Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Only 100 left?

Ironman Florida is coming up in only 100 days. There are some things that we plan for, and some things we just go into blind. Some events take more preparation than others and can still catch us off guard. Take the kids for example. We plan to get pregnant, buy a house big enough for kids to run around in, and get our minds ready to see a new life come into the family. But when you finally see that positive pregnancy test, it is a turning point in your mental approach to the entire situation.

We're not having another baby, that's for sure. But this is one of those turning points for me, right now. This is where the rubber meets the road. Not only is there the mental countdown of seeing the counter drop to double digit days, but my training plan is making a shift as well. This is week 22 that I've been on this training plan. I have missed my share of workouts, don't get me wrong. The plan calls the first 22 weeks Orientation or Preseason, kind of like a base plan for getting used to the workouts and the rhythm of the schedule.

Next week starts what they call the "Competitive" season, which is really a build phase for 12 weeks. Then it's a 2 week taper and time for the big race. So I've got 22 weeks down, 14 to go.

The base phase has certainly been challenging. I've gained a lot of speed, aerobic capacity, endurance capacity, and learned a lot about time management, scheduling multiple workouts, running off of the bike. I haven't lost any more weight, but I have had a lot of fun. I ran a lot of races. I got stronger. I can totally see the Ironman as an accomplishment that is within my grasp now; that wasn't the case when I started.

The build phase will bring a new level of challenges. Mentally I have to be ready to grow again. Physically I know I'm going to be challenged like never before. This is when it starts to get long. I've got to have the whole family on board. It's one thing to be working monday through friday for at least 8 hours a day. Throw in 7 hours of training on saturday and 5 hours on sunday and it's a whole new ballgame. And it is growing into 12 hour weekends. It starts getting into "Saturday Triples" doing all 3 sports on saturday, then only two sports on sunday. It's making my head spin. I bet there's going to be plenty of this:

Bigun is reading me a story and I fell asleep! I'm totally gone too. Slumped over on the couch after a hard day at work but before dinner or the evening workout. Wow, totally gone. Too funny.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Who does number 2 work for?

Well the Big Deuce is in the books, and it was one helluva great race. I finished in 1:06:29.

We got there pretty early. Kelley's dad kept the girls overnight, so that was great. The parking lot was filled with fishermen putting their boats in the water; one of them actually told me to go put some clothes on! haha, silly redneck.

Got my race packet, timing chip, and got bodymarked, and it was off for the pre-race meeting. The site was the same beach we used for the last Aquathon, and my feet still have scabs on the toes from that race. Made it down to the beach just in time for most of the pre-race meeting, then headed for the mens room. I'm really glad I got to drop a big deuce before I swam the big deuce. Yes, I just made that joke.

It was a knee deep start (for little people? wth?) so I ran until it got waist deep and did a dolphin dive to start things out. There weren't too many people out there, so it wasn't a very busy washing machine. Still, I did the water polo style swim for the first few strokes until I knew I could safely put my head in the water. I really like this technique to avoid getting kicked in the face.

I settled into my stroke, got into my breathing rhythm, and established a pace that I thought I could hold for a few miles. Nothing fast, just something I could be consistent with. If you know you need to run a marathon all at 9 minute miles, you start out at a 9 minute pace. I really tried to do the swimming equivilent of that; I think it's a nice sign of maturity.

Kelley is back on the eye candy. Goodness.

Left turn around the first buoy was kind of crowded, but not bad. Then we were on the triangle course. Go a long way to a right turn buoy, then a short stretch to another right turn buoy, then back to the first one to complete the triangle. At that point you could either turn into shore for the 1 mile swim (the Little Uno) or cover the triangle again for a 2 mile swim (the Big Deuce). I thought it was so much fun, I turned around and did it again.

This lifeguard.... finally some eye candy for the fella's!

Turns out the second time around the triangle was easier than the first! I ran into another swimmer pretty good when I first made the turn, so I decided to accelerate for a few strokes and pass her then go back to "my pace". It freaking worked!

I got way off course. Really often. The sight & turn buoys were about 350 yards apart so once you passed one of them, you had to swim a while before the next one came into view. By the second lap the other swimmers were pretty spread out. So looking up to sight, there's nobody in front of me, no sight buoy, and the closest swimmer is 20 yards closer to shore than me. At least we were swimming in the same direction, usually. That was the toughest part of the race.

Coming back in on the last lap, I came up on a few slower older guys with about 300 yards to go. I actually had the energy to accelerate again and pass them. It was pretty cool.

After making the last turn, I pushed it pretty hard to the finish line just because I could. I figured it was a swim only race, and I had no need to save the energy for the bike or the run. So I threw the arms around harder and finished more out of breath than I really needed to.

