A Coaching Offer

Half the fun of triathlon for me is putting together my training plan.  I love reading about training - the different methods, the great coaches, the science, the studies, etc.  In fact, I enjoy that side of the sport so much I've been thinking about getting into coaching for a couple of years now. With my focus being on the Olympic distance for 2013 I'll be scaling back my training hours so I think the time is right to give it a go.

Obviously, a coach needs athletes so I'm looking for a couple of athletes to coach for 2013.  The cost is $35 per month.

What you get:

- A customized annual training plan built around your goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
- Weekly workouts
- Feedback/workout analysis
- Power file analysis (if you have a power meter)
- E-mail/phone support
- "A" Race plan - help with nutrition plan, pacing, goals, etc.
- TrainingPeaks Premium subscription

What I want from you:

- To follow the plan.

- Feedback.

Why $35 per month:

- Even as a TrainingPeaks ambassador, the coaching edition won't be free for me so I'll have some fees associated with coaching.
- I believe people take training plans/coaching more seriously if they're paying for them.

What type of athlete am I looking for:

- Someone motivated. Despite the low cost, I would like athletes who are serious about making improvements.
- Someone willing to follow the plan and provide feedback. This is a test to see if I can coach others to hit their goals, and the test is no good if athletes don't follow the plan.  

- Preferably someone training with power and/or gps, although this isn't a must. 

Are you interested?

- If so, shoot me an email at mdwolfgram146 at gmail dot com.
- Include a little about you, your racing/training history, your goals/races for 2013 and if you train with power and/or gps.
- I'll pick a few people that I think will be a good fit and we'll go from there.  To start, I only want a couple of athletes. I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

I hope I covered everything.  If you have any questions, email me. 



Planning 2013

I've been itching to do a season focused on short course racing since 2009, and with me not getting a Kona slot and  USAT recently announcing that Age Group Nationals will be in Milwaukee in 2013 and 2014,the timing is right to change directions.  So 2013 is all about Olympic distance racing with no Ironmans on the schedule.

For those unfamiliar, Olympic distance is a 1500m swim (.9 miles), 40K bike (24.8 miles) and a 10K run (6.2 miles).  For me, that means racing hard for 2-2.5 hours.  It also means I'll be able to race a lot more which I'm very excited about.  I love to race.  

I've been so focused on Ironman the past few years I didn't notice all the other options out there.  Planning 2013 began with research - Rev3, Age Group Nationals, 5150, Hy-Vee, Lifetime, Best of the U.S., etc.  Lots of big races out there to shoot for.

I haven't been this excited about a tri season since 2008.

My season isn't set in stone, but so far it looks like this:

3/30 -  Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon - Lexington, KY
4/27 -  Crazylegs Classic 8K - Madison, WI
5/5 -    Rev3 Olympic - Knoxville, TN
5/19 -  Beloit Duathlon - Beloit, WI
6/1 -    Lake Mills Sprint Triathlon - Lake Mills, WI
6/8 -    Capital View Olympic Triathlon  - Madison, WI 
6/23 -  Muskoka Olympic Triathlon (5150 Champs Qualifier) - Huntsville, ON Canada
7/6 -    Janesville Sprint Triathlon - Janesville, WI
7/14 -  Lifetime Fitness Olympic Triathlon - Minneapolis, MN
8/10 -  Age Group Nationals Olympic Triathlon- Milwaukee, WI
9/1 -    Hyvee Olympic Triathlon 5150 Championships - Des Moines, IA
10/13- Rev3 Half Ironman USAT Long Course Championships - Anderson, SC

My key races will be Age Group Nationals and the Hy-Vee race.  I'll also find a few more local races to fill my schedule and will do some of the MATTS time trials, some aquathons, 5Ks, etc.

Right now the tentative plan is to focus on Olympic distance this year switching to more of a half ironman focus next year finishing with a late-season Ironman.  I really liked the late season Ironman, but I don't see myself returning to Cozumel anytime soon so that leaves Florida, Arizona or Western Australia.  We'll see how this season goes first.  I may have so much fun I decide to stick with Olys and halfs.        




I'm A TrainingPeaks Ambassador

The official announcement came out a few weeks ago, but with Ironman Cozumel and traveling to Mexico I haven't had a chance to write about it until now.  I was selected to be a 2013 TrainingPeaks Ambassador.  

