Swim - A big swim week by virtue of Laura's planned 100x100's that took place on Saturday.  I wanted to challenge myself and my swim stroke with this epic swim and was very pleased with the outcome.  I won't bore you with the details but the week ended up with 5 hours of swimming and 17,000+ yards of swimming.
  • Bike - Another week of indoor only riding, if nothing else I am a good marketing tool for my business!  I managed to get in 5 hours of ride time with a real mix of work across all ranges, although no vo2 sets just yet.  Most of the focus was around IM Power and LT.
  • Run - Not a great week.  Three runs for a total of 20 miles (2.5 hours).  Should have run Sunday just didn't happen, no excuse here just lazy I guess!
  • Core/TRX - Three solid sessions, feel really strong in a functional kind of way!  I am certain the core work helped me get through the 100x100 without any 'fade' or loss of form.  I need to work a little more on scapular stabilization and external rotation using the TRX but this is easy to implement.
Total duration for the week was 13.5 hours.

Week 7 was a mixed bag.  Improvement in run frequency but less swimming and core work.  I did take a day off this week my first for 27 days!  I tend to only take days off when I feel I need them and/or when circumstances conspire against me and I simply can't fit something in.  As you can gather most days I don't struggle with at least getting something done.  Consistent training leads to consistent results and helps develop a robust athlete.  Stats as follows:
  • Swim - Just two swims this week but they were both decent.  7000 yards 2 hours.  Felt strong in the water during my 2000 straight through, did not 'tt' it but swam strong and went around 26:55.  That will do for now!
  • Bike - Well biked four times Mon-Thurs.  No riding Fri-Sun.  Not optimal but not the end of the world.  That outdoor ride still missing!  4 hours ride time, some intensity for sure!
  • Run - Four sessions this week, 33 miles and about 4 hours total run time.  Long trail run, track workout, m pace tempo on the treadmill and a trail run with Hawi.  A nice rounded week of running.
  • Core/TRX - Just two sessions this week but both were very solid.  Not much more to say on that.
So in summary week seven ended up at about 11.5 hours.  Same old story of missing the long outdoor ride (or long indoor ride as a substitute) but a somewhat well rounded week I guess.

Week eight was Christmas week.  In spite of the crazyness of Christmas I still managed a solid week.  Diet was not optimal but could definitely have been worse.  More wine and chocolate than I care to recall but all in all I did not put weight on and was at a season low of 152.5lbs Christmas morning ;), since moved up a little but hey, I am only human.....  Here are some stats, oh and Christmas day was a day off ;o0:
  • Swim - Two sessions, one of 3700 and one of 4150.  Pleased with Thursdays swim, hit 4k in an hour which including rest intervals which was decent.  Need to hit three sessions next week though.
  • Bike - Four sessions, one road ride (1:45), and one longer ride on the CT (54 miles).  A decent week, averaged about 240w for the Wildflower course on Friday and it felt good (about 85% ftp).  Other sessions had some intensity but nothing noteworthy, either that or I am just keeping it a secret ;).  Time on the bike 6.5 hours.
  • Run - Four sessions, a short night time trail run with Hawi, an M pace tempo run (6 miles at 6:48 pace), t-run (transition run) after the Wildflower ride and a long trail run with Gerry and Eddie on Sunday.  Total run time 4:15.
  • Core/TRX - Another week of just two sessions......must try harder!!!
Total for the week 13:45hrs.  Some missed workouts but I am satisfied with the week.  The New Year really is crunch time for me to hit my long brick workout and to build the run volume.  Not in a panic just yet and feeling healthy and strong so that is a blessing.

I shall try and get back on track with the weekly updates in the New Year and get back to adding some nutrition information and other good stuff.  Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to you all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Road to St George - Week 5

Sorry this is late, been a hectic week.  Week 5 was decent, again a couple of 'planned' sessions never happened but there were a couple of bonus workouts in there so I was on the whole pleased.  Here is the training week in detail:
  • Swim - I managed three swims this week and two of those were masters workouts.  I missed my normal post swim4tri workouts due to the pools being closed at Samena so to get three sessions in was pleasing.  I swam approx 10,000 yards and am starting to feel decent in the water.  Monday's Masters session was pushing the envelope for me with super tight send off's, I normally hate swimming like this as I feel my stroke falls apart however I believe there is some value in challenging yourself in the water sometimes (with a tight send off) provided you get the opportunity to re-set and bring your stroke back during the session with some well timed drills and easy swimming.
  • Bike - Again the big downer here is the lack of a decent outdoor long ride.  Time to re-evaluate my schedule and look for a day that is a better fit for this.  I don't have the flexibility to just get out when the weather is good and need to factor in my ride leads at the Performance Center with any other planned riding.  Five rides and a total of 6.5 hours of ride time, all on the CT with a decent amount of work at/around IM watts.  Introducing more and more NM work into my rides now and am feeling the benefit.
  • Run - An interesting week!  For the first time in a while all my runs were on technical trail with two of them being in the pitch dark.  Not sure how many of you have run off road in the dark with a head torch but it is challenging.  Biggest concerns with this are rolling an ankle and then being out of action for a while, can't afford for that to happen but still got to get the runs in.  I did indeed roll my ankle on Saturday evening which meant I missed my planned run with the team on Sunday but it was not a serious sprain fortunately.  The big news on the run side this week was winning one of the much sought after Western States 100 lottery slots, more on that later!  Total for the week was three runs and 3.5 hours of running.
  • TRX/Core - Another good week here and feeling the benefits of hitting these workouts with consistency.  Three very solid 30-45 minute sessions with lots of functional movements.  Helping the body co-ordinate movement patterns and improving NM function makes for a more balanced athlete and a more resilient one, I will build to five sessions a week here and start mixing some TRX into the middle of my bike and run workouts over the next couple of weeks.
Total training time for week 5 about 14.5 hours.  Relatively well balanced but definitely missing two key things, that long outdoor ride and the forth run.  Will try and remedy that this week but looks like the weather might be against me a little.

