Never Miss a Beat...

I couldn't embed the official video for this song because embedding was disabled.

When it comes to training, I've missed a lot of beats lately. I haven't been putting in many hours and it's starting to show. Easy workouts aren't so easy anymore. But I did get out for a 6.25 mile run in a winter wonderland the other day...

After the first of the year, I'll get back into it a bit more. I've still got about 10 months to train for the Great Floridian so there's plenty of time. Plus I should get in some good training next week....maybe even a few outdoor miles on my bike.

In the meantime, more music....


Last Man Standing

Can't get this song out of my head...


A hell that cannot be described...

My snowshoes arrived yesterday, and so did the snow. We got 10 inches last night....or something like that. I don't know. It doesn't matter. It was a lot, and it's starting to look a lot like last year. It's not even officially winter yet and people already have to dig out their mailboxes.

I figured today would be a good day to go for my first snowshoe run.

I went across the street at lunch and ran through the golf course. I learned quickly that ten inches of light, fluffy snow is not the best for snowshoe running. Even with snowshoes, I was sinking 6-12 inches. Each step was hard work. My heartrate was instantly up to 95% of max and my legs hurt and I couldn't breathe. And that was the first tenth of a mile. It got worse from there, and I had to walk quite a bit to get my heartrate down. Plus they fling a lot of snow in the air and I was soaked. My feet were cold because my snowshoe shoes haven't arrived yet and I don't have gaiters.

All total I only did 1.25 miles in about 20 minutes. I've never felt so weak and out of shape. But I think I might head out again tomorrow.

I wasn't the only one snowshoeing today.


Snow Run Run

We've had a little bit of snow this year, but not much. Today was our first real blast of snow. They're talking about maybe 10 inches total....

...with more on the way later in the week. It's starting to look a lot like last year. I'm learning to enjoy the snow, but I'm not sure I'm ready to set another record.

Like last winter, I refuse to let the snow keep me from running at lunch. In fact, my favorite lunch runs usually occur in the snow. It's peaceful. Just me and the crunching of snow beneath my feet.

I got out before the plows came through so I had to run about a half mile in a few inches of fresh powder. It was fun, and I was a little disappointed when I got to where they had plowed.


The "Mike is an idiot" Indoor Time Trial

Today was the first of 4 indoor time trials at SBR Coaching. I did them last year and they were good training so I signed up for the series again this year. I didn't really have any expectations for this one since I've been sick all week and haven't worked out in 6 days, but I thought it would be good to get an idea where I'm at right now so I can gauge how my winter training is going.

Based on my past TTs, I figured I could average 275-320 watts for a 10K. Last year I averaged 277 for the first TT and averaged about 310 for the 4th TT. 275, even with a cold, seemed reasonable. If I came in a little lower, no big deal, but last year was 277 and I've ridden about 1,000 miles more this year and have done a lot more TTs.

I averaged 248 watts. And you can see by the chart, it was a steady decline the whole time.

My HR was really high and I couldn't breathe. I figured part of that was my cold, and the other part is me being used to riding outdoors in the cold weather instead of indoors sweating like a pig. So I probably overheated a bit...

But 248?

It doesn't seem right. Sure, I've had a cold and haven't ridden in a week, but I just averaged 233 watts for 56 miles a few weeks ago. And I've been putting in some killer fixie rides. You'll lose fitness with a week off, but not that much. Plus my legs were well rested so I should've had some strength, but I felt weak.

When I got home and was wheeling my bike upstairs, I heard a rubbing sound coming from the rear wheel. I checked it out, and my rear brake was rubbing. When I changed my tired and put my rear wheel back on, I didn't get it on straight so it had a little wobble and was rubbing against the rear brake. Smooth.

I don't know how many watts that cost me, but I'm hoping about 30.

Not only do I feel like an idiot, but I'm frustrated because I wanted this ride to give me a good idea where I'm at right now fitness-wise. These races are just training days for me so I don't really care how I do in the standings, but I hate not getting accurate wattage info.

I did get in a good workout, though, so that's something. I'm hoping it doesn't affect my cold since I'm starting to get over it and expect I'll be 100% in a few days (it's lingering...it's one of those).

I guess I'll have to do an indoor TT at home next week.


The Great Gay Grand Floridian

I'm not sure why, but I did it. I signed up for the Great Floridian Triathlon next October. When I told Dennis, I expected him to tell me I was stupid or a slow learner or something like that. What I got was something a little different.

"Well, that sounds gay."


