May 29

Now the Real Training Begins

This past weekend wrapped up week 12 of IM Mont Tremblant training and I couldn’t have done it in better fashion. With 12 weeks to go until race day, it is time to get my game face on and get ready to tackle Ironman number 2.

On Saturday, despite the recovery week, I took the opportunity to do another long bike ride so that I could work on my nutrition plan. (Hi, my name is Kevin and I am addicted to the bike.) My first two century rides of the season ended with some major bonks that left me unable to even think about doing a run off the bike. This weekend, however, was totally different. The ride started off with some questionable weather, but I pressed onward despite ominous looking clouds. Thankfully, the weather held off and it turned out to be a gorgeous morning for a ride.

Less than 3 miles into the ride, two guys in a pickup trunk pulled up next to me at a red light and rolled down their window. Ugh. Barely 10 minutes and someone is already going to harass me. Thankfully, that was not the case. “How much does that bike weigh,” one of them asked? I replied that it was about 18lbs or so (pulled that number out of my ass, but some research afterwards shows I was pretty close). “Wow! That is one sleek looking bike,” he replied. You are damn right it is!! Whew. It was too early in the morning to get in a shouting match over cyclists’ rights.

Any ways, the first hour of my ride got me to KCR & AD’s house where I met up with them. They had a 3 hour ride on their schedule so it worked out great. We hung together for 60 miles or so before I dropped them back off at home and continued on to get in the final 25 miles of my ride.  Still feeling great, I pushed the pace for the final 25 miles. I was able to keep my average about 20mph for each of the final 5 mile splits which led to a negative split for the entire ride.

When I got home, I was feeling awesome so I did quick transition and headed out for a speedy 4 mile run. My legs felt amazing and I had almost no brick feeling at all. I quickly fell into a 7:10 pace and was able to maintain it until the end. AND! I did the entire brick workout sans-socks with no blisters. Gotta love the TriSlide and K-Swiss triathlon shoes!

So, what was the key to the successful brick workout? Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.  While I could go into the specifics of what I ate and when, I don’t think that is exactly responsible for my success. What I think led to my success was not sticking to my plan. Wait, what? NOT sticking to my plan? That’s right. My normal plan is every 15 minutes I drink and every 30 minutes I eat. However, what I noticed on my last ride is I was that after 60 miles, I was getting thirsty sooner than every 15 minutes and hungry sooner than ever 30 minutes. Despite feeling thirsty/hungry, I held off drinking/eating until each predefined 15 minute interval for fear of running out of food/drink too soon. Bad move. I should have just been listening to my body and eating when hungry and drinking when thirsty. In the end, the 15 min/30 min strategy worked well for the first 60 miles. After that, I needed to switch things up to a 12 min/25 minute plan.  This means that I may have to carry a bit more food/drink, but it should lead to a more successful bike.

After the brick, Jennie and I walked up to Ramona’s Table for a late lunch.  After a morning of liquids, gels, and gummies, real food was a welcome relief.

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And then spent the rest of the day relaxing.

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I have another century (or 140 miles if I can find some riding buddies) planned for next weekend.  This ride, however, will be organized so it will hopefully be easier to work on my nutrition strategy with lots of stops to refuel.

Sunday wasn’t a huge training day, but it was a tough one. I spent pretty much all day on my feet doing chores. Mowing the lawn, power-washing the entire garage & house, cleaning the garage out, etc. By the time I finished up my projects, it was after 6:00 and I still hadn’t gotten my run it. Sunday is generally my long run day but because it was a recovery week, my “long run” was only 7 miles.

With Jennie by my side on the bike carrying water, I headed out. Thankfully the 90* heat of the day had subsided a bit.  Still, it took a long time to find my legs.  It wasn’t until 5 miles in that I started to feel comfortable. It was a good mental training day though. Despite the tired legs, I was mentally strong and didn’t get too down on myself.

After the easy Sunday workout, it was back to full swing on Monday. The morning began with an early open water swim – my first of the season.  About 12 people from my tri club met at a small lake out in Caledonia.  From the boat launch, straight across to a floating dock on the other side was just about 400 yards.