Complete exhaustion after the finish line. In case you weren't clear, this is what happiness looks like.

I hit the line at 1:06:29, which is a pace of 2:03 per 100m. I never had to break my stroke or rhythm. I never came out of my breathing pattern. That was my main goal for this race. I finished 20th out of 50 men, and 8th out of 13 men in my age group. But as long as I finished with enough strength and aerobic capacity to put another 0.4 miles in that water, then get on the bike and run a marathon, mission accomplished. This race is the only time I'll be able to put 2 miles in open water before IMFL, so it has given me a ton of confidence going into the ironman.

Checking out the water after the race. Such a great day.

I don't have a marathon coming up, but the century ride on aug 13 is the next big ironman prep test. Let's hope it will give me the same confidence.

I also have to skip the final aquathon thanks to a last minute work thing that came up at the same time. grrrrr. It's at Harris Lake state park, and I don't like that run course anyway. Oh well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Four Things Thursday

***Don't forget to vote for me to win a grant from Chocolate Milk! Search for John Flynn if you can't find me.***

1. The high temps in Raleigh NC for the next 4 days are 101, 103, 101, and then it finally breaks on sunday with a 99. WTF? Are we in Florida or the 3rd circle of Hell? Is there a difference between those two things? At 8 AM today the heat index was 90 degrees with over 90% humidity. My new mission has become not leaving the house until this heat wave breaks. I may go insane.

2. I'm selling Jenny! The famed Jamis bike that I rode to last place finishes in so many triathlons and metric century rides - it's time to finally part ways. She was ridden hard plenty of times, got me to run fast, but after a few years on Roberta the Carbon Cannondale it's time to let go. She will be missed, but I'm sure Visa will be glad to get that check. Too hot to ride outside right now anyway. The pic is from my first triathlon ever back in 2008. I love how I was wearing my running shoes on the bike and taking a Camelbak for a 15 mile ride. And I took 1:15 to finish that ride. ugh.

3. I will have to leave the house once after all. Saturday is the Big Duece, a local 2 mile open water swim. I'm looking forward to putting that much water under my belt, it's a huge step in Ironman training. I've been hitting the RAM team practices pretty hard so I think I'm ready. My goal time is 1:15, last year I put 2 miles in the pool in 1:17, so let's hope for some improvement.

4. I'm adding another oly triathlon onto the schedule - the Lake Logan International in Canton NC. It's sort of southwest of Asheville, NC, so any Greenville SC, or Asheville/Hendersonville/Charlotte NC peeps should come out and join us! Yes I mean us. Guess who talked me into doing this one? Healthy Ashley! CaitlinHTP is also going to be running as well. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to finally be meeting these girls. They both recently moved from Orlando to NC, so I knew we would meet up sooner or later. I didn't expect it to be at the same race!

The race is August 6th, so only a few weeks away. It's supposed to be a good course, so I'm hoping to PR the distance by turning in a faster bike split than I did last time. My training rides around here have all been around 3 mph faster than that split (20 mph vs 17 mph). My 10k times have been about 8 minutes faster than that race time anyway; making up time on the run can only help too. And I think not riding through a tornado might help too. So I think beating 2:52 is totally possible. Still, the coolest part is going to be having a weekend in the mountains with Kelley and meeting up with Ashley and Caitlin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fun weekend in SC

First!! Vote for me to win a grant from Chocolate Milk! Search for John if you need to. I need all the votes I can get, it's really competitive this month!

We had a special treat this weekend. We got to go down to SC and visit with my parents for a few days. There is a tea party that one of mom's friends puts on every year that is only for grandmothers and their granddaughters to get all dressed up and be cute, so it is quite an event!

Really? Big hats and gloves? and my Evil Genius actual wore them the whole time?

My mom was quite proud of her granddaughters. They were well behaved and had a really good time!
Which child looks incredibly bored in this picture? Yep.

While they were out being tea party girly girls, I had a nice bit of girl time myself. I got to squeeze in a run around my parents neighborhood. Ended up being a 10k run in only 48:26. There were TONS of hills. I try to forget how hilly SC can be, but there was no escaping it saturday morning. So I was really happy with that time.

After a quick shower, Kelley and I headed downtown for some lunch and shopping until the girls should have been back home. Ok, we stayed out until well after they should have been back home. Found a new cupcake shoppe, did some birthday shopping for my niece, the usual main street ruckus.

When we got back to the house, the girls were already un-dressed and ready to get in the pool.

Bigun enjoyed holding onto my leg while I backstroked so I could watch her. Big ego boost: She thought that my backstroke was too fast! "not so fast daddy!" is a wonderful thing to hear.

