Jun 01

Hills Are For Heroes

Title courtesy of Red

I had a hill workout today – 8 times up the dreaded Hall St. Hill.  It sucked.  But each time it sucked, I kept repeating “Hills are for heroes” to myself.  This run was for you Red! In case you don’t follow Red (or The Redhead, or Morgan, or any one of her various aliases), she suffered a heart breaking setback over 2 months ago sidelining her from the Cleveland Marathon.  While still unable to run, she has the heart of a champion and has been cross training like a fiend so that she can come back firing on all cylinders.  Don’t give up Red!

National Running Day

As I am sure you have heard already, today was National Running Day.  I “celebrated” with my hill workout and then joining Jennie and Bailey on their run.  Bailey has learned that when Jennie turns her Garmin on, it is time to run.  He goes crazy. He starts running back and forth between us and door and starts whining in a “Hurry Up!” tone.  Jennie had scoped out the NRD parties on Facebook so we aimed our run towards the EGR Library where Gazelle Sports had a booth setup and were giving out free popsicles.  First red, white, and blue rocket popsicle of the season! It must be summer!


Pre Race Plan

I have my first triathlon of season on Sunday – the Grand Rapids Tri Half IM.  This really isn’t part of my scheduled training but there is no way I could pass up a Half IM 15 minutes away from home.  I am sort of torn on how to tackle the race.  On one hand, I want to treat it like a training day and just go out and execute.  But, on the other hand, this is an awesome course to put the pedal to metal.  The swim is calm and fast.  The bike is flat and fast. And the run has a few rollers but has the potential to be fast.  See what I am getting at?  Basically, part of me wants to go FAST!

So, here is what I think I am going to do.  I am going to adjust my training at the end of this week slightly to give me at least a 2 day taper.  I’m going to pare back my Friday workout from 1h50m speed session to a 1h easy spin.  Then, Saturday, instead of a brick workout (which will be replaced with the race), will be a 30-40 minute easy recovery run.  That way, on Sunday, depending on how I feel, I can decided on my final game plan.


An easy out and back course in the Thornapple River reservoir.  There are two variables on the swim; water temperature and swim wave size.  The water was only 60* on Saturday when I swam there, but has already warmed up to 64* with the warm weather we have had.  If it gets up to 68*, it could be perfect for a PR.  If it doesn’t warm up, I know that the first half of the swim will be a little slow while my body adjusts to the temperature.  The second issue is wave size.  I don’t know yet how they are dividing up the 300+ athletes.  The smaller the wave size, the less fighting for position, the more potential for speed.

Current PR: 33:47 Good: 36:00, Better: 34:30, Best 33:00


Like I said, this is could be an ideal course for some speed.  The bike course is tree lined, so even on windy days, the wind hasn’t been a huge factor.  There is only one hill on the course from mile 16-18 and it really isn’t even a big one.  It just looks big because the rest of the course is so flat.  The only downside to the hill is that it is on the bumpiest section of the course which will make it difficult (read: dangerous) to wind it out on the return downhill.  Also, the aid stations are going to have Heed and water.  I hate Heed.  Absolutely can not stand it.  Had a bad experience with it, so never again.  This means I am stuck carrying my fluids.  I’ll probably do my Aerodrink along with a 2nd bottle on my frame for 56oz of fluid.  A little less than I would like, so I’ll probably grab a water bottle along the way and chug it.  I’m also going to carry enough Gu Chomps to make it through the ride and maybe a few strawberry Newtons in case I get sick of the chomps.


PR: 2:42 Good: 3:00 Better: 2:50 Best: 2:40


And now we have come to the variable.  I have imploded on every HIM run so far.  My best performance was 1:41 but on a 12.2 mile shortened course.  Independent of a HIM, I have logged some solid half marathon times, but just haven’t been able to keep it together at the end of a triathlon.  I think nutrition has been my downfall each time and I am confident I have that figured out.  The biggest variable on the run is where we run – on the road or on the bike path.  The bike path is actually hillier than the road it runs next to so I am hoping we end up on the road.

The course is an double out and back.  So same hills twice in a row.

