One millimeter

Dennis said something interesting at work the other day. He said he raised his saddle a bit and his knees hurt so he lowered it 1 mm and the pain went away.

Hmmmm....I raised my saddle a little bit a few weeks ago too. I forgot about that.

So I lowered it 1 mm and went for a 56 mile ride Saturday. No knee pain, no IT tightness. It's amazing the difference 1 mm can make. I also went over my bike, cleaned it and put on my 12-27 rear cassette (vs. my 12-25) so I have an easier gear for the steeper climbs. That will help me spin a little faster on the climbs and take the tension off my knees. It helped for the Horribly Hilly last year.

This was a great route, with some really good roads - smooth, fast, little traffic, rolling hills - but I think I'm going to make a few changes to it and then it will be an awesome Spirit of Racine training course. There are a few rough roads I'd like to cut out, and I need to find a gas station about half way so I can get some water. Other than that I was really surprised how nice the route was. I got lucky.

The ride starts off with this hill from the Pennycook route Cheri and I have been doing the past few weeks. It's an 18% grade...

Here's Cheri looking a little nervous the first time she had to climb it. She didn't fear walking the hill (which she didn't have to do) so much as tipping over or crashing into the gully on the right side of the road.


I know extended forecasts are never accurate, but I'm hoping this one holds up. My ideal weather for the race would be a high of 68-70, light winds, partly cloudy. I'm convinced hurricane Gustov is going to screw up our weather somehow and it's going to be cold and rainy - 06 style.

Today I'm off to swim in Lake Andrea one last time this year and then run a few laps around the lake.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Swim, short run

Wednesday - Bike, short run

Thursday - Gatorade swim, easy bike, easy run

Friday - Rest

Saturday - very short warm up workout

Sunday - Race day


Spectator Guide #146

The numbers were posted today. I'm #146. I created a spectator guide for my family, but figured I might as well post it here for everyone. Keep in mind my predicted times are a best case scenario. Anything can happen, and I might be out there much longer. But based on my training times, I think 11 hours is doable. We'll see.


It's all coming together...

The only complaint I have ever heard about Cronometro is that they're kind of expensive, so I was expecting to drop some cash today when I went to pick up my wheels. But hey, you get what you pay for. And at this point, what choice do I have?

I talked to their mechanic for a while and he explained how the spoke tensions were way off and that he fixed the tension and used some spoke freeze and that I should give him a call if I have any more problems before IM. I thanked him for getting them done so quickly, then I grabbed some body glide and a Cronometro water bottle. The total bill was less than $50. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was gonna drop over $100. It's all perspective, I guess...it also helps that I only got charged for one wheel since the rear wheel was good to go.

So I'm feeling better about my wheels now. I still need to test them, but I feel good about it.

Today I went for a 7.3 mile run at lunch and I felt really, really good. Tapers are kind of fun. My new shoes (yes, new shoes less than 2 weeks before IM) were awesome. I got the Saucony Rides - the same shoe as my other Sauconys except these don't have any support. My knees felt good, although my IT band is still a bit tight but it didn't bother me at all. I think it will be good.

When I got back from my run, there was a package on my desk. Cappie from Cannondale hooked me up with a new rear bottle cage holder. It's all coming together. My wheels, my shoes, my bottle cages....

Then I did it...finally....it was bound to happen. It was only a matter of time, and the suspense was killing me. I stepped on the mousetrap under my desk. I was wearing sandals today, but it missed my toes so it's all good. Scared the crap out of me though.

After work I swam in Lake Monona with Swimfast and we got in a pretty good workout. We cut it short time wise, but stepped up the intensity. If you're wondering - like all of us were - no they have not found the body yet. Most likely, it will surface during IM. Most likely, I will swim face first into it.

Tonight I have my last swim lesson with Mark. I'm not sure what we'll work on, I never am, but I'm sure we'll talk IM strategy for a while.

Tomorrow: Easy one hour bike - easy 4 mile run.

They assign numbers Friday so I'll know my number so I can do my spectator guide.


What hurts me must be good for me...

I said once before that I think my torn tendon last fall turned out to be good for me. It made me back off a bit and focus on base miles all winter, which is critical before moving on to speedwork and high intensity workouts. I like to skip base miles. In the end, I built a good base and ended up faster because of it...and injury free.

It also kept me from getting burned out by doing too much too soon.

Today I was thinking about my knees and IT band, and I think it might be good for me. It's not an injury, but I'm thinking of it as an injury scare. I'm walking a fine line right now and I need to take it easy to avoid an injury, which is what you're supposed to do during your taper so this might all work out. Now that I fear injury, I'm afraid to do a tough workout before IM. Just like I was forced to do base miles all winter, I'm forced to taper right now. The base miles worked out, so I'm hoping this works out too.

More or less, getting hurt has worked out for me. Pain is good for me. With that said...

I've read about foam rollers before, and today I decided to buy one. They're supposed to be like a deep tissue massage and work out the tightness and knots in your muscles. So I went to Dick's and bought a $.20 piece of foam for $25. It comes with a DVD that shows you some exercises to massage your muscles. Basically, you just roll back and forth on it.