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In all, I did 4 laps for a total of roughly 3200 yards. The first 3 laps I did with the wetsuit and then did the final lap without it. It was great practice because I forgot how much faster the arms/shoulders tire when wearing a wetsuit. And, I got to work on my stroke and body position without cheating getting the added the buoyancy of the wetsuit during the final wetsuit-less lap.

I rounded out Monday with a hard 1:15 bike ride. I was scheduled to do 2×14 min at Z4.  I changed it up a bit though and decided to structure my ride around Reeds Lake.  I did 1 lap warmup, 1 lap fast, 1 lap recovery, 1 lap fast, and 1 lap cooldown. I went all out on my fast laps because I needed to redo my HR zones for the bike. I was hitting zone 5.8 and even a nonexistent ?zone 6? at at times so some tweaking was necessary.

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Mmmmmm…. data…. (with the newly adjusted HR zones)

I was sooooo close to getting my lap time down to under 11 minutes (11:09), but got slowed down by a Jeep that was attempting to parallel park (and then gave up).  Without that slow down, I think I might have made it.  It all depends on traffic and the stop lights though.  The 2nd lap was 11:42 because I hit two lights.  Even with the slower time, I felt stronger and faster on the second lap.

We spent the rest of the day lounging around and trying to stay cool.

I’ll leave you with one final picture from the weekend of an unhappy Bailey who desperately wanted to join the game of Bocce. He was not happy.

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How was your Memorial Day weekend???

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/05/29/now-the-real-training-begins

May 22

Free Speed

This past weekend, I participated in a triathlon clinic put on my Barb Lindquist. Barb, ranked #1 in the world in 2003 and 2004, represented the US in the 2004 Olympics on the triathlon team placing 9th overall.  The clinic was offered to members of Striders Tri Group that I belong to as well as some participants .  A couple of the members are coached by Barb so they organized everything.

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The clinic began on Friday with a dinner that everyone to meet each other. There ended up being 20 total participants in the clinic at all different levels from experienced triathletes to triathletes just starting their 2nd season of racing.  After dinner, Barb shared her story about how she started life as a competitive swimmer and ended up as a world class triathlete.

On Saturday morning we started out at the pool to work on swim technique.  I learned lots of new drills to improve my body position and overall form. Each participant was then video taped from the front and side. Here are my videos.

So, what did I learn from my video analysis? I need to work on my head position – it needs to be lower in the water and I need to make sure I am looking to the side as I breathe; not forward or back.  Getting my shoulders (and thus head) down will help pull up my legs.  As Barb would say, “We need to see butt checks!” I also have to work on keeping high elbows and making sure I don’t cross the center line especially with my left arm.

The afternoon on Saturday was spent working on some running drills and running form. To be honest, I sort of tuned out a bit here. Yes, I know the drills help, but I am very skeptical of changing running form. I just know far too many people who have ended up injured because they tried to fix something that wasn’t broke.  I am happy with my running performance. I have seen incredible gains over the past few years and have remained injury free throughout. So, while I understand that it might be possible to improve efficiency by changing things up, it really isn’t something I am interested in right now.

On Sunday, we started off the day doing running strength exercises. These included things like stair climbs, tire dragging (not tire throwing Jeff), strides, and 100 yd sprints with short recovery. These really kicked my ass. I think it was mainly the stair climbs, but my legs are trashed now. It is that good kind of trashed though that feels like you worked your ass off.

After the running workout, we moved on to bike handling skills and improving transition speed. The bike handling skills were pretty helpful, but it seemed to be even more helpful to the participants who were only on their 2nd season of riding and less comfortable on the bike to begin with. The bike handling drills focused mainly on turning with making tight circular turns and weaving through a slalom course.

Once we had the cornering drills down, we moved to the grass and worked on contact drills to get comfortable riding with other people near by.  Even though most of the participants are planning on racing USAT races rather than ITU races (where drafting is legal) it is important to be comfortable riding in a group just in case something happens. For these drills we paired up and practiced riding while leaning on each other. Riding shoulder to shoulder actually wasn’t that bad, but because the grass was so bumpy, it was hard to ride in a straight line.

