Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Changes to the Race Schedule

As I mentioned in this post, my 2014 racing plan was going to be more thoughtful. Unlike last year, I was not going to belly up to the all-you-can-eat buffet of race opportunities and load my tray with far more than I could actually consume.

That was front of mind as I began to register for races.

The three I have registered for were fairly easy choices.

 The Summer Open Sprint is perennial and just like the name indicates; it opens the season for many Front Range triathletes.

The Steamboat Springs Olympic Triathlon was also an easy choice. I love the area and I’ve always been impressed with the quality of race put on by the folks at Without Limits Productions.

Lastly, the Harvest Moon is a great deal for a 70.3 event ($130) and has become a popular race with locals.

All of these races are also capped so no swimming in a permanent washing machine or riding the whole bike in a peloton. I took advantage of early sign-up specials at the beginning of the month.

Then it came time to start looking at Ironman 70.3 Racine. Having done two of their 70.3 events, I actually am fairly impressed with WTC. You pay a lot, but you also get a lot. The venue was also intriguing. However, there was also the issue of getting to the venue.

Option 1 was to drive there. It ensures that the bike travels well and that I have reliable transportation on arrival. However, a one-way drive from my home to Racine is 1058 miles according to Google Maps. In other words, over 2000 miles of driving in the space of a week. Meh. Not so much.

Option 2 was to fly to nearby Milwaukee. It puts me near the race venue but unlike an intriguing and entertaining city like Austin, Milwaukee does not have much vacation appeal.

Option 2.1 therefore, was to fly to also nearby Chicago which could be done relatively cheaply on Spirit Airlines, even after they tack on fees for baggage, etc. We could then spend some time in the Windy City for a few days after the race and make something of a vacation out of it.

However, both variants of Option 2 meant figuring out bike transport either at the lofty cost of $150 with the airline or less than half that using a bike shipping service, but also trusting a rather expensive piece of equipment to a courier. All three options meant finding a hotel near the race venue and the nearest one clearly sells out early.

Taking all of this together, I realized that I would be going through a lot of trouble to do a race that while appealing, was not really on my bucket list. I think Racine probably has some regional appeal, but I’m not in the region.

So I went back to the drawing board to find another race and struck out. There are races in mid-July, but all involve multi-state travel at considerable cost and/or time. Someone in Colorado could probably really clean-up with a 70.3 race that time of year, but so far, there are no takers.

The idea that came to me isn’t really my idea at all. If you listen to Brett Blankner on the Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast (which I recommend you do) you may have heard him mention a race he puts on called the Iron Baby. You can read the whole back story on how and why that race exists here. The point, however, is that, due to his own circumstances, he could not participate in a sanctioned race. So he just created his own race.

Why not do the same thing, I wondered? So I started planning my own (yet to be named) 70.3 event.

Those of us in Colorado are fortunate enough to have access to multiple open-water swimming venues, including the Bowles Reservoir #1 at Grant Ranch in Lakewood. Best of all, this venue has an already marked 1.2 mile swim course. That’s far better than swimming 1.2 miles in a pool.

The parking lot outside of the lake will be our T1 where my wife will be standing by with the bikes. From there, I’ve begun scoping out rides that will take us safely out of the area and back to my house. My garage will be T2 and the run course will start and finish there. Throughout, my wife has agreed to staff the mobile aid station so that we’ll have all the support we would have in a sanctioned race. The distances will be the same: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

There will be no banners, crowds, PA announcer or any of the other pageantry and glitz of a sponsored event. On the other hand, the cost will be next to nothing (just some gas plus whatever nutrition and hydration) and the net effect will be the same. No, this does not count toward my USAT standings, but let’s be honest; I’ve never been high on that list anyway.


Of course I’ll always love doing a sponsored/sanctioned event. The crowds, the atmosphere, and the convergence of so many like-minded athletes make for an unparalleled experience.  Indeed, if I had not done so many races already, doing the self-supported thing might not have as much appeal. Since I’ve competed in 16 multisport events, this feels like it might actually be a unique experience.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Summer" Training

When you live in a four season climate like that of my home state of Colorado, you resign yourself to certain facts every fall.

First, once Labor Day passes, swimming outside is done. Be it your local open water venue or outdoor pool, odds are, you're back to indoor swimming.

Second, as the days get shorter and colder, runs are often going to be in the cold and the dark. Sure, there are occasional respites of warme weather, but mostly, cold weather gear is in order.

This week I got to see how folks in warmer climates train. Granted, even the locals have said is is warm for the time of year but even more typical weather it's still much warmer than home.

My last post gave a small taste as I ran around the neighborhood on Christmas morning. Two days later I got an even better taste as I took a short fifteen minute walk over to the local YMCA. It features a large 25 yard outdoor pool. Better still as a first time user, my entry was free! 


Early the following morning, my sister-in-law picked me up around 6:15 so I could join her and a friend on their morning run around La Jolla Cove. It was overcast as we arrived (typical for mornings on the coast) but the temperature was still in the 60's and I was comfortable in a pair of tri shorts and ant-shirt.



Later today, I head home and back to reality. I'm glad though. I like where I live including the benefits that come with training at high altitude. What's more, I heard from my coach this week and I expect to see the first workouts of my annual training plan.

And...I'll be getting even more summer sampling in a few weeks when my wife and I vacation on the south coast of Jamaica!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Christmas Day Run - 2013

Three years ago I decided that I would go running on Christmas Day. I wanted (needed) time out on my own away from a condo crowded with relatives. So in the early afternoon I headed south along that Florida beach for five miles. At the end of that run, I thought, "I should do this every Christmas."

Three years later, it has become my annual tradition.

Yesterday morning, despite a strong desire to stay in bed, I got up and ran for 30 minutes around my in-laws' neighborhood. Having done my last run in the cold dark of Colorado, it was nice to be in shorts in a t-shirt.

Here's a couple of highlights:



There's more running and hopefully an outdoor pool swim here before I head back into winter. Until then, thanks for reading!


Monday, December 2, 2013

My 2014 Race Schedule

It’s only been a little over 5 weeks since my last race but I am already in the process of registering for events for 2014. Compared to last year, you’ll see a much lighter schedule in terms of number of events. I still have two 70.3 races planned and a Century Ride that looks like it might be about the hardest thing I’ve ever tried. Here’s the rundown:




May 17
Nobody offers a race earlier in the season and this is, in my humble opinion, still one of the best to start the season. Sure it’s “only” a sprint, but let’s face it, most of us in cold weather climes likely have not raced in several months. This is a good chance to knock off the cobwebs and get back into the multi-sport routine.