So if pain is good for me, this thing is phenomenal. It's better than vegetables or Cheerios.

Seriously, the IT band roll is excruciating. I could not believe how painful that was. After that, the Ironman is going to be a cake walk.

Wheel update: I e-mailed Crono Metro first thing this morning. They open at 11 so I figured I probably wouldn't hear from them until early afternoon. At exactly 11, I got a call from their mechanic. He said if I bring them in tomorrow, he'll look at them Wednesday morning. Those guys are awesome. Best shop in town.

So I'm feeling a little better now. I think I'll be able to get my wheels fixed and I have a plan for my knees...every night this week: ice bath, foam roller, stretching, core workout.

12 days and counting....


The wheels came off today...

Although I said my taper was 3 weeks, it's more or less a 2 week taper. Last week I dropped my training volume, especially my running, and took it easier than previous weeks but still had one long brick planned for today...then it's a full on taper until the Ironman.

Today's workout was a 2.3 mile swim followed by a 100 mile ride. I kept the intensity down and just wanted to get in the volume. I wanted to test my nutrition again and get in one last long ride following a long swim. No running today.

I got a little risky and swam with my Garmin Edge so I could get my distance recorded (risky because it's not waterproof). I sealed it in a zip lock bag and put it in my swim cap and it worked out great. It didn't get wet and still got a strong enough signal to record my distance. Unfortunately, it didn't get any heart rate data.

I swam for 1:10 and covered 2.3 miles. I've heard about a guy who runs around the arb and then swims in Lake Wingra, and today I saw him. He runs, then strips down to his tighty whities and goes for a swim. That guys needs to buy a swimsuit or swim in his running shorts. That's all I have to say about that.

The bike....I felt fine for the first 50 miles, and then I started to get a little tired. The triathlon yesterday took a little more out of me than I thought. I should've cut the ride short and gone back to my car, but I wanted to get in one last century. About mile 80, my knees started hurting and my right IT band started to tighten up again. Just what I need....knee problems 2 weeks from IM.

I decided to play it safe and take it really easy from here on out....and see if I could figure out where that irritating chirping sound was coming from. I found out.

My front wheel.

I noticed it was out of true and touching my brake pads with each rotation. For those of you familiar with my wheels....you guessed it...loose front spokes.

If you haven't followed my blog since the beginning, let me fill you in. It started out about this time last year when I was offered a set of Reynolds MV32 wheels with a Powertap in them. Brand spanking new, built for some industry race and they're not going to use them, a $3500 wheelset for $900 I was told. Great deal, right? I couldn't pass it up. What I wasn't told was that these wheels are guaranteed to let you down, disappoint you and generally make you feel ripped off.

The spokes have come loose many times, and I finally had to send the wheels back to Reynolds. They fixed them, and they've been good until now, but it took about 4 or 5 weeks to get them back. And I've had this feeling ever since that they would have problems right before IM, and here we are 2 weeks away and I have loose spokes again (see above guarantee).

The problem is there's only one shop in town I trust with them - Crono Metro. And they're going to be super busy this time of year getting bikes tuned up for IM. I really hope they can squeeze me in and get my wheels trued this week so I can go out for a short ride or two before IM to make sure they're good to go.

If I get my wheel fixed and the spokes come loose during Ironman, you might see something like this...

I'm tempted to throw on my Mavic front wheel and ride mismatched wheels. I trust Mavic wheels. Now I'm going to spend the entire race worrying about my wheels.

Yesterday I was loaded with confidence. I felt like everything was in place for me to have a good Ironman and I was coming off my best triathlon finish ever. It was a great day.

Today....zero confidence. I don't trust my front wheel and I'm afraid my IT band is going to tighten up on the bike, and I have no idea how I'm going to run a marathon with IT band problems. I did too much volume in a short period of time. In the past 4 weeks, I've ridden a century every weekend and followed it up with a long run the next day on tired legs. I feel like I screwed up an entire year of training by cramming in too much volume at the last minute. What frustrates me the most is that I knew I would do this. I knew I wouldn't take enough rest days.

As much as I want to do well at the Ironman, I'm not risking a serious injury for a one day race. IM doesn't mean that much to me. If my IT band tightens up too much on the bike and run, I'm walking to the finish line. If it gets too bad, I'm dropping out. There's always 2010.

The plan now is to get a lot of rest in the next two weeks and do some stretching everyday to see if I can get my IT band to loosen up.

So this post isn't all negative... Robbie Ventura finished his first IM today - IM Canada. 1:18 swim, 4:51 bike, 4:30 run - total time: 10:49. Awesome (check out that bike split). Here's a pic from when we met him at the Saris Gala.

Here's a quote from that post...

"...I ate everything in sight, layed in the middle of the floor and declared, "there is no way I'm going to finish the Ironman." Even after getting a good night's sleep and recovering from the workout, I'd say it's about 50/50 on me finishing."

Right now? Yeah, 50/50.


Race Report: Silver Lake Triathlon

We got a little lucky with the weather this morning, as there was a 50% chance of thunderstorms. We got rained on a bit on the way there, but then it cleared up and the sun came out before the end of the race and it's turning into a really nice day. Aside from a few wet spots, the roads were dry so the rain wasn't really an issue.

