Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…..Albert Einstein
Biking has always been my weak link in triathlon, whether it’s the sprint distance or the Ironman distance. I somehow just thought that if I kept at it, I would get better. You know…if you just keep putting in miles, you’ll eventually get better. THIS IS A SIMPLY NOT TRUE!
As you can see below, over 4 different Ironman races, my bike splits are all within ~15minutes of each other. When I look back over the hundreds, if not thousands of hours I have spent on the bike, I see a 15 minute variation as solely attributable to the different race conditions. So, really no improvement here at all.
At the end of Mont-Tremblant last year, I had to reflect on the past training to determine what the problem was. It’s really not that complicated. If I train day in and day out at 18 miles per hour, and even throw in a 6 hour ride on the weekends, I am never going to race at 20mph. I would say that the bulk of my training(like 95%) has been in HR Zone 2(135-145bpm).
There’s so much discussion out there about how to race an Ironman course. In short, you try to flatten out every hill by choosing easier gears, so you don’t expend too much energy, and just focus on steady heart rate. But, this does not mean you should train the way you race. If I never let my heart rate get above 145 in training, I’m not going to magically be able to race at a higher heart rate or produce more power.
The Good News: This can be fixed.
The Bad News: It’s going to hurt.
My New Approach
My only real focus this year is to increase my FTP as much as possible before Ironman CDA.
The FTP test is basically the maximum average power you can output for 30 min. For all intents, my first real FTP test was on 9/16/2012 where I held 211w for the 30 minute test. The plan is to test every 4-6 weeks. So, I use my current FTP(258w) as the basis to establish the different training zones each 4-6 weeks. You have to keep pushing the bar with the FTP tests to force yourself to improve. It’s really as simple as that.
When you continually push the bar, you never get comfortable with a workout. The FTP test is always mind numbingly painful, because it is always your max effort for 30min. If you’re not on the verge of physically and mentally snapping in the last 3 minutes, you’re really not reaching your FTP. I’ve found the same to be true with following workouts. Time spent at FTP or at low Z4 for example, is always based off of my most recent FTP test. So the net result is a challenging forced improvement plan.
Workouts I am doing to get stronger:
Hill repeats(intervals) for 1.5-2hrs.
If inside on the trainer, my “hill” is a low Z4 wattage with cadence around 70-75rpms.
I do these pretty hard when outside, since the longest accessible hill that I have is 3/4 of mile in length(so I do Z5 range outside), about 3 minutes.
Sweet Spot workout(1.5-2.0 hrs w/ cool down).
15 minute warm up
5 min at FTP wattage(currently 258w for example).
3 x 20 minutes at low Z4 (5-10 minute recovery between)
Recovery spin day
Long ride – With some harder intensities thrown in. I Usually go hard(mid/high zone 3) for the last 30-60 minutes.
I am also trying to add 2-3 strength training sessions per week at the gym. Although lately, I must confess, this is the first thing to get scrapped when I have time constraints. When I do have time, I try to get in a quick 30 min strength workout during the day. The weights seem to really help keep me feeling strong throughout my core and my joints. If I don’t lift, all of the focus on aerobic work starts to make my joints weak…..ankles, hips, shoulders, etc…
These workouts have definitely added a new “Pain and Suffering” element to my life, in the form of intensity. In the past, I would kind of fear the long ride on the weekend, but now it’s the Sweet Spot workout that gets me. If you’re doing it right, these workouts really add that “I am about to crack” element, where you’re not 100% certain that you can hold the intensity. But then…you DO hold it. And you get stronger mentally and physically as a result.
It’s been a while since I’ve put anything up on the site, mainly because things have been really busy at work. But it hasn’t been all work and no play. In fact I’ve been playing quite a bit with the camera over the holidays, while down at the coast on multiple weekends. I started out just taking lots and lots of pictures. Next, I wanted to take pictures of the moon. Then I decided to take pictures of the stars and the moon, which starts to make things much more complicated. This got me thinking about time-lapse photography. So my thought was, why don’t I try a time-lapse with the sun, moon, and stars, and then go from there. My first several attempts were total failures. Eventually, things came into focus as I got some decent shots.