"Yeah. So instead of saying you're an Ironman when you cross the finish line do they say 'Congratulations, you're a Grand Floridian."

"No, it's Great Floridian."

"Oh....still sounds a little gay."

Great. So now when I train for this I'll have that in the back of my mind. Instead of 10 months of hard work so I can call myself an Ironman, I get 10 months of hard work so I can claim to be a Great Gay Grand Floridian....not that there's anything wrong with that.


The circle of life...

Spring 2008...

Winter 2008...

I don't know how to save a plant - only how to kill them. Right now this plant is in critical condition....and fading fast. It's a shame. Of all the plants I've killed, this one was my favorite. But it was weak and stupid and never stood a chance.


The Old Man Gun Show

"The problem is, I'm not willing to push myself as hard as you're willing to push me."

Now that the weather has turned cold, I've switched to my fixie. There's something about riding a fixie in the off-season that just makes sense to me. But I have to admit, that thing
is killing me.

Sunday I combined the Old Man Loop and the Gun Show Loop and got in a good, hard 30 miles on my fixie. It was a fast ride so I was pretty tired at the end.

We were planning a fixie lunch ride Monday, but Monday morning looked like this and with a high of 35 the snow wasn't going to melt by noon.

So I went to SBR for the Monday Night Football trainer ride. We rode until halftime. I started out a little tired from Sunday's ride, but I felt surprisingly good once I warmed up a bit. Then the punishment started. Every time the announers mentioned Brett Farve, we had to do a one minute standing climb. Every time the Packers scored a TD, a one minute sprint. At the end of the first half they started talking about Farve so we ended up doing a 7-minute climb. As we were finishing up minute 7, the Packers scored a touchdown. As we were finishing up that sprint, they started talking about Farve again. It was brutal, and my legs were pretty sore Tuesday morning.

So we did our fixie ride at lunch Tuesday. There were three of us, all riding our fixies (the same bike so I'm sure we looked pretty gay) and we pushed pretty hard so my legs went from bad to worse.

Wednesday....same thing. Lunch time fixie ride, except we didn't push quite as hard. The cumulative effects of the fixie got the best of me when I got home from work and I crashed on the couch for a while. I think that was one of the best naps I've ever had.

Today is Turkey Day, and since I'm not racing the Berbee Derby, I'm planning on doing the Old Man Gun Show loop again before dinner. Another hard 30 miles on the Madison. That should put a hurtin on me. If the weather holds up, I'm doing that ride again tomorrow....after the waffle run and some black Friday bargain hunting.


Headlamps and Ironpups

This afternoon, I ignored the 33 degree temps and snowflakes and went for a 20 mile ride. I wanted to do more, but an hour is about all I can take when it gets this cold. And I was a little worried about the snow. It wasn't supposed to accumulate, but the last time I biked in the snow I had to ride home in 2 inches of snow and it got a little sketchy.


I went running on the Military Ridge Trail in the dark. Crazy? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.

I bought a headlamp a couple of weeks ago but haven't gone for a night run until tonight. I bought a cheap light for my bike last fall, and it was a horrible waste of money. I learned my lesson. When it comes to lights, don't get cheap. So I sprung for a decent headlamp, one with several settings and a battery pack. It's a little heavy so I was afraid I wouldn't like it, but I didn't really notice the weight. And it puts out plenty of light.

I run at night sometimes during the summer, and I love it. I don't usually run with my ipod, but for some reason I always bring it along for a night run. Tonight was no exception. I threw together a playlist with some Buckcherry, Honey Claws, Kid Rock and Jupiter One.

The guys at work thought I was crazy the day my headlamp showed up, and I can see where they were coming from. Running in the dark seems crazy, but it's not. It's fun, especially with some new tunes.



The Slippery Slope of the Jittery Joe

It was easily the most expensive cup of coffee I've ever had - $10 for the coffee and $20 for the grinder. Thirty bucks for a cup of Joe is a little pricey in my book, so expectations were high for my morning brew.

I have never aspired to own a coffee grinder, because I figure it's the slippery slope to the twitchy, over-caffeinated underbelly of America. First I grind a few beans in the morning, then I take my grinder to work, then I trade in my regular-sized coffee cup for something that would be better described as a coffee bucket, then I'm late for every meeting because I'm refilling - I mean refueling - my bucket with the sweet, sweet nectar of the coffee gods.