This was the first triathlon Cheri and I have done together so that was fun, and our parents came to watch so we had some spectators. This was essentially the first triathlon that my parents would see me do so I really wanted to do well. They showed up for the Janesville Tri last year, but I didn't do a good job giving them instructions on where to go so they never actually saw me race.

This is only the second year for the Silver Lake Triathlon, and I've been really impressed both years. Last year, I expected a few problems being their first year, but it was really smooth. This year was even better as they made a few minor changes, mainly to the transition area, which worked out really well.

Cheri hasn't been able to run much lately due to her knee pain (I believe it's partially because she's running in stability shoes when she should be in neutral shoes or flats) so she was getting pretty nervous last night and feeling unprepared. Then I packed up my wetsuit and made things worse. She doesn't have a wetsuit and assumed I wouldn't be wearing mine since the swim was only a 1/4 mile. As soon as she saw my wetsuit..."Why do you need your wetsuit? I didn't think you would need a wetsuit. I'm going to die."

After my wetsuit experiment at the aquathons, I'm always wearing a wetsuit. My wetsuit makes me a lot faster and I can get out of that thing in a matter of seconds so the time saved on the swim is well worth it. I told her I was only wearing it for speed, and that we'll have to get her a wetsuit for next year.

Anyway, on to the race report....

The swim: Last year - 8:45 This year - 5:50

Silver Lake is a great lake for a triathlon...clean, calm waters, nice soft sand on the beach. It's great. The only difference on the swim this year is that they changed the direction so we basically swam the course backwards from last year. It worked out better for transition so I think it was a good move. As for my time, I'd love to say all of that increased speed was due to hard training, but it's not. Most of it was, but I didn't have a wetsuit yet this time last year. Wetsuits really do make a big difference and I'm really glad I wore mine because I can now check off my goal of breaking 6:30 at a sprint tri this summer. I think the wetsuit may have saved me roughly a minute...that's really significant for a swim that short.

T1 - Last year - 1:30 This year - 1:07

Bike: Last year - 43:26 This year - 39:39

I'm really happy with my bike split this year. Some of that increased speed is my Cannondale, but I've put a lot of work into my cycling this year so it's really encouraging to see that pay off... and this is my fastest average speed at a multisport event ever - 24.2 mph. The only time I've topped that average is one of my Tuesday Time Trials and the Bong Park 40K TT...but there's no running after a time trial or swimming before so you can't really compare them. I set the third fastest bike split for the day and moved into the lead in my age group on the bike. Once I moved into the lead I really started to hammer the bike because I knew I had guys like Ryan G behind me who are strong runners and could outrun me so I needed to open a gap, and hopefully a big enough gap to discourage them from even trying to run me down.

Here's where I got stupid: Coming into T2, I got out of my shoes (way too early, which probably cost me a few seconds*) and was ready to do a side saddle dismount and run into transition. It's downhill coming into transition so you're going at a good pace. I forgot they moved the dismount line up the road from last year so I was riding into the dismount line side saddle doing about 20+mph. They yelled at me to get off my bike and I grabbed the brakes hard, stepped off my bike and started running. I stumbled a bit and my shoes hit the ground and the back of my bike kicked pretty hard, but mainly I really pounded the bottom of my feet getting off my bike going that fast. What a stupid mistake 2 weeks from Ironman. I should've kept going until I was slowed down enough and just accepted a penalty if they wanted to give me one - which I doubt they would've since this isn't USAT sanctioned and it's just a fun, local tri.

T2- Last year: :53 This year: :27

Run- Last year: 23:46 This year: 20:16

My feet stung pretty bad for the first half from coming off my bike so hard and I kept thinking about how I could've easily broken a foot or toe or injured myself somehow. The run course is decent, although they have you run a loop by the airport on grass and I don't like running on grass. They also don't have the miles marked, which isn't that big of a deal for a sprint tri but it would be nice because I like to see how my speed is at the first mile marker. I kept an eye on my competition at the turn around points and saw each time that I had a decent gap so I felt confident that I could hold on and win my age group. I was hoping to break 20 minutes, but I just didn't have it in me today.

Overall- Last year: 1:18:18 This year: 1:07:18

Last year: 15th overall, 3rd age group - first age group medal at a triathlon
This year: 4th overall*, 1st age group - first age group win at a triathlon

As I'm sure you can guess, I really like the Silver Lake Triathlon. It's fun, it's well-run, and I've done well both years. And the families come out and watch which is always great.

Then there's Cheri.... she told everyone not to expect much and that her knees hurt and she won't do well..... whatever.

Since she refuses to write race reports for my blog, I guess I'll have to do it....

Swim: 7:10

She really needs a wetsuit. It's not that 7:10 is a bad time, don't get me wrong. It's that Cheri is a better swimmer than I am and with a wetsuit and little more time in the pool she could be out there setting some of the fastest overall swim times.

T1 - 1:28

My T1 time from last year was 1:30 which means Cheri puts socks on 2 seconds faster than I do. I no longer wear socks during tris, and one of these days I'll get her to ditch the socks as well.