Here is what I came up with.
In the end, I ran out of time. But the ideas for time-lapse are endless. I am looking forward to taking some more shots that hopefully will turn out better.
Sunday morning I woke up 10 minutes before the alarm clock at 4:50 a.m. to a huge crash of thunder. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought, as the start time was in 2 hours. I had already signed up for the full 26.2 and I was thinking the last thing I wanted to do was spend 3.5 hours running in the cold rain. I knew I had to run either way or Ann would definitely give me a hard time after she ran about 16 of 26 miles in the cold rain recently in Mont-Tremblant. Suck it up buttercup, I thought…So I got out of bed anyway and looked outside and noticed it wasn’t even raining. Sweet!!! It’s on! Weird how your outlook can change in an instant.
I drove a over to NC State a short 4 miles away and had plenty of time to relax before the start. I haven’t run an open 26.2 since 2009, so I was a little unsure of how this was all going to pan out. At the end of an Ironman I’m usually battling muscle fatigue in my legs. Running a marathon open is a bit different, as the pace is a bit faster without the fatigue. But then it still hurts just the same from miles 18 on until 26.2 when the poo hits the fan.
So, I had several goals
Finish (no matter what)
Finish in under 3:56:00 (most recent run split during an ironman)
Finish in under 3:42:00 (reasonable to think I can run a bit faster without biking prior).
Negative split the marathon (Just because).
I decided to take a different approach, and split the course up into 4 x 6.55 mile sections. Mentally this allows me to focus on my average pace better and help my pace to not drift slower as the miles wear on. Every time I hit 6.55 miles, I hit lap/reset on my Garmin, so that my average pacing would start over. Overall, I wanted to pace somewhere in the 8:20’s per mile, but if I ran better during the first 6.55 miles, I didn’t want to let myself off the hook by running a slower 2nd or 3rd 6.55 section. My second split included a brief port-o-john stop for a minutes or so. It took me nearly 13 miles to find a port-o-john not already in use.
My pacing plan worked like a charm, and the volunteers at the aid stations were great. Every two-ish miles there was a fully loaded aid station with everything you need during a marathon. Some were still wearing their Halloween costumes from earlier in the week. Randy was even manning a beer table out in the middle of the woods on the greenway. I don’t believe this was an official aid station, though at mile 20, hey whatever works.
I actually felt pretty good after working through miles 16-19. I don’t know why, but those are always the hardest, and then I get my second wind for the final 6+ miles. My final 3 miles, I was able to average just under 7:30 pace, so I feel like I may have been too conservative, and could have gone faster. Oh well, the only way to know for sure is to run more marathons, more often. Either way, I am really happy I was able to do the City of Oaks this year to stay in shape over the Fall.
For those interested, I used Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Program as template for my training(Free). I used the Novice 2 program, simply because it gives you 2 rest days and 1 Cross-train day each week. Coming off an Ironman in August I already had a really good fitness base. So, after resting for about 2 weeks, I jumped into week 9 on the plan. I really only wanted to run a couple times a week so I could still focus on biking. By doing a harder “tempo Pace” run on Wednesdays and a long run on Saturdays, I could fill in all the other days with some hard bike days doing intervals, hill repeats, and recovery spins, all while building aerobic capacity. I could have used the more advanced templates, but it really just adds more running days per week and doing more running intervals and speed work. So it just depends on what your big picture goal is.
Friday was the last day the pool was open at Lifetime Fitness.
On a recent Friday, I went to the pool to get in some nice easy, once a week swimming. I swim once a week in the off-season to keep my stroke familiar. It’s not really a workout, but rather a nice 30 minute swim on a Friday afternoon. It’s a great to start the weekend. The temps outside were starting to get chilly in the evening, so I figured this would be the last week that the outdoor pool would remain open. I’m always amazed at how few people swim in October when the weather is perfect, and how many people swim in July/August when the water temps reach ridiculous levels.