Since I already had the beans, I figured I may as well buy the grinder. With the proceeds from the coffee going to Jittery Joe's Cycling Team, I'm supporting a good cause. A grinder means more beans. More beans equals more support. This isn't the start of a beautiful addiction, but charity work. I'm not selling my soul; I'm doing a good deed. I could rebuild a house destroyed by Katrina....or I could buy a coffee grinder. Same thing, really.

My grinder came with a cord so short I figure it was either done purely for the amusement of the fine folks at Mr. Coffee or it's crucial you're very close to the outlet to get a proper grind. I had to do a little rearranging to find some space close to an outlet. It's nowhere near the coffee maker, but it will have to do. Ten seconds later I had fresh ground coffee and my kitchen was filled with the sweet aroma of 'Morning Ride.'

I typically only have one cup of Joe in the morning, but not today. Today I had two. I usually add some Stevia or Sweet-N-Low and some Coffee Mate, but today I wanted to taste the beans as they were meant to be...black. And it was oh so good.

Now that I'm jacked up on some fresh brew, I've given it some thought and I take back what I said. The coffee grinder isn't the slippery slope. That's silly. It's just good, clean fun. The french press is the slippery slope. The french press is like cocaine. Buy a french press and it's all over. But a coffee grinder...it's just a great "pot" of coffee.

Do yourself a favor and buy a grinder and some Jittery Joe's. You won't regret it. You get a great cup of Joe and you get to support professional cycling. It's just like charity work. Support The Bean Team.

Come on. Don't cha wanna be cool?


Bass Lake

The weather is strange these days....it's really nice. Definitely not the norm for early November. Today was mid 60s. They said it was going to be sunny, but it was partly cloudy with occasional light rain. But it was warm...I'll take it.

I've ridden 9 centuries this year and I want to do one more. I was going to do that today, but I didn't feel up to it so I decided to go for a hard 56 mile ride - my Bass Lake route. It was the perfect route for today since it heads south and we had 10 mph winds out of the south. Nothing like a good tailwind on the way home.

I've had a lot on my mind these days, and I think I just got tired of thinking so much. I was completely focused on my ride. My mind didn't wander once. I got into a zone, and I kept pushing harder and harder. My legs hurt, but I was loving it.

At the Spirit of Racing Half Ironman in July, I averaged 215 watts for 56 miles so I started out doing about 215-220 watts. Eventually, my watts crept up into the 220-230 range. Then 230-240. Then 240-250.

Coming down Seminole toward the end, I was doing 250-270. My legs ached, but it felt great. I finished with an average of 233 watts, and an average speed of 20.7 mph - by far my fastest on that route. I've never averaged that many watts for that long so that felt really good.

This evening I went for a run, my first in a little more than a week. I've got a mild case of achilles tendinitis that I'm trying to get rid of. I ran 2.75 miles and my achilles felt pretty good so that's encouraging. It's a start anyway.

My legs are really sore right now, but it's a good sore.

I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for....

...but I will say this: the times are ripe for change.

For those of you worried about a possible global recession: The Fix.

And for Toby, who's always looking for a new phrase, this is classic...


The changing of the seasons

With everything going on in the world today, the only thing I know for certain is that we're living in uncertain times. No one knows the answers to the questions everyone is asking, and no one knows where we're headed. The only thing we know for sure is that the times are ripe for change.

Tonight I went for a ride after work, my last opportunity to ride in the evening until next spring. I took it slow and easy and enjoyed the unseasonably warm temperature. While riding my usual Paoli route, I let my mind wander. I thought about life... the future... the changing of the seasons... the uncertainty of everything. I thought about how I like to ride hard. How I like to suffer on the bike. How it makes me stronger. And I wondered if that correlates to life. Does suffering in life make one stronger?

This brings me to what I really want to write about... the changing of the seasons. After 8 years together, Cheri and I broke up - her decision, not mine. Although I didn't want to part ways, I'm starting to believe her - it's probably for the best.

I remember toward the beginning of our relationship, I told her I didn't think you could make a relationship work. It either worked or it didn't. For the past two years we've been trying to make it work. I stand by what I said.

Two years ago we broke up, or at least we thought we did. But all we really did was add distance between us. I moved to Madison; she found a new place in Janesville. Other than that, we never skipped a beat. There was no time apart, no days or weeks without phone calls or visits. We didn't break up; we just moved apart. And eventually the physical distance between us turned into emotional distance.

Looking back over the past two years, I don't think we enjoyed spending time with each other as much as we wanted to enjoy spending time with each other. It's like we wanted each other to be "the one" so much that we couldn't see that we were just really good friends. We were afraid of being alone so we hung onto each other like security blankets.