  May 26 
I say it every year. Being in Boulder, running this race every Memorial Day is my number one priority. I’m hoping to get my wife to do it this year in which case I’ll be running with her for moral support. That does not matter to me. As long as I’m there, I’m happy.
            



June 21
I’m planning on doing the century version of this ride which is actually 106 miles and includes more than 10,000 feet of climbing. Yes, I said 10,000 feet. My brother did it last year and described it as a true sufferfest. Yet he’s going back and he managed to talk me into joining him. Well, it will be a good challenge but probably not a very impressive                                                                             performance.













July 20
Why Racine? Well, for one, it’s one of the few 70.3 races within relatively close distance in the middle of July. I might have done Vineman in Sonoma County but didn’t get registered soon enough—it sells out fast. I’m actually also interested in getting to do a race that involves a Great Lakes swim. Finally, my wife and I can parlay this trip into a mini-vacation in Chicago. We did the same in Austin and it proved to be a lot of fun.

I’ve been mostly impressed with Ironman-branded events so I think this one will be good too.


August 17
This is the second of three Without Limits events I’m doing next year. I didn’t plan it that way, but it just worked out that their schedule and mine intersected nicely. Although the Rattlesnake triathlon is being re-organized with new owners next year, I’m looking for a break from that one. This course looks intriguing and despite being in the mountains, is fairly flat. I also know the area and know it will be a beautiful spot to race.





September 7
I’ve had my eye on this one for a number of years but have always shied away because it is often unbelievably hot. I’m going to train for that this year so hopefully even a climb into the 90* range won’t keep me from doing well. I know the area very well since it’s just north of where I live and I have done considerable bike training on part of the course.






Beside fewer events are some other key differences with years past:


1. No triathlons in Boulder. Good. I raced there three times last year and to be honest, I’m a little tired of it.


2. Once again no HITS. I’d really like to race one of their events again, but there just isn’t anything particularly nearby that also works with my schedule. Maybe one day they’ll come to the Front Range.


3. No events closer than 3 weeks. That smallest gap is between Steamboat and Harvest Moon. I think that will be okay. If need be, I’ll use Steamboat as a training race since the 70.3 event is the more important.


4. Most important of all, all of this will be done with the guidance of a coach. That means my preparation will be far better thought out than in past years and hopefully I’ll be writing more race reports about my successes.


Excluding the BolderBoulder, which is always more for fun than anything else, I have five major events planned. I may end up entering a swim race out at Grant Ranch and you never know if there will be a July 4 race I want to do. Otherwise, this is the list and I think it’s a good one.


I don’t know about anything beyond September 7. In all likelihood, I’ll register for somebody’s half marathon but that’s not a concern for now.




As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Big Catch Up Post

Normally a lack of posts this time of year suggests the overall slowness of the off-season. However, there actually have been a few things going on over the last three weeks since my last real post. I’ll dive right in:

I have hired a coach
I spoke to three different people and all three were strong but this one seems like he’ll be a good fit. Another data geek like me, I have a feeling we’ll click. I’ll actually be meeting with him this weekend to get things started.

I’m looking forward to having someone else review and critique my various disciplines. I have no doubt he will discover several ways for me to improve and I’m actually looking forward to that. I’m sure some of it will be hard to hear, but that will be easier than another disappointing finish to a race.

In a past post I mentioned about discussing the process. At the end of the day, there was not too much to it for me. There are a number of coaches in the area in including several former pros in Boulder. However they seemed like a better fit with more elite athletes, are more expensive and they are in Boulder. My coach actually lives in my town and trains in the same places I do!

I am also familiar with the training company with which he is affiliated. I’m not going to publish that company’s name for the time being, but suffice it to say, I’ve met the owner and have been pretty impressed with the whole operation.

All that said, if you are not as fortunate as I have been to have a good option right in front of you, it pays to do some research.

Changing macro nutrients is really hard!
Having read and listened to a ton of podcasts on the subject, I’ve become particularly interested in retraining my metabolism to rely more on fat than glycogen. That began with a decision to identify what my daily average sugar intake has been this year and then target a reduction. So far, I’m barely making a dent and I’d be a liar if I said that I don’t often feel bonky and hungry. However, I’m willing to stay with it for the long haul.  I’m also trying to train in my Maffetone region. Dr. Maffetone’s own website strongly urges using the formula of 180 minus age so I’ve been doing that. I’m not 100% convinced that it should not be based more on true maximum heart rate, but since I have not done that test in over a year, I’m willing to stick with the formula for now.

Power meter training has begun!
I recently took delivery of a Wahoo KICKR trainer and at the same time began reading Joe Friel’s book on using a power meter to train. I’ll know doubt need to re-read sections to more fully understand it, but he writes in a way that is easy to follow. As for the KICKR, it’s pretty cool. While I’m still using the Garmin 910XT to record the workout, my real head unit is my iPhone. Changing the grade, simulated wind speed, etc., are all done via an app. I’ve only scratched the surface however. Wahoo has made their trainer “open source” which basically means they’re letting anyone who wants to develop an app for it. There are several out there and in time, I’ll purchase/subscribe to one to allow me to recreate courses in my basement this winter.

My 2014 Racing Calendar is starting to take shape.
Much to my frustration, finding a 70.3 distance triathlon in the west in mid-summer has proven very difficult. There are some, but often clear across the country. After doing considerable searching, I’m 80% sure I’ll be registering for Ironman 70.3 Racine in Wisconsin for my first long-course event of the year. It’s on July 20. I believe I’ll also be adding the local Harvest Moon half iron distance event in early September as well. Unlike races of similar distance run by WTC, the entry fee is about half the cost. Heat is likely to be a factor (it’s often hot in Colorado in early September) but that’s one of the conditions I’ll be working to overcome with my new coach.

Also likely to be on the schedule next year are the Summer Open Sprint (a great way to kick off the season) and the Steamboat Olympic triathlon in August. Neither of those will be “A” races but they will be fun all the same.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother suggested that he and I compete in the Mountain Top Experience Ride which is a Century Ride in the mountains west of Colorado Springs. That’s right mountains as in lots of climbing. In fact, the event’s website says that there is over 10,000 feet of climbing. Yikes! However, I think it will be a good way to get used to spending more time in the saddle and getting stronger for what’s yet to come. I’ve also wanted to do a century ride for a long time so why procrastinate. It’s also only around $30 to enter which is a bargain for any race! Hmm, does this mean I can start looking at new road bikes? N+1?