Those who know me or have been following my blog for a few years already know this is the perfect team for me.  I've been using their software, both WKO+ and TrainingPeaks.com, for several years now.  In fact, when they announced they were taking applications for 2012 and again for 2013, several friends forwarded it to me saying it was perfect for me.  I applied both years and made the cut for 2013. 

As an ambassador I'll be sure to pass on any news about new TrainingPeaks features, webinars, good blog posts, deals, etc.  I'm also planning on doing a few blog posts throughout the year showing some ways to utilize TrainingPeaks to plan your training and analyze workouts.   

If you're a TrainingPeaks user, I hope I can be a resource for you.  Don't hesitate to ask questions.  If you're not a TrainingPeaks user and would like to give it a try, contact me and I'll help you out. mdwolfgram146 at gmail dot com.

I'm looking forward to being part of a team after flying solo in 2012.



Welcome Home

Mondays view.

So the trip to Cozumel was rough and the race was rough but now I was on vacation and surely that would be easy....right?

Monday was good.  There was plenty of sunshine and I spent a good part of the day sitting in a chair on the beach.

The beach at the resort (Iberostar)

Courtney and I on the beach.

I used a lot of sunblock, but still got burned on race day...

My sunburn.  My neck is torn up from my swimskin. 

My neck from my swimskin.

Tuesday and Wednesday were rainy days.  We wanted to go snorkeling and kayaking but ended up doing a lot of reading instead.  Very disappointing...

Rainy day.

Then came Thursday.  The sun returned and it was a nice day, or so I'm told.  I was in the hotel room with food poisoning.

Food poisoning has to be the worst form of illness.  I must have vomited 50 times.  It was unreal.  I spent about 6 straight hours in the bathroom.  You do learn a few things when you have food poisoning though...

1. Chocolate ice cream tastes the same going down as it does coming up.
2. There are times in life when death is very appealing.
3. You know your vacation has gone to hell when you find yourself with your face buried in a toilet begging for diarrhea. 

"I need a favor."
"I need you to kill me."
"I'm not going to kill you."
"Yes.  I'm ready."

Despite my requests, Courtney decided to spend the day on the beach instead of bludgeoning me to death.

After about 3 hours in the bathroom vomiting I found myself begging the gods of food poisoning for diarrhea.  Pleaaaaaase....let's change gears and empty the bottom half of my system.  That has to be better than this. 

But the gods of food poisoning misunderstood my request.  "Oh...you want diarrhea too?  Done."  

Not in addition.  Instead.  

Now I found myself in the bathroom taking inventory of my resources.  I have a toilet, an ice bucket, a waste basket and a shower.  I can make this work.

Six hours after it started, I vomited up a little bit of blood and thought that had to be the end.  There isn't anything left.

And that was it.  It was 3 pm and I crawled into bed and fell asleep.  If I stayed still, I was comfortable.  If I moved, I got goosebumps and started shivering.  Still better than my 6 hours in the bathroom.  I stayed in bed until Friday morning when I felt good enough to eat a very small breakfast.  Then we had to check out and head to the airport.

Our flight left early.  It's the first flight I've ever been on that left early.  

Message received, Mexico.  You don't want me.

We made it home at 11 pm to a pile of cat puke on the bed.  Welcome home.  

The culprit....Calvin.


Race Report: Ironman Cozumel

Ohhhhh......where to begin?

If you followed my progress online, you probably know this wasn't the race I was hoping for.  Honestly, I'm not that disappointed.  It is what it is.  I wanted a better race, but went in with the attitude that this just another part of the adventure that is triathlon racing.  Adventures don't always mean PRs, and not qualifying for Kona means lots of possibilities for next year...more on that in a future post.

The adventure began Friday morning.  We were flying in last minute planning to stay a few days after the race to vacation.  We were to arrive in Cozumel at 1:30pm and had to make it only a few miles to the convention center downtown to pick up my packet by 6pm.  No packet pick up on Saturday.

I figured Black Friday would be an easy day to fly and it appeared that way at first.  We went from the car through check in, security and to our gate in 15 minutes.  Easy peasy.  We boarded the plane and then....nothing..