As much as it hurts to have someone you love tell you it's time to move on, I have a ton of respect for Cheri for realizing what she needs to do to make herself happy and having the courage to let go of her security blanket. It's not easy to do. I think deep down I knew it too, but I didn't have the courage. I thought I could make it work.

When I think about our relationship, I don't miss it as much as I wish I did. It wasn't making us happy, and we were trying so hard not to acknowledge it that the relationship became a weight on our shoulders. It wasn't working, and we were tired of trying.

October 6 marked 8 years together. There were no cards, no gifts, no romantic dinner, nothing. The day came and went and we barely acknowledged it. The worst part is that neither of us got upset, and I think that shows where our relationship was at. It had become just another day.

But when I think about the friendship, that hurts. Cheri was a great friend, and we had a lot of fun together. I have a ton of great memories, and I consider myself lucky to have those memories to carry with me for the rest of my life. Although the relationship didn't work out, I'll never regret the time I spent with her. It's the friendship that makes me want to pick up the phone and say, "we can make it work." But I stand by what I said.

Like most couples that part on friendly terms, we agreed to stay friends...because the friendship is what we both cherished. We promised to remain a part of each others lives, but I know the reality of life. That rarely works. I hope we're one of the exceptions, because I can't imagine my life without her being a part of it. And I don't want to.

I hope she finds what she's looking for. She deserves it.

My apartment in Madison was never meant to be my home. It was supposed to be temporary. Suddenly, this small, one-bedroom loft feels big and empty. There's something missing.

Like my driver's license, my checks still have the address where Cheri and I lived in Janesville. I have pictures leaning against the wall where I intended to hang them more than two years ago. I never bought that coat rack I wanted. There is no place to hang your hat here. Maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall when Cheri bought a coat rack a few weeks ago.

But I will say this...my apartment has never been so clean.

As for the future, I don't know what it holds. I find myself on a new path, one I didn't anticipate. The day before we broke up I changed the wallpaper on my computer to that of a trail cut through the trees. It's covered in wet leaves, making it hard to see. It's rocky, uphill and it looks cold and lonely. I don't know why I chose that image. It's unlike any image I've ever put on my desktop. Sometimes I wonder if our lives are filled with foreshadowing that we're unable to see because we're too close to the situation. But when we step back a bit, we see that all the signs were there.

All I can do now is continue down that path and see what lies at the end of the changing of the seasons.


Let it Flo

My new favorite website: www.flotrack.org. I love watching the workouts and seeing what some of the top runners in the world do when they go to the track.

Here's what it takes to win a bronze at the olympics. It's a lot more than just running.

There's also www.floswimming.org. Not sure I see the point of this workout....

It's all perspective...

I guess bad days are all about perspective. Here's a picture from Hurricane Ike. How's that for a bad day? Having your house burn down during a hurricane? Talk about adding insult to injury.

More Ike pictures: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/09/the_short_but_eventful_life_of.html


Bad day...Gun Show!

I had a bad day at work...again. It started with a very frustrating meeting that ended with more work for me which puts me even further behind. I'm not sure why that bothers me anymore since we're so understaffed I haven't been caught up in years, but it's getting to me this year.

Luckily, I brought my bike in and planned to ride the gun show at lunch. I haven't done the gun show in quite a while and I wasn't sure if I would be able to hang with the group because I haven't fully recovered from the IM yet, but I thought I'd give it a go. After the meeting, I knew it was going to be a sufferfest for me. I had some steam to let off.

Since I haven't written about the gun show in a while... if you're unfamiliar it's our weekly ride (race) where we go out and beat up on each other for an hour. We start with a neutral roll out through Verona. Once we hit Range Trail, it's on until the stop ahead sign (the first sprint point). Then we regroup at the stop sign and do it again. There are 3 sprints total and then we head back to work.

Before I give you the gun show report, I should mention that my max HR is 185. I hit 187 once last year on a very hot, humid day, but it's rare for me to even hit 185.

We start out by picking up the Saris guys but they didn't have anyone today so it was just us and a few guys we pick up in Verona. As we were heading through Verona, we got pulled over. Yep, all of us. I figured it was for running the stop sign we ran right in front of him. Nope, he told us to ride single file when a car is behind us because it's safer and cars don't always react well to cyclists taking up the road. Then he said when there are no cars, we have the whole road to ourselves. He was really cool and it seemed like he was more interested in our safety than anything else. Maybe he's a cyclist.