I may look at doing one of the swim races I’m expecting to be scheduled out at Grant Ranch this summer. I was not able to race last year do to personal conflicts, but this year is still wide open.

Of course I’m still planning on being in Boulder on Memorial Day morning. That’s a tradition I hope never changes.

I have, so far, registered for exactly zero of these events. I’ll meet with my coach first and then start forking over the dough for various registrations.


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Since folks like me are hanging up the wetsuit for the winter, I thought a link to this post from a couple of years ago would be helpful:

http://firsttimertriathlete.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-build-wetsuit-hanger.html

PS: I'm still using mine

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Now what?

Crossing the finish line in Austin on Sunday marked the end of a very long triathlon season both in terms of time and number of races. If you go back to the Colorado Marathon on May 5, the whole thing worked out to something just short of six months and covered 9 events. There’s no question that I bit off more than I could chew and that it also kept me very busy from a training standpoint.

Now, rather abruptly, that has ended. For the first time in nearly a year, I am not registered to compete in a triathlon, marathon or even half marathon. It is truly the out season. I’m not exactly disappointed by that, but I can also feel the vacuum that was created as a result.

Of course, in time, I will register for 2014 races and in time I will also begin a formal off-season training regimen designed to get me ready for what I expect to be more intense training next year.

However, for the balance of the calendar year, for the sake of both my body and my mind, I’m going to take a less formal approach. Rather than a schedule, I’m going to just establish some general goals.

1.      Watch the weight! It’s a lot easier to keep the weight off when you’re training for six to eight hours a week. Since that total will not continue now, I’ll have to be a bit more conscious of what I’m eating. That will be more challenging as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. It’s truly a season that makes you want to eat and stay in!
2.      Experiment with the diet. I’m not about to do anything radical like try a ketogenic or paleo diet. I have serious doubts both about the sustainability and overall health risks of either. However, a reduction in my carb intake coupled with an increase in my protein intake may create the desirable result of being able to better metabolize fat. Given the bonking I experienced at Austin, being able to more readily tap into the vast fat reserves that all people have would be a substantial benefit.
3.      Experiment with Maffetone training. I keep hearing a lot of good stories and I’m game to try and do more to train my body to burn more fat and rely less on carbs in the form of glycogen. The nice thing about not having to be ready for a race any time soon is that I can play around with new training methods without compromising race performance. Of course I’ll need to test my max heart rate, but that’s probably a good thing.
4.      Learn more about the use of power. After much navel gazing and delaying, I finally broke down and ordered an electronic trainer, specifically a Wahoo KICKR. I did get a good deal and free shipping. Thanks DCRainmaker.com! Seriously, if you are in the market for a higher end item, the 10% discount he offers to Clever Training can save you some serious coin. In any case, since the trainer includes an integrated power meter, I’ll have a chance this winter to start tracking that. In fact, I have to think that if I had power data available in Austin; I might have been able to better manage that ride. Joe Friel published a book about a year ago and I’ll probably start with that.
5.      Figure out the coaching. A few weeks back, I posted about finding a coach. That desire has not changed, but in the next couple of months, I need to do my research and find one that will be right for me. I was pleased to have hit a PR in Austin but not satisfied. I believe I have a sub six hour half ironman in me.


The off season will give me lots of good material to post here as I try new things and gain new insights as

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Austin

It's a little unusual to write about the of my season at the end of October but in hindsight, I'm glad I had the opportunity to get one more race in.

This was my third time racing in the road but unlike the last two, I had free bike transport compliments of my brother who drove to race here.

As a result, my wife and I got to fly in Friday morning without the hassle that airlines have created around transporting a bike. Both they and the bike transport companies should get a clue that when you jack your prices up you actually discourage business.

In any case we arrived in Texas without incident and soon made our way to the town of Lakeway which lies more or less to the west of Austin proper.

Our lodging at the Lakeway Resort and Spa could not be better.



Friday was a relaxing and uneventful day for resting. Saturday saw my brother and I heading over to set up our transitions (yes plural) and check in our bikes.


Unlike my previous events, this one has T1 and T2 in two different locations. But first things first. Before any set up could occur, we first had to go to the expo and pick up our packets.

Most of the staging happens at the Travis County Expo center which in addition to several acres of grounds has a buildings we'll-suited for events like ours.

This exposition was pretty much like any other I've been to with the notable exception of being inside. Due to the multiple transition nature of the race, our packets also included bags for various stages of the race. More on that later.

Since T2 was located within the grounds of the Exposition we decided to go ahead and set up there. It also gave us the opportunity to view some of the run course.






Setting up meant getting items out of the Tri bag and putting them into my "run gear" bag. We used Ted's car as our staging area:


The red bag you see I the  foreground is for run gear. Into it I put my shoes, socks, visor and race belt. Then it gets tied up and hung from the crappy saw horse-style racks.


With all of that done, it was off to nearby Walter E. Long lake which was site of the swim and T1.

Here we checked in our bikes and tied our bike gear bags to the rack:


All that was left was to do a quick perusal of the swim course. After the sighting problems I had at TriRock  it was nice to see a course so well-marked:




Then it was back to Lakeway for dinner at the Hill Country Pasta House and then off to bed for an early rise.

Despite getting  an early start and making good time, We still got stuck in traffic as several hundred racers converged on the course at the same time. It was definitive proof that we made the right decision in setting up our transitions ahead of time. 

Once parked at the expo center, we boarded a school bus which shuttled us out to the lake. We arrived to an announcement that transition was closing in four minutes. While we were mostly set up we both still needed to put our water and nutrition bottles on the bike. Despite threats to cut off our wrist bands  and kick us out, we did get set up. So did several other people who were still arriving.

That drama was complete then it was time for pre race business at the porta-potties and then time to dawn the wetsuits and wait for our swim wave to start.

The Swim

There were no arrangements nor enough time for a swim warm up but at the least there was an in-water start. It was not chilly, but I still prefer to get my suit fully immersed and adjusted before the race starts. 

The wait to start felt short and soon I was working my way outside the buoy line doing my beys to avoid the group grope. That's only sustainable for so long  and in time I was bumping into folks as well as catching people in the waves that preceded my own. I went by one guy who was elementary back-stroking (no kidding) as well as a young woman who was just floating on her back, presumable due to some duress. 