Bike - 48:05

I figured she would have a good bike split, but this was a little faster than I expected...a 19.96 mph average. We'll round that up to an even 20 since it looks better. The bike is an out and back so I was watching for her on the bike and counting women. Her age group was the first female wave, and when I saw her she was in 4th place so I yelled, "You're the 4th female!" I figured if she knew she was that close to the front, she would dig deep and keep pushing through the pain. She set the 9th fastest bike split among females. I've said it before, but one of these days she's going to need a tri bike....and an aero helmet.

T2 - :41

Run - 28:28

Very impressive considering how little running she's been doing the past few weeks. Her running has improved a lot in the past year, and I think once she gets this knee pain figured out and she can start running consistently again she's going to be able to knock a lot of time off her run splits.

Overall - 1:25:49

68th overall, 3rd age group - first age group medal at a triathlon

Silver Lake is good to us.

When I look at her results and think about how few base miles she has in her legs - cycling and running - I think about how fast her times could be if she really trained hard and put in a lot of hours. I think she could compete for overall female wins and finish high enough in the overall standings to make the top guys take her seriously as a competitor. Combine her lifetime cycling and running miles, and I think I did more miles from January to July just on the bike this year. I really believe she has the potential to be one of the top local female triathletes if she ever decides that's what she wants.

But I don't push her to train hard because she doesn't have to. It has to come from her.

Anyway, it was a good day...good results...lots of fun...can't wait for next year.

* Only 4 seconds behind 3rd and it's killing me....motivation for the trainer this winter


Ironman WI Info

The 2008 Athlete Guide was posted on the website today. If you're interested, here's the link: http://www.ironmanwisconsin.com/2008IMWSAI.pdf

Look at the URL. Should I send them an e-mail and let them know that Wisconsin is abbreviated WI, not WS?

Check out the prize money. $5,000 for the win. Pitiful.

Only 15 days.

Aquathon #4

Last night was the 4th out of 5 aquathons, and I had a pretty good night. I haven't done a whole lot this week, so I didn't really know what to expect.

I positioned myself in a spot where I thought I might get beat up a bit on the swim figuring that's what Ironman is going to be like and I want to get used to it. The first few minutes were a little rough as we all fought for position and I got kicked and ran into a lot, but nothing too bad. It doesn't scare me anymore when that happens, but I do find it very frustrating and I need to remember to stay calm and not waste energy because it doesn't take that long for the field to thin out.

At the last aquathon I didn't wear my wetsuit and my swim was quite a bit longer than usual (the course was a tad long, I heard). Apparently, wetsuits make a huge difference. This time I wore my wetsuit and set my fastest swim time by 1 second.

The run went well, although it's always a struggle the first mile and a half as I try to settle down and get into a rhythm. My heart rate is so high after the swim that it's really hard to run right after coming out of the water.

I was nervous about the run because I've had some knee pain and IT band tightness this week so I was afraid of an injury, but I felt really good during and after the run. The reason: I wore my Zoots instead of my new Sauconys. I never have problems with shoes that don't have any support (the Zoots offer about as much support as a pair of socks - yet I ran 18 miles in them and felt fine), but I tend to have problems with shoes that add support and try to limit pronation and my Sauconys have a minimal amount of support, but apparently enough to give me issues. So I ordered a pair of Saucony Rides, the same shoe I have now without support. I can still use the Sauconys I just bought, but I'll save them for short runs this winter. They shouldn't give me problems then, and even if they do I can afford a little time off in the winter.

I believe your feet need to pronate a little because it's natural and it frustrates me to no end that running stores do everything they can to get you in a pair of shoes that stabilize your feet and eliminate over pronation. If you're an excessive over pronator (sounds like a character flaw, doesn't it?) then you probably need some stability shoes, but if you're a mild over pronator then I think you should stick with neutral shoes....my opinion.

Anyway, I came close to my best time overall and finished with my best finish ever - 8th place - so I'm really happy with how the aquathon went. Mainly I'm really happy and relieved to finish the run with no injuries or pain. That's very encouraging and gives me a lot of confidence for the Ironman.

The last aquathon is 4 days after the Ironman (rescheduled from a cancellation). I wanted to take that whole week off, but if I can put in a good finish I might take a top 3 spot in the M30-39 division for the series and score some bling. I'm a sucker for awards, so I have to go and give it my all. It's gonna hurt, but at least I won't need to worry about injuries. I think the swim will be fine, but the run might be a death march.


Wednesday: 2.65 mile swim, 6.65 mile run

Today was the first time I swam in Lake Monona since the morning of September 14, 2007 - my third post in my blog (the IM swim is in Lake Monona). I swam with the Swimfast group, and we were all on the lookout for a floater...the missing swimmer they haven't found yet.

The water was really choppy tonight so it was a tough swim. I got a little tired and my left foot cramped up a lot in the middle of the swim. On the way back though, I swam close to the terrace where it was really rough because the waves bounce off the terrace walls (it was so rough I almost lost my swim cap...never had that happen before). It was really fun and I swam pretty well. I felt strong and aggressive.

My lunch run didn't go that well. I have a little tightness in my right IT band and my left knee was really sore afterwards. I can't decide if it's just from high running volume the past few weeks or if it's my new shoes. I'm going to take it easy the next few days and hope it's just a little overtraining and all I need is some rest.