After that, we turned onto Cty M, then Range Trail and the pace picked up. I tried to stay in the pack and stay out of the wind figuring my legs wouldn't have the strength to do much pulling today. I didn't have any plans of going for the win until I found myself in position to take it so I sprinted and opened up a gap. I thought I was alone out front so I let up and coasted to the sprint point and got beat at the last second. That'll teach me to let up. Max HR = 189.

The second sprint starts out a little slow as we recover, then we turn onto Sayles and the attacks begin. The second sprint is the hilliest so it's pretty tough. Ryan and Lee attacked and opened a gap and I stayed in the group as we tried to reel them in. We closed the gap a bit, but the pace was too slow to catch them before the sprint so I went up front and figured I would close the gap and then be too exhausted to sprint so someone else would take it but I just couldn't let the breakaway survive. I pulled hard, closed the gap and caught Ryan who dropped off. Lee was still out there so I kept pushing and apparently dropped the group in the process. I couldn't catch him, but I came close and got second. Max HR = 187.

The last sprint is the longest at 4.3 miles. I stayed in the group as much as I could to conserve energy and recover from the first two sprints. I still had some steam to let off so I wanted to go hard. I also wanted the win. I was upset from the meeting and a little upset with myself for letting off on the first sprint. The last sprint has an uphill followed by a downhill before it flattens out where the sprint point is so it gets pretty fast. I knew there would be an attack on the hill so I stayed up front so I could respond. Sure enough, Greg and Michael attacked...hard. I stood up and gave it everything I had but couldn't hang with them. They opened up a small gap and then they didn't attack the downhill hard enough and I was able to close the gap. Michael had the lead and Greg was fading a bit so a gap was opening. I wanted him to close it, but he didn't. I figured he refused to because he didn't want to pull me to the finish so I had to move in there and get on Michael's wheel before he got away. Later Greg told me he was tired and fading. Once I got on Michael's wheel and Greg faded a bit, I knew the sprint was mine. It was just a matter of waiting until the right moment. As soon as I saw him starting to stand for the sprint, I unloaded my frustrations and kept sprinting through the line even though I had enough of a gap to let up. I hit 38 mph - I wish I had my power meter on today so I could see what my max wattage was. Max HR = 186.

I didn't get my heart rate above 170 much in my IM training so this was new ground this year and I came very close to throwing up after the last sprint - even though my HR didn't get as high as the first two sprints, it was above max much longer...

It was a day of highs. A high heart rate just tells me I had a good ride so that's cool. Plus I need to get used to that if I'm going to train for a 10K.

But...out of curiousity...I took my blood pressure after work and it was the highest it's ever been. 146/77. Four weeks ago it was 130/80. Work has gotten too stressful this year and I'm seriously starting to believe it's time to move on. I love working in this industry, but I can't take this much longer.

On a more positive note, Cheri and I discussed our Italy plans a bit last night. We're thinking we might start the trip with a couple of days in London. We have some friends in London and it would be really cool to drop in on them (unannounced of course) and see the city, maybe go out to a pub and have a few too many drinks and get ourselves into a spot of bother. Good times.


Taking it to the track

Today marks Cheri's return to running after 3 weeks off due to Runner's Knee - a very common knee injury. She wanted to start running last week but I convinced her to give it one more week. She's not training for anything so a few more days off won't do any harm. Running too soon will, however.

I also convinced her to buy a pair of neutral running shoes, so I'm really hoping I'm right about her support shoes being the source of the knee pain. I told her to get a pair of neutral shoes, but she was thinking of going to the extreme and buying a pair of racing flats. We went to Dick's and found the perfect compromise - Adidas Boston Classic. It's a race shoe with more cushioning for longer distances. Basically, it's right in between a racing flat and a neutral shoe.

I spent some time last winter working on the Pose method of running, and while I never came close to perfecting it I did change my form a bit and ran 1,000 miles so far without an injury. I don't think I ever went more than 250 before. So Cheri wanted to learn a bit about the Pose method and see if it would help her out too.

The rain let up for a bit today so we went to the track at the Verona High School to do a workout - the first track workout for both of us. Track workouts are typically pretty tough and probably not the best place to start your training after an injury, but I thought it would be perfect if we kept it super easy. It's a soft surface and we could run one lap (400 meters - 1/4 mile) at a time focusing on form. Then we'd rest a bit and do another lap. [not to mention my legs are still sore from the Ironman - mainly because I couldn't resist the aquathon Thursday - running a 5K 4 days after an IM is a horrible, horrible idea]

We started with 2 laps super easy to get warmed up. Then I taught Cheri what little I know about the Pose method. Mainly we're focusing on getting her to land on the ball of her foot or mid foot instead of landing on her heels first. We're also working on shortening her stride a bit and getting a faster turnover rate (cadence). She's currently running at an 82 cadence (meaning her right foot hits the ground 82 times per minute) and we'd like to get that above 85. Maybe as high as 90 by spring.