I felt really good during the swim never getting too winded and it went by quickly. I clocked myself at a little over 37 minutes as I left the water which was also where my official time ended up.

 
Hey Garmin, why are you always losing reception in the middle of my swim?!

Transition was a little slow due to a long  run up from the beach as well as the time it took to open my bag, get my bike shoes and helmet and then put my wetsuit away. The transition area was also lousy with burs so everyone, me included, was carrying their bike out until reaching pavement.



The Bike

I got going and was soon cruising north out of the area over some minor hills. The road was  wet from over night rain so I took it easy on the downhills. I don't have. Lot of experience with riding in the rain and this didn't seem like a good time to learn.

The hills of the initial section were steep but short and I felt pretty good as I made my way past mile 11 and on to the first sustained climb. I thought I was making good time but I would later find that I was behind my goal pace.

A right turn onto Lettig Road showed me just how far out int the country we were. But the scenery was pretty and lots of folks who lived along the course came out to wave and cheer everyone on. Say what you will about Texans but they are the friendliest folks I've come across.

By the time the course was heading south I was still making okay time, but I was also feeling kind of bonky despite having taken in over 300 calories of nutrition. I was not hot (the sky was overcast and a cool breeze was out) and not winded but I was tired. My legs were sore and I just could not find my energy levels. I kept at it but it did not get any easier. 

Webberville Road is the last sustained section and I guess just to make things fun, the race organizers decided to cram two way traffic and all of the cyclists into a narrow stretch of road. Their brilliant means of accomplishing this was to set up a line if cones with cars to the left and bikes to the right. As we all know, cones never move once you set them up....right?

I navigated this without too much trouble and did my best to stay to the right and out of the way of faster cyclists. A number of them, I suspect, we're folks I had seen fixing flat tires. Nearly all do them were clinchers which will make me wary of any future such set up on my own bike.

The right turn off of Weberville Road was soon upon me and then I was down to the final few miles of the bike. This also meant climbing a couple of short but steep hills before turning back into the expo ground and into T2.
I got myself to my spot which was fairly close to the bike in and had my shoes changed and on my way I what I thought was fairly short order. During the last few miles of the bike I started to feel like my pre-race business was not enough. Given the long run that still waited for me, I decided to hit the porta-potties on my way out of T2 even though that meant waiting in line. 

Maybe it was the fact that I was in a pink (yes pink) porta-john, maybe adrenaline or maybe just getting out of aero position. Whatever the reason, all I managed to do was relieve the fluids I had taken in during the bike. 

Out the door I went and was starting the first of three run loops.

The Run

My goal was to control my pace and not go out too fast. I had really planned on going at no more than a 10:00 pace. However, as easy as I took it, my first three miles were all closer to 9:45. Since I felt okay, I didn't worry about it.

At the end of mile three/the start of mile four, I hit the biggest hill on the course. Truth be told, at the time, it did not seem so bad, but I stuck with my plan and walked until 3.5 miles which saw me back on the expo grounds. 

I did not expect the throngs of people or the carnival-like atmosphere around the arena, but folks were there I droves as if they were tail-gating for a Longhorns game. It was really kind of cool. That energy helped me around the loop right next to the area and then back out for lap 2. 

It was here that I began to feel the effect of the hills as well as a pretty serious bonk. I decided when I got to the base of the hill that lead back into Walter E. Long Park (the back half of the run circuit) that  I would walk the uphills. 

On the way back out of the park, one of the volunteers at the aid station had a package of chocolate chip cookies. They looked so much bigger and more satisfying than the little package  of Bonk Breakers that I opted for them and wolfed them down oven the next quarter mile or so. They were a bit heavy in my stomach, but that was so much better than the horrible empty feeling I had prior to that time.

I ran back down the hill and then walked when it became an uphill. When I got back to the throng of people near the arena I was running again. I was not making great time, but I was still doing much much better than any of then running I my prior 70.3 races. There's no question that I walked more on the third lap, but as the last stretch approached, I picked up the pace and went strong.

This race had the unique feature of finishing inside of the rodeo arena. I could hear the announcements as I ran into the tunnel and was soon on my way to completing my third 70.3 event.







My wife approached and I was glad to see her and anticipated seeing my brother and his family.

"How did Ted do?" I asked as we stepped away from the finish area.

"Ted's in the emergency room," she told me. He had crashed on Webberville Road during the gauntlet of cones. He had a broken collar bone but was otherwise alright. Of course, more than anything I was glad his injury was not more serious, but I also felt for him. All of that training only to have your race ended by a cone.

We got my things gathers up and I was able to get his bags (as well as my own) and then I drove his car to the hospital while my wife followed not far behind in our rental. En route, I spoke to Ted who told me of another guy in the same predicament. He crashed when a car bumped a cone into his path.

Unlike Ted, he did not have friends or family on site that day so we gave him a ride back to the expo center and I helped him load bus bike into his car. He and my brother made quite the pair:


The guy, Adam, is an active duty soldier currently attending Ranger school in Texas. I felt good about helping out a fellow triathlete, but helping a solider was even more reason to lend a hand.

Soon, Ted and I were on our way back downtown for a delicious post-race meal at Stubb's Barbecue. In the time since, I've enjoyed a couple of relaxing days here in Austin. This was my view for much of the Monday after the race:


Race Review

Next Time:

Cone Zone: While I can understand that the logistics of getting permits to close roads and/or alter traffic is no easy task, this needs to be re-thought. My brother and Adam were not the only two injuries and I suspect there were several others who may have had issues without needing the ER. Nothing, absolutely nothing, should come between the athletes and their safety. I am calling on the race organizers to give this issue some thought and come back with a better plan for next year.

Pre-Start Logistics: Despite having put this race on in years past, several people were late due to the mass of traffic that descended on the expo center in the early hours of Sunday morning. The facility has multiple entrances and quite a bit of parking that was not used. It may be time to make better use of such a large space.

Expo: I've come to expect the expo at most races to be a little weak. WTC could do more to at least reduce the time you spend in line to pick up your packet. They might also want to consider not charging through the nose for merchandise.

The Good

Venue: Although I was a little uncertain of the two transition zones, it worked out pretty well. Walter E. Long lake was a clean and completely acceptable swim site and the bike through the back country was great. I was there to race, but it would have been cool if I could have snapped a few pics along the way.

I'm not usually a fan if running loops, but this too worked out. Though sometime there were crowds, I never had issues getting around people when I needed to and I never felt like I was in the way.