I'm trying to watch the open water 10K swim on nbc.com and it keeps buffering. I hate live online video. So far I've only seen about 30 seconds of the race...however the commercials played with no buffering , of course.

This is how they hand the swimmers food and water...


Cold-blooded killers

Back to work. *sigh*

I opened Outlook and watched my mailbox fill up. 111 e-mails. Four of them included pictures of d
ead mice. The guys decided to set up traps and catch some mice while I was on vacation.

Then I noticed a trap under my desk. I was sure I would step on it before the end of the day, but no... I avoided it. I sometimes take my sandals off at work, but I think I'll leave them on while that trap is under my desk.

If you didn't catch the women's triathlon on nbc.com last night, here are a few pics...

Tonight the men's race is on live at 9pm on nbc.com if - like me - you have nothing better to do with your time. My prediction for the top 3....Gomez, Docherty, Kemper.

Only one day into my taper and I'm already bored. Good thing I have a race this weekend...Silver Lake Triathlon...a sprint tri. Probably not a good idea this close to Ironman, but I'm already signed up and I had a lot of fun at this one last year so I'm looking forward to racing it again. Plus this will be the first triathlon that I've done before so I actually have a time to beat.


Taper Time

I was debating between a 22 mile run and an 18 mile run today, so I split the difference and ran another 20 miler. I could tell my running mileage has been higher than usual the past 3 weeks because I usually feel really good at the start of a run, but this morning my legs didn't want to run. They loosened up by mile 3, and I felt good for the rest of the run so that was really encouraging. I finished with almost the exact same time as last week so I'm really happy with my run. Best of all, my new shoes felt great and my feet and knees feel better than last week...and I don't have any nasty blisters.

Now I start my 3-week taper, although week 1 of my taper still has some decent training volume. My running volume will go down, but my cycling will stay high and my swimming volume will actually go up. Running is the hardest on your body so I want to back off on that so I can recover. Cycling isn't too bad, and I want to get in one more century 2 weeks before the race so I'll be getting in some long miles next Sunday. Swimming is the easiest on your body and you can recover quickly from it so I want to get in some long swims in the next 2 weeks to make sure I'm ready and I can swim 2.4 miles without it taking too much out of me.


7 hours in the sun and all I get is spoiled milk

They're not the healthiest treats, but after a long, brutal workout I want one of three things: a Snickers Marathon bar, an M&M Candy Freeze from Frostee Freeze or a donie with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Since Frostee Freeze is in Janesville and I was in Madiso
n today, that wasn't an option. Marathon bars are great, but I eat a lot of them so they're not much of a treat sometimes. So that left a donie, which I had been thinking about for the last 2 hours of my workout.

I went to Pick N Save to pick up a bag of ice for my ice bath and a donie. Pick N Save never fails to disappoint me. It's usually at the cash register, but today it was at the bakery. Nothing. So I picked up some ice thinking I had a Marathon bar at home....nope. So I had V8 V-Fusion and an Odwalla bar....healthy crap.

Anyway, this was my big workout today. About 112 miles on the IM course followed by a one hour run. My goal for the bike was to average between 190-195 watts. I was hoping that would be 19+ mph, but I was more concerned about watts than spee
d. My goal for the run was to go harder than IM pace...if possible. I figured I would shoot for an average pace of 8:4x. If I could pull that off after a long ride, I would be very happy with my workout.

When going over my bike yesterday to make sure it was good to go, I noticed th
at I did brake hard enough to ruin my tires the other day. My tires skidded enough to wear through the rubber and expose the white fibers that hold the tire together, but not enough to pop the tube...whew. I have a new set of tires I'm saving for IM, and I didn't want to put those on yet so I dug through the closet to see what I could find. Luckily, I had saved a set of Michelin Pro Race 2s that I was going to use on the trainer until Dennis decided he wasn't going to put enough miles on the trainer over the winter to justify the trainer tire he bought. So I bought it off him and saved the Michelins. They're worn, but I think they can get me through the next few weeks. I'll have to thank Dennis for buying that trainer tire.

Here's the nutrition plan for the day...

1 Gat = 1 bottle of Gatorade Endurance formula
1/3 Per = 1/3 of my bottle of Perpeteum (a little less than a serving)
Salt = Salt tab (Saltstick)
(c) Gel = Caffeinated gel
Rocktane = Gu Rocktane - a caffeinated gel with amino acids

About 300 calories per hour, plenty of sodium and lots of water.

I also bought a saltstick, which you can put in the end of your aerobars and it holds 3 salt tabs. All you do is turn the knob and out pops a salt tab. Pretty schnazzy.

There's not a whole lot to say about the ride. It went well, and I figured out how my bottles are dropping (I didn't drop any, but it was close...I caught them a few times as they were falling out). It turns out they're dropping out the bottom of my bottle cage instead of the top like I thought. I'm going to tape a little extension on the bottom of my cages so I don't lose bottles (carbon bottle cages and I'm going to tape a piece of plastic to them...it's not right).

My average watts were a little lower than I wanted, but that's mainly from stopping at stop signs, lights and gas stations for water. I was close to my goal, so it's good enough...