I also got to debut a new swimsuit. Pretty isn't it? Dolphin Uglies got a serious laugh out of my mom. That was the point. I also think these are appropriate for Myrtle Beach wear, but me thinks they will be left at home for swim practice. Still, I think I make them look pretty good.

EG blowing bubbles. They both had Level 1 swimming lessons last month, and this time it really paid off. Both of them just got in and started swimming around. Blowing bubbles, getting their whole heads in the water, not being scared of the water, these are all huge steps in a young swimmer's progress towards Michael Phelps-dom.

Mom watching Bigun go everywhere! They usually get scared of the deep end. This time they were all over it, and knew what to do if they got in trouble.

EG liked riding on my back like I was a horse.

That evening we had some other local family over for dinner to celebrate my birthday earlier this month.

Overall it was a fantastic trip. We're headed that way again in September. Other fun news ahead!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Random Friday Pictures

This heat wave finally broke in Raleigh. It's so nice to feel it go from 100+ degrees back down into the high 80's. Wait a minute, high 80's still sucks too. At least it feels better in the mornings.

This has been a good week of training. Lots of running, plenty of cycling, and a good hard swim workout. Yesterday I did a double brick indoors. Lunch was a 21 mile stationary bike ride followed by a 3 mile run, then after the kids went back to bed I did it again. 22 mile bike (pedaled faster) and 3 mile run (but slower than the first run. Good workout day.

And now some random pics from a birthday party last weekend for the Evil Genius's BFF.

EG and her bestie

EG actually took this picture with our camera

Bigun took this one

I think they figured out what I did......

Bigun started school this week. This pic is her on the first day of first grade. She's in a year round school program, so the school year starts now. She goes 9 weeks, then tracks out for 3 weeks, and repeats that 4 times.

Really? a funny hat and a nose ring? too cute.

I wonder if they figured out what I destroyed yet?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Second Aquathon and July's half!

One of these days I'll actually get around to posting often enough that I only post about one thing. Ironman training keeps you busy for sure, and doesn't allow timed for much else at all. Especially Angry Birds. I need more Angry Birds.

Aquathon #2 is in the books! This might have even been more fun than the first one, because it was a lot cooler than last month's temps, and we had a better running surface. For this race, the course was a 300m swim followed by a 1 mile run. And we did it three times for a total race of 900 m swimming, 3 miles running, and 5 transitions total. The transition area was on a sandy beach (this would prove to be trouble later on).

At least there was a thunderstorm rolling in. The start got delayed by about 10 minutes as we watched thunder clouds come rolling through. Kelley took the kids back to the car so they could watch from safety. We started in ankle deep water and dolphin'd our way through the first swim which was actually about 300 meters.

The first transition brought lots of sand sticking to my wet everything. I took a towel and loosely knocked the sand off of my feet threw on the running shoes with no socks because I'm hardcore like that, and took off running for a mile. I figured since it was only a one mile run I would try to knock this one out is about 6 minutes. Run out for half a mile to an aide station, turn around and run back for half a mile.

Seven and a half minutes later I came limping back into the transition area. Pulled off the shoes to find some bloody toes. Dove back in the water to swim another 500 meters. Yes, the storm winds had blown the bouys around so the swim part got longer now. It also blew the first turn bouy closer to the other shore, so the water was barely elbow deep while I was swimming. Meaning, the water was only as deep as the length from my shoulder to mid-forearm and my hands were scraping the rocky lake bottom with every stroke.

So I finished the second swim, got out of the water and back to transition (T3). Goggles off, shoes on. But this time I took more time to knock the sand off of my feet with a towel. Still no socks, then took off running.

Through the middle of most races is where your energy starts to sag. After that long strange swim this race was no different. The second mile running was by far the slowest. The constant sandpaper grating the tops of my feet did not make me want to run faster.

T4, shoes off, feet still bloody, goggles back on and let's go swim. There's sand in my goggles now, so get back in the water and wash those things off while you run the swim course. By this time I'm sure the bouys are more than 500 meters out of place. The lake is never over waist deep while standing. Strangest. Swim. Ever.

But still I persist. Getting into T5 I realize I can take the water bottle I keep in transition and use it to wash the sand off of my feet before putting them in the shoes. Genius, I know. So the third run was more comfortable than the other two, but there was still a bunch of sand in my shoes already. a bunch!

Still I felt like I was pushing the third run mile pretty hard. I could have pushed harder, feet were bleeding enough to hurt my form I'm sure, so I really think I could have pushed harder if I really wanted to. Here comes that finish line.