Finish: The indoor finish had the twin benefits of giving spectators a comfortable place to wait for their athlete to complete their race and giving the athlete the benefit if a more dramatic finish. Although on a much smaller scale, it was a bit like finishing the BolderBoulder in Folsom stadium.

Support/Volunteers: I never lacked for anything on the course nor for anyone to provide it to me. It's got to be a little scary to hand off a water bottle to someone coming by at 15+ MPH but they all did and I stayed well hydrated as a result.

After more than five months and eight races, my 2013 season is over and I feel relieved. I still plan on training, but the pressure to be ready for a race is gone and I'm glad for that. I think the coming odd season will be a good time to try some new things with my diet and training.

Please note, because I have not yet returned home, my Garmin maps of the stages have not yet been uploaded from the device. I'll add those soon.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Accidental 'A' Race

All season long, I've eschewed labeling any one event my “A” race. Early on, I just didn't know what to expect. Later, when I found my performance lacking, I knew I would just be setting myself up for disappointment.

Past experience also drove this practice. I went into the 2012 Rattlesnake with no expectations either way and wound up having one of my best days on an Olympic Course. Why target a race when not targeting it seemed to produce such solid results?

Then there was this year’s Rattlesnake. A decent swim, an okay bike (except for losing my seat-mounted water bottle rack) and a really lousy run combined to make it a bad experience. Heat definitely played a part (it was much cooler the year before) and my lack of conditioning played one as well.

Moments like that drove me to train harder, eat better and turn things around. I had several advantages at TriRock like the flat course and sea-level altitude, but I also had worked to put myself in a position to do better.

All of that, and the fact that Ironman 70.3 Austin is my last race this season, have effectively made it the “A” race by default. I didn't plan it this way—it just happened due to multiple factors.

This will be my race at the half iron distance. Clearly at both Boulder and HITS Sterling last year, my greatest struggle is the run. I did a respectable amount of running before HITS but not nearly enough before Boulder. In the last two months, I've effectively doubled my average weekly mileage and even started to see my speed improve. It’s been easier in the cooler weather, but I think it has more to do with being more disciplined about getting out there and just doing it.

Cycling has also seen more mileage. I was doing alright at this prior to the last two races, but this time I've done multiple rides at 50 miles or more in preparation. Being as I live in a relatively hilly area, I've also done a lot more climbing than there will be in Austin. That race won’t be flat, but I go on rides 50% more vertical gain.

Cooler weather is also likely to favor me. No, southern Texas will probably not see anything like the fifty and sixty degree temperatures that Colorado has been experiencing over the last two weeks, but highs are not likely to go much over the mid-seventies either. When I started running at Boulder it was 75* in the shade (there was almost no shade on the course) and it had climbed to about 90* by the time I finished. A year earlier in Sterling, it was already pushing 90* at the beginning of the run and flirting with 100* before the day was over. It’s not impossible it will be just as warm in Austin, but not likely either.

As I discovered in San Diego, altitude really does make a difference. I noticed this in the ease at which I made a sub 9:00 pace through the run as well as by my lack of sore muscles afterward. While I doubt I was in a completely aerobic state, I was more so than my typical run at home above 6000 feet. One of my major problems on the run in Boulder was my heart rate kept spiking close to 100% of max. In other words, I could not have kept running even if I wanted to. While Austin is not at sea level, the entire course never gets higher than 656 feet which is scarcely more than 10% of my average training altitude.

Like any race, there are factors I can’t control. It might be freakishly hot, miserably rainy or windy enough to knock me off the bike. I could also have health issues like a cold or intestinal problem. You just never know. But I am cautiously optimistic about my ability to show a marked improvement over my past two 70.3 races. In just over two weeks, I get to find out!


Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seeking Professional Help

Since my departure from competitive, organized sport more than 25 years ago (i.e.: when I finished high school) I have always been a self-supported athlete. Like any amateur age-grouper, I have sought advice from magazines, online forums and from friends with similar interests, but none of that has ever involved being coached in the interactive sense,

Roughly three years ago when I decided that I wanted to become a triathlete, I sifted through the oceans of data available from multiple sources, but again, did not actually seek coaching on any level. Not even a clinic.

After two seasons in the sport, my choice seemed to have been validated. I came out of 2012 in some of the best physical shape of my adult life. My final event of last season was the Rattlesnake Triathlon where I completed the entire Olympic distance in 2:46:00 including a run of 50:43 for just a fraction under 10K.

I followed that up with a half-marathon PR of 1:53:35, more than 10 minutes faster than my previous best. Even late in the season, I did a more casual half under two hours, something that seemed nearly impossible earlier that same year.

Indeed, the only real struggle I had in 2012 was on the run portion of the HITS half-iron distance triathlon. Multiple factors, most especially heat, had me doing a lot of walking in that race. However, it was only one blip on what was, for me anyway, a stellar season.

2013 turned out to be a year of struggles. Inuring my soleus muscle back in January kept me from doing any quality running for much of the late winter and early spring. Completing a full marathon in PR time in May was a pleasant surprise after that, but it also left my body feeling a little beat up.

By the time I had taken a two week vacation as well as allowed my sore legs to heal up, I was way behind the ball when it came to being ready. Unfortunately, I did not fully realize or accept this fact at the time.

Things seemed to be going pretty well at the Loveland Lake to Lake Olympic triathlon in late June. It was a longer swim, but I felt strong as left the water. The bike presented some fairly tough hills, but on the final stretch I was dropping a lot of younger people ahead of me. Then I started running and found myself walking after four miles. I figured it was mostly the heat of the day coming on.

Unfortunately, things were no better three weeks later when I returned to the Boulder Peak Triathlon. A good swim, respectable bike and smooth transitions preceded a run that was again characterized by walking around the 2/3 mark. It was hot again and I was just fried.

Another three weeks saw me back in Boulder at the Ironman 70.3 event and I was pleased to have completed the bike in just over three hours, faster than the year before with HITS. It was hot but not as hot as I headed out on the back road, two loop course that comprise the final 13.1 miles of that event. Again, heat got the best of me and I suspect I walked more than I ran. Thanks to the fast bike however, I still hit a PR and improved more than six and half minutes over my first half iron.

I had higher hopes as I ran the 2013 Rattlesnake. While I had no illusions about being as fast as the previous year, I hoped this would be the one where I got all the way through the run. No such luck. Once again, around four miles and change, I was exhausted. My heart rate was way into my top zone. I was hot and feeling weak. It ended up being my worst running performance yet at the Olympic distance.