We just sat there and then they shut down the plane.  Then they told us they were having mechanical problems and we had to de-plane.  

We went to the counter to find out our options and were told our connecting flight in Dallas was our only hope of making it to Cozumel today. The problem with flying on Black Friday is that there aren't many flights so if they need to rebook you, there are very few options.

Being a holiday, the maintenance man was on call so they had to call him in....and he's old, real old, and lost his sense of urgency about 100 years ago.  Talk about frustrating.  We eventually made it to Dallas on time, but it sure was stressful.  We made it to Cozumel and everything went pretty smooth from there.

The Day Before:

Testing out the new swimskin at the practice swim on Saturday.

I went to the practice swim the day before and the water was very, very rough.  They had most of the course closed and would only let us swim by the pier.  I went out for a short swim and had fun, but could feel myself getting seasick from the swells (I get seasick....can you see where this is headed?).  

Later in the day was bike dropoff.  The transition area is weird.  Bikes everywhere and I had a transition spot that was almost as far from the bike exit as you could get.

The transition area is very spread out.

My bike in T1.  Ready to roll.

Race Day:

The Swim:  1:20

It was windy and the water was really rough.  I got in the water pretty early so I could get a spot toward the front.  The current was pushing us back and we had to swim breast stroke the whole time to keep from getting pushed back to the pier.  The swim start was really weird.  It was confusing and there was a false start.  They kept trying to push us back and eventually someone on a jetski started flying back and forth in front to keep us back, which was a little crazy.  I thought someone was going to get killed. 

Athletes on the pier about to get in the water.

There was a lot of contact at first, like always, but things thinned out pretty quickly due to the rough conditions.  I felt like I was swimming well and toward the front of the field.  My swimskin was chafing the right side of my neck and the salt was beginning to burn.  We rounded the corner buoys and headed the other direction. The current was giving us a push, but it was also pushing us toward shore.  It was rough, but I felt like I was off to a good start. 

About halfway, I was beginning to feel sick.  It was the swells getting to me, and I had swallowed some salt water (apparently the water down there has a very high salt content).  Once we turned the corner again and were back against the current, I felt horrible.  My mouth was watering telling me I was probably not going to make it to shore before vomiting.  I felt weak and tired.  Progress was slow.  I wanted out. I was beginning to wonder if I could make it to shore.  I looked up a few times and couldn't see the pier or any volunteers.  Where were they?  I was beginning to feel a little panicky.  I was weak and sick and there were no kayaks or paddle boards anywhere close.  I told myself to calm down and that I was a strong enough swimmer to make it to shore despite how I was feeling.   This was no longer about PRs or Kona or even racing.  I was in survival mode (it's funny how feeling sick makes you feel like you're going to die). 

I eventually saw a paddle board and motioned for him to come over.  As soon as he got there I vomited.  Then again.  And again.

"Do you speak English?"  he asked.
"Si."  (I'm a moron)

I hung on the board for a while and wondered if there was an easy way back to shore.  "Don't worry.  You have plenty of time.  You can finish."  

Finish?  I don't care about finishing.  I want out of the water...NOW.  

"The end is right there."  He pointed to the pier.  It was a lot closer than I thought.  I figured I could finish off the swim, find Courtney and tell her I'm sick and can't continue and then we'll head back to the hotel and get cleaned up and watch the rest of the race.  

Instead I grabbed my T1 bag and put on my helmet and race belt.  I grabbed my bike and started heading out of T2.  I finally saw Courtney and told her I was sick and not sure I could finish.  She said I was as white as a ghost.  We decided I would do one loop of the bike to see the course and then I'd call it a day. 

Me spotting Courtney in T1.

The Bike:  5:58

I went out easier than I had trained for.  Even though the plan was to do one loop, I immediately started following my nutrition plan hoping I would be able to complete the bike.  My only hope, I figured, would be to follow my plan.  Not following the plan was a guarantee I wouldn't finish.  I vomited a couple more times on the bike, but otherwise was able to hold down my nutrition and water and was beginning to feel better.  I was riding 'easy' but making good time and passing a lot of people.  One lap turned into two.

Heading out for another loop of the bike.
 At the halfway point, my average speed was 22.6 mph.  I was feeling okay, not great, but good enough that I was starting to think about the marathon.  I was wishing I'd had a better swim and could ride to the power I had trained for, but this was looking like it still might be a decent day.  