I had a lot of fun practicing transitions. There were a lot of people who had never started with their shoes in their pedals and it is something I myself hadn’t practiced in a while. I didn’t do it at all last year because it wasn’t allowed at IMWI so it wasn’t on my radar.  It is definitely something that gets easier with practice and I know that I need to spend some more time on it before my first race in June. After practicing everything individually, we put it all together with some mini races – run to the the bike, helmet on, run with the bike to a mount line, mount, put feet in the shoes, do a lap around the parking lot, dismount, change shoes, and run out.

Overall, the clinic was great and I learned a lot.  There was a bit more classroom time than I expected and some of the stuff it seemed more like demonstrating what drills/exercises we should be doing without a lot of time actually spent doing those drills/exercises. Even so, I was really worn out by the end of the weekend. I did my best to get in my scheduled workouts on top of the clinic, but I was short on time (and already pretty tired) so I had to cut back on a few of them. 

My long ride took the biggest hit. I was supposed to ride for 4:15 and ended up calling it a day after only 45 miles (less than 3 hours). It was brutally hot and my legs were already zapped. I stopped halfway through at a gas station and made what is easily the best $1.50 purchase ever:

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Why spend $0.99 on Dasani when you can get a whole gallon for $1.50??? I’ve never seen this at a gas station before but this gas station was near a lake and campground so I think that is why they had it. Between filling my bottles, and drinking straight from the jug, I used nearly 2/3’s of it. The rest I dumped over my head.

I’m on a recovery week now so I’m going to let the body rest up and hit the training hard starting on Monday again.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/05/22/free-speed

May 17

Three Things Thursday

K-Swiss Shoes

Free shoes!!! Who doesn’t love free shoes? K-Swiss is one of the sponsors for the Michigan Titanium and they graciously gave each of the MiTi Champions a free pair of shoes. They are the K-Ona C’s and super comfortable. I haven’t yet gone for a run in them yet but I have worn them around a bit to break them in. They will probably make their maiden voyage this weekend. I’m going to try wearing them sans socks to see if they can become my go-to triathlon race shoe.

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Monday Night Time Trial

I did my first Rapid Wheelmen Monday Night Time Trial this past Monday.  The first race of the season (on the 7th) was cancelled due to weather so this was the first one.  They had a record 77 people turn out (last season’s record was 67) to race the 15 mile course in Ada.  I did my warmup by biking to Ada (about 10 miles) and then hung around until the start of my race. I wasn’t sure how much my legs would be able to handle after having ridden 100 miles on Sunday. However, as the starter counted down to zero, I had a surge of energy and flew out of the gate.

I ended up finishing in 36:40 for a  24.5mph average which should set my baseline for the year.  Because I biked over, I wasn’t wearing my aero helmet (I didn’t want to be THAT guy riding down the road in an aero helmet).  So, I am curious as to what (if any) gains I will see next time with that.

Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Lemke in person for the first time. Great guy. We’ve chatted through Twitter/Email a bit, but this is the first time our paths have crossed.  Nick is getting ready for his first Ironman this year – IMWI.  Here he is cruising in for a great finish

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Road Id Tan Line

It’s that time of year again. Permanent RoadId tan line time of year.  I’m sure it will only get worse as the year progresses.  Thankfully there hasn’t been any sun burn yet this season (knock on wood).

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/05/17/three-things-thursday-5

May 15

Race Report: River Bank Run

On Saturday, I ran my 8th River Bank Run 25k in a row. It seems sort of silly to write a full race report about it like I have done in the past (here, here, and here) though. So, I’ll try and keep it brief.

We did the whole expo thing on Friday which is always fun. A bit of a change up this year as I had to work the booth for the Michigan Titanium for an hour. This gave Jennie plenty of time to wander around even get her nails done. What do you think Jon? Freshly painted nails probably falls under than same category as matching tri kits which yields faster times right?

Working the booth was interesting. We did our best to pull the triathletes out of the crowd by looking for M-Dot shirts, hats, and tats. Being a running event, we got some interest from people whom upon finding out it was a triathlon would just say, “I can’t swim” and walk away. Four years ago, I couldn’t swim either. Oh well. Their loss.

After doing my time in the booth, I did a quick spin around the expo with Jennie. I was happy to see Gary from the LED Light Vests had a booth (review here). He had already sold out of all of his human vests and only had dogs vests left.