Distance = 113.42 miles

Time = 5:58:49
Ave Watts = 187
Ave Speed = 19.0 mph
Max Speed = 44.4 mph
Ave HR = 134
Max HR = 158
Ave Cadence = 84

I quickly put on my running shoes, grabbed my gels and water and was out the door. (note to self: no propel on the run...it doesn't mix with flavored gels very well). I ran in my new Sauconys Tuesday and got some pain in my right knee so I was little nervous about this run. I wasn't sure if it was the shoes or the 20 miler last Sunday. Luckily, it must have been the long run because the shoes felt great today. Very comfy and more room in the toes than my other shoes - no blisters.

I usually get over the heavy leg feeling within a mile or two and settle into a good rhythm. Today it took about 4 miles, a lot longer than I expected but that's good to know so I don'
t get worried when I'm still feeling sluggish at the 3 mile mark raceday.

The run went surprisingly well. I expected to bonk or fade or throw up or (you name it). But instead I felt decent and eventually found a good rhythm. The good thing about doing really long runs is that 7 miles doesn't feel that long any more.

Here's the data...

The run felt good, but there's no way I could hold that pace for 26.2 miles.

After my long workouts, I immediately drink some Endurox then I go get a bag of ice for an ice bath. I like vanilla, so I switched to vanilla Endurox from the fruit punch....bad decision. It smells like spoiled milk...the last thing you need to smell after 7 hours in the sun.

Speaking of that, the weather was phenomenal today...upper 70s with white puffy clouds and 5-10 mph winds. I hope we have conditions like this raceday, except I'm really hoping for low 70s (or even better - upper 60s).

I still have some long workouts coming up, but this my biggest one and it went really, really well. I feel ready for the race and confident that I'm going to have a good day. Anything can happen, but I feel like I've done everything I can do to make sure I'm prepared.

Tomorrow is a long swim. Sunday a long run. Monday...rest day.

Sometime this weekend, I'm going to get the donie.


Another close call...

The plan was to ride for 2 hours and then run 10 miles. The ride was going well, then with 15 minutes left it started pouring. As Forrest Gump would say, this was stinging rain. As I turned onto Seminole, some guy in a pickup truck passed me and then pulled in front of me and hit the brakes so hard the back of his truck was sliding around. My brakes don't work that well when they're wet and I didn't want to brake so hard I skid because I figured I would either crash or flatten my tires - screwed either way. I managed to stop without hitting the truck, but it was really close. He rolled down his window and offered me a ride.

"No thanks. I'm fine."

"But you're all wet."

I wanted to tell him that's why I didn't need a ride. I needed one 5 minutes earlier. I also wanted to tell him he's a dumbass for braking so hard in front of a cyclist, but I wasn't in the mood. I wasn't enjoying my workout and I was very irritated by him. I appreciate the gesture, but that's not the way to go about it. As soon as he drove away the rain let up.

The ride:

Entire workout (202 watts):
Duration: 2:04:44 (2:04:46)
Work: 1514 kJ
TSS: 127.2 (intensity factor 0.782)
Norm Power: 216
VI: 1.07
Pw:HR: -2.32%
Pa:HR: -4.26%
Distance: 41.113 mi

Min Max Avg
Power: 0 488 202 watts
Heart Rate: 74 167 137 bpm
Cadence: 29 178 84 rpm
Speed: 0 36 19.8 mph
Pace 1:40 0:00 3:02 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 286 74 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 925 210 lb-in

The run:


One Last Big Week...

I took this week off work so I could get in lots of training before I taper for the Ironman. Yesterday was a rest day (great way to start a vacation) so Cheri and I went to the Brewers game.

Today, I decided to buy some new
running shoes. I was hoping mine would make it through the Ironman, but I could tell by my aching knees Sunday night that it's time to retire my shoes. I went to Berkely Running Company because I've never been there and I saw on their website they carry Adidas.

I went there hoping to come home with Adidas Boston Classics. I wanted something a little lighter than the Supernova Cushions I've been running in, and I thought those might be the ones. They didn't have them so I tried some other shoes they suggested and I came home with Saucony Progrid Guides. They're about the same weight as my Supernovas, but they don't feel as bulky since they have a thinner sole. They're super comfy and I thi
nk they're going to work out better than my other shoes since the toebox feels a little bigger in these and my Adidas have been rubbing my toes and giving me blisters on long runs.

I had some elastic laces I never used so I put those in my Sauconys this afternoon. This way I can just slip them on and off. No more pesky laces to tie. But mainly I switched laces becau
se I'm tired of long shoe laces flapping around and hitting my legs on long runs. It drives me crazy. Mine are rigged up kind of like this, except I just ran the laces through the shoes eyelets like normal laces. I didn't see the need for those goofy plastic eyelets they give you with the laces.

Today is an easy day since I'm still recovering from the weekend. I'll go for an easy ride, run and swim.

Wednesday is a tough day. In the morning I'm going to do a long brick. I'm planning a 50-60 mile ride (above IM intensity) followed by a 10-12 mile run. I think doing a long run after a fairly long ride will help me test my nutrition plan some more. Later in the day I'll get in some swimming.

