Week 3 Recap

I should start by saying that I am now officially signed up for Ironman Wisconsin. When you sign up in person, they give you a certificate that you use to finish your registration online a few weeks later. Basically you just get a guaranteed spot. I finished up my registration the other day so I'm committed now. It's official.

I went for a slow 9 mile run today and felt surprisingly good since my legs were very tired and sore this morning from yesterday's workout. After the run I was moving pretty slow and had some pain in my left Achilles tendon that I'm concerned about. I looked it up online and it could be Achilles tendinitis, which would be appropriate since I have to see the doc tomorrow for the tendinitis in my knee. I'm really hoping it's nothing because I'm getting sick of injuring myself running. Again, no pity from anyone. All Cheri had to say was, "You signed up for this. I have no pity for you and your choices you silly, silly man." Don't get me wrong, she's very supportive of this and helps keep me motivated. She just doesn't pity me. (I warned you this would make my blog)

After 21 days of training, tomorrow is my first rest day. The rest of next week is a recovery week so I'll only do about 8 hours of training. Some of it will be high intensity, but most will be at a moderate to low intensity to give my body a little time to heal itself. Even though I'm sore and tired right now, I really want to swim tomorrow. I thought I would be really happy to get to my first rest day, but I'm actually a little disappointed I don't get to work out tomorrow. I'm looking forward to week 5 when I get to turn it up a few notches again.

Week 3 stats:
Time: 15:32:30
Swim: 4800 yards
Bike: 130.08 miles
Run: 25.53 miles


The pain, the agony...

I'm in pain. Pity me.

I know. Self inflicted pain gets no sympathy. Today I did my first long brick workout. I've done several bricks, but they usually last around an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Today's workout was one of the toughest of my life. A 4 hour brick. I did the Ironman loop again - this time hoping to increase my average watts to above 200 - and then ran 7 miles - hoping to average 8:30 per mile.

I got through the workout all right, but I felt like crap afterward. I hit my goal on the bike but fell a little short on the run. Oh well. This was really just a test to see where I stand, and I'm happy with how the workout went. My average watts was higher on the bike this week and I did more work, but my average speed dropped by .1 mph. It was windy today.

The toughest part...I had tickets to the Badger game this afternoon. So I had to get ready for the game right after my workout. And I got a crappy parking spot and had to walk a couple miles to the stadium. Ouch. The Badgers won so that took away some of the pain. But standing and sitting and standing again was a little difficult since I was starting to feel the pain in my legs.

Tomorrow I have to run a slow 9 miles. With the way my legs are feeling I think those may be 9 very slow miles. Then...my first rest day.

Bike stats:
Time: 3:05:33
Distance: 56.33 miles
Ave speed: 18.2 mph
Max speed: 43.8 mph
Ave watts: 202
Max watts: 491
Work: 2283 Kj
Ave HR: 147
Max HR: 167
Ave cadence: 84 rpm
Calories: 3197

Run stats:
Time: 1:01:20
Distance: 7 miles
Pace: 8:45
Ave HR: 157
Max HR: 165
Calories: 953


Like a Fish

The toughest part of my training is swimming. I started swimming in March, and my form was horrible. I struggled to keep my face in the water, and I couldn't do more than one length of the pool without resting. Now, I can swim 2.4 miles in under an hour and a half without much trouble. It's tiring and I want to improve my time, but doing the distance isn't a huge challenge for me right now. That's a lot of progress in 6 months. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean my work is done. Not by a long shot.

I need to improve my form. The video shows the type of form I'm striving for. Watch how effortlessly he glides through the water. He barely disturbs the water. He makes swimming look so easy. Of course, there is no way I will acquire form like that in the next 12 months. Bill Kirby is an Olympic gold medalist. But it gives me something to shoot for.

Yesterday and today were the first times I went to the pool with a good, solid plan. I wrote down my workout and stuck to it. I started with a warmup, followed that up with some drills to work on form, then did some main sets for endurance and speed and finished off with a cool down. Yesterday's main set was short intervals - sprints. That's the first time I've done sprints in the pool, and they were brutal.

Today, I did longer distances to work on endurance and I was still feeling it from the sprints. I also worked on breathing on my left side which is terribly difficult for me. My left side just doesn't work right. It's like my right side competes in the Olympics and my left side competes in the Special Olympics. But I made some progress so that was good. Then I finished off my workout by practicing flip turns. That was interesting. I really, really suck at flip turns. Like I said, my work isn't done. Not by a long shot.