Now, I knew there was a problem.

All season long I had trusted my self-written training plan based on the fact that I had done so well the year before. The problem was, I made some significant changes based on assumptions that I now believe were wrong.

First, despite getting faster as a result in 2012 from incorporating interval training into both my bike and run workouts, intervals were not present in my 2013 plan. The reason for this was that they had not been especially helpful at HITS and the 70.3 distance was going to be my focus in the coming year.

Second, I did not have enough long runs in my plan. It’s hard to say what happened here. Perhaps I thought that I would have established such a base from the marathon training that I would be ready. Perhaps I planned to update the schedule a little bit. Perhaps I skipped too many runs.

Looking back at what I scheduled and what I did, I not only ran less in 2013, I planned to run less. The notion that I had a good handle on how to adequately train for a season has proven to be false.

As 2013 winds down, I have taken a few steps to remediate those mistakes, mostly by upping the run mileage. Intervals would, no doubt, do some good, but I’m worried about getting injured. Nevertheless, running for longer distances and periods of time has undoubtedly improved my stamina. I've also been making sure I keep the bike mileage up so that the better performance in that area can be sustained.

The end of one season naturally has me looking forward to the next. One thing is certain even this far in advance: I don’t want to have a repeat. I also have a rough idea of my goals.

I would like to see my Olympic Distance time (using the 1.5K Swim, 40K Bike and 10K run as the basis) to about 1:36:00. That would be a 10 minute improvement. For the half iron distance, I’d like to see that drop dramatically to 5:50:00. Most of that gain would have to be on the run. I have a few ideas about how to do this, but the truth of the matter is I may very well need the help and feedback of a professional.

That I may hire a coach is by no means set in stone. However, it is a distinct possibility. Previously, I had thought that I would only go down this road if I committed to a full Ironman. That is not the case—yet—but my desire to improve is strong.

My health seems to be full restored with the soleus muscle not having bothered me for months now. I also don’t seem to be feeling any particular pain in other areas as well, all of which suggests that my strength is definitely returning.

Two upcoming races have rekindled my desire to go out and perform well and this has translated to better training and a better diet. Indeed, I've lost five pounds since the Rattlesnake.

Nevertheless, I do think that hitting these ambitious goals (especially the 70.3 time) is going to require someone who has helped other athletes make similar improvements. With that in mind, I’ll be researching a few local services and probably making a decision early in the off-season.

As I got through the process, I’ll share as much as I can on these pages. Hiring a coach is another “first time.” It will be interesting to see how it proceeds.


Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Race Report: TriRock San Diego Olympic Distance

Getting to race at sea level after spending all of your time at over a mile high is a real treat. No, it can't compensate for not training, but it can make the difference between an average race a pretty good one. Such was the case today.

Like many events, this one requires packet pick up a day earlier at the expo. That's fine with. me since it is one less item to worry about on race day. The expos takes place on the bay side of the convention center and your choices are to either walk around the imposing structure or over it. I chose the latter and climbed some steep steps but was rewarded with some nice views.



Picking everything up was easy so I spent my extra minutes looking around the expo. Meh.



Ultimately, though, expos are not the reason we register for races. I headed out and spent the rest of the day resting. It was an early morning.

The transition area closed at 6:15. A little more than an hour before that, my wife, sister-in-law and adorable nieces headed out from their home up north. I had plenty of time to get ready, but it was still dark as you might be able to tell from the attached:


While I had an assigned space, things were still very crowded. Fortunately, everyone around me was cool and we managed to get our stuff where we could find it coming out of the water.

Shortly after this it was time to line up for the start.

The Swim

When I did this race two years ago, it was a water start. Racers actually lined up in a coral on one of the two peninsula/parks adjacent to the convention center and harbor. It was a quick hop in the water and you were more or less at the start buoys. This year, racers were lined up on the seawall at the end of the harbor. We entered the water on the same stairs we would later use for the exit. Then, we saw nearly a quarter mile to the start. I was okay with that since the venue really does not lend itself to warm-up swim.

The wait at the start buoys was short and soon we were off. I felt like the swim was slow. Not because I was tired or tense, but mostly because there was so much traffic. Unlike the events in Boulder where waves were based on self-ranked ability or at Rattlesnake which was a time-trial start, this was just a bunch of age groupers with abilities all over the gamut.

Sighting also proved to be difficult. Part of the problem was the buoy color. Rather than the usual day-glow orange, these were white with just a little orange on the top. Also problematic was the fact that the patrol boat was running across our path and creating a wake. For the most part, I just followed the crowd and hoped they all knew where they were going.

Once we had made the trip back east, I could see the finish in the form of a blue arch which made sighting for the last third pretty easy. I struggled up the stairs and made the long run into T1.


The Bike
It might have been the dark or nerves or not racing for five weeks, but whatever the case, I forgot to get my gel out of my bag so I probably lost 15 seconds or so digging it out. Then I was on my way out of the convention center area, heading south on Harbor Boulevard. I had planned on getting to ride north through part of downtown and then out along the waterfront by such landmarks as the Star of India.

For reasons I've yet to divine, the course was changed on the website late last week to what I had planned to do two years ago; a two loop course that included running through the major naval base.

This is not a pretty ride though the various ships moored at the navy base were an impressive site. I did pretty well but the course also had some rough spots and I managed to find a couple of potholes that shook both my fillings and my aerobars.

The course is mostly flat with the only real "hill" being a bridge. I managed to keep my speed up as a result and though a little tired, my legs felt pretty good.

By the time I was heading back up Harbor Boulevard to T2, my left bar had become very loose. I managed to hold on the last few miles and was soon dismounted and running back through transition.


The Run
I got back to my spot quickly and was on my way back on the course for a run. Given recent experiences (okay, nearly every race this season) I was nervous about how it would go. I did, however, have advantages here, namely, cool weather and sea level.

I had to be careful about going out too hard on the first of two loops. My pace drifted down to the low 8:00 range a couple of times so I made myself go a little easier. That said, staying under 9:00 proved to be not much of a problem. Nearly two miles in, I was feeling pretty good. Far better in fact, than I had in any other run leg at this point.

But I didn't let it go to my head. There was a lot of running to do still. So I just kept going and kept feeling good. By the time I was on my way back to the finish--halfway through my second lap--I knew it was going to be a good day. I did start to get a little gassed, but there is a point in a good race where you know that you're going to be able to dig deep and find what you need to finish strong. That was me at the end of this run.