Then I got a flat.  Perfect.  I fixed it and got another one right away so that one is probably my fault.  As soon as my tire went flat again I realized I didn't do a good job checking my tire for sharp objects and that there was probably something in my tire.  I only had one tube so I couldn't fix my tire.  I was on the edge of town so I didn't have too far to walk back to T2, but I stalled hoping a support car would come by with a tube for me.  Nope.  Nothing.

I was far enough from T2 that I didn't want to walk in my bike shoes, but the blacktop was really hot and I wasn't wearing socks.  I began to wonder what it would take to convince a spectator to give me their socks for my walk back to transition.  Just then someone asked if I wanted his tube and CO2.  He said he didn't make the swim cutoff.  Sure.

So that got me back on my way.  There was no salvaging my time anymore so I rode easy and enjoyed the scenery.  The beaches and water on the South side of the island, where the winds are, were amazing.  I figured that's where the really good diving must be.  

About halfway through loop 3 I saw two riders down, one laying in the middle of the road with his bike on top of him and the other laying on the side of the road.  I decided to stop and help.

I directed traffic away from them and pulled his bike off him.  "Are you okay?" I asked.  

"No, I separated my shoulder."
"Me too." The woman on the side of the road yelled.  It sounded like they were competing on injuries.  I expected him to one-up her by claiming his leg was broken too.  Would she yell "mine too" if he did? 

Not long after I stopped, help arrived. I tried to explain that I didn't see what happened and that I only stopped to help.  The guy who showed up didn't speak English and after a little time explaining I didn't see anything I began to wonder if I was convincing him I didn't have eyes.  Something was definitely getting lost in translation.  He looked very confused and was pointing at his eyes.  "No?"  "No.  I'm going to go now."

I figured the rest of the loop was sure to be uneventful, but I got another flat with 5 miles left.  Seriously?  (I saw a lot of flat tires out there).  I immediately began walking to T2.  I didn't make it far when someone stopped and offered me a tube and CO2.  He told me he was way too under-trained to finish the race but would feel bad if he quit so he was planning on missing the bike cutoff.  I got my tire fixed and soft pedaled my way to T2.  

Again I found Courtney and explained why loop 3 took so long.  My stomach felt better than this morning, but was still bothering me a little.  I was afraid running was a sure way to GI problems. Like the bike, we decided one loop of the run course to see the course made sense.  

T2.  What can I say?  It's not my day.
 The Run:  3:26.

I started the run easy, just taking in the sights and sounds.  The crowd support on the bike is pretty minimal, but not on the run course.  The crowd was big and loud.  By mile 2 my stomach didn't feel any better, but not any worse either.  Then I asked myself, "Do I really want to be the guy who quits just because things aren't going my way, because things got difficult?"


I checked my watch. I was running an 8:35 pace.  I took a salt pill and grabbed some Pepsi and stepped up the pace.

As I came back into town at the end of loop one the crowd was huge.  There was a marching band and the crowd had taken over the street giving us a narrow path to run through.  The band was loud and the crowd was giving high fives and yelling "vamos!"  (Go).  At the end of the loop I saw Courtney on the side of the road.  

"I can't quit." I yelled and turned for loop 2.  There's no quitting in Ironman.

They hand out bags of water, which were great.  I wish they'd do that in the US.  They're 8 ounces and you bite off the end and squeeze the water in your mouth.  It's a lot easier than cups. Sometimes the bags get dropped and someone steps on them and they break open and spray someone directly in the face.  I giggled like a schoolgirl every time that happened.  It wasn't them getting sprayed so much as the startled/confused look on their face when it happened.  Priceless.

The bags of water they hand out on the run.  250 ML.
I enjoyed the run.  The crowd support was great and my stomach was holding up despite all the Pepsi I drank.

I set a PR on the run and felt like I could have run faster if I'd had to.  Not much, but a few minutes, so that was encouraging.  I crossed the finish line in 11:02...in the dark.  It was well off the pace I had trained for and no where near a Kona slot, but that's okay.  Despite the challenges, I didn't quit and I'm proud of that.  

It's all part of the adventure that is triathlon racing.

The run course as the sun was setting.

The finish line.