So as I promised in last weeks blog here is some detail as to how my year will shape up with regard to planned races, training camps and 'big weekends'.  Having key BT (breakthrough) workouts/camps/prep races on the calendar really helps to break up the year when training for an early season race where inevitably you have to train through some rather inclement weather. The more things you have to look ahead to the more focused you will be on your intermediate goals, and the more likely you will be to hit key workouts and get to the starting line mentally and physically ready to toe the line:
  • January 8th Bridal Trails 50km - This will likely be a game day decision.  If conditions are good (would prefer cold snow covered trails or dry conditions, slim chance) then I will likely run if not then maybe the 10 mile race will be the way I go or talk Cindy into the pairs race!
  • January 16th Rock n Roll AZ Marathon - I will leave on Friday evening, and return on Monday.  My plan is to run long on South Mtn Trails on Saturday and race the marathon on Sunday.  I care not about the outcome of the marathon the goal is come out of the weekend with two solid over distance runs healthy and injury free.  I will still however run as fast as my legs will allow me.  Would be nice to go under 3:10 for the marathon.
  • February 10th-13th - Tour de Palm Springs Century ride.  This will be combined with a moderate duration ride the day before with a short t-run, the century on the Saturday and a long run and swim on the Sunday.  This will probably be the first real opportunity to get in a solid long ride outside on the tri bike since training started in November, will be good benchmark as to where my riding is as I will aim to ride the century (where congestion etc allows) at goal IM power.
  • March Tucson Training Camps - Week 1 will be dedicated to bike volume with at least one key session dedicated to work at LT.  As the focus in on the campers though it will be a case of simply getting in what I can while ensuring everything runs smoothly and the campers leave happy and fulfilled (read as completely shattered from all the training ;)).  Week 2 will be a hardcore training week as I shall hopefully have Cindy along to do most of the support duties and as this is labeled the 'elite week' the quality of the athletes in attendance should ensure I get adequately smashed in training.  Would like to rack up at least 300 miles a week of riding, 40-50 miles of running and 12-15k in the pool.
  • April 13th-17th - St George and Rage - Plan is to fly to Vegas on Wednesday early morning, drive up to St George and ride one loop of the bike course followed by running a portion of the run course.  Thursday will be full ride of the course followed by a loop of the run course (big day).  Friday, early swim, then drive to Vegas and register etc for the HIM on the Saturday.  Saturday will be interesting if nothing else. I will 'race' to the best of my ability given the fatigue I will be carrying into the event.  Sunday will be a chilled day with perhaps a recovery spin or more likely a short open water swim (opportunities to get in open water will be limited before race day so makes sense to take advantage while I can).
  • April 21st-24th Ironman Coeur d'Alene Camp 1 - This is now two weeks out from IMStG and will be my last week of significant volume.  I won't train a lot during the camp but will execute on some final key sessions to ensure my race plan is dialed in and my power/paces are locked in.
Adding this kind of structure sure helps focus the mind and gain a little more commitment.  You can't show up to a century for example without some bike miles in your legs so the drive this provides to get some riding in before the event is very useful.  The same goes with the Tucson camps.  Without some condition I will not be able to do the volume I desire and more importantly would compromise my ability to recover and absorb the said training.  One thing I don't have margin for given the volume of my typical 'in town' week is to miss any training through injury/illness so it is imperative that I balance fatigue cost of my workouts and structure adequate rest and recovery between some of these key events that I have planned.

The big addition to my 2011 race calendar is the Western States 100 trail race.  If you like this is kind of like the Kona of trail running in that you have to qualify (unlike Kona however it is not that challenging) however unlike Kona once you qualify (along with 1600 or so others) you then have to register and wait for the lottery which this year was on December 4th.  Only 220 or so runners get selected so as you can see the odds are long.  I entered more because I was proud of my race at Whiteriver and less to actually get into Western States but as 'luck' would have it my name came out of the hat!! It will not influence my St George prep other than I might try and get a couple more longer trail runs in than i would otherwise have done and then after the ironman it will be run, run , run and run some more!

The blog now has good reason to continue after Ironman St George so keep reading.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road to St George - Week 4

The end of the first four weeks and I feel like I am beginning to hit my stride although there are still some key workouts that seem to not be happening.  Not a problem as this 'prep phase' was about establishing some semblance of a routine and working out which days will work for certain workouts.  Not as easy for someone whose hours are not set like a regular job but still I probably have a little more flexibility in my day than most so things kind of balance out in the end.  Whenever I have worked in jobs with consistent working hours I have always found my training to be more effective and my schedule to be easier to follow, your training windows are somewhat forced upon you.