PR: 2:01 Good: 2:00 Better: 1:50 Best 1:40


So, where does that put us?  5:00 – 5:45 depending on how well I can execute and how fast I can transition.  Quite honestly, at this point in the season, I would be just as happy with a 5:45 as a 5:00.  Don’t get me wrong, a solid PR would be awesome, but that isn’t the main goal of this race.  The goal is to go out there and execute cleanly and to not implode on the run. 

There isn’t any fancy online tracking or anything for this race, but Jennie will be providing updates via Facebook (and possibly Twitter) if you are interested.

Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend! Let me know if I forgot you so I can add you to the list.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/06/01/hills-are-for-heroes


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  1. Jon

    Good luck this weekend! How much do you weigh? I have found that your weight in pounds x 2 = calories/hour on the bike for a HIM has set me up perfectly for the run. Yeah yeah, way to tell you this now, but look @ your nutrition plan and see how many calories per hour this breaks down to. Of course pacing is the other variable.

    Sounds like you wanna go fast! Go for it! Think about the number of opportunities you are going to have to go fast this season with Wisconsin approaching. You have PLENTY of time to recover from this race. And yes, I am being the red devil on your shoulder 🙂

    Btw, I am racing a sprint on Sunday. Tri Ridgefield.
    Jon recently posted..Nipping this Soreness in the Bud

  2. Mark

    With the way your latest races/rides have been going, I think if you go out and “take it easy” you will still kill it. We will be out there cheering for you!

  3. BDD

    Good luck and have fun!!

    Matty, Heather and I are doing the Warrior Dash on Saturday

  4. Matt Smith

    That HIM sounds like a perfect course for speed. I will totally be following you on race day. You’re gonna kick some major booty even though that might not be your main goal. Have fun, and don’t hurt anything. That would suck for IM training. Good luck!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Fun in the Sun

  5. Jeff Irvin

    Good luck Kevin and have fun! With your IM still 100 days away you can probably “race” and not worry about hurting your training. just easy back into it with low intensity next week. When I did my HIM before IM it was like 39 days away and right in the difficult part of Peak training so I had to hold back and did the Bike at IM pace as opposed to HIM pace.

    And it being 15min away is just awesome! Doesn’t get much better than that!

    Thanks for the shout out for the weekend!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..And It Begins again

  6. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    Good luck this weekend! Isn’t it hard trying to figure out how to “race” a race when you’re training for an A race! It can get pretty complicated! But, I think that since you’re so far out from your IM, you’ll be fine!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..Embrace the HEADWIND

  7. Mandy

    Hey Kevin! I am FINALLY starting to get caught up on blogs. Such a slacker I am!! ANYWAY I love the Redhead. SHe is freaking hysterical. Such a bummer about her stress fracture.

    AND love your plan, kick some butt this weekend OK? I have been having a tough time focusing on this with IMLP lurking, but I decided that this was kind of a practice for IMLP. So for you, this is just a warm-up for IMOOOooo – and I have no doubt you are going to totally rock it. Go get them buddy.

  8. Lisa

    Good luck and have fun this weekend at the tri!
    Lisa recently posted..Day 8 &amp May Tally

  9. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    Go get ’em brother. Training day yes, but the opportunity to race is never to be passed up.

    Be safe and smart.

  10. Morgan

    Thanks for the shout out! Hills are for Hero’s and after doing 8 of them last night I bet you felt like a Super Hero! 🙂

    Love that Bailey knows what’s up and helps get you guys out the door! 🙂
    Morgan recently posted..3 Things Thursday

  11. Matt Oravec

    Man, tough dilemma. Personally I think you will be fine to race this. I think you have plenty of time to not affect your training at all, besides your volume is so high already that I think this will not phase you too much.

    Now for the run, I like how you worded your implosions… All I have is Steelhead to go back on, and I bombed hard. Jon’s equation puts me at 400cal/hr… uhhhh I was WAY off that on the bike. I need to figure this out for myself fast… tired of bombing off the bike already!

  12. Colleen

    It’s crazy how dogs know when they are going to get some exercise. And how excited they get. HA! I wish that I had that much energy when my Garmin turned on! 🙂

    Great job this weekend… can’t wait for the race report!

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