After working on the Pose method for about 20 minutes, we did a few drills that I thought would be easy - high knees and butt kicks. Not so easy. In fact, they were pretty tough. They'll definitely be a part of my 10K training.

Then we did 3x400 with 2 minutes rest between each lap. We kept the pace really slow and focused on form - landing on the balls of our feet and taking short strides with a quick cadence. Fast feet.

Then we did some strengthening. We did some walking lunges, side lunges and squats. Then we came home and did a core workout.

All total we ran 1.65 miles. Not much, but it's a start. Best of all, Cheri didn't have any knee pain. Her calves are really sore though, but that comes with the territory when you start landing on the balls of your feet.

Monday she'll do some more strengthening exercises and Wednesday she gets to run again...maybe as many as 2 miles!

Hopefully this will be the start of a long injury free streak for her.



Pretty cool finisher's medal, huh?

I'm not a big fan of cows - although I do love a good burger - but I thought it was appropriate since they call Ironman Wisconsin Ironmoo. The funny thing is that you probably won't see any cows if you come race IMMoo. There's only one farm I can think of on the route that has cows, and I didn't see them during the race. I did, however, see Satan on one of the hills. Maybe they should call it IronHell.

My parents have offered to have my finisher's medal engraved (thanks) with whatever I want on the back. I'm thinking of putting my time on there, and if you have any suggestions for something else let me know. I can't think of anything.

Now that the race is over, I'm going to focus on improving my running. I want to become a better runner, so that will be my main goal for the winter. I need to get stronger on the bike too, but I think it's my running that needs the most work. In a few weeks, I'll start training for my first 10K, the Berbee Derby. I'm looking forward to ramping up my mileage again and focusing on speedwork.

Next year I think my big race will be the Spirit of Racine Half Ironman. I feel like that race got the best of me because I didn't do very well with my nutrition and hydration so I want to go back and see what I can do. I'm also looking forward to doing more sprint and olympic tris next year as well as some time trials and maybe some bike races. Maybe I'll do one of the accenture tris. Those look fun. Maybe the Janesville triathlon will make a comeback. That was my first tri, and I swallowed a good part of Kiwanis Pond (or Atlas Pit or whatever they call it now) so I'd love to do that race again.

Then in the fall, Cheri and I are planning a trip to Italy. It's her reward (mine too) for putting up with me and my triathlon obsession.

Then... Ironman Wisconsin 2010. The team is already coming together. Cheri and I know three people she works with - Bob, Marty and Steve - that say they're on board for 2010 and they're all good athletes so she's already calling us the Fantastic Four - or something like that (I hope it wasn't the Fabulous Four) - and claiming there will be t-shirts. Ryan at work said he almost got in line this year, so I suspect he may sign up for 2010. That makes 5. There's a lot of time for things to change, but I may know quite a few people doing the race in 2010. Could be a really fun year.

Bob will be in the 60+ age group and wants to take a shot at qualifying for Kona (it would be Kona 2011). Right now he's fighting an ankle injury so he has his work cut out for him, but I think he's got a really good shot at it. He has a few IMs under his belt and he's tough as nails. The only problem (other than his ankle) is that his age group only gets one, maybe two, Kona slots so he needs to go into the race expecting to win his age group.

I'll be in a new age group too. 35-39. The final Kona qualifier in that age group this year finished in 9:54 - 90 minutes faster than my time. The final qualifier in 2007 finished in 10:13.

To qualify, I would need to plan for a sub 10 hour Ironman. Sub 10! That's crazy fast. That's all I have to say about that.

Here are a few IM pictures Dennis took...


Race Report: 2008 Ironman Wisconsin

Pre-Race: I didn't get much sleep, but I did get a few hours which is all I was really hoping for. I woke up at 3:45, ate some breakfast and had some coffee. Then, yes, number 2. After that I prepared my bottles for the bike, woke up Cheri and made sure we had everything.