Race Review

I picked this race because my most recent experience with Competitor Group (the 2012 Rock and Roll Denver Half Marathon) was a pretty good one. Beside the experience of hitting a PR, I thought registering for running in and finishing the race was good. With that in mind, I decided that going back to San Diego where I have family, would be fun.

Anyone reading industry news in the last few weeks is probably aware that Competitor has recently made a controversial decision to stop supporting elite athletes. Whether you think that was a good or bad decision, it's not unreasonable to assume that more focus would be put on the age groupers.

This was my experience.

True to past form, the website for the event was sparsely populated with a crude PDF map and no athlete guide until a few days before the event. Once published the guide itself was thin on details such as swimming to the swim start. Maps about parking and road closures were similarly not available until only a few days before.

I understand there were meetings to discuss the course, but I could not make those. Given the $15 fee to park at the convention center, I chose a meter instead and only had time to get my packet, look around and then head out. Neither course meeting was going to match my schedule. As a result, I really had no clear idea where things would happen on race day. There just were no online resources to study.

Swimming is just swimming. Find the buoys and go. The problem is white buoys don't show up against most backgrounds. Day-glow orange is so rare in just about any circumstance, that it's easy to see. That's the point.

San Diego is a beautiful city. Miles of beaches and shoreline, the amazing sprawling beauty of Balboa park, a vibrant downtown scene. So they send us down perhaps the ugliest part of the whole city--an industrial road that leads to a Navy base.

There was some good. The run course was fun. I was not sure about the two loop set up but it worked fine. It never got overly crowded and the trip up and down the boardwalk was scenic and enjoyable.

Volunteers were another bright spot. Water was always ready and abundant. Better still, some of the volunteers were active duty sailors on the base who cheered us on. That's pretty cool to be getting encouragement from the men and women who are the real heroes.

Like all events I've done, there was an emcee whose job it is to not only get racers started, but welcome them across the finish line. Ours did both and all the while kept the crowd involved. On an entertaining note, her dress was made of swim caps which is just awesome!



Unfortunately, the negative vastly outweighs the positive. A large, professional organization like Competitor needs to be putting on races that give their competitors (most notably WTC) a run for their money. They did not.

I do hope to get back and race in San Diego again soon, but it will be in someone else's race.

Now it's another day off and then back to getting ready for the big one: Ironman 70.3 Austin.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Easy way to Track and Be Tracked



I do almost all of my riding solo. In fact, I do nearly of my training solo, the occasional lane mate in the pool not withstanding. That’s fine, but I have always been concerned about someone knowing where I am. It might not help, but it certainly can hurt should the worst happen.

Over the years I’ve looked at various devices but have always been turned off by two factors:

1)      Initial price
2)      The cost of ongoing service.

For example, Garmin makes a device called the GTU10 which essentially combines a GPS unit with a cell phone. You can pre-program it to send alerts to your choice of recipients and they’ll know where you are.

There are similar devices such as the SPOT Satellite tracker which also contains some messaging ability and costs a little less (though the annual service fee is apparently quite a bit more than what Garmin gets).

Nevertheless, I’m not particularly interested in forking over a hundred bucks or so plus more money each month (or year). I already do enough of that between Directv, Sirius Radio, etc.

Last week however, I heard a new product from Road ID mentioned on Brett Blankner’s “Zen and the Art of Triathlon” podcast. This is an iPhone app that provide the basic services of tracking and, should you be stopped more than 5 minutes, emergency alerting.

Truthfully, I would probably pay a few bucks for this app, but it’s actually free. I simply downloaded it to my iPhone, entered a few details and, using my contacts list, was able to send a text to my wife when I headed out the door. That text included a URL to track my progress. Road ID calls this process an “ecrumb.” If you stop moving for more than 5 minutes, an alarm will sound indicating that an alert is about to be sent to your contact(s) advising them of possible trouble. This provides you with the option to cancel the alert.

Did it work? Absolutely. I headed way south of home but since I was in cell phone range the whole time, my wife was able to track me multiple times during the ride. In fact, when I got back to the house, she was expecting and was holding the door open for me to bring my bike inside.

One other feature that I did not use is the lock-screen feature. This basically turns the lock screen on your phone into a sort of Road ID on its own. Assuming whatever calamity that caused the need for you identification did not wreck your phone, anyone coming upon you will see the data on the lock screen.

Of course, because any kind of bike crash could very easily mean a trashed iPhone, they still recommend using one of their physical ID bands. That’s probably sound advice.

As the welcome e-mail I got from Road ID indicated, that this is still in beta testing so there may be a few bugs. My wife noticed that the auto-refresh was not working so well and she had to reclick the link to see it again, but that’s not such a big deal.
Another drawback is the fact that at present, this app is only available for the iPhone though they say an Android version should be out soon.

In any case, for those of you who hit the open road on the bike, sometimes a ways from home, this is just a little bit more reassurance for you and for those who care about you.


Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back in the Pool

All good things must come to an end. So says the proverb. And it was true of my summer swimming at Grant Ranch. Because the Pete Alfino and the good folks at Mile High Multisport made weekday swimming available, it more or less negated the need for me to do any lap swimming all summer long.

I’m sure that sounds strange (maybe even wrong) to folks who don’t have the same ready access to open water swimming that we enjoy here in metro Denver, but it’s true. Between Aquaman, Stroke & Stride, COMSA sponsored swimming at Chatfield Reservoir and, of course, the MHM sponsored swim times at Grant Ranch, I can complete all of my swim work outs in open water. In other words, in the same conditions under which I race.

I’m sure there are die-hard swimmers who would wonder how I get my intervals, kick drills and other swimming specific work outs done. To them I would answer that I don’t. I just swim. The extra work might shave a few minutes off my 70.3 time, but not a lot. For me, the return on investment isn’t high enough.

So since the middle of May, I’ve been swimming at Grant Ranch when not racing. I averaged about 1:41 per hundred yards during each of my eleven appearances there and except for a couple of times when weather intervened, was usually swimming the full 1.2 mile course.

Even in an outdoor pool, there’s just nothing that compares to being out in a wide-open lake in the wetsuit. I love looking back and seeing my wake disrupt the otherwise glassy surface. I love watching buoys barely visible grow as I approach them. I love looking back over a vast distance and saying to myself, “I just swam that.”