Race Morning

The weather forecast was up in the air for race morning with showers likely. No surprise there. It has rained for at least a portion of the race every year I have done this race. However, we woke up to clear skies and mild temperatures – the perfect weather for race day. We did bet a little bit of a misty rain, but not even enough to get wet from.

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Pre-Race with Jennie. Did I mention that Jennie was running her first ever 25K race????

I really didn’t have a big hairy ass goal in mind for this race. My only goal was to stay under 2 hours so that I can continue to enjoy the benefits of the Two Hour Club.  My plan was to go out strong and if I felt good try and maintain that. Otherwise, I would back off and live to fight train another day.

Miles 1-7

I felt great for the first half of the race or so. I started out with the 7:00 pace group and settled in a groove. The first couple miles were a little speedy, but once we hit the shaded area along the river, the pace was reigned in a bit.  At mile 6, I stopped at an aid station to refill my hand held which caused me to fall off of the pace group a bit.  I caught back up in the next mile, but that was last I would see of them.

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Rocking my Striders shirt at the Striders cheering section. We love Striders!

Miles 8-12

After catching back up with the pace group, my stomach started to bother me a bit. Nothing serious, just wasn’t comfortable. Normally, I would have taken a Gu at this point but I wasn’t sure if my stomach could handle it so I passed (bad idea). I kept the 7:00 pace group in sight, but dropped down to a 7:20-7:30 pace. My legs still felt good, but mentally I was out of it and just not in the mood to push myself for some reason.

Miles 13-Finish

Best. Final. Miles. Ever. Ok, maybe not the portion through the zoo, but other than that, this is the most fun I have had at the end of this race. I’ve never liked running through the zoo (not the actual animal part of the zoo, but the park area) for some reason. I think Jennie nailed it though when we were talking about it. It is a half mile stretch of windy roads with lots of people, aid stations, rock and roll bands, etc. You’d think the crowd support would help, but it is almost over stimulating.  Plus, the windy roads make it so you can’t see that far in front of you and you lose perception of how far you have gone and how far you have to go.

But besides the zoo portion, I had a blast at the end of this race. I knew that I had sub-2 hours locked up pretty easily, so I took it fairly easy. There was no sense killing myself at this race when I still had more training to do over the weekend.  By taking it easy, I got to actually take it all in. Normally, I am in a death march to the finish with my eyes dead ahead and focused on only one thing – the finish. This time, however, I had fun high fiving the crowd, recognizing people in the crowd that I knew and encouraging fellow runners on the final stretch.

I ended up finishing in 1:54:33 which I realized this morning is actually a 5 second PR from my previous best in 2010. Whoops! I thought my PR was 1:53-something. Should have gone harder I guess.

I felt pretty crappy shortly after the race and I have narrowed this down lack of nutrition on the run. I ended up not eating either of my Gu which was stupid. Lesson learned.

Post Race

After I finished, I ran back to gear check and did a quick cleanup and wardrobe change and headed back to the finish to watch for Jennie. In no time, I saw her bright shoes her turn the corner for the final stretch.

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Finishing strong with a smile on her face!

I’m super proud of her for putting in the training and having a great race.

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I think Bailey was hoping the balloon was a toy for him.

Other Notes

Congrats to both Spike and The Redhead for great races! They crashed with us on Friday night so I am taking partial credit for both of their PRs. I think that is only fair right???

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And finally, I have to share this picture that I snapped while watching for Jennie.

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Ah-freaking-mazing. And I am fairly certain that neither of the two women next to him were his guide.  The next time someone tells me they can’t do something, I am whipping out this picture.

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Happy Finishers!

Thanks for reading!

Official Results

Total Time: 1:54:33
Overall Place: 536 / 5696
Gender Place: 460 / 3036
Age Group Place: 89 / 398
Run Pace: 7:23 min/mile

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/05/15/race-report-river-bank-run-2

May 11

Foto Friday: Trust

How do you define trust? How about letting your wife cut your hair for the first time???

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I think she did a damn good job!! Hopefully the lightened load makes me that much speedier for tomorrow’s River Bank Run.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/05/11/foto-friday-trust

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