Thursday is another easy day. Swimming and an easy ride.

Friday is my big day. It's the real test of stamina and nutrition. I have a 56 mile loop I do that includes about 40 miles on the IM course...

My plan is to do 2 loops (112 miles) followed by a one hour run. I'm going to follow the same nutrition plan from Saturday and I'm going to drink a lot of water again. I have my water stops planned out - gas station on PB/Whalen, Mt. Horeb gas station, house on the top of the hill on Timber Lane that leaves their hose out for cyclists and my apartment. I can also stop at Fireman's Park and get water from the vending machine and I can stop at Uphill Grind - a bike/coffee shop that will mix gatorade for you in your bike bottle...pretty cool. No excuses for being dehydrated.

I've been trying to do my long rides above Ironman intensity, but not this one. According to the book on powermeters I use, I should be able to average from 187-214 watts for an Ironman race. I know 214 is way too high for me so I need to shoot for the lower end of that scale. I was thinking I might be able to shoot for 195-205, but I think that may be a little high as well. 195 might be okay, but I think 205 will take too much out of me and make for a tough run.

So my goal for Friday is to average between 190-195. Going above 200 would definitely make that range feel easier for race day, but I want to know how I feel after a long ride in that power range. If I feel good, then that will be my goal for race day. If not, then I'll lower it a bit. If it feels really easy (what are the odds on that) I'll probably leave it alone instead of raising it. I'd rather finish the Ironman feeling like I could've biked harder than risk having a crappy run by riding too hard.

A one hour run after a ride that long will give me a really good idea if I'm on track with my nutrition and if I'm pushing too hard on the bike. I'm feeling pretty confident in my nutrition after Saturday, and now that I finally took Mark's advice and started using what they supply on the course I won't have to carry so much with me (meaning, I won't have to race with that stupid bento box). Right now for raceday I'm just planning on carrying a bottle of Perpeteum (on my bike frame so I don't lose it) and a few caffeinated gels taped to my top tube. I'll start out with a bottle of Gatorade Endurance and water in my rear bottle cages and ditch those and keep grabbing water, Gatorade and gels from the aid stations. That's the plan, Stan.

Saturday is a fairly easy day again....long swim and I might go for an easy ride. We'll see.

Sunday is another long run. Probably 3 hours.

Then it's taper time.

I've really enjoyed training for the Ironman, but I'm getting ready for it to be over. I want to ride on the weekends without worrying about powerzones and nutrition plans. I want to go for lunch rides with the guys from work and not worry if attacking a few hills is going to ruin my key workouts.


Out with the old...

Since I've been struggling on my long rides, I decided to make some changes. I knew I needed more electrolytes so I wrote down the nutrition facts of everything I eat on my long rides to make sure I was getting enough sodium, magnesium and potassium every hour. Then I started making some changes. Then I stepped back and looked at my legal pad full of notes and thought, "I think I'm making this much more complicated than it needs to be."

So I simplified things...a lot. Here's what my nutrition plan became..

1 stands for odd hours, 2 for even. So on hours 1,3,5 I'm drinking 1/3 of my bottle of Perpeteum and taking one gel (I switched to Powerbar Gel because it has a lot more sodium than Hammer and that's what they have on the course). Hours 2,4,6 I drink a bottle of Gatorade Endurance and take one caffeinated gel and a salt tab - Endurolytes for this ride because I had some free samples and couldn't find SaltStick caps. Endurolytes are pitiful as far as electrolyte caps go. They don't have much in them so they're kind of pointless.

Other than simplifying my nutrition (a lot) I decided to add caffeine to the mix. I figured I didn't need it (much like salt tabs) but thought I'd give it a try to see if it makes a difference....and it does. I used the tangerine PowerBar gels and I felt a little extra energy when I took them...too bad they taste nasty.

The other big change...water. My goal was to drink about 2 bottles of water per hour, a lot more than I've ever drank on a ride. I mapped out a 20 mile loop from my parent's house so I could stop by their house every hour and swap bottles.

So the plan was to do a 7.5 mile warm up from Cheri's house to my parent's. Then four 20 mile laps with a power goal for each lap. Then it's a 7.5 mile cool down back to Cheri's house where she joins me for a 24 mile ride out to Fins and back - no power goals, just for extra miles and fun.

Note to Rock County: Quit being so cheap and fix your roads. Instead of chip sealing, Rock County likes to put a tar strip across the road when it cracks so for 80 miles every 10 seconds was tha-thump. I had to stop about 5 times to pick up water bottles, and the last time I couldn't find my bottle and it was half full of my gatorade...and it was my favorite bottle.

Anyway, the ride (finally) went really well...aside from almost getting hit by a car. Some chick wasn't paying attention and started to turn into her driveway and had to lock up her brakes to avoid me. It was really close.

Then it started raining and I had to bike down a wet country road covered in "mud." Me, my bike and my water bottles were filthy. Then the skies cleared and it got sunny and hot.

But my nutrition and, mainly, my hydration worked out. I felt strong the whole time and even exceeded my wattage for my last 2 sets. After the ride, I felt like I do after my long runs...okay except for the tired legs. No more feeling completely depleted. Hydration is the key.