The training week in summary:
  • Swim: I actually managed to again swim three times this past week, all three workouts in a SCM pool.  I prefer swimming in meters pools, it is what I grew up swimming in and I like making fewer turns for a given workout.  The highlight was Tuesday, the crazy snow day!  I felt like Peter Reid in the movie 'What it Takes', I showed up to no lifeguards, one receptionist and the maintenance manager.  None of my swimmers showed for their scheduled workout (swim4tri is every Tuesday/Thursday at 6:45am) and so after making the journey from Newcastle to Bellevue I was determined that I would not miss out on my swim (I usually swim after my class) so I managed to persuade the staff at Samena to let me sneak in a quick session.  I managed to get in 2100m and felt good about it!  My other two sessions were both around 3000m and included a decent amount of work at or around my CSS (critical swim speed).
  • Bike: Not the week I wanted here as no ride over 75 minutes in duration.  Not going to build the necessary IM bike fitness with hour long rides no matter how many of them I do!  I got in four decent sessions, most of which included an element of tempo and/or LT work.  There were also a couple of NM type sets included.  Not the end of the world so will look forward to building volume on the bike through December.
  • Run: A much better week than the previous two.  I managed a double run day on Tuesday with a 5 mile and 11 mile session.  Both of these were at E pace (for me right now about 7:30/mile), so 2 hours for the day.  I finally reaquainted myself with Cougar Mtn this week and got in two decent sessions, one with Ethan, Erin and Cindy on Thanksgiving in the snow (with yaktraks of course) which was a ton of fun and a second with Gerry, Eddie, and Ethan on Sunday.  I was amazed by the young guns, they are making leaps and bounds in their fitness.  Ethan schooled us out there but I think I still managed to keep them honest on the climb up the Wilderness Cliffs trail ;).  My forth run was a short commute from Samena to the Performance Center on Saturday, felt remarkably good which was nice. I usually hate running immediately after a hard pool session (and hence avoid it) but today instead of legs feeling empty because all the blood is pooled in my upper body I felt great. A four and half hour run week has to be considered a success.
  • TRX/Core: Three decent sessions completed.  Going to make this more of a focus going forward and am now at a stage where I am ready for some more dynamic, power based functional movements.  Great article in Lava Magazine featuring TRX this month written by Matt Dixon, you should all check it out.
Total volume for the week was (Swim 2:40, Bike 4:30, Run 4:30, TRX/Core 2:00) 13:40 so pretty solid and I am happy with the overall breakdown.  The trend is in the right direction.  Not going to do my usual diet summary this week, it was a holiday after all right and everyone tells me its 'okay to indulge a little' at Thanksgiving ;).  I am instead going to talk a little about dietary supplementation defined by Wikipedia as -

"A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person's diet. Some countries define dietary supplements as foods, while in others they are defined as drugs or natural health products."

So what does the typical triathlete with a full time job, family and demanding training schedule need to add to their normal diet to ensure they are not going short on any key nutrients that may then hinder their recovery, and/or effect them in any other way that might prevent them being able to execute on their workouts, be productive in their job and be involved with their family?  I am not qualified to give that answer/advice although what I can do is give you an idea as to what I do and how I feel my health and performance are aided by what I take.

My primary goal is to eat fresh, organic, non processed food where I can.  I know that when I succeed in doing this on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis then I typically (regardless of stress and training load) stay healthy and avoid any prolonged illness and/or injury.  However there are times when I for whatever reason - convenience, laziness, time constraints, travel, etc am not able to do this.  When this is the case and/or during periods of hampered recovery due to lack of sleep, rushing from training sessions to meetings or simply a much higher than normal training load (training camp for example) then I need to include some dietary supplements to help me keep on top of this.  Here are my favored supplements:
  • Vitamin C: The king of antioxidants.  Lots of research has been conducted on Vitamin C supplementation and much of it concludes that supplementation can help counteract the damage caused by free radicals produced by training and racing triathlons.  It is also associated with immune system function and I can definitely say that when I feel like I am on the edge a big hit of Vitamin C often brings me back.  I have been known to ingest upto 5g of Vitamin C in a day, not something I recommend but it has worked for me in the past.
  • L-Glutamine: Essential for protein synthesis.  Lots of research to support its use to help promote recovery (cell damage) at times of prolonged stress.  Although a non-essential amino acid (the body can produce it) it is now considered 'conditionally essential'.  Needless to say with the training load we are typically under as atheltes it is a smart addition to your diet through supplementation.  I add it in free form to my recovery smoothies and when I feel like I need it.
  • Quercetin: I take this for its anti-inflammatory and anti oxidant properties.  It is abundant in the multi vitamins I take by the inclusion of Green Tea, Broccoli, and a host of other ingredients.  Again simply a ton of good research on the benefits and I swear by it.
  • Omega 3's - I supplement with a couple of oils rich in Omega 3 (DHA and EPA).  There is strong evidence to suggest a diet rich in Omega 3's leads to a lower incidence of Coronary Heart Disease, boosts immune system function and reduces inflammation amongst other positive benefits.  I take it in the form of Udo's Plant Based 3-6-9 Blend and also Barleans Fresh Catch Fish Oil
So that is about it for what I consider dietary supplements.  I shall cover off 'Performance' supplements next time.  I think we have to accept that with the best will in the world there are times when through diet alone we simply can't get the quantity and quality of nutrients that we need.  I believe it is prudent for the performance athlete to consider additional supplements to help ensure they stay healthy, injury free and able to absorb the stresses we place our bodies under when training for endurance sports.

Thanks for reading.  Next time I will detail my ATP in the lead up to St George and what races, training camps etc I have planned to help me get there in the best shape I can.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Road to St George - Week 3

Is it poignant that St George is the Patron Saint of England, my country of birth.  St George has been pictured as a soldier since the 7th century, coincidentally I very nearly took that route myself and was one small step away from RMA Sandhurst.  How vastly different my life would have likely been had I committed to that decision.  I am a patriotic person and love my country, in some respects I feel I owe it to 'St George' to knock it out the park come May 7th, it provides a little added motivation.  Sorry for the side story but I think some of you might see its relevance.  Back to the training......