However, even if the lake had stayed open past Labor Day weekend, eventually it will be too cold to swim. I’d guess even in a month it will be pretty chilly. It can’t go on all year. Not in this state.

That necessitated my return to the Parker Rec Center pool. I last swam there on May 10 as I was preparing for the Summer Open Sprint. To be honest, I knew I needed the workout but I was not really looking forward to it. The facility is more than adequate and though a 50 meter pool would be ideal, there are only a few of those in the whole state. For around eight months a year, this is my training venue. So be it.

Much to my surprise, I felt great.

The workout started off right with an open lane. No sharing, no circle swimming, and no guy telling me he could not share because he “had a workout to do.” That actually happened last winter. Just me going back and forth.


Without no wetsuit and the need to turn every 25 yards, I’m a bit slower, but I felt great nearly the whole time. I had a bit of a niggle in my left shoulder during the last 500 yards or so, but it was not very painful and I kept going strong. Before I knew it, I had completed my 2000 yard swim and I felt good.

Will every swim workout be this good? No. I’m sure there are going to be some that suck. Maybe I’ll even run into Mr. Important with his “workout” but I’ll just have to tell him too bad like I did last time.

Despite my overwhelming preference for open water, I remembered that my biggest performance gains have come in the water. Three years ago my average hundred yard time was well over 2:30 and that was for a mere 750 yards. The improvements came in that same pool. I suspect it has more good things to offer in the future.

Of course, with upcoming races in San Diego and Austin, I’m not quite done swimming in the open. But to be ready, I know I’ll be doing a lot more back and forth at the Parker Rec Center.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Planning Next Year’s Races

I still have two more races in my current season, but truth be told, it’s really not too early to think about what I want to do next year.

Of course, it is early so picking an actual event won’t happen for a while yet. Instead, I’m starting to look at the criteria for picking an event. So far, it’s working out like this:

Frequency

The harsh truth is that I over-registered this year with eight races over a five month period. I should have known better, but now I know for sure. There is such a thing as too many races.

Next year, at most, I’ll do one a month and probably more like every six months. What’s more, events will need to be at least three weeks apart and preferably more. I’ve found I don’t like the pressure and anxiety that an upcoming event creates.

Quality

This is not much of a change, but I do plan on sticking with races that are known for being well-run. That probably means reading the race reports on a lot of other blogs and tuning in to the various comment boards on sites like Trifuel and Beginner Triathlete. Quality also means avoiding event companies with a history of cancelling events.

New Experiences

It’s great for race strategy to know the course really well. I think that was a big part of what helped me reach the podium in Greeley in 2012. However, it’s also a lot of fun to see a place for the first time. No doubt depending on scheduling and cost, I may have a repeat, but I’m going to favor events that I have not done before.

Environmental Factors

These are things such as venue, historical weather, course, and ease of access from my home. I don’t mean to say that I am not willing to travel to reach one or two races, but all else being equal; I’d lean toward the local race.

Taking My Time

Part of why I was over-registered this year is because I didn’t take enough time to put a particular race into the perspective of my whole season. While not every race can be an ‘A’ race they don’t all have to be a ‘C’ either.

Part of this consideration may also be impacted by whether or not I decide to hire a coach. I’m still toying with that. That decision (probably a good topic for a future post) will be determined by exactly what I want—and can reasonably expect—from being coached.

These criteria should be helpful to making a more logical, rationale decision. That said, I don’t want to totally dismiss the notion of “hey, that looks like fun.” After all, having fun is supposed to be part of being a triathlete. Right?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rethinking in the Wake of a Poor Performance

Results from the Rattlesnake triathlon were a little late in posting and, truth be told, I was not terribly enthusiastic to see them. But I always do look at race results in detail so I finally got around to it on Monday morning.

What I saw did not please me.

Overall, I finished more ore less in the middle of the pack. In my age group, however, I finished fourth to last and I had the third slowest run time. There are many factors to explain it, but ultimately, I can’t blame anyone or anything but myself.

It’s human nature to wallow in self-pity at times like this. I’d be a liar if I said I had not started to go there. The frustration is particularly strong when I look back to last year when I had one of my best performances ever at a race. Given the fact that I’m in my forties, it’s not entirely unexpected that my performance year over year will decline. However I don’t believe the decline should be quite so dramatic.

I know that self-pity and despair generally don’t accomplish much of anything so after a few minutes down that road, I started thinking a bit more clearly, a bit more logically. What is done is done and the question is now about what I’m going to do for the remainder of the season. In fact, that there are two more races in the next 10 weeks is something of a silver lining. It gives me time to make some changes and hopefully improvements.

Weight

I tipped the scale Monday morning at 195.2 pounds which is almost as high as I’ve been in the last 12 months. It’s hard to say how much of a factor, but there are 10 to 11 pounds I’ve been dragging along that weren’t there a year ago.

With the TriRock San Diego about five weeks away, I’ve resolved to lose 5 pounds (1 a week) between now and then and to keep it off. Then, I plan to lose another 5 between that race and Ironman 70.3 Austin.

The hardest part is going to be curtailing my incoming calories. There’s no question that I like to eat. A lot. Like so much of my training, this is going to be a test of will as much as test of my body. Truly, the challenge will be keeping the weight off once I’ve reached the target.

Updated Training Plan


“No plan survives contact with the enemy”
            --Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

I have probably used that quote somewhere before so my apology for the repetition, but it’s quite valid to my current circumstances.

My current plan needs some reworking and 10 weeks is a good amount of time to see a successful implementation. Consistent with my goal to lose some weight will be more strength work—something I have lacked all summer. Additional running will also be part of the plan. At this stage, I’m not sure about doing intervals but I may employ fartlek training to help drive up my stamina level.

Injury Prevention

Since recovering from my soleus muscle injury earlier this year, I’ve stayed relatively healthy. The last time I experienced any real pain running was in Sweden back in early June. I feel fairly strong from that perspective, but also a little cautious. The worst thing would be to re-injure my right leg or develop a new injury. The first sign of trouble will have me stopping whatever I’m doing and taking some time to recover. Better yet will be to find the right effort level to avoid problems in the first place.


Looking back on this experience I think I may have subconsciously taken the wrong lesson from my marathon training. When I was preparing for that, I had no choice but to employ a modified strategy. It was a pleasant surprise that I ended up hitting a PR. Now that I’m healthy again, it’s time to push a little harder and, hopefully, see some better results.


Thanks for reading!