Here's my power file from my 4th interval...can you tell when I turned around to look for my Gatorade? Even better, can you tell when I got chased by a big dog?

All total the ride was 119.5 miles and took 6 hours and 12 minutes. I drank 12 bottles of water - 288 ounces - that's 2.25 gallons. A gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs so I drank 18 lbs of water on this ride. That's crazy...and I could've had a little more toward the end. I didn't feel dehydrated but I was a little thirsty.

Luckily, I have a powertap because I also had my Garmin with me and, as usual, it turned off toward the end of the ride (not from a dead battery) and this time all of the data was gone. That thing was such a waste of money. The only thing I can count on is it failing on a long ride. So far my Forerunner has been good so I don't lose my run data, but my Garmin Edge is crap. Overpriced crap.

This morning is a long run, and the weather is looking great. Sunny skies with a high of only 78. I just dropped off some water at my parent's house so everything is good to go. Hopefully it goes well and I'll have a weekend of 2 killer workouts.

Ironman is only 27 days away.


Long Run

My legs were stiff and sore this morning from yesterday's ride, so I didn't have high expectations for my long run this morning. Surprisingly, everything went well. I held a steady pace and felt pretty good the whole time. My legs got tired around mile 12, but not so bad I had to slow down or cut my run short.

The only thing that didn't go according to plan was when I had to backtrack to find my gel flask that fell out of my pocket and I forgot to track how much extra distance I added. I guessed and guessed wrong so my run went a little long. I was almost at 18 miles when I passed my apartment so I kept running a few minutes to end with an even 18 miles. It was a good run.

The numbers:
Time: 2:35:32
Distance: 18 miles
Pace: 8:38
Ave HR: 140

I've been thinking about why I had such a bad ride yesterday, and I think part of the reason is sodium. When I met Cheri at Fireman's Park, I was covered in salty sweat. My shoulders were white and when I wiped the sweat off my forehead my hand was covered salt. I don't know if I sweat out more sodium than the average person, but I think I might lose enough to need sodium supplements during long rides. I'm going to give that a try next Saturday and see if that helps.

Lately, my long runs have been going much better than my long rides. Originally, my focus for the IM was the bike, but the past few weeks it's been changing to the run and what I need to do to have a good run. I'm caring less and less about my bike split time and more about my run split.



Today was a key workout. Mark set up the buoys in Lake Wingra so we could swim 2.4 miles, and then head out for a long ride. My original plan was to do 2 verona loops on the IM course and then meet Cheri at Fireman's Park (mile 90 for me) for another 28 miles ending back at Lake Wingra. My goal on the bike was to ride above IM intensity, shooting for a 210 watt average.

The swim went really well. The group was small so I ended up swimming alone. I finished in 1:09 so now I have an idea on what to expect at IM. I figure I should be able to repeat that or maybe finish in 1:05 since there should be a good draft that may take a few minutes off my time. We'll see.

The bike was going really well until about mile 40. My power was where I wanted it to be and I was averaging 20 mph. At mile 40, I hit a nasty pothole and heard a crack. At first I thought I broke a wheel, but they were fine. So was my frame, and my tires were still holding air. Later I discovered I broke the bottle cage holder behind my seat so my bottle cages were bouncing around and I lost a bottle. It sucks, but at least it wasn't a wheel.

I finished the first loop with an average speed of 19.7 and average power of 207 - I was shooting for 210+ so I was close to my goal. This is when everything started to fall apart. I held 200+ watts for a few more miles, but it was becoming clear I pushed too hard on the fist loop. I don't have the endurance to go that hard for that long yet, and it caught up with me. My pace slowed and my power dropped and with it my motivation went too. Plus, I lowered my handlebars a little earlier in the week to try and get a little more aero and that turned out to be a big mistake. I got the worst neck pain I've ever had cycling and I had a hard time staying in my aerobars. It was brutal. My average power on the second loop was 162 and my speed was 17.3 - a big difference from loop 1.

After loop 2, Cheri was waiting for me at Fireman's Park with some Gatorade, water and fig newtons. We sat in the shade for a bit so I could rest. I decided we should cut a few miles out of our loop since I was really hurting... in a spot of bother you could say. Having Cheri there with me helped me get remotivated, but I didn't have the strength to push hard for long and Cheri was killing me on the hills. She likes to attack hills when she knows I'm tired. It was a struggle, but we finally made it back to Lake Wingra.

Distance - 2.4 miles
Time - 1:09

Distance - 109.5 miles
Time - 5:56:12
Average Watts - 180
Average Speed - 18.5

Total for the day - 111.9 miles

I'm a little disappointed that another long ride went bad, but I got in a lot of miles and it was a good workout so it's not a total loss. And I learned a little more about my limits. I bit off more than I can chew, and I think I need to do some longer rides at IM intensity with some intervals at above IM intensity thrown in. I don't have the endurance to do 100+ miles at above IM intensity. Maybe someday.

Tomorrow is a long run, 17 miles. I originally mapped out a brutal, hilly route, but I think I'm going to scratch that and run on the Military Ridge Trail because it's flat and my legs are really tired from the ride today. Sometime you gotta be smart and play it safe.