Oh well, Saturday I noticed the lane ropes were gone and the pool was officially closed. Til next time!
Saturday morning I got up and the crack o’ dawn to take the cross bike out for an easy spin. My plan was to do a little reconnaissance for the City of Oaks Marathon in 2 weeks. So if you’re on the fence and want to take a look at the course, here it is for downloading. One thing I thought was odd, was that on the website it says “The City of Oaks Marathon is now FLATTER and FASTER!” I’m guessing that they mean the course is flatter and faster than when it went through Umstead Park. But I definitely would not characterize the course as flat. There are some hills outbound and on the return path on the greenway where there’s going to be lots “O” walking(looking at you hill up to Meredith College”. Nothing too long. I like the course, and I like the hills to change things up.
I haven’t signed up(yet), but I’m seriously thinking about it. I’m trying real hard to stay in shape over the fall/winter so that when things ramp up in the Spring, I can just keep building instead of starting back over at square one. Plus, I need another long sleeve t-shirt, and I like the ones I’ve seen.
On the flipside, running marathons hurt. I’m not sure if it is worth the risk or if I should continue training through it and maybe just do the half-marathon. I’m really concentrating on becoming a stronger cyclist this year so I’m not sure if recovering for 4 days after a marathon is the best use of time. On the flipside of that flipside, City of Oaks Marathon is literally 5 minutes from my home, so it’s really hard to pass up…And I haven’t done a standalone marathon since 2009.
So with this back and forth in mind, for the last 6 weeks I’ve been pseudo-training for a marathon, and doing a lot of hard interval and hill work on the bike. To keep in running shape, this basically means (for the most part) sticking to a long run on the weekend and then doing a 5-8 mile run on Wednesdays(sometimes hard, sometimes nice and easy). The other days of the week have been recovery spins(Monday) and interval and hill repeats(Tues/Thurs) on the bike. These typically are in the 1.5-2.0 hour range. So aerobically, I’m good to go, just not sure about all of the pounding on the concrete.
Since we were out of town last week at the Antique, I didn’t do much in terms of running for about 7 days. So today(Sunday) I was playing catch up a bit and had a 20 mile run at Umstead Park. The plan was to hold 9 min pace for the entire 20 miles, finishing in about 3 hours. I ended up finishing up in 3 hours, and 2 minutes without any issues, so about as well as could be expected.
I wish I could see all of the things my camera can see at night.
This past week, Ann and I went to the old family farm to do lots and lots of manual labor, but hopefully also relax and enjoy the October weather as well. The Antique was originally built in 1746, and was due for some TLC. The first couple of days were spent getting rid of a bunch of stuff that we didn’t need anymore, that somebody else could use.
The rain during the first half of the week was terrible and made for a miserable experience of loading/unloading stuff. The weather was so bad that we were forced to stay inside and organize stuff. Ever since we’ve been taking care of the place, we’ve realized a couple of things.
1. We may actually be the first folks to even attempt to organize and/or purge junk from the house.
2. It seems that in the recent past(75 years), folks would buy items at a hardware store, and then forget where they put it.
Five-ten years later, the same item would be purchased again, not knowing the item was already buried somewhere in a cabinet or shed. I can’t tell you how many gas cans, rope, nails, screws, nuts, and bolts that we have found. So we decided to stop the madness and came up with a plan that I’m convinced is the most economical way to organize all the stuff. Zip-Lock containers are perfect for this sort of thing. They come in all sizes, and they’re transparent. So no more paper bags of nails, or boxes of crap that you can’t find. When I’m looking for something (like a roofing nail),knowing where something isn’t is just as important as knowing where it is. With the Zip-Lock containers, everything is very visible and easy to find. Take that Ikea!
Next, it was on to more manual labor. Almost 2 years ago, we painted the metal roof with Fibered Aluminum paint, as it was in rough shape and badly needed. The hope was that we wouldn’t have to paint again for another 10-15 years. Unfortunately, over the past year we’ve been noticing large areas where the paint had been chipping off again. Sad manual laborer.