We got to transition about 5am and I went straight to the end my bike was on. Security told me I couldn't enter on that end and that I had to go the other end. I complained that my bike was right there (I could practically touch it) and that I would have a marathon in before the race if I had to walk to the other end. They didn't care, but one of the race officials heard me and led me through security - very cool. So I put my bike computer and water bottles on my bike and pumped up my tires. I came out of transition and told Cheri I was surprised there was no one there yet. Then they announced they were opening transition and Cheri and I noticed there was a huge line at the other end. Smooth.

After that I threw my vest in my bike bag and some perpeteum in my run bag and
dropped off my bike special needs bag.

Then we headed down to the water to get ready for the swim.


Here's our friend Johnny about to get in the water..

The Swim

Goal: 1:10

My plan was to line up on the inside and swim inside the buoys. You can go on the inside as long as you swim on the outside of the corner buoys. There were a bunch of us there with the same plan. Right before the start they said all of us had to start on the outside of the first buoy, which really made things crowded. I knew the start was going to be rough, and it was but only for the first 200-300 yards. After that it wasn't too bad, and starting on the inside was shaping up to be a good plan. It's a 2 loop swim, and there was more contact on the first loop than I expected. I knew there would be in the beginning, but I figured things would thin out a lot after rounding the first 2 buoys and heading back down the back stretch but things were still pretty tight. The second loop was much better. Some of the people in our group started to fade so the pack thinned out and there was very little contact on the second loop. Overall, the swim went well although I got a little bored out there.

Official time: 1:09:40

They have wetsuit strippers that pull your wetsuit off for you, which is cool. Then you have to run up the helix - you can see it in the background of that picture - which is fun because it is lined with spectators. Then you grab your transition bag and get ready for the bike.

T1 Official Time: 7:28

The Bike

Goal: 5:45

The bike went well. I started out really conservative and kept an eye on my power the whole time and didn't worry about people passing me, although that gets annoying sometimes. When you ride with power, you get really annoyed by people who do nothing but attack hills and I was surrounded by a group of four of five of those riders all day. They would pass me on every hill like I was tied to a pole - while I'm putting out 250-300 watts. Then on the backside and the flats I would pass them like they were tied to a pole putting out 180-210 watts. It gets old.

But I tried not to be bothered by them and stick to my plan - nutrition and power. My power goal was 190-195, but I averaged about 185. I started a little too conservative and when my average power was 185 after the first loop I knew there was no sense working really hard on the second loop to get my power above 190 and I had an average speed of 19.3 so I was really happy with that. At the start of the second loop black clouds rolled in and the winds picked up quite a bit which slowed us down. The rain held off, but the wind made the first half of the loop pretty slow and my average speed dropped to below 19.

As I came through Verona on the second loop the crowd around the barricades was thick, but really quiet and I was the only cyclist coming through so I pumped my arms a bit to get them going and the crowd lit up. I'm sure they were wondering who I was and why they were cheering for me, but it was really fun. I did this a few more time throughout the day just for fun and motivation. It's a rush.

We got a good tailwind coming back into town and my bike computer said my average speed was 19.4, but I ended the bike with an official average of 19.1. I guess that must be from the 2 bathroom stops, which added a few minutes to my time. I missed my goal by a bit, but I was really close and I stayed on top of my nutrition plan and kept my power under control so I was really happy with the bike.

Official time: 5:51:46 (19.1 mph)

Here I am coming into the Verona aid station on lap 2. I just spotted Cheri and my parents.

Here I am right before T2, not sure what the smirk is about.

T2 Official Time: 2:52


Goal: 4:00

I figured I would be starting the run about 7 hours and 10 minutes into the race, so I was really hoping I could run a 3:50 and finish in 10:59. I knew that was a long shot, so I was hoping for a 4 hour marathon or, better yet, just under 4 hours. The beginning of the run was really tough, but I knew I just needed to give it time. On my long brick a few weeks ago, my legs didn't come around until the 4 mile mark so I figured I just needed to give it 4 miles and then I'll get into a good rhythm.

I wanted to start with an 8:50-8:55 pace, but I accidentally ran the first mile in 8:39. Mile 2 was 8:55. The 9:05, 9:05, 9:01...I was feeling a little better and starting to find a rhythm. I was also fading a bit because I was well off an 8;45 pace and it was clear from mile 2 that a 3:50 marathon was out of the question. I was way too tired to pull that off, and I was realizing that 4 hours was probably not going to happen either. I could feel the fatigue setting in, and I was thinking that I just don't have enough running miles in my legs yet to run a 4 hour IM marathon. At this point, I didn't care. Eleven hours was an aggressive goal and at this point I just wanted to get to the finish line.