I had Kathy in my sights, she is on the Raleigh Area Masters swim team with me. So every lap, She would pass me in the swim and I would pass her again in the run. I should have pushed hard enough to pass her at the end, but she ended up beating me by six seconds. My final stats:

Swim 1/T1: 5:59
Run 1: 7:31
T2/Swim 2/T3: 7:45
Run 2: 8:02
T4/Swim 3/T5: 7:21
Run 3: 7:33
Total finish time: 44:07
17/33 men, 5/6 age group

Overall it seems pretty consistent. I mean I'm right in the middle of the pack, same placements as last time. It seems really strange to me that the 300 m swim 2 took longer than the first 1 mile run. But with both transitions in that time too I guess it can be explained.

I've done races where you have to eat a dozen doughnuts in the middle of the run, and where you have to crawl over rope walls and down slip-n-slides. But this was by far the most unusual race I've ever done! How awesome is that!

July's half marathon

I was all set for a nice long bike ride saturday, bottles ready to go, got the extra seat mount bottle cages secured on Roberta, and she was ready for a great ride around the lake early saturday morning. Then I found the tire puncture. Not just a hole in the tube, I had to get a whole new tire put on. Off to the bike shop, $75 and a few hours later it was well over 95 degrees outside and we were ready to ride.

Well, that's not going to happen. So I figured it would be a good time to head to the gym and hit the treadmill for the week's long run. I figured I would do the 8.0 speed to failure workout that I've been enjoying lately. That's a 7:30 pace. I held it for 11.5 miles before the legs made me slow it down a bit. And of course, after going 11.5 miles on fresh legs at that speed, I was going to wrap it down to 13.1 miles and call it july's half. I could have used some extra nutrition, maybe next month I'll be better prepared and hold the 8.0 speed for the entire 13.1.

As it was, I still finished the milage in 1:39:26 which is incredibly fast. A half marathon under 100 minutes? Breaking 1:40 is HUGE! It's a goal I've had my eyes on for a while now. It takes a rare compound of muscular strength and endurance to stay that fast for that long. I've been trying to get there in preparation for the OBX half ironman coming up in September. Breaking 6 hours in a half iron is the next big goal, and having strength for the bike and endurance for the run is the key to doing that in the half.

So this is really cool. Two things this past week that I feel really good about.

Sunday I went out for the bike ride, but my legs were kind of sore after that fast half. And I forgot the sunscreen, and it was still in the high 90's out there. So I kept it to only 20 miles on the new route. Good roads, it looks like this route is really going to work out well. I drove to the shopping center where the "city" roads turn into the "country" roads and lose all of the traffic. Didn't want to put up with it in the middle of the day. Ended up having a fun ride, even if it was hot and short.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Birthday Pics and new bike route

June's totals:

Swim: 9000 meters, 5 swims. Could have been better, had 2 swim races.
Bike: 284.9 miles, 13 rides. Boo freaking ya.
Run: 104.8 miles, 17 runs including run-offs from the bike rides. Ironman training rules! and it's killing me all at the same time.
Strength: 5 workouts! Finally some decent strength training in there.
Yoga: Twice! Score!

Some pics from Bigun's birthday party last weekend:

Ready to blow out the candles

Don't give an Evil Genius a bowling ball
this will not end well.

Bowling with friends
Hugging on daddy she's so happy about the bowling. awwwwww

You can totally see that competitive side in her face...... Wonder where she gets that from?

I found a bike route online that I really liked that is really close to the house. So I adapted it to leave from my house. It is awesome. It's a lollipop route, where you get out into some country roads and there's loops that I can add on to the main trunk of the route. So I can take it anywhere from 18 miles before work to an 80 mile + long ride. aaaaahhhh just writing about it makes me want to go for a ride right now!

The loops are 3, 8, and 20+ miles at the top of the lollipop. There's also a shopping center where the traffic-y part of the ride ends, so I could always use that as a starting or meetup point with other riders. One basic set of roads, all well paved and bike-able, infinite configurations.

Saturday I tried to ride each loop once which would have made the ride 68 miles. around 1 pm I was 56 miles in and called Kelley to come pick me up. I went through 2 bike bottles of sports drink, 70 oz of water in the camelbak, 3 e-gels and 2 s-caps and I was out of fluid and dry. Seemed like the smart call to make, it was 93 degrees outside and 90+% humidity. You could practically drink the air it was so thick. I made it back to the shopping center and called it a ride.

Tonight is the second aquathon race. Currently we are in the middle of a thunderstorm, but it should pass soon. Tomorrow is my 36th birthday. I'll be sure and post up some pics from the race and any birthday events as soon as I can. ttfn!