I’m still not completely sure why this is the case as we cleaned and scrubbed/scraped the entire roof clean. The bad areas are on different sides of the roof, different angles, heights, etc. It’s possible that we had a bad can of paint(the first time) or that the metal roof is more distressed in some areas. Needless to say painting a metal roof up high is no picnic, so this time around we decided to rent a 50 foot Genie hydraulic lift to speed things up and hopefully be much safer. Into the basket I went with paint roller in hand, while Ann worked her magic on the controls from the ground. For some reason, I really enjoy working on the Antique even though I’m totally worn out in the end. It just feels good to take care of something that has been around for so long.
Eventually, we finished painting the roof on a spectacular evening for viewing stars. I’m starting to get the hang of nighttime photography, and I think I’m hooked. I even saw a nice bright shooting star but wasn’t in place to catch a picture of it. I’m just amazed at how many stars can be seen on a nice clear night in October.
Once all of the work was done, it was time to play. We spent the day fishing, goofing off, and cooking out. I’m pretty sure Ann was fishing here. Though, as hard as she had been working, it’s entirely possible she was on the dock catching a couple of Zzz’s. I can’t make too much fun. I definitely won the award for casting the most amount of line over the shortest distance. Quit frequently, I would cast the line about 40 feet straight up in the air only to have it land 5-10 feet away. I’ll have to come back soon and practice. Happy manual laborer.
Ironman race day is always an amazing experience. People from all over the world converge on a single location for 140.6 miles of racing. All walks of life, dozens of languages, men, women, young, and old. It’s not about all the hours of training that everyone has in common. It’s the respect that no matter what road is taken, they all end at the same finish line. You must have the unwavering support of your family and friends or surely there would not be the thousands of people cheering you on for nearly 17 hours. You must have incredibly dedicated volunteers to pull off an event of this duration; else why bother?. You must have the blessing of the local community, as the event would never even leave the ground. Think of the thousands of man hours it takes to plan a 140.6 mile race course of 3 disciplines. You have all of this coming together for a 7a.m. start on a single day. Your family and friends are nervous and wishing you the best of luck. The volunteers are nervous because once the race starts, it will not stop for many many hours. The local community is nervous because they want to show the rest of world who’s got the best Ironman event. Ironman(WTC) is nervous, because their reputation is on the line for putting on world-class events. The athletes are nervous at the thought of what is to come.
As a participant, I could never thank everyone involved enough for this gift call triathlon. What I can do is show my appreciation by taking nothing for granted, and racing as hard as I possibly can.
LET’S GET IT ON!!!
Swim: Stay Calm
When I put together my Race Plan a few days before the race, I basically alluded to the fact that I wanted to start on the far outside of the field; basically as far away to the left of the race field as possible. I would rather swim a tad longer, than swim with 2200+ athletes on top of me. As Ann and I arrived at the swim start, it was apparent to me that this was going to be a problem. There was a large flotilla of probably 25+ boats anchored right where I wanted to be. Not good. Change of plans.
It’s generally a good rule of thumb in an Ironman to do the exact opposite of everyone else. So Ann and I got on the front row and squared right up to the 1st buoy on the far right(Basically inside pole position 1 on a clockwise loop course). I gave her a quick hug and a kiss I love you. I didn’t even hear the canon go off. I just heard/saw/felt a Canadian fighter aircraft streaking across the sky to signal the start. As my ribcage was still rattling from the fly-by, the race was on. I sprinted out and slightly to the right into the water until just over knee deep and kept swimming like my life depended on it. The swim seemed like an eternity, but it worked! I swam the entire way in clear water. Breathing every 3rd stroke was surreal. Every time I would breath to the left, I would see 2200 athletes. Three strokes later, I would breathe to the right and see nobody but the water safety kayakers. Since it was a single lap course, by the time I made it to the 1st turn buoy(~28min), there was little congestion. Ninety degree turn and 2 min later, I’m at turn buoy #2. Then 28 minutes back to the swim finish. It seemed like forever, but it was over in an instant. I can’t believe that just happened.