About mile 10 things started to get really tough. I drank my perpeteum, which was probably a mistake. My stomach was shutting down, and the perpeteum made me belch...A LOT. For the rest of the marathon I was belching perpeteum and waiting for the vomit. It never came, but I was sure it would.

At the halfway turn around, I was really hurting and starting to wonder if I could run the whole thing...or even finish. I didn't want to eat anything and I was sure I was going to vomit. Cheri said I looked horrible when they saw me heading back in to the turn around point.

The crowd there is great and I saw my family. My brother in law somehow got a spot along the fence and set up his tripod for his camera and snapped some great pictures. The crowd and my family helped and I started feeling a little better. Cheri thought I stopped at special needs because she said I looked a lot better heading back out than I did coming in.

The second half of the run was really tough, and I faded a lot. After running through Camp Randall, Mark biked a long side me for a while which helped. He encouraged me, and if nothing else, it was a distraction from the fatigue. I hadn't eaten anything in a few miles and he reminded me to keep eating and drinking even though I didn't want to so I walked the next aid station to get some Gatorade. After he headed back to the stadium I took another gel and got some more water. My stomach didn't want anything, but I knew I couldn't do a half marathon without more calories.

I walked Observatory hill the second loop, although I probably would've been better off running it because it was really tough to get going again after walking. My legs were getting stiff and sore already and my hip flexors were really sore. I stopped looking at my watch and just kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other and keep my legs turning over and moving forward.

Official Time: 4:12:46

Overall Time: 11:24:32

One of my co-workers made fun of my Spirit of Racing finish line picture because it was a picture of me turning off my watch, like the OCD-time-obsessed-triathlete I am. Until then, I had put no thought into my finish line picture, so I thought about it and decided I would ignore my watch, raise my arms and get a good picture. Then I thought, when I raise my arms should I do the #1 signs with my fingers or just do closed fists? I figured since I'll be far from #1 (384 to be exact - tough to do with your fingers), I'll go with closed fists. Makes sense. Check it out, one closed fist, one #1.

A few times I jokingly promised a trip to the medical tent. It was no joke. A few minutes after finishing, I knew a trip to the med tent was in order. I was very light headed and felt like I was going to pass out. My hands and lips were numb.

The first thing they do at the med tent is weigh you. I was only down 3 lbs, so it wasn't dehydration. They took my blood pressure and it was really low. So they sat me down and made me drink some chicken broth. Then I had a soda and started to feel better after about 10 minutes so we grabbed my gear and headed home.

The plan was to go home, take an ice bath and go back to watch the finishers. I came home, took an ice bath and then both Cheri and I didn't feel like going back. We were tired, and my legs had stiffened up and walking was quite a challenge.

Today, we've decided to go to the awards banquet so we're heading out in a few minutes. My legs are really, really sore and I'm having a tough time walking. I couldn't imagine going to work today.

I never thought the Ironman was going to be easy, but I'll admit that it was tougher than I thought it would be. I really thought I was in shape to feel good through the 20 mile mark on the marathon, but I started struggling at mile 2. It was really tough and I have tons of respect for anyone that has done the distance.

People I want to thank for supporting me and cheering for me at the race: Cheri, (Her support was incredible and a big help. Having her with me definitely made my Ironman journey much more enjoyable.) my parents, my sister, my brother in law, my nieces, my nephew, Cheri's family, Mark at Swimfast (it wouldn't have been a 1:10 swim without his help), Dennis, Abby & Toby, Mark & Jessica, Heather & Tad, Stephen & Emily, Jordan, Brent the tank, Jim T., Steve W., Ryan O., Nick & Nicole, Andy, the Wimmers, Bob, Jessica and Pete. I hope I didn't forget anyone. Thanks.


Wisconsin weather

Dropped off my bike and gear bags this morning. I wish the race was today, because the weather is perfect. Partly cloudy, 68, slight breeze...exactly what I was hoping for. Tomorrow, not so much. Here's what it's going to look like when I get on the bike....

With weather like that, there have been a few changes. I'm not wearing red/black since that gear is almost all mesh. I'll be wearing grey/black. I'm going to start the bike with knee warmers (under 70 degree rule), arm warmers and a Pedro's vest (can't find my Schwinn vest - my favorite). If the weather turns nice I'll ditch the vest at special needs about mile 50. I wasn't going to use those bags, but I've decided to throw a rain coat and leg warmers in my bike special needs bag just in case it rains all day and I get cold. This way my bag will be out there so I can ditch my vest if I need to.