Week 2 Recap

I decided this week that I need to scale back my training a bit these first few months. I got carried away when I came up with my program and the volume these first couple of months is a little high. It's wearing me down, and I need to give my body some time to adapt to the workload. I can step it up again next summer when the days are longer and the Ironman isn't 50 weeks away.

So instead of shooting for 18.5 hours of training for week 3, I'm cutting it back to 16.5, which is still a lot of work so it's still going to be a tough week.

Week 2 Stats:
Total Hours: 14:23
Bike: 164 miles
Swim: 3800 yards
Run: 17.89 miles


The Showdown

Went out this morning and did the Ironman loop. 56 miles. I pushed pretty hard and had a great ride. Lots of people out today.

A few miles in, I ran into the Janesville Velo Club on one of their epic rides, so I rode with them for a while until they turned around to head back to Janesville. These guys really rack up the miles. They do a century every Saturday. Unfortunately, Jens is sick today so he wasn't with the group.

Then I was on my own, so I focused on my power output. I tried to keep my watts above 200, which is tough...and tiring. But I was doing it, for the most part, and my average speed was pretty decent for riding a road bike without aero bars. About 20 miles into the ride, I ran into an unexpected hazard: a llama in the road. It was just wandering around until it spotted me. Then it stopped and stared me down. I stopped and stared it down.

There we were in the middle of the road giving each other the stink eye. A good old fashioned showdown. Two mean, dusty cowboys about to gun each other down in front of the saloon at high noon. He wasn't about to back down, and I was...well I was a little scared. I kept asking myself: are llamas mean? What does he want? Are llamas mean?

Finally, as the tension was reaching a boiling point, a car came. Whew. The llama will run home and I will be saved the humiliation of being attacked by a llama. What would the guys at work say? Dennis would surely have some comments. But the llama didn't retreat. It ran straight at me. Not wanting to look like a coward in front of the driver of the car, I got back on my bike and went straight for him. It was on. Like two muscle cars in a high stakes game of chicken, we were throwing it all on the line. This was the moment of truth.

And the truth is, the llamas fear me. I won that game of chicken and have lived to fight another day. But I'm sure I haven't seen the last of that ferocious llama. We'll do battle again some day. That I know.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful . I hooked up with a dude from California and some woman who rode with us but wouldn't talk to us. Weird. She sure could climb though. Tore both of us to shreds on the hills. It was a little embarrassing, but I'm not going to let it bother me since I'm not 100% sure that was a woman.

Time: 3:05:34
Distance: 56.33 miles
Average Speed: 18.3 mph
Max Speed: 43.8 mph
Average Watts: 194
Max Watts: 841
Work: 2168 kJ
Ave HR: 143
Max HR: 173
Ave Cadence: 84 rpm
Climbing: 2550 ft.
Calories: 3280


The Landis Ride

It was gun show day today. For those who don't know, every Thursday here at work we have a competitive lunch ride. We roll out at noon, pick up the guys from Saris and beat each other up for 20 miles. There are 3 sprints, and we regroup after each sprint. I missed the gun show last week, but the previous two weeks I dominated the first sprint. Today....not so much.

I don't know why I thought I could go as early as I did on the first sprint and hold it, but I didn't come close to dominating today. Coming off the final hill into Paoli, I dropped the hammer and pulled a gap on the group. I was flying. I put my head down and hammered away. Then I looked up and saw the sprint point was way out there. I was spent. I looked back and there they were, just waiting for me to die. And die, I did. It's funny how you can pull a gap on a group so quickly and then hit the wall just as fast and they pass you like you're tied to a pole. That's cycling.

I had nothing left for the second sprint and got dropped early on. Then Cate attacked early on the third sprint and broke up the group. I hung back with the 2nd chase group. Once we hit Seminole, I tried to pull Chris and Rachel up to the chase group, but I couldn't do it. I pulled at 29 mph most of the way, but that was 30-32 mph 2 days ago and that would've been enough to close the gap. Oh well. You can't have it everyday.

About a year ago, Floyd Landis joined us on the gun show (looking for a ride, I guess). It was a few weeks after his hip surgery. He had been accused of doping, but we didn't bring it up on the ride. We didn't believe it. He was innocent. Floyd wouldn't cheat. It was fun telling people I got to ride with the winner of the Tour de France. It was a great story. Well....today the verdict came in. He was found guilty of doping and stipped of his Tour de France title. So now I can no longer tell people I rode with the winner of the Tour. Thanks for ruining my story, Floyd.

So far this week I've logged 8 hours of training, and I'm only halfway. My weeks run Monday through Sunday so I still have the whole weekend. No problemo. Next week is going to be brutal - 18.5 hours of training. That's a part-time job. Then...my first recovery week (8 - 10 hours of training) and my first rest day: October 1. That's also the day I go in for physical therapy for my knee.