Swim time was 1:00:45…Goal 59min – 1:05:00. So close to going under 1 hour!
T1 was longish. I would say it was a good 600yds to the changing tent. The amazing crowds along the way more than made up for the longish transition. It was about 5 people deep on both sides of the barricades the entire way to the changing tent. Really great crowds. So 6:34 later, I was on my bike and ready to take on 112 miles.
Bike: Be Patient, Don’t Be Greedy
This course was fun! Yes, the rumors are true. About 99% of the course was on freshly paved asphalt, or already perfectly smooth asphalt. This is a 2 loop course and can be broken down into 4 sections.
Montee Ryan – The main road that heads south from the Tremblant resort. Just ups and downs, and very few flat sections. The hills are not too steep, so I just stuck to my plan and kept spinning easy up all the hills at a manageable heart rate and opened up the gears on the downhill’s to maintain the same effort. There were also 3-4 roundabouts in this section to zip through, which was fun.
Hwy 117 – This is the brand new section of paved highway. This is the section where you can’t be greedy, especially on the first lap. Somewhere in this section I saw Ann on her bike. My heart leapt! If you’ve ever seen an Ironman swim, you really appreciate seeing your loved ones safely(relative term)on the bike. There’s a fairly long climb; probably about 1 mile long(6-8%). Since it’s a major highway(but closed to vehicle traffic on one side), the road is straight and the views are wide open. So it’s easy to just want to push through it. Since I was only about 15-20 miles in at this point, I just kept spinning. Coming down that same hill on the first loop was awesome and nerve-wracking at the same time. I topped out at almost 50mph while still in the aero-bars. Then the wind would gust pushing me over to one side and back. I’m not going to lie, cheeks were clenched. The second lap was even windier.
St.Jovite – Once I was back from Hwy 117, I headed toward the quick out-and back section through the town of Saint-Jovite. I loved this part. The main street through town was lined with spectators as I sped through. Lots of people cheering as they hung outside at the restaurants, bars, cafes, etc. Incredible support from the locals.
Chemin-Duplessis – Next it was time for the most anticipated part of the course. This is the backside of the course that heads up to Lake Superieur. There was lots of talk about 12% climbs and such. Well….to be sure, 12% is plenty steep, but the climbs are not that long or constant. It was more like death by a thousand cuts. So it was 6-8 miles of steep short climbs with equally steep short recovery descents. I tried my best to push the descents as hard as possible to give me momentum through the next climb. This was the most scenic part of the course for me. I loved the smooth winding mountain roads, sloping descents, and the occasional river view on the way back into Tremblant.
Woohoo 56 miles, Rinse and repeat for lap # 2. This entire time I just stuck to my nutrition plan, taking in calories and fluid about every 10 minutes. I never saw Ann on the second lap. I wasn’t worried. With 2200 athletes, she’s hard to spot sometimes.
Bike time was 5:57:05…Goal 6 hours, or anything +/- 15 minutes
T2 was 2:22. I don’t even remember this part, though somehow I changed into a pair of running shoes and socks. Next thing I know, I am running down the streets of Tremblant.