This week in summary:
  • Swim - Yeah finally three sessions this week and a total of 9200 yards.  Felt good about this and knocked out a couple of good quality sessions with some work at LT and a pure technique session.  Amazing what a difference the third swim makes from a 'feel' perspective.
  • Bike - Solid week for me here.  Monday became an impromptu FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test.  I was really not sure how it would go although obviously had a range of numbers in mind.  It went better than expected and I averaged 298w for an FTP of 282w.  Three other rides left me with about six hours of ride time, all on the CT.
  • Run - Poor poor week here.  I really feel my running has gone backwards since the return to 'tri' training.  I am sure the reality does not match the perception as I know a couple of low volume run weeks won't ruin all the hard work I did this year preparing for the White River 50.  Regardless though I am still disappointed with my run week.  Three sessions, two of six miles and one of four miles for a measly total of 16 miles and about 2 hours of run time.
  • TRX/Core - Another solid week here with three good workouts, two TRX sessions and a core workout at home on the rug again!  Feel strong and fluid on the TRX now, time to add some progressions!
The weekly total came to 12.5 hours and a well rounded week.  The only real disappointment for me from a training sense was the low run volume/frequency.  No need to panic though, time to move that in the right direction.  So how is the diet going I hear you all ask???  Well not such a great week really, not a disaster but a couple of poor decisions here and there that hopefully won't be repeated this week.  The wine consumption crept up a little, oops!  Last week we reduced to four bottle from seven, this week it went back up to five!!!  The one success was the two nights of just a single glass, big deal I hear you say however the will power to leave half a bottle of good red for the following night was impressive in my mind ;).  A quick breakdown:
  • Breakfast - no change here, the usual oatmeal, banana, almond butter and Udo's 3-6-9 washed down with two cups of coffee and plenty of water.  Oh, I did start taking a vitamin c supplement this week at breakfast.
  • Mid Morning - If I swam early then I had second breakfast of  two eggs, half an avocado in a sandwich of Dave's Killer bread.   I only ate this one morning this week as on Thursday a meeting followed my swim and on Saturday I was straight to the PC after my early swim.
  • Lunch - My usual sandwich, no real variation here although I think I ran out of sun dried tomatoes and on one day had no avocado in my sandwich.
  • Dinner - Bad week by my standards.  A late Tuesday led to the convenience of CPK Frozen Pizza with a salad, boooo.  Sunday night ended up being a Pagliacci night, much better Pizza but much more of it!!!  Two nights were pasta nights (wholewheat of course) with a simple sauce (not really a sauce, the ingredients are olive oil, fresh garlic, olives, green onions, sun dried tomatoes, and regular tomatoes preferably heirloom).  I also add some protein, this week it was Aidell's Chicken and Apple Sausage one night and an organic skinless chicken breast on the other.  Other meals were Couscous with lots of veggies and Wild Sockeye Salmon and Aidell's Sausage with Yam Mash and Broccolini.
  • Snacks etc - Some of Cindy's protein bars and cookies (don't want to disclose numbers here ;)), various fruit, protein shakes after key workouts, and a little dark chocolate.
So as you can see not the best of weeks.  Having said that Monday morning (voided) weight was the same as last week 154lbs so no regression there which is nice.  Other things of note to report from the week:
  • Signed up for the Western States 100 lottery.  I got goaded into this by Amber Montforte who I spent some time running with during the White River 50 (we finished together).  Amber is an awesome athlete (Xterra Amateur World Champ) and her post on my FB wall spurred me into action.  I may of course not be successful but it sure means I will have no choice but to run more if I am lucky (maybe unlucky is the right term) enough to get picked!
  • A great week at the Performance Center, things are moving in the right direction and business is solid.  Worked on the new class schedule and am excited to roll out TRX to all our members free of charge, a huge benefit for everyone.  Exciting news to announce soon about a couple of very special guests who will be visiting in the New Year for some clinics, Q&A's etc, very cool!
  • Cold...brrrr the snow is here.  Made me think more about supplementation, I will talk more on this next week.
I will try and keep the format for these blog posts similar week to week however if there is anything you guys and girls following would like me to include (relevant of course) then please post a comment and I shall do my best to oblige.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Road to ST George - Week 2

A summary of the week from a training perspective:
  • Swim - Two decent sessions this week, both over 3000 yards so progress on last week.  Heading into week three I will make one out of my two proposed masters session (fingers crossed) to add an additional session.  I do feel solid in the water, 1:15-20/100 feels comfortably hard.
  • Bike - No outdoor ride, Tuesday was my planned day but it rained all day and I was land locked without the car to get to the PC.  I rode 25 miles on the CT on Monday, 40 miles on Wednesday and about 20 miles on Thursday.  The first two sessions were at/around IM power and the Thursday ride had some work at LT.  No weekend ride.
  • Run - Well the calves have calmed down a lot, I know what caused it and have made the necessary changes.  I was concerned at one stage that I had torn something in the right calf but plenty of trauma oil and some self massage as well as sensible stretching (and a light run week) have worked wonders.  Four runs two t-runs (of three and four miles), one E pace run of eight miles and a E pace -20s six mile run to finish off the week.
  • Core/TRX - A great week for core and I am excited to continue to build my functional strength with the TRX.  Feel strong.  Three sessions this week, two on the TRX one on the living room rug!  Stretching post workout has been very thorough this week and this trend will continue.  Also added some theraband work focusing on abduction and lateral stability.
Total volume this week was around 10.5, a decent week and feeling good to build things next week.  A big improvement this week was diet.  I know you are all waiting to here how the wine consumption was this week and the good news is it was much improved, meaning instead of seven bottles it went down to four, a move in the right direction for sure!  I have eaten very consistently and weighed in this morning (11/15) at 152.8lbs down from just over 155lbs two weeks ago, here is an overview:
  • Breakfast - Every morning the same - Oatmeal, Banana, Teaspoon of Almond Butter, Tablespoon of Udo's 3-6-9 blend, two cups of coffee with half n half (eliminated vanilla creamer, yeah!), at least a liter of water.
  • Mid Morning Snack (Only Tuesday/Thursday after my swim workouts) - Dave's Killer Bread with two eggs, and half an avacado.  Liter of water.
  • Lunch - Every day the same (I am nothing if not consistent) - Dave's Killer Bread Sandwich with Hormel Turkey (three slices), Spinach, Avocado (half/quarter) and Sun Dried Tomatoes.  Piece of fruit or two.  Liter of water.
  • Afternoon snack - Water with nuun, no calories
  • Dinner - Monday: Wild Salmon, Yam Mash and Salad, Tuesday: Couscous with lots of veggies and chicken/apple sausage, Wednesday: Wholewheat Pasta, lots of veggies and prosciutto, Thursday: Pagliacci Pizza, Friday: Wild Salmon, Salad, Yam Mash, Saturday: NZ Grass fed Lamb Steak, Yam Mash, and Broccolini, Sunday: Salad and Morning Star Veggie Burger
  • Other - A couple of protein shakes after key workouts (Arbonne Figure 8, Almond Milk, Water, Ice, Almond Butter, Udo's, L-Glutamine).  Some chocolate (dark).  A couple of TJ's vegan choc chip cookies.  Various nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews), fruits (bananas, pears, oranges, raspberries) and the occasional Dilettante chocolate ;)
Training nutrition is minimal right now, I use nuun in my water for sessions of about an hour in duration and don't consume calories unless the workout is over an hour with some intensity.  When I do it is GU Chomps and/or GU Roctane.  I think many athletes consume too many calories during workouts that they simply don't need.  When training load is light and/or our workouts are just one a day our bodies glycogen stores should be well stocked, provided there is not a second workout within close proximity then good post workout nutrition and a healthy diet should take care of replenishing these stores ready for the next days workout.