Since Moe (that's Cheri, my girlfriend...I call her Moe...it stands for Margin of Error...we met in a stats class...long story) has requested more pictures, here's a picture of Floyd:


Hit by a car...almost

People think driving is dangerous. So they go out and get the biggest, meanest SUV they can get their hands on. They look for vehicles loaded with safety features...air bags, side impact beams, you name it they want it. Then they run stop signs, talk on their cell phone and apply makeup while driving through a school zone. You think driving is dangerous? Try being at the mercy of these people. Try being a pedestrian, runner, cyclist.... That's dangerous.

Tonight I had my closest call yet. I went for a 5.5 mile run. I headed out at about 7:30 so I grabbed my flashing light knowing it would be dark when I got home. I will admit I was wearing dark clothes and my light isn't that big so I wasn't nearly as visible as I should've been. But....had this woman stopped at the stop sign everything would've been fine. I assumed she was going to stop (my mistake) so I started crossing the road. She only slowed down and then proceeded to turn right. I stopped and turned back just in time. It was so close I actually touched her vehicle as I turned around. When she saw me, I could tell it scared the crap out of her.

I assume partial responsibility since I wasn't as visible as I should've been, and I think I'm going to buy a reflective vest as much as I don't want to wear one. But I'm really getting tired of close calls with people doing rolling stops. Stop signs aren't suggestions. Stop! Look around. Don't assume it's clear.

Enough of my rant. Back to the training. That's what this blog is really about anyway. Today...besides my run...I had a great bike ride. I rode the Sunset Loop with the guys at lunch, and we had a strong tailwind down Seminole on the way back. Jeff pulled for a while, then Bruno, then it was my turn. I put my head down and never stopped pulling. I pushed 30-32 mph the whole stretch. It was great. I thought the group was on my wheel, but when I got to the big tree I looked back and I had put a pretty good gap on the rest of the guys. Man that was fun.

My training plan is 3 weeks of increasing volume followed by a recovery week of significantly decreased volume. I'm following the Triathlete's Training Bible program. Basically I spend 3 weeks beating myself down, and 1 week rebuilding...hopefully coming back stronger than before. I do this 12 times in the next year. I'm trying not to think about the whole year of training because it's a little overwhelming. I'm taking it one month at a time. That way I only need to worry about putting in 3 hard weeks. That's not so bad.


Week 1 Recap

Finished off week one of training with a 7 mile run and an hour in the pool. The week went well, but I'm definitely feeling the effects of stepping up my training. I'm exhausted. But I'm ready for week two.

Week 1 Stats:
Hours = 12:49
Swim = 3.9 miles
Bike = 118.9 miles
Run = 17.3 miles


Road Closed

Did my Gibbs Lake route again today. It's typically a good route with nice roads, very little traffic and a few decent parks for rest stops if needed. But today...road closed was the theme. Twice I had to bike through gravel, and one of the stretches was about a mile and a half long. Lots of errant squirrels too. It was treacherous out there.

But overall it was a decent ride. I can't complain. The ride started with about 8 miles on the Ice Age Trail where I spotted the racing sausages. I need to start riding with a camera cause that was a perfect photo opp. Then I headed out to Gibbs Lake where I took a rest stop to go to the bathroom and eat a Clif bar. I wish Gibbs Lake was better for swimming because it's so peaceful out there and the water is so clear. But the seaweed growth is ridiculous and the water is so calm I wonder what the bacteria levels are like. After a quick break, I headed over to Evansville and then back to Janesville where I caught the Ice Age Trail and headed home. And Moe had some pizza buckets ready for me. Mmmmmm......love the buckets.

After scarfing down some buckets, Moe and I headed to Lab to lift weights. There's nothing like a leg workout after biking 70 miles. Needless to say, this was not one of my better workouts. I actually took it pretty easy since I haven't lifted since March and I don't want to be too sore tomorrow.

Since Moe wants credit for cooking dinner for me, I should mention she made me a great sketti dinner.

Distance = 69.66 miles
Time = 4:15:09
Ave Speed = 16.5 mph
Max Speed = 36.3 mph
Ave Watts = 154
Max Watts = 871
Climbing = 2426 feet
Ave HR = 132
Max HR = 162


Open Water

Today I did my first open water swim of my "official" Ironman training. I got up early and swam 1.2 miles in Lake Monona. I was hoping there would be a few others out there so I wouldn't have to swim alone - because swimming alone in open water really freaks me out - but no such luck. It was just me and the ducks. One of the ducks swam beside me a little ways so I quacked at him. He was not impressed. One thing I've noticed is that the ducks are thoroughly unimpressed with my impersonations of them.