Run: You Have To Take It
They always say to be patient in an Ironman and just let the day unfold and come to you. I think that is true, but only on the swim and the bike. On the run, it’s just different. Things won’t just come to you. You have to make them happen or they’ll slip away. My stretch goal for this race was to break 11:00:00(Personal Best was11:17:47). Coming off of T2, I was looking down at my watch at about 7:06:xx hours. I’ve never run faster than a 4:15:00 marathon to finish off an Ironman. Today I would need to run a 3:55:00. On this course this is going to hurt…really bad. I had to block out everything and everyone for the duration of the marathon. I focused on three things; cadence, heart rate, and pace. I knew that I would have to hold 8:58/mile pace to run a 3:55:xx. The reason I say “You have to take it” is because it is very unlikely to start off easy on the marathon and negative split the second half(go faster the 2nd 13.1 miles). It’s also very unlikely knowing you need to run 8:58 pace for 26.2 miles, that you can just maintain that same pace from start to finish. EVERYONE falls off towards the end. So, “You have to take it.” So I broke it down into 4 x 6.5 mile chunks and started running as fast as was comfortable trying to knock off as many quick miles as possible before my pace would inevitably falter. So, I ran my first 6.55 miles at 8:30pace/143bpm, and a cadence of 89…perfect! Big confidence boost. Then my heart leapt again. I saw Ann on the run. She had made it off the bike under some significant winds on the 2nd lap. I was so happy, and I knew she would finish. She’s so tough. The next 6.55 miles started to hurt pretty bad (8:57pace/145 bpm, and a cadence of 88). I still have a chance at this thing, I thought. The 3rd 6.55 miles(miles 13.1 – 19.65), things got really dark for me. All the 100+ miles of hills were catching up with me now in a big way. The pain is so traumatic during the marathon segment that I think I actually block it out after the race ends(This is the only rational reason I can come up with that I am doing this for the 4th time). I started to get really nauseous around mile 16 and my numbers started to slide. I had to walk several aid stations to get some chicken broth(warmth, and salt), and coke(sugar and caffeine). I even took a Tums to calm things down. The 3rd 6.55 miles was at 9:50pace/137bpm, and a cadence of 84)….not good. At this point through 19.65 miles, my overall pace was back up to 9:06/mile. So I knew I would need to run under 8:40/mile pace for the last 6.55 miles to have a chance of still breaking 11:00:00. I pushed on hard, but knew deep down I just didn’t have that kind of speed in me today and would not be the day to go under 11:00:00. But it’s still a good day for a PR, so I pushed on with everything I had for the last 6.55 miles. The crowds during this last stretch were amazing, breathing knew life into my bruised, tired, bonking everything. The sounds were deafening, running through the pedestrian village of Mont-Tremblant. I could reach out to spectators on both sides and catch every hand and fist bump. It was very moving and even better than crossing the actual finish line.
Run time was 3:56:50…Goal 4 hours or under.
Total Finish time was 11:03:36. I could not have been happier. It’s very strange. I wanted to break 11hrs, but it’s really just an arbitrary number that is 3 minutes different from what I actually accomplished(and still a PR by 14 minutes). It’s both an eternity, and a ridiculously small moment in time. You really can’t worry about time too much. All you can do is race as best you can with no regrets and leave nothing in the tank at the end. This is Ironman.
I am hoping to get Ann to write a post as she had a CRAZY Ironman experience. She fought through EVERYTHING Ironman can throw at you and came through to the finish. I am so proud of her.
Making it to the starting line is a gift. We are so close I can hardly stand it. The bikes are on a truck headed for the mountains of Canada. We’ve packed enough salt tablets to seriously help out with the winter driving conditions in a couple of months. I hope they don’t get confiscated by the Mounties at the border.
I am truly grateful because I can say “We are racing”. That’s right, Ann and I will both be racing on Sunday. I will definitely be looking over my shoulder as Ann has improved dramatically on the bike in the last several months. On a recent 100 mile training ride, we were only about 30-40 seconds apart(crazy, after 5+ hours of biking).
The race is this Sunday 8/19 at 7a.m. Eastern. We’ll hopefully finish anywhere between 6pm-10pm. We will be joined by athletes from over 50 countries. If you would like to see how we are doing, you can go to the following:
Ironmanlive.com (click “Ironman Mont-Tremblant” link or "Live Race Coverage")
You can either choose "Live Coverage" or "Track" an athlete(If you just want to check in and see how we’re doing) .
For those that don’t know what an Ironman is, here is the short version:
Swim 2.4 miles(about 60-90 minutes of swimming hard)
Bike 112 miles(6-7 hours of biking hard – no drafting)
Run 26.2 miles(A full marathon, this can take anywhere from 3-5 hours depending out how hard you ride the 112 miles)
The vast majority of the participants fall somewhere in the 10:00 – 14:00 hour time. The cut-off is 17:00 hours(midnight).