So my goal for this week is 12 hours split s3/b5/r4 excluding core/trx which will total approx 2 hours.  Nutritionally I will continue the trend of reducing wine intake and eliminate one or two of the treats that I got a little greedy with this last week.  I also want to focus on using my time more effectively to ensure a better chance of more quality rest between work and training.

Just to conclude this post, I am in my 'preparation phase' right now with the goal of establishing a routine that will stick.  I am also simply trying to reintroduce the swimming/cycling and core training that I have not been doing this year safely so as not to unduly stress my body.  As I get older I have to be more patient and a little smarter with what I do.  There is no real focus on data right now although I am logging my training in RaceDay to give me a general idea as to progression and fatigue cost of workouts that I am completing.  I am not collecting power data as such right now although am using power on the compu-trainer and will be using my Quarq Power Meter when it arrives!

Until next week, thanks for reading.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Road To St George - Week 1

Well an interesting first week back to triathlon training.  Some positives and some negatives.  Before I go into detail though I should explain the above photo.  It was taken in April 2009 at our Coeur d'Alene training camp and signifies a change in priorities for me.  I get more joy from helping support my athletes than I do from own racing ambitions nowadays, that does not mean I don't want to still train and compete because I do and will always want to, it just signifies a change in mind state when circumstances ensure I don't manage to get a workout done that is on my schedule.  In the past I would beat myself up and get upset if I failed to get a prescribed workout completed, nowadays I give thanks to the sessions I do manage to get done and don't beat myself up to much (just a little bit ;)).

A review of the week then:
  • Swim - Manged to get two sessions in, one of just over 3000m (just under an hour) and another of 1500m (ran out of time, had to get the car to Cindy, the challenges of being a one car family!).  My goal is to swim four times a week with two lunch time masters sessions at BAC but it's only week one and I figure I have time to build back to four sessions!
  • Bike - Three rides achieved, one as planned (a two hour L2 outdoor ride), and two CT rides the first went well (3x3m 85%, 2m 95%, 1m 105%) yet the second was a wash mainly due to a crazy busy day and not having the desire to be on the bike any longer than an hour.
  • Run - Been suffering this week with very very tight calves, beyond anything I have experienced before, ever!  I attribute it to starting to ride again and running a rolling 12 miles last Sunday at 'M' pace (average 6:48/mile).  It has been very frustrating and definitely curtailed my running a little.  Having said that I still ran three times, one run of 16 miles (6:59 avg), one very painful run of 8 miles on a rolling route at E pace (7:30 avg), and a 10 mile treadmill session with 2x2 miles at M pace inserted into some E pace running.  I shall evaluate the calves this week and get some treatment, I hope it is nothing too serious although they are crazy tight.  I have been self treating with ice, compression, arnica, and a little gentle self massage.
  • Core/TRX - Two solid sessions here, would have liked to get a couple more in but time was simply not on my side this week.  Still, felt strong and starting to work some more dynamic exercises into my routine.
Overall volume (Mon-Sun) was in the region of 10 hours so not a bad week really.  I find athletes tend to focus on the workouts that don't get done and don't give the necessary credit to the ones that are accomplished.  I have tried to be positive about actually getting in a somewhat balanced week and provided I can get my calves sorted out see no barriers in following my week a little closer to 'my plan' going forward.

I am still picking up some additional classes at the PC while Cindy continues her rehab following her accident and this Sunday marked the first of a three part swim clinic that I am running out of Samena.  Combine that with a couple of unplanned meetings, some busy days at the Performance Center and a couple of new coaching clients starting with me this week and it has been a busy but productive work week that has eaten up a little planned training time.  Work comes first and I expect this to be a somewhat common occurrence as we move into our busy season.  My plan is to find a 'business manager' for the Performance Center, so if anyone out there knows of a suitable candidate do let me know, oh they have to be content with good perks but low wages ;).

Other notes - Not been sleeping great over the past week or so, definitely impacts my recovery and general energy levels.  Nutrition in general has been good although Cindy had an Arbonne party at the house on Friday and has been 'baking' this week.  Being the glutton that I am if there are baked goods around then I eat them, all of them!!!  For me it is simply best not to have them in the house, I don't crave them but if they are there they will get eaten.  A big goal for me this week is to reduce red wine consumption!  Now some of you may laugh but Cindy and I literally drink a bottle of red wine every night, I can't actually remember the last night we went without.  Okay its 'only' two classes each but I believe it is impacting my recovery, my body composition and my sleeping patterns so this week (you heard it here first) it goes down to two nights out of seven!!!!!  Don't worry Thursday night is still Pagliacci night.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Road to St George!