The swim went well. A little chilly at first as it was only about 50 degrees this morning. But once I got into a rhythm it was good. My shoulders weren't as fatigued as they were the first time I swam in my wetsuit so that was encouraging. I need to work on my form since it's still inconsistent. It comes and goes, but that's still a huge improvement over the beginning of the year when I swam like a spaz.

I found out the deal with my wheels. I called Reynolds and it turns out they thought they were just show samples when they built them. They didn't know anyone was going to ride on them. That explains why they weren't true. They want me to send the wheels back so they can fix them.

Big weekend of working out ahead of me. Tomorrow I go for a long ride followed by some weight lifting. Sunday is swimming and a long run. I'm really looking forward to the long run. I haven't done many long runs since I was training for the Rock N Roll Marathon last winter.


It's On!

I'm 3 days into my training. So far I've logged a total of 57.5 miles - 5 hours of training. I've swam 1.2 miles, biked 49.3 and run 7. So far it's going well, but it's not without challenges. I have tendinitis in my left knee which has been giving me quite a bit of pain in the past few months. It doesn't affect my workouts and doesn't slow me down so I'm not too worried about it. I'm supposed to go in for physical therapy so hopefully that will help and the pain will disappear before the first of the year. The other challenge...my wheels. The spokes came loose again today...even after taking them to the bike shop to be professionally trued. They're awesome wheels, but this is the 3rd time the spokes have come loose. You'd think a $3500 wheelset would be trouble free....you'd think.

So far the only workout I've done worth talking about was last night. I did my first brick workout of my Ironman training...many more to come. I haven't done a brick in a while, and it felt great. I pushed hard on the bike and learned a little more about training with power. The power meter is like a video camera. You get to see the real story, and it's not always the same as your perception of the truth. I noticed I tend to back off when riding into a headwind. It felt like I was working harder, but my watts dropped from 240 to 180. So I stepped it back up to 240 and tried not to think about the wind. This power meter is definitely going to take my training to next level. I forgot how tough the bike to run transition can be. I felt sluggish and slow on the run. I can tell I haven't been running much lately. Time to step it up and get some miles in. Here are the stats:

Miles = 24.26
Time = 1:14:47
Ave Speed = 19.45 mph
Max Speed = 33.18 mph
Average Watts = 212
Max Watts = 757
Ave HR = 147
Max HR = 168

Miles = 3.51
Time = 27:33
Pace = 7:51
Ave HR = 153
Max HR = 167


My massive fan base - Mark - has convinced me to blog my Ironman journey, so I thought I'd start with a little background. My first exposure to Ironman was probably 1999 or 2000; I don't remember the year. It was Kona, and I watched Dick Hoyt carry his adult son 140.6 miles. I didn't know much about triathlons and was absolutely blown away. The distance seemed unreachable, the pain unbearable, the athletes unstoppable. It was the ultimate challenge, and I decided then that one day I will become an Ironman. But... I didn't swim, bike or run. I raced motocross, and I quickly forgot about triathlons and turned my focus back to the dirt.


April 1, 2006. That's the day I became a cyclist. I had quit racing motocross a few years prior and needed a new venture, a challenge. On April 1 I took my new Fastback out for my first ride. It was only 15 miles. It took an hour, and I loved every minute of it. It was a lot more work than motocross but it felt so great to be back on two wheels. It was freedom. I rode 2000 miles in 2006, and started running again mid-summer. I wasn't thinking Ironman yet, but it was only a matter of time.

That fall I volunteered for one of the bike stations at Ironman Wisconsin and watched 4 friends - Mark, Johnny, Bruno and Bob - achieve iron status. It was inspiring to say the least.

So I decided to spend 2007 working on my cycling, running and swimming. The cycling was fun, the running tough and the swimming frustrating. I did 3 triathlons this summer and learned a lot about the sport. Although I wavered a little on my decision later, I decided during the run at the Ripon Triathlon that I would sign up for Ironman 2008. That was my second triathlon, and I was having a blast.

Again, this fall I volunteered for Ironman Wisconsin and watched 2 friends - Koebs and Adam - achieve iron status. The day after I got up early, got a killer spot in line (thanks Johnny) and got a spot in Ironman Wisconsin 2008.

The Ironman isn't really about swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 and running 26.2. It's about commitment, dedication and mental toughness. It's about reaching a new level. It's about being focused on a single goal for one year and seeing what you're capable of. On September 7, 2008 we'll see what I'm capable of.