It’s a race, so the goal is 1-to finish, and 2-to finish as fast as you can. The trick always seems to come down to nutrition. You just can’t are unlikely to go 140.6 miles without food. So, you have to eat a lot on the way. The faster you race, the higher your heart rate is likely going to be(to keep the blood pumping to your arms, legs, brain, etc). But…the higher your heart rate is, the less your body can digest(all the blood is in the arm and legs, and not in your gut). So that’s why you’ll see participants eating easily digestible Gels, Gu’s, instead of delicious things like pizza and cheeseburgers(though I’ve seen this too). Too few calories and you’ll be on the side of the road totally bonked with 20(or more) miles until the finish. Too many calories and you’re still on the side of the road puking like you can’t possibly imagine. I’ve done both and don’t recommend it. It’s a very fine line, but it is very doable. Getting the nutrition right is the sweetest thing. You’re dialed in and feel like you can just go forever. It only hurts if you stop moving.
Thanks for Reading and thanks for all the good luck wishes from everyone!
The following is my race plan as best as I can determine at the moment.
Saturday: Check in bike, bags, etc. Dinner – 3p.m.-4p.m Feet up and relaxing by 5p.m Bed – 8p.m.
Race Day: Wake: 4a.m. Breakfast – Bagel w/ peanut butter, Cup of coffee. Sip electrolyte drink mix until race start. 1 Gel and a couple of Endurolytes before the swim.
On the bike: 3 Things only(Water, EFS Liquid Shots, & Endurolytes)
– 1 Water bottle(22oz) per hour. – 1 flask(5oz) of EFS Liquid Shots gives 100g of Carb per hour (400 Cals) – Each flask provides 400mg of Sodium, 600mg Chloride, 290mg Potassium, 1000mg of Amino’s. – 3 Endurolyte capsules per hour provides 120mg Sodium, 180mg Chloride, 75mg of Potassium & Magnesium(just in case).
I’ll consume 6 flasks on the bike(3 with me, and pick up 3 more at the bike special needs spot). I go through just slightly less than 1 flask per hour(so around 75g of Carb, or 300-350 Cals). I’ll likely only go through 5 entire flasks of EFS, and then grab a Perform drink, banana, and/or orange at one of the aid stations on the course. So, I’ll likely go through 1750-2000 calories on the bike.
On the Run: I’ll have 1 flask(5oz) of EFS Liquid Shots to start and 1 flask(5oz) at the halfway point at the special needs. Instead of sticking with EFS the entire time, I’ll rotate (EFS & water), (Coke & pretzels), and Chicken broth, every 10-20 min. I don’t really count calories on the run as I just have to go by feel at this point and go with what I think my body can handle. Probably in the 200-300Cal range per hour.
Swim: For the swim I put my faith in Pythagoras Theorem. I like to start out fast and as far away from anyone as possible. I only look at 1 thing and that is the farthest buoy down course. I suck at drafting so I typically don’t even bother with it. Seems to take me out of my rhythm if I focus too much on it. After a quick start I’ll settle into a nice steady swim. I would like to try and go under 1 hour if I feel good, but not at the expense of the rest of the race.
Bike: On the bike, the plan is to keep my heart rate at the high end of Zone 2(130-134bpm). I’ll also focus on keeping my cadence as close to 90rpm’s as possible. I have plenty of gears to handle the climbs, so I’ll flatten the course by using all of the gearing, if needed. If I run out of gears then my heart rate will climb, which is ok. None of the hills are too long, there are just a lot of them….and it’s 2 loops.
Run: On the run, the plan is to keep my heart rate at the high end of Zone 2(140-145). Just like on the bike, I’ll try to maintain a cadence of 88-90rpm’s while keeping my HR in check. Around 6-9 miles in, I like to walk the Aid Stations for at least 15 seconds, but no more than 30secs. Then it’s just a 1-2 mile goal to the next Aid Station. I feel good about the run. It can’t be any harder than the backside of Umstead Park in July.
Race Time Goals: This is the part that is like landing on the moon while blindfolded. It’s hard to even guess on a 140.6 mile course that I’ve never been to before. But, I believe in making goals public, so here goes.