After a year of not competing in triathlons to focus more attention on developing my coaching business and getting Vo2 Performance Center established it is time to jump back into the sport I love.  I was not completely idle in 2010, in fact I set myself the goal of running the White River 50 trail race (race report on blog) in an attempt to help address my limited run endurance without the distraction and fatigue cost of swimming and cycling.  I actually raced three ultra's in 2010 one of which I won, a second where I got lost, and the White River event which was a success.  I still cycled and swam a little, more as a way to spend time with my athletes than with any real conviction and I continued to lead rides at the Performance Center which helped me hold on to a little bike fitness.

My goal is to write a weekly (yeah fat chance) short blog detailing my training and preparation for Ironman St George along with the trials and tribulations of managing my own business and trying to keep everything else in my life in order.  I realize that some of you out there face many more time constraints than I but I think by providing some insight into how I coach myself, decisions I make around what workouts happen and don't happen and how that fits with training commitments that might not necessarily fit with my own plan will provide learning opportunities for you all.

A quick snap shot of where I am starting from with my training, body comp, etc is below:
  • Age 37, height 5'9", weight 155lbs (goal race weight 150lbs)
  • Swim - Averaged probably one swim a week this year (maybe), recent workout in a SCY pool was 2x(300s 30s rest, 2x150 rest 15s, 3x100 rest 10s) all at LT, times - 3:50, 1:58, 1:15-18
  • Bike - Averaged two rides a week this year of approx 1 hour in duration.  My guess as to where my FTP is right now is 265-270w (last year when preparing for Kona it was 290-295)
  • Run - Strong right now, averaged four to five a runs a week this year.  Recent 10km with my new found 'slow' ultramarathon legs was 37:26 at Salmon Days.  Will run Rock n Roll AZ with the goal of going under 3 hours (never run an open marathon before ;)) on January 16th.
Follow me on my journey as I try and train smart, work smart and keep everything else in my life in harmony.  St George is considered a tough course so my only real goal is to execute a race that does my fitness justice on race day whatever level that fitness may be.  As my friend and fellow coach Scott Jones says "train with joy or not at all".   Before I sign off I want to say a huge thank you to my wife Cindy who has been by my side all year and even put her own triathlon racing on hold to join me in my quest to run the White River 50 (she also completed the event with her customary smile on her face).  She has also been instrumental in the success of the Performance Center as we head into our second year and I know supports me as I endeavor to get ready for another Ironman.  Her turn will come as once I am done with St George, she will start preparation in earnest for Ironman Canada and a little comeback of her own!

Monday, August 2, 2010

White River 50

Pre Race
The day had finally arrived for Cindy and I to head over to Greenwater nr Enumclaw WA.  A good friend and one of my athletes Joe Silvernale had kindly offered us the use of his cabin for the weekend which was perfectly located and in an idyllic location overlooking a river.  We arrived mid afternoon after a stop in Enumclaw to grab some lunch, a rather sloppy (but tasty) Panini from a little Italian place downtown.  I enjoyed mine, Cindy, not so much.

After arriving we unloaded the car, made ourselves at home, dog proofed the cabin (don't worry Joe, Hawi did not chew anything up honest) and drove to Crystal Mtn to register and enjoy the pasta dinner provided by the race organizers.  Simple fair but more than adequate and plenty of it.  We sat down to dinner with three other first timers, Joel (Seattle), Pablo (Bellingham) and Nicholas (France, yes the European one).  They were great company and we all chatted about a variety of topics mostly ending up back on the task of getting through 50 miles of running on some of the more challenging trails in the PacNW.  I bumped into another friend and former coached athlete Win Van Pelt at dinner and chatted to him about strategy etc.  Win has done several ultras including two White Rivers so has a lot of experience.  He is also a true mountain man so always worth listening to.  I knew Win had a sub 9 hour goal so I was intrerested to see if our paths crossed on raceday!

Just as the race briefing was starting Cindy and I left!!  We had to get back to the dogs and have a pre race glass of wine and piece of chocolate to feel truly ready for what the morning might bring.  It's funny but we both went into this Ultra Marathon adventure very relaxed and laid back.  In no way were we being complacent but just having so many years of endurance racing in the bank and countless races under our belt provides a kind of confidence that you know, come what may, you will get the job done.  After getting back to the cabin and walking the dogs we packed our drop bags, drank our wine and settled down for a short fitfull night of sleep.

I awoke at 3:30 to my alarm, damn no way was I ready to wake up so I reset the alarm for 4am knowing that my digestion window would be reduced but given the low relative intensity of the event this was a risk I was willing to take.  4am rolled around and I headed downstairs turned on the coffee and woke Cindy, in that order.  I drank a liter of water immediately after waking and then consumed 2 cups of coffee, one and half bagels with butter and honey and a banana.  I also drank 750ml of nuun, took three sports legs and one salt tab.  I continued to drink water/nuun in the short car ride to the race start (about 15 mins away).  After arriving we checked in to register ourselves as starters and then did the usual porta potty line thing.  I realized I had left my vest and visor back at the house leaving me with only the Brooks long sleeve tech shirt that I threw on in the morning.  Solution - Cut the sleeves off the top and turn one of them into a headband, perfect!  I bodyglided my toes and all the other areas that were likely to rub/chafe and tied up my Brooks Ghosts.  I was unsure what shoe I was going to wear for a few weeks leading into this race, i could not have chosen better, they worked like a charm.

The Race
So 6:30am rolled around and one last pit stop before wondering over to the start line.  A quick kiss and good luck to Cindy and I lined up on the right hand side toward the front of the pack.  The usual suspects were there, Scott Jurek, Greg Crowther, and Anton Krupicka plus many other esteemed trail runners who being so new to the sport I don't know by sight.  The race starts and the first 3.9 miles is somewhat flat, a touch technical but generally just a nice soft compliant surface.  I went out very relaxed and just let the 'pack' sort itself out.  I was very conscious to not over stride, spot clean foot placements, not get boxed in and to generally run this section as easy as I could given the excitement factor of being in a race.  I went through four miles in about 35 mins feeling super smooth and easy.  The group had formed a long Conga line that stretched about 30-50 meters long up the trail.  Everyone seemed happy to do their own thing and not make any moves.  Seemingly everyone was running conservatively however sometimes its tough to tell.

The climb up to the Ranger Station began in earnest.  Early sections of this are to most of us mortals not really runnable.  We were all pretty much power hiking this section until we climbed the log steps to some slightly less steep terrain.  A couple of movers were evident trying to leapfrog people up the mountain but for the most part status quo was maintained.  I passed a couple of people and was hydrating and eating according to my plan (300 cals/hour, 2 bottles every 90 mins).  I reached the 11.7 mile Ranger Station at about 1:55 feeling like I had run/hiked very conservatively until that point.  Here is where I began to make some moves.  I quckly refilled my bottles and headed out, passing three or four people immediately.  I then saw Win ahead of me by about 100 yards, gradually reeled him in and we chatted a bit, mostly just checking on how we were feeling etc and dealing with the terrain.  We caught Arthur Martineau on this section to Corral Pass which concerned me a little.  I know of Arthur and have tracked some of his results and knew him to be a very solid trail runner.  I was confident he was probably going to pace this pretty well so I was a little concerned but took confidence in how I was feeling and how well I had been managing my hydration/nutrition.  Both Win and I passed him wishing him well.  It was at this stage Win (who had been leading) hopped off the trail for a bathroom break.  I took off and continued to build pace continuing to pass other runners.

It was about at this stage that the leaders were returning from Corral Pass so it was very cool to see how they were looking, who was winning etc.  Not sure who was in the lead (sorry) but Anton was in 2nd looking super relaxed and Scott was running with another guy in 3rd/4th respectively.  I gave way, literally stopping on the trail and moving over as it was very narrow single track at this stage.  They were all super appreciative and everyone of the top 10 or so guys had a smile and nod or a few words which was very cool.  What was weird is that very few people extended me the same courtesy on my return from the Corral Pass aid station, not sure why as it was very clear you were to give way to runners returning from Corral Pass!!  Slighly annoyed by this but not enough to influence my day.

Reached Corral Pass (16.9 miles) in around 2:50 not really caring how long it took or what pace I was on, more concerned with how I felt and managing my calories, fluids and electrolytes.  Eric Sach of the Balanced Athlete helped me refill my bottles and handed me some s-caps while I necked my RedBull, very refreshing.  Back down (with some up) to the Ranger Station the way we came, very beautiful section this, with simply awesome views of Mt Rainier, it was a joy to be running.  Passed Cindy who looked great and we stopped for a quick kiss (with each other ;)), feeling rejuvenated I continued on my way.

I was back at the Ranger Station (22.1 miles) in about 3:29 feeling good and looking forward to the descent back to Buck Creek.  I had run this once in training with Cindy although relatively fresh as we just headed up from Camp Sheppard to the Ranger Station and then down again and ran very smooth and fast, not so much today.  I struggled a little into and out of the hairpins which were very sandy and loose.  Essentially I caught the 3rd place female here and thought it best to hang back and follow her down.  I figured I was probably in the top 30 by now and did not want to be 'that guy' that has to walk the last 10-15 miles due to poor pacing and execution.  I kept Amber (3rd place female) in sight, took a pee break and ended up at the bottom of the descent in good shape.  Passed Amber, the 3rd place female and a couple of guys going into and heading out of Buck Creek which i felt good about.  I got to Buck Creek at about 4:20 into the race (27.2 miles and a whole lot of elevation gain) again feeling good and running all the descents and flat to rolling sections. 

Here is where the fun begins, the climb to Fawn Ridge and Sun Top!!!  Definitely more of a hike than a run for me (and most I think).  I still felt pretty good at this point, legs good, mind good, hydration etc spot on.  Just could not carry any speed on the climbs.  In my mind this climb was much more challenging than the first.  I caught some guy who was struggling on the climb, offered him some cals but he simply said his quads were killing him, fair comment thought I!  I also got repassed by eventual 2nd place female Amy Sproston, we went back and forth a little but after the aid station at Fawn Ridge I never really saw her again, she seemed to be running a lot more of that climb than I was that's for sure.  Amber Monforte also passed me again here but I could at least keep her in my sights.  Again what stood out to me was that she too was running sections of this climb that I simply could not (or would not).  Maybe my 45miles/week (biggest run mileage of my life) for the last six months without any really specific hill work other than the ones encountered where I train was simply not enough.  I sometimes rely on my overall leg strength and 20+ year endurance base as a triathlete to get me through, it does not always work ;).  On the plus side I felt great and I mean that.  Legs were doing what they were told, mind was strong and I was looking forward to the long descent to Skookum Flats even though I knew it would hurt.  I reached Sun Top 6:37 into the race.  I repassed Amber here and took off on the descent on a mission to 'make up' some lost time.

First mile according to my Garmin 6:54, a little hot maybe but felt okay, the remaining miles all ticked by in the low to mid 7's a little more sensible,  I walked a couple of times just to give the quads a little break before the last section of the race.  Can't say I enjoyed this part of the course but I think I probably made up some time on the folks in front of me here and made a top 20 finish realistic.  I reached Skookum Flats in 7:38, wow I had been running for over seven hours, this is simply crazy stuff, my previous longest run was the 50km I did at Soaring Eagle State Park as a prep race for this in the middle of July, that took me 4:24......the body is amazing and continues to surprise me!

The Last 6.6 miles along Skookum Flats are probably the most beautiful.  They are also arguably (given the fact it is so late into the race) the most technical.  Here is where I nearly had my first serious fall.  I had left the aid station (huge thanks by the way to all the volunteers, you rocked all day) and was running, not fast but I was running.  They had told me at the aid station I was 22nd male, that gave a little incentive to at least 'try' and run this last section so I did.  I caught and passed two guys, cool I am in the top 20 of the USATF 50 Mile Champs in my first ever run over 31 miles.  My feet I guess were getting heavier and heavier, I kicked something (likely a root, maybe a rock) very very hard with my left big toe and tumbled toward the floor, arms outstretched a lunge forward and somehow I managed to stay upright.  This was a blessing in disguise as it sure focused the mind for the last several miles of single track.  During this section I was caught yet again by Amber just as we were exiting the woods, funny thing was my Garmin only had 48 miles on it at this stage yet Amber's Suunto (I think) had over 50 so I was thankful to know that it was highly unlikely we had two miles to go based on the fact we were back at Buck Creek.  We ran in together and I did the chivalrous thing (I think) and slowed up at the line to let Amber cross in 22nd overall good for 3rd female overall.  I later found out Amber is a bit of a legend having won Ultraman Canada, placed very highly overall in a number of IM's and raced in Kona several times, wow!

For me to take my minimal mileage approach to an Ultra Marathon of the magnitude of White River was a risk.  It worked out.  I felt great all day.  Yes there were times I wish I could have run some of the steeper climbs, and times when perhaps the 'power hiking' was not necessary but to go 8:30 and place 23rd overall (20th male) in a field of stud athletes is very very pleasing.  It has given me a new found appreciation of running and during this process both Cindy and I have come to truly love trail running in all its shapes and forms whether running through a PacNW forest or cruising a desert trail in Tucson.  I will continue to race the occasional ultra, maybe not another 50 miler for a while but probably a couple of 50km's.  I will also use this deep running base to have a crack at a fast open marathon (never done one outside of an Ironman) in January and then do my best to rock Ironman St George in May which I signed up for a couple of weeks ago.

Huge thanks to Cindy for putting up with me and for being my partner out on the trails on so many occasions.  To Hawi for getting me out for a run more because he needed it than me.  To Brooks, your shoes and equipment helped me enjoy the training process and stay healthy, to GU huge product (Gu Chomps and GU Energy Gel) got me through the day with energy to spare and nuun for the active hydration along the way.  I could not have done it without you guys.  Also a big thank you to Joe and Beth who trekked over to Greenwater the week before Cindy and I to clear up the dead mice from the cabin and ensure we got no 'surprises' when we arrived at the cabin, you guys are awesome.  It goes without saying that everyone associated with the Performance Center and Team Vo2Multisport has also provided inspiration and kind words over the course of the last six months that I know Cindy and I have both leveraged during some of our more challenging weeks when we wondered what the hell we had gotten ourselves into.  I can't believe we got away with it ;-) and live to tell the tale.......

To more amazing adventures for us all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The New Athletic Challenge

Okay so the photo may be misleading as it is Cindy and I posing on Hapuna Beach in May 2009 before 70.3 Honu.  Last years 'challenge' was executing a good race in Hawaii and if the gods were with me secure my third IM Hawaii slot which I did.  Now in the interests of athletic longevity and mental freshness I have always avoided back to back years of serious triathlon training (multiple definitions exist for the term 'serious', those of you who know me understand what I mean) so without a decent photo to use for this years endeavor I thought a nice picture of my beautiful wife and I on a beach would do the job (it also shows me at what I consider 'racing weight', so aids in my motivation to think before I eat ;-)).

Moving on - I was thinking about racing some low key triathlons and a couple of 70.3 events this year to keep my hand in but with my personal triathlon objectives and goals accomplished many years ago and my primary focus now being my own athletes and the Vo2 Performance Center I asked myself what do I really enjoy doing (answer - trail running), what is the most time efficient single sport discipline to train for (answer - running) and what have I never done before due to being plain ole scared to death of it (answer - a trail ultra marathon), Eureka!  So an off road ultra marathon it is!

Which one? Well another decision that was somewhat easy to make.  First it had to be Epic in the true sense of the word as if I am going to put myself through this it might as well be a real challenge so instead of 'just an ultra marathon' (defined as any running event further than 26.2 mile) I decided on a 50 mile trail race.  Secondly it had to be somewhat local as traveling takes me away from my athletes and the Performance Center.  Thirdly it has to offer some spectacular scenery (I guess if I going to run this far there will undoubtedly be some low points and a nice view might take my mind off it).  With my criteria in place it did not take much finding, the White River 50 is a legendary event in trail running circles, local, 50 miles and is set in the shadow of beautiful Mt Rainier so should provide some spectacular views!  The date of the race is July 31st so it could not be better timing.  Oh, did I mention in my excitement at entering this race that I also signed up my beautiful wife Cindy?  Well I needed someone to understand what I was going to be putting myself through and what better way than for her to share the experience with me ;-).

Running an Ultra Marathon such as the White River 50 will be a completely different challenge to racing an Ironman.  Similarities exist in the time it might take to complete (an Ironman usually takes me around 10 hours) and the fact pacing and nutrition are critical however there are many unique things, for starters it is all one form of locomotion! From a training perspective it poses a new challenge and has meant I have had to broaden my own knowledge base in order to ensure that Cindy and I are sufficiently prepared for the demands of the event.  I intend to post several updates going forward on our progress towards this goal so that those of you who might be interested in following our journey or are maybe thinking of doing an Ultra yourself might learn something from the trials and tribulations we shall no doubt face along the way!

Already in our preparation we have learned 1. there is no place for speed work, 2. it is okay to walk, 3. weekly mileage might need to be greater than 25-30 ;-).