Swim: 59 mins – 1:05(Anything under 59, and I’m likely going out too fast) T1 – 5 min(Not sure how far away this is) Bike: 6 hours, or anything +/- 15 minutes would be great. This is a big grey area. T2 – 5 min(Not sure how far away this is) Run – 4 hours is my goal.
Just finishing before midnight(17 hours) is always the main goal, but I would by lying if I didn’t say that what I really want to do is break 11 hours. So, 10:59 it is!
Photo taken recently of the new I-540 just days prior to opening. I snuck on to the 6 traffic-free lanes of cycling goodness on part of an 85 mile ride.
"It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters." – Coach Bear Bryant
Life is a grindstone as they say. Training for Mont-Tremblant this year has been tough. I am beat up mentally, and physically. I feel weary most days, like I am just hanging on. One would think that as you get better and better, it hurts less and less. Well, it doesn’t. It hurts the same, and quite often it hurts more. This year all of the high volume workouts have taken place in June, July, and the first week of August. We’ve had 3 weeks in a row, where the temps were between 95F-105F(35-40.5 Celsius), with the humidity adding 5F-10F to the heat index every day. Other than those 3 really hot weeks, it has still been 93F-99F(the cool part of the summer). It’s literally maddening, like I just can’t escape it. I’ve gone through more Band-Aids, Body Glide, Chamois Butter, Endurolytes, EFS, Nuun, and water, than I thought possible. I put on Band-Aids now just in anticipation of the chaffing to come. Even the outdoor pool is too hot to swim in most days.
I could go on and on about how hard the last several months have been. But what is the point? Nobody wants to read that, and it really isn’t productive to dwell on the past. So, I’m going to put all of the negative thoughts in a box and never bring it out again.
Having a short forgetful memory about the negative and holding onto the positives is key. I can’t worry about the 18 mile run that went horribly wrong as I was getting sick. But I can be confident in that 2 weeks later I had one of my best runs of the year on a 17 mile run. The fitness is there. I can’t worry that my average speed on the bike is just a tick slower than last year. I’m training through the Summer months instead of the Fall months. I am stronger on the bike and the run and confident that I can ride/run up any hill.
There are now less than 3 weeks(18 days) to go before Mont-Tremblant. With the exception of a pretty tough long run coming up this weekend, the toughest part of the training is over. I’ll be tapering over the next 3 weeks letting both my mind and body recover from the recent hammering. The workouts will be noticeably shorter, with some added higher intensity thrown in to sharpen things up for race day. The grindstone can either wear you down or make you sharp. And who doesn’t like to play with knives!
13 years is a long time. Chui “the Alpha Cat” was rescued from the animal shelter by Ann a long time before we even met. Nearly a decade later, I think of Chui as a dear family member. Really, just another person trapped in a furry cat’s body. He was my constant companion and referred to me as “Large Male Creature”. I enjoyed our long walks down the hallway, and up and down the stairs to sit by the window to look at birds and squirrels. Chui would frequently sit at the table with me in the morning as I studied numerous Cisco books and PMP material over the past years soaking up all of the knowledge. Prior to that, he would sit at the table as Ann studied her MBA courses. Chui was highly evolved and developed into quite the linguist and soloist with the addition of two more cats several years ago. He would converse about many things on many levels…most of which would come out as “Me’ah’”, though changing the tone, duration, inflection, depending on what was being said, and to whom it was being said. Chui also took to singing in his later years. I’m not sure what he was singing about, but it was very similar to Mongolian Throat Singing. Like I said, he was very talented. Chui liked to sing most Tuesdays and Thursdays at around 2a.m. to 4a.m.
Chui was always quite photogenic. He was always a natural in holding a good pose and not blinking, like any good model knows. I mean honestly, have you ever seen any cat sit still in front of a Christmas tree with a Santa hat on, while there is a tree full of lights, tinsel, and dangling ornaments in the background….What poise! Chui was well loved indeed.
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson