Friday, November 27, 2009

Ironman Arizona - 2009 - Video

TJ & Willie complete Ironman Arizona 2009.

TJ - IMAZ 2009 Race Report

TJ & Willie

When I started writing this race report, I envisioned a short bullet point race report list... to be followed by something with more prose and commentary. Instead, we've wound up with this one race report... half bullet point... half commentary... that is quite extensive and probably won't be read by anybody because it is too long. Oh well... I had to get it out so that I can now close the book on this past Ironman season.

Here is my "condensed" race report... summarized in 12.41 bullet points.

1. Ironman is hard. The race itself is hard but there is a lot of preparation involved, too. I firmly believe that Ironman (or any long distance triathlon) is 90% "mental game & nutrition" on race day... assuming you've done the training. And though I may have professed to understand this, I still was unable to be as focused as I needed to be at IMAZ 2009. I attribute a lot of that to the travel and other activity surrounding getting to the starting line on race day weekend. I had Tri Bike Transport, Race Day Wheels and had to shop for some items that were not brought to the race site. In addition, there was a social aspect to my race weekend and I think that fatigued/stressed me to some degree. Another thing is, it is hard to behold the Ironman Village if you haven't been there. Truly, the fitness elite. It's like taking the most fit 5 people from gym's around the country and plopping them all into one place. Lastly, an Ironman season is LONG. And, it doesn't help doing a race in late November... if you train in the Mid-Atlantic climate. I am going to look to do something in late July, August or September next time I do an Ironman.

2. The distances for each discipline are about 33% too long. That is what makes it so hard... at least for me. About an hour into the swim, you're like, "OK... this is starting to get long." On the bike, it's the same way... after about 70 miles, you've had enough... but you still have 42 miles to go. And then the run... well... that middle 10 miles can be a very dark place mentally. There is so much to think about, too. Pacing, nutrition and equipment status. Then, there are the other competitors. The swim is a blender of arms and legs... on the bike, you have to be careful of other riders. So, your physical endurance is tested... but the mental endurance is just as tiring. Especially for the people who have short attention spans (ahem).

3. I did something I've never done before in a race... I held onto a kayak during the swim as competitors swam by. The mass swim start is crazy, as is well documented. The sun started to come up over the horizon and shine into our eyes about 30 minutes into the swim. I tried to stay to the left and swim along the bouys. I reached the far turn buoys about 40 minutes into the swim. I wandered a little between the two far buoys. I could feel my calves "catching" the whole way out... but at about 60 minutes into the swim (so, I was heading back), both legs "seized up" and were locked into a palsied state. I could not swim. I waved and yelled out to the guys on the jetskis/kayaks and managed to pull my way (with a breast stroke) over to a kayaker. I held on for about 5 minutes, waiting for the leg cramps to release. It was like they were frozen into a cramped state. The right calf in particular was balled up and painfully tight. The kayaker (a he) had some water on board and I drank a little from his bottle. DNF did not cross my mind... but I was worried. The water was 63 degrees and the kayaker told me several people had leg cramps and had held on to his craft for a bit.

4. My transitions are disorganized. I do not go through T1 or T2 with purpose and tend to wind up where the "wind blows me". When my wetsuit was stripped, both legs cramped up again and I had to delay movement for the cramps to release. Then, I was mostly walking towards picking up my T1 bag. I considered taking a chair outside the tent but then remembered I'd be getting naked before putting on my bike shorts. So, I went into the tent and looked for a spot. I sat next to Willie in T1, if you can believe that. He had been in the tent for a while already as he beat me out of the swim. So, we're in there talking and complaining about the cold water and the grass that was sticking to our feet. Come on already... GET YOUR BUTT ON THE BIKE!!!

5. Whoever says the IMAZ bike course is flat is a liar. There is a gradual uphill on Beeline Highway. The last three miles to the turnaround has a steep grade. I don't know what percent of a grade, but it's there.

Incline on Beeline. With a headwind and on loop 3, this part of the bike course is a pain.

There was significant headwind on the way out Beeline on loop 1. Coming back from the turnaround was a blast. I was able to sustain 32 mph at some points. On the way out for loop 2, the wind had shifted and was more of a crosswind. By the time we were coming back down on loop 2, it wasn't a headwind but the cross was coming more at us than behind. By the time we got to loop 3, the wind was negligible. It wasn't an issue at that point. It warmed up as the ride went along and the asphalt was definitely hot on the last loop. So, you are now tired from the ride and the heat is really becoming an issue. Fortunately, it was only a challenge on the way out. On the way back, with the downhill, it's really not a factor.

A guy wrecked his bike right in front me at mile 53 of the ride. I pulled over to try and help him out. He had lost concentration and run into the "keep drivers awake" ridges on the side of the road. BAM... down like a sack of potatoes. His name was Raymond. Definitely had some road rash and was clearly pissed... still had over half the ride to go. I comforted him for a bit and then got going again. I helped him collect his drinks and other stuff that got strayed out along the road. Man, that must have really hurt.

I really didn't have any issues... stopped to pee once on the way out on the second loop... around mile 40... I picked up my special needs bag on the way back on the third loop... around mile 92... I just ate my chips and took my Endurolytes. I ate two Clif bars and went through two bottles of Accelerade throughout the ride. I drank lots of water as it was very dry out there.

I had two dark periods... mile 70 and mile 100. Both times, I got through it just by concentrating on my breathing. Your breathing won't lie to you.

6. At T2, I was more purposeful and quick with my movements. But, as I was changing, a guy in the chair next to me asked a volunteer to come over. He wanted to know where he could turn in his chip. I thought it was important to try to talk him out of it. I put my hand on his shoulder and looked at him in the eye... "are you sure you want to do that? Why don't you just wait in here for a bit... or come out with me and we'll walk for a little while." I could tell the gears were moving in his head but he looked back at the volunteer and said, "no... I'm done." I looked away from him and said out loud as I got up, "It just wasn't your day." Then I was off. But for the Grace of God, there go I.

7. The volunteers were really great. There was a big crowd, too. Along the Ironman Village waterfront, there were hundreds of people with signs and cheering us on. That was really great and helped when running on that side of the lake. The aid station at the far end of the run course was the best. They were very attentive and helpful. The Phoenix Tri Club aid station had the best looking girls... they were dressed in cowboy outfits. (This post encapsulates what is wrong with my runs... I'm checking out chicks and seeing who is more attentive... rather than concentrating on my run performance).

8. My run sucked. Honestly, a veteran Ironman has to do better than I did. I was very disorganized and did not really have a plan to begin with. I stopped and started without much rhyme or reason and I took in fluids and food without looking at my watch as I normally do when training. In fact, for about the last 2 1/2 hours, I could not even see my watch. My vision is poor to begin with and then my right eye got foggy. I was carrying a little water bottle (7 ounce fuel belt bottle) in one hand and a gel flask in the other. I mostly did water and flat coke at the aid stations. I ate grapes and oranges. I had one cookie around mile 18. I tried some chicken broth, but this year it did not taste good and I spit it out. The bottom line is I need to do a better job of pacing and also have a walking/feeding plan and stick with it.

9. The middle 10 miles were particularly dark... dark as in "Darth Vader Evil" dark. I was not feeling it and even considering just walking the rest of the way at some points. But, even with sporadic cramping in my right calf and right quadricep and walking associated with that, I managed to run and as I got over to the bridge on the west side of the run course on loop three (mile 19?), I sucked it up and got behind two women who were going at my kind of pace. I just locked in and ran it in almost the whole way from there. I was even able to sprint up the chute. I don't really remember crossing the finish line though this year they did call my name, hometown and "You are an Ironman" which had not happened at my two previous Ironman's. The way the finish takes a left turn into the grandstand is really cool. I wished I was more tuned in so I could savor it.

10. I'm going to do another Ironman. It won't be in 2010. I MEAN IT. I know I said it last year that I wouldn't do one this year... but, I'M NOT DOING ONE NEXT YEAR. I need to clear my head. However, I will do another one... probably in 2011. I love the sport, I love the distance and I believe that I like the training more than I like the racing. However, I know that I have a 11:45 Ironman in me... and I'm going to prove it to myself one day.

11. Willie and I had company this past weekend. Roseann Dougherty, from Team Inspiration, was staying at the race hotel and we hung around with her pretty much the whole weekend. She did the race with 140 LiveStrong bracelets on her bike and body for the run.

Kona Chick - Roseann Dougherty

Roseann got second place in her age group (50 - 54), which qualifies her for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. It is totally awesome. Her time was 11:28 and I am extremely proud of her. It made the weekend even more special as we were like three peas in a pod pretty much the whole weekend.

2nd Place Age Group

Roseann is an oncology nurse. She is very involved with cancer patients and her Team Inspiration's mission is aligned with inspiring those who have cancer or are survivors of those who have passed due to cancer. It is a result of deaths in my family due to cancer that I found this sport... this lifestyle.

12. My mom and my sister were there. It must be a real trial to stand out there all day. My seven year old nephew Joseph was there, as well. Mom and sis both had volunteered and shot some pictures and video on race day. Thanks and I love you both. I don't think I could do that... stand out there all day and watch people race. Chad and KDOG were in attendance, too. I saw them on the bike course near the turnaround and Chad would jog a little with me on the run course to check in on me. I missed training with them this year so it was good to see them on the course.

TJ & Jessica Ann

12.41. The Sky is the Limit. I'm a three time Ironman. I have a PR of 12:05:00... which is pretty good. I've been under 13 hours each time and I've finished each race. No DNFs. Ironman helps me focus on the Desire, Discipline and Determination that is required to get through life. The people I've met along the way are the real treat of this sport. The first time Ironman finishers from DC Tri Club were very inspirational to me this year. Colette and Davis were two training buddies who accompanied me on long swims, rides and runs. Linda and Jessica Rose have been very patient on my long ride Saturday's and Sunday bricks. I've been encouraged by veteran Ironman finishers from the club and am in awe of Philip Schmidt's sub 10 hour Ironman at Ironman Louisville this past August.

Willie, we did it. To God goes all the glory. And, listening to Ron R. at the Midtown Group on race day morning reminded us both of this fact... we've climbed our highest mountain already. To have lived through all that we've been through and then not only toe the starting line, but complete an Ironman... MORE THAN ONE... it's an awesome gift. I am grateful. And... I'm a THREE TIME IRONMAN!!!

The numbers don't lie.

-- TJ

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Willie - IMAZ 2009 Race Report

Willie at Saturday's practice ride.

Hey – It was awesome! I did of course have a few issues…the swim was cold and gave me a headache the entire time – it really was uncomfortable and I guess the good news is I got hit hard right in the nose about halfway through and I was able to focus on how much that hurt instead of my headache – it actually made me stop and panic for a moment – but of course, they were climbing all over me by now, so I just shook it off and wanted to finish as soon as possible – actually felt great strength wise and probably could have gone stronger if it wasn’t for the headache and nausea. Not too bad, a 1:18 swim – I’ll take it! I would have been happy with 1:25, considering the circumstances.

T1 was a disaster due to the nausea and really close to spilling it – thought it would actually help – but this happens to me every time in the swim…then things got worse due to the grass cuttings getting on my wet feet (didn’t plan for this one) and then all over the inside of my chamoied-buttered shorts (brilliant!)– it took at least 10 minutes to clean everything up – but by that time the nausea had started to decrease and on to the bike….thus the horrible T1 time of 17 minutes!

Got on the bike – it was very cold and then it happened to my disgust at mile 8 the left knee pain re-appeared! I could not believe it with all the rest and the last time I biked 100 miles it did not appear until mile 80 – this really frustrated me especially since at mile 15 the hills started and we had a head wind – it slowed me to 10 mph since I was not able to push as hard as I wanted – the turnaround was downhill and I went semi-hard trying to make up some speed….I really was hurt and I knew I had to do this 3 times… I tried many different angles on the left knee the rest of the way – kept applying the ibruproen…but it really didn’t matter…another gut check bike ride…I was disappointed since I was ready for a really much better time! Time: 7:11 – I was shooting for 6:30 max, possibly even better…

T2 – no issues – just nausea.

Run…the surgery leg was inflamed since I obviously was putting more pressure on that leg instead of the left knee leg…it was swollen and shaving spasms…I walked the first 2 miles trying to get relief, but the spasm sgot worse…then, I could not believe my eyes, but there was a blister, spasm, medical aid center, and I screamed out of joy that they were there (got lots of laughs)! The surgery leg hurt so bad before I got to aid - that DNF actually crossed my mind! In the aid center, they were able to massage the spasm and left knee and applied ice for a while….I then dropped ice down the compression sock and poof – I was out of there and running!!!

I was actually running quite well for the next 8 miles, but again, compensating now for the left knee, I was rewarded with a hell of a back spasm…to the point where DNF became almost a reality! I then limped to the same medical tent, this time for treatment of the back spasm…it worked! I was back to running, and I was so totally elated that I only felt good when I was running! It’s a real shame for me, since I was really ready for this and really only wanted to do it if I was running – I hated the walking!

If I took out the stops and walking due to intense pain – I was looking at 12 minute miles on the run…so I know I have it in me….I actually had some 11 min miles in between all the drama – which for me is awesome and my training the last weeks before taper I was averaging 11 min miles… By mile 18 – I was completely nausea and sick to my stomach – it never really went away from the swim and I think I ate too much on the bike for fear I would be out there the whole 17 hours. I was not able to eat anything solid from that point – but by this time, the major pain issues were in control and not finishing was not an option!!! 6:59 run time – I was looking at 5:15 max.

The plan would have worked if not for the knee, which I guess is next on the list to have looked at… All in all – I was ready – I was coached well – the event, volunteers, the memories of loved ones passed and those still suffering, and all the training and good wishes – was just unbelievable! I really do this for many reasons…I am so grateful to be this active and an example for my kids and others…My thirst for Triathlon is greater than ever and I am already excited for next year! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless!

-- Willie 2-Time Ironman

Ironman Arizona - 2009 Statistics

This is a good sign.

Obviously, I was faster last year than I was this year. I did two triathlons this year... Northeast Triathlon and Ironman Arizona. My run sucked in both races. But, I did finish and I was still middle of the pack.

Here are some heart/calorie burn rate stats from IMAZ...

Swim: 138 avg. 156 max 1222 calories
BIke: 141 avg. 161 max 4821 calories
Run: 128 avg. 151 max 3872 calories

I did nail my nutrition. I didn't have any GI or bonking issues. I didn't feel "hungry" until the last 4 - 6 miles of the run which is just about right. But, I wasn't bloated or sloshy, either. It was very dry and I did good managing my thirst.

I was definitely disorganized on my run. I need to work at getting better on how I organize my run. I have seen video of me running in Ironman and I don't like what I see and it doesn't compare favorably to how I run when I train. There is a lot of room for improvement.

Willie and TJ on the run.

-- TJ

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ironman Weekend

Ironman weekend....

Any questions?

-- TJ

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Willie Update

Ironman Arizona - This Sunday!

As you may already be aware – I will be participating in my second Ironman race this Sunday in Arizona. I did finish my first one in Florida in 2006 – so although racing at this distance is not new to me, the excitement and agony of knowing the pain that awaits still haunts me. As always, ... I race in the honor and memory of friends who have succumbed to cancer, and it’s remembering what they still mean to me that will ultimately carry me through to the finish line. This year the charity that I have raised funds for and will continue to do so in 2010, is the Ulman Cancer Fund. The race starts at 7:00 Arizona time, which will be 9:00 AM EST. This is a mass swim start, with approximately 2900 athletes participating. If you are interested – you can track my status during the race here - My bib number is: 2048 Don’t look for any speed out of me – just endurance! To hear a clip of what inspires me – listen to this.

-- Willie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All Star Weekend

72 degrees on November 15.

72 degrees... on March 27.

Today at Tidal Basin... notice a difference from the March 27 picture?

I have complained this fall about the weather. But, these past two weekends have been gorgeous. I did my last brick workout on a sun-drenched, 72 degree Sunday in Washington, DC. I rode down Rock Creek Park to Hains Point and back with Davis. I rode my 10 speed Schwinn as my bike is on it's way to Arizona via Tri Bike Transport. in fact, I had to borrow a helmet from our neighbors and dig some other cycle-related equipment out of storage as all my bike gear is in a bag in a van on its way to Arizona. I transitioned to run and felt fabulous... probably because the ride was only 30 miles today. Even though I've been trying to run at a slower pace... the brick runs the past two weeks have been the fastest two of they year. No problems with PF today, either. I feel ready. And, looking at the pictures, you can really tell the difference in my body composition. I weight 196 lbs. as I just can't seem to get down to the mythical 190 lb. level.

This concludes the training season. I'll have very little going on this week. Some light swimming, stretching and core workouts. But, a word about this weekend. I celebrated my ninth anniversary on Friday. I had some great speakers share on my behalf. All great men with a strong, spritual message. The meeting concluded with Chris S. playing a very touching version of "Amazing Grace" on his harmonica. Then, I was part of putting together Brother Alexis' 36th anniversary meeting on Saturday morning. Again, great speakers, all with a wonderful message. After a short stationary bike workout, I played a gig down on Kent Island Saturday night with the Bad Weather Boyz. We had a great time and the crowd enjoyed the show. This morning, I led on the 11th Step at Greenbelt and saw some old friends from the fellowship. I had the great brick workout and then the Redskins won and the Cowboys lost. Really, a great weekend and great preparation for next weekend. In the old days, I would have predicted GLOOM and DOOM next weekend... how can you have two great weekends in a row? But, I now know the truth... THE SKY IS THE LIMIT... great weekend this week... EVEN BETTER one next weekend. I know I am blessed and I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to toe the starting line of an Ironman.

TJ & Davis at the Jefferson Memorial

-- TJ

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weather Report - IMAZ 2009 10 day weather report - Tempe, AZ

Well, race day is now on the 10 day weather report. Good thing I packed my arm warmers and long sleeve wet suit in my gear bag. Which, by the way, is on its way to Arizona right now. My bike is with Tri Bike Transport.

Rode the stationary bike for a half hour yesterday and swam for a half hour at lunch today.

-- TJ

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remember me?

Wow - here we are at taper time and I finally decide to write something. Life has been way too busy, and trying to keep up with everything has been difficult. So my apologies to TJ who has been diligent in writing most of this blog.

Here's a summary of me since the last time. I think my last post was from TJ who reported on my ChesapeakeMan Aqua Velo times. Again, it was mixed reviews since I wasn't feeling all that great that day, and despite that I went through some tough mental times getting through the race and that in and of itself was an accomplishment. Problem is that I still have significant knee pain and weakness in the surgery leg. Despite that it was a breakthrough workout mentally for me, knowing that in spite of the pain I can get through the distance.

Since then I did several long rides with TJ and although I slowed him down, they were great training rides for me. Continued with my schedule as far as training was concerned, mainly focusing on strength training whenever I ran. I did make the mistake of several weekend madness periods with a long ride on saturday and a long run on sunday and after reconsidering broke these up during the week during the last two months.

Been on a slight taper for over a week and went in for another VO2 check and I improved my peak VO2 by 5 points and increased my fat burning capability significantly for zones 1 and 2. This has given me all the confidence I need right now knowing I have the conditioning necessary for my IM.

Now if I can only stay away from all these germs, I will be happy happy.

All in all I am ready to go and so looking forward to AZ! It truly is one of my favorite places to be!

Happy Training!

-- Willie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ironman Swim - IMFL 2009

The swim at an Ironman... described as a blender of arms and legs... it is hard to imagine if you haven't been through it. Well, check this out...

Video from IMFL 2009 swim

So... still want to be an Ironman?

-- TJ

IMFL Drafting Video

This is incredible video from IMFL 2009. Drafting is not allowed during the bike ride. Hard to tell from this video. Some participants are passing the guy and they aren't even pedaling...

IMFL 2009 Bike Course Video

-- TJ

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bib Numbers

It's official... we've been assigned bib numbers.

TJ: 1472
Willie: 2048

-- TJ

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Confidence Builder

Taper continues... swam 50 minutes yesterday morning and did a core/stretching routine at the gym during lunch. Did some dips and pull-ups, too. After my ride on the trainer on Thursday evening, I felt a lot better. But, today was really the breakthrough...

I did a 40 mile ride... Davis and I clipped in around 8:50 and met the "A" Team at Georgetown about 9:20. Eric, Patrick, Andy, Bobby, Joe C. and others were there. We then rode up the hill towards Reservoir Road and took the left turn. My plan was to hang on with this group, no matter what, up to the one lane bridge over Cabin John. Last week, I was dropped at Glen Echo. Well, I pretty much made it all the way to the BP. We went up Mountain Gate... and Old Anglers, of course. I was not the last person up Mountain Gate... nor Old Anglers. In fact, I was able to accelerate on a couple of hills and pass people. We were doing 24 - 25 mph the whole way (except the hills). Last week's pace was faster and I believe that because Phil and Chad weren't out there today, the group was a little less competitive.

Additionally, I caught up to that Bicycle Place group again and dusted them all up Democracy. Seriously, I was averaging about 18 - 19 mph going up the hill on Democracy to Old Georgetown Road. Earlier this year, it was a struggle to go 14 - 16 mph up that hill.

So, it was a huge confidence boost and I really do feel strong on the bike. The taper is working, and that's a relief. I'm due for a brick tomorrow but it'll be short and sweet. 90 minutes on the bike and then a 30 minute run. The heel is feeling good right now... so we'll play it by ear regarding this run. Would rather rest it and heal 100% than get a brick in just to get a brick in.

Lastly.... today is Ironman Florida. Some friends/training buddies from DC Tri Club are out there today. Of note is Tuan... who broke his clavicle in September. He healed up and is down there... probably riding his bike, right now. A real warrior. I can't wait to read his race report.

Tuan... bib # 761... GO FOR THE GLORY!!!

-- TJ

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life... turned up to 11

Well, since no one else will listen to me, I'll post here...

I have two major things happening...

1. Life is going crazy... between work and home, it's pretty zany. I won't go into too much detail but if it's not enough to be getting ready for an Ironman, I also have full days at work and a lot of activity around the house.

2. I can't seem to shake the PF on my left heel. I did run last night and though it felt ok, today, I can feel it. I may just try to lay off running until we get down to AZ and see if some rest heels it up. I'm also going to refrain from wearing dress shoes at the office as I don't think that helps. Stretching would be a good idea, too.

Sitting at my desk at the office is a real trial right now. I feel a lot of pent up energy just on the edge of being unleashed. Plus, I think I can actually feel fitness melting away... and fat accumulating on my chin, hips and ass.

The good news is that two weeks from now, I'll be in AZ. And then, I can get body envy from all the fitness elite preening around town.

-- TJ

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Climbing the Walls

Well, we're officially in taper time. This has been hard for me. I don't know about Willie. But, for me... I'm climbing the walls. Life came in heavy this week between work, home and family... so I didn't get a workout in on Monday (usually a weightlifting day) or Tuesday (usually a swim day). By lunch at work today (a Wednesday) I was going out of my mind. I envisioned myself as gaining 10 lbs., losing all my cardio fitness and just generally being in no shape for an Ironman. It is crazy where my mind goes.

Thankfully, I managed to get in a short run after work. Tempo run of 30 minutes which covered around 4 miles. I felt better after that. I'm going to try and ride the bike for a bit tomorrow and then get a swim in, too. I've decided to drop the weightlifting workouts at this point. This is the latest I've lifted weights in an Ironman year... and though they are good for muscle tone and stamina, I think they do slow me a down a little.

So, hopefully I can make it through tomorrow and get in those workouts. I've also been ravenous and have had to take it easy with food. As you know. Halloween was last weekend so of course there is candy everywhere I go. Overall, I've managed to hold the line. The mental part of taper is really hard to explain, though. At least for me... it's like that character on "Gulliver's Travels"... Glum was his name I believe. "We're doomed... we'll never make it."

The little man inside my head during taper time...

-- TJ

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Riding on the Wind

Training for Ironman means a 60 mile ride is a short ride. I did my last "long" ride prior to race day yesterday... only 59 miles... HA! Really, though... it seems short. That is a good sign. Averaged 18 mph on a very hilly ride... Mountain Gate, Old Anglers, River Road, Query Mill/Glen Road, Democracy Blvd and then up to Georgia Avenue from the park. Some highlights from the ride...

1. Meeting the "Gang" in Georgetown- Tuan and his IMFL group were there. So was the "A" Team. Chad, Bobby, Patrick, Phil, Eric, Andy, etc. I departed with the A Team and it wasn't long before we were going 27 mph out MacArthur. We were in a paceline and I was definitely expending energy. But, it wasn't as bad as back in May. I was able to hang on all the way out to Glen Echo. There is a stop sign there and as there were a couple of cars, I slowed a little and lost the wheel of the guy in front of me. The guys behind me shot by and I was dropped. I saw them at the one lane bridge again (up ahead) but then they were gone. I managed to catch Laurel going up Old Anglers, which felt good. She hadn't done Mountain Gate. The A Team cut off at Oaklyn and head home so I rode up to the BP and waited for Tuan's group.

2. River Road- Readers of this blog know that I have a love/hate relationship with River Road. It's hilly, has a lot of traffic and wind can affect the ride. But, I've been on the road so much this year, I'm *starting* to get the hang of it. I left with Tuan's group and tried to stay at the rear of the group.. but the pace was too slow and by Norton Road, I went off the front and before long, I couldn't see them behind me any more. There are essentially three hills on the way out River to the "T"... at the top of the second hill, I double back and let the group go by... then I got in the rear again and by the top of hill three, I was third one up the hill. I think there were about 10 IMFL people out there. At the "T", they were intent on going back the way they came, so I bid farewell and headed out Seneca to Esworthy.

3. The Bicycle Place Group-I rode through the back hills of Query Mill and Glen Road by myself. Very peaceful. A head wind on the way back, unlike the last couple of weeks. I saw Jody of Conte's again... she was riding with her Cervelo jersey posse. Funny... I think I've seen her 3 out of the last 4 Saturday's I've been out on the road. There is a 1/2 mile stretch of Democracy that I love... with a tail wind, I've hit 40 mph and consistently can do over 30 mph... even into the wind.

Newbridge to Gainsborough... makes me feel fast

So, I'm cruising about 35 mph yesterday and I can see a group of half a dozen cyclists approaching the light at Gainsborough. I pick it up because, well, I'm competitive and I want to catch them. I'm amidst the group by the time we get to the light at Seven Locks.Turns out, it's a group of five guys and one woman from the Bicycle Place. I draft off the rear as we go up the hill to Montgomery Mall... but again... they're going too slow for me... so I pass them at 270 and by the time we get to Old Georgetown, I can't see them anymore. I let up a little and as I'm heading *downhill* on Grosvenor, two of this group have caught up and fly by. The light is green as we get to 355 and roll into the park. I draft off them until we get to Connecticut. But, as we get a green light and proceed down Beach, I get it going and drop them and with satisfaction, go under the Beltway and take the left up the hill to Georgia Avenue. They are out of sight behind me.
Editors Note: I realize this group probably didn't realize they were "racing" me... though their attempt to pass me on Grovesnor does suggest other cyclists had a competitive streak, too.

Thinking back over this training year, many memories stick out. A friend of mine, Chris Rolinski, turned me on to a live Judas Priest CD from 2005 that I hadn't heard before. They do a killer version of a song that I love... "Riding on the Wind". They didn't play it when we saw them on 8/22... but two highlights of the training year have been the night Chris and I went to the concert and also when this song came on my playlist while on a training run. I'm sure it'll be going through my head on the run THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY!!!

Judas Priest... the Metal Gods... "Riding on the Wind"

-- TJ

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Long Run

What hurts and feels good at the same time? Definitely, the long run. Yesterday's was no different. It was rainy in the morning so I held off until after work. Weather was perfect for the run. 68 degrees and kind of balmy. There was a warm wind, too. I did the 17 mile run which took just about 3 hours. After 2 hours, I got some leg cramps in my left calf and did walk some in that last hour. After I was done, I was hurting. Big time. In fact, my left heel had a sharp pain that feels like PF (plantar fasciitis).

Hurt after the run... and then this morning. Feels better now...

Here is the map of the run. I am not too concerned about the cramping problem. I had been wearing hard soled dress shoes all day and didn't take any ibuprofen or endurolytes as I will on race day. Usually I do the long run in the morning but I think this was good for me... it is closer to the time of day that I'll run on race day.

I plan on doing a lot of stretching the next three weeks. Also drink a lot of water, eat bananas and best of all... no more long runs until race day.

I learned today about a buddy from the gym who was training for IMAZ but now won't be able to make it. Larry, who works out at LA Fitness, finally gave up the ghost. Last time I saw him he said he'd been off running for a while (he was on the treadmill at the time... heh). He's been training all year for IMAZ but has had to pull out because of PF. This would have been his first Ironman and he looked pretty disappointed when I saw him this evening at the gym. I feel bad for him but it has given me a big dose of gratitude. I am thankful that it appears I'm going to make it to the starting line intact.

New bike fit

I don't know if you can tell from these photos, but I have a new bike fit. Much more aggressive. The stem was turned around so it is flatter and not pointing up. They also lowered my seat and pointed it down.

Previous fit

So, I lifted weights and rode on the stationary bike for a half hour after work today. I had a good stretch and ab workout before that. All in all, it was a good post-long run workout and blew some lactic acid out of my veins. Tomorrow... long swim... but no tempo run. KDOG suggested I don't do it because of my heel thing... that's all I needed to hear.

-- TJ

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pushing Past the Pain of Exertion

Great article. I love the last part... smile and JUST SUCK IT UP!!!

Click Here

-- TJ

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Looking Good Billy Ray... Feeling Good Louis

Outside Poolesville Chevron

Willie and I knocked out the Poolesville ride on Sunday. Davis joined us out to the T. It was a beautiful autumn Sunday. Drenched in sunshine, the day started a little chillier than I thought it would be. By the time we go to Georgetown, I took off my booties but kept the arm warmers and beanie on until about 50 miles into the ride. When we were out by the reservoir in Georgetown, we saw Marine Corps Marathon runners coming through. I wish I had taken a picture.

Tree line at Bretton Woods

I did take a couple of shots out by Bretton Woods. iPhone camera doesn't do the foiliage justice.

I took this shot while waiting for Willie and Davis

Willie took a right turn on Seneca instead of heading out to Poolesville. That took about an extra half hour as I rode up and down River Road looking for him. Davis turned back at the T, so I had waited up for him to see what he was going to do.

The new bike fit feels pretty good. In fact, I saw Jody from Conte's on the way out and commented on the fit and how much I liked my new bike shoes. I feel really strong and am glad that I made the change.

TJ, ready to roll

There was head wind on the way out, but tail wind on the way back. We definitely were cruising on Democracy Blvd and through Rock Creek Park on Beach Drive on the way back. Though the pace for the day was about 16 mph, it felt good to get in over 5 hours of saddle time.

I feel ready. Now, the trick is to avoid getting a cold or freak injury leading up to race day.

Willie in his race day regalia

-- TJ

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Now That's More Like It

I don't mind autumn... when it is days like today. Though it is overcast, windy and been raining off and on... it's over 70 degrees and kind of humid. Much better than last Saturday... when it was 41 degrees.

This year, I've been doing the long ride on Saturday and a brick workout on Sunday. I switched things up this weekend and did the brick today. Willie and I were going to do a Century today but the threat of rain cancelled that ride. Since tomorrow is going to be clear and sunny, we've dialed in the long ride for tomorrow.

Today's brick was solo. Great workout. I recently got a new fit on my bike from Clovis at Conte's. I also bought new bike shoes. I got in a 55 mile ride Thursday and rode for 50 today. The new fit feels GREAT so far. It is much more aggressive. I'll take a photo so you can see the difference. I feel a lot more power and the cadence feels much smoother, up and down as I turn the crank.

I rode down Rock Creek Park to Hains Point and did a few loops. Not a lot of traffic and not many other cyclists out... I got kind of a late start... 9:30... so maybe that's why. The wind is out of the Southeast today so it was really whipping at the end of the point... but made for a fast ride up the back side... that was fun. On my way back up Rock Creek Park, I saw Tuan from DC Tri Club. He's doing IMFL... even though he broke his clavicle in September. He's back to swimming and looked good on the bike when I saw him today. A real warrior... GO TUAN!

Ride was 50 miles in 2:34... average heart rate 135.

I ran right off the bike and did my usual jaunt around the neighborhood. I was interested in seeing how my legs reacted to the new fit and new bike shoes when transitioning to the run. No problems, today. 3.5 miles in 30:37, average HR 145. Actually felt good.

I am going to make a concerted effort to run the whole marathon next month. I think that is the key to reaching my goal time... 11:59. There it is... I just put it out there. If I could run a 4:30 marathon, even with some problems on the swim/bike, I should be able to make that time. Especially if I shed 10 minutes on my transition times from the last two times I've done Ironman.

Tomorrow... long ride... second to the last one of this training season.

-- TJ

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So You Want to be an Ironman?

Uh oh... Bash Bro's in the same place at the same time

It is an honor and privilege to be a panelist at the DC Tri Club "So You Want to be an Ironman" Seminar. I was a panelist in 2006 and was asked again this year. Ironically, it'll be one month prior to my third attempt at an Ironman.


Introduction/Ice Breaker Simon

Panelists’ Perspective Ironmen!

Q & A Session All (Simon to facilitate)

Panelists’ Perspective:
Please prepare a brief (5 minutes) overview of your Ironman experience to share with the group. The overview should include the following information, plus anything else you would like to share:

• Tell us (briefly) about your training plan - how did you find it, did you use a coach, how many hours per week did you train?
• What were your biggest challenges?
• What was the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
• What do you wish you knew when you signed up?
• Would you do it again? Why or why not?

Here are the questions that may be asked at the session:

What is an ironman?
-how is it different from a half?
What are the most important skills / characteristics for IM success (ex. physical, mental, emotional)?
How do you know if you’re ready to go for an IM?

How do you train for an IM?
-Endurance vs. speed
What is a typical training week like?
Do you lift/yoga?
What can you do to de-stress from Ironman training?
What are the options if I have a serious injury/illness during IM training?

How much does it cost? (gear, nutrition, race fees, travel, coaching, etc)

How is training for an IM different than other tri's?
How do you balance your life training for an IM ?

What can my friends/family/partner/children/pet expect during training?
What are ways to focus only on my race and not everyone else’s?
Information about fundraising/making IM more than about ourselves?

How do you mentally focus for an IM, esp. how do you mentally get prepared and execute the training?
Should I focus on my limiters or strengths?
What are the milestones? – When do you know you will make it?
What are special considerations? (E.g. clydesdale/athena, married w/kids, single w/kids, long hours or weird hours)

Which IM should I do? (some are “easier” than others or maybe better for first timers)
What is race week like?
What is the race like?
What is the hardest part?
What is it like to be an IM / any benefits?
Was it worth it?

It is expected that those in attendance will have questions of their own, too.

I don't know everyone on the panel. Of course, I know Laurel and she'll have some good insights from this year. Sean Ward is doing RAAM next year and I think he did a 10:15 Ironman Lake Placid. Sick.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to explore the panelists perspective...

1. Tell us (briefly) about your training plan - how did you find it, did you use a coach, how many hours per week did you train?

As readers of this blog know, I am not a coached athlete. I pretty much take the plan that Chad had in 2006 from Mark Allen Online and apply it to my life and capabilities. Swim on Tuesday. Long Run Wednesday. Speed Cycle and lift weights on Thursday. Long swim and tempo run on Friday. Long Bike on Saturday. Brick on Sunday. Lift weights on Monday. Though, this week, I didn't do anything on Monday. The hours can vary between 6 to 15 depending on what part of the cycle I'm in. There are build weeks, peak weeks and then recovery weeks.

2. What were your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenges have been fitting this into my life, knowing how to moderate and the run. Participating in Ironman has definitely tested the endurance of my family and friends. I am also a person who comes from the school of "if it feels good, then do it as much as possible". I find it hard to moderate though Ironman training has a way of making a coward of us. The volume really is unbelievable. Lastly, the run is my achilles heel. My Indian name is "Caught on the Run". I have really had to work it and I would be really happy if I ran a 4:30 marathon this year. It would be the key to coming in under 12:00.

3. What was the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
I suspect that Ironman is much like boot camp is for those who've been in the military. Friends for life are those who have been through the experience with you. No doubt about it... the most rewarding part has been the friendships. There is also a spiritual aspect to Ironman, for me. It completes me. It connects me to the Earth. I can't really explain it... it's a feeling. The finish line of an Ironman is a magical place.

4. What do you wish you knew when you signed up?
I think my eyes were wide open when I came into this. I think they only thing I wish is that I had done this earlier in my life.

5. Would you do it again? Why or why not?
I would definitely do it again. Not next year... but I'll do Ironman again. I'm a disciple. I am attracted to this distance like the people in Close Encounters of the Third Kind were attracted to Devil's Tower.

IMFL 2008 12:05:00

-- TJ

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Indoor Brick

The Dreadmill

Well, the weather pattern has broken. Not too bad outside right now. However, when I left to do the brick workout this morning, it was still crappy... rain had stopped but it was 39 degrees and windy. I sucked it up and drove over to LA Fitness to do an indoor brick.

LA Fitness in Silver Spring is my gym. It's pretty nice... a big place with lots of equipment. They have LifeTime Fitness cycles and treadmills. I believe this is good equipment though the stationary cycle seat is a little uncomfortable.

Snapshot of my gym.

A key piece of equipment for the indoor brick is the iPod Shuffle. I put together a 3 hour playlist for today's workout. I did some good stretching and core workout and then followed it up with a 90 minute stationary cycle session and a 30 minute run on the treadmill. Put together a high energy, hard rock mix and kept the pace high. It was a good workout.

Loud and proud

I don't mean for this blog to be an exercise diary. But, this helps me keep track of what I've done and when I did it.

Something I would add, is that working out indoors is actually kind of refreshing in cold weather. There is no stopping for traffic or traffic signals. Also, you can definitely control the effort rather than having the terrain dictate what you're doing. But, it can really be a dirge... you're not going anywhere and the scenery doesn't change. Really, the only way I can get through it is with the music blaring through the earbuds. Thank God for the iPod.

-- TJ

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gates Pass, Arizona

Chad and I rode over Gates Pass in Arizona today. Well, Coach Troy rode it... we just watched on DVD and rode on our trainers. It looks pretty on DVD... I look forward to getting out there next month. No hills like Gates Pass on the IMAZ bike course... but we will ride through similar scenery.

View Larger Map
Tough ride over Gates Pass today

We had to take it indoors today because it was 41 degrees and raining at 8 am. Notice a theme here lately? This Nor'easter is totally crimping the training plan. There is at least another 36 hours of this type of weather before it warms up and drys up in time for the work week.

Great day for a bike ride... rolling eyes

I setup shop down at Chez Louiee and we broke out the Coach Troy DVD. We wound up riding for 90 minutes. Chad claims that this is the same as riding outdoors on the road for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I don't know how or why it gets calculated that way but I'll roll with it. It was definitely challenging and my legs do feel it as I'm shuffling around the house this afternoon.

An object at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts on it

In a way, I guess this isn't so bad... I can count this as a EZ training week. I've done something every day this week, though I only ran on Wednesday. You've got to figure that others doing late season Ironman's out there in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions are going through the same thing. It snowed this week up in Connecticut and my friend Susanne who is training for IM Cozumel did a 5 hour training ride on her trainer. Honestly, I don't think I could take much more than the 90 minutes we rode today. It just isn't the same as being out on the road.

The unbalanced force

KDOG went for a run while we rode. I think she did 9 miles or so... and came back cold and wet. By the way, did you know she did a 1:47 1/2 Marathon last week... without much preparation? She's a hell of an athlete and I have a lot of respect for her game. After we disembarked from the trainers, we then ate and had some coffee from Sidamo. Good times. Reminded me of the old days... except for the riding inside part.

Misery loves company. Thanks Chad! Seriously...

Chad let me borrow his trainer. Well, he forced it on me and urged me to use it. I don't know if I'll figure out how to set it up but it can't be that hard. Perhaps with a little 80s Metal mix on the iPod Shuffle... we can make this work. Tomorrow... brick workout... weather report... take a guess.

Boo frickety hoo

I wonder how Willie made out today.

-- TJ

Friday, October 16, 2009

For Real?

I checked my email at home after work and received quite a surprise. In my inbox was a message from Ironman Athlete Services Subject... Ford Ironman Arizona Competitor Update.

Email from Ironman Athlete Services

As you can see, the Athlete Guide is now available. So, I've downloaded the PDF. Haven't read it yet (blah blah blah... yadda yadda yadda)... but it looks cool.

Cover of Athlete Guide

This makes it so real. Next thing you know. they'll be assigning race numbers. Now I feel bad because I didn't get the tempo run in today. I did swim this morning. And tomorrow... looks like I'll be on a trainer over at Chez Louiee. Good times...

-- TJ

When the Going Gets Tough... the Tough Stay Inside

What to do when it's cold and wet? Move it indoors! Though I did do the long run out on the Sligo Trail on Wednesday morning, I moved inside last night for a weightlifting session and then an hour on the stationary bike. This morning continues to be cold and wet, but I'm going to get in the outdoor pool at the YMCA. It's heated!

I want to go on record and clearly state that I am never going to do a late season race again... as long as my training has to take place in this type of climate. 42 degrees and raining doesn't make for an enjoyable bike ride. This weekend's forecast does not bode well and in about 24 hours, I'll have a decision to make... riding 80 miles outdoors or doing something else indoors.

-- TJ

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weather Report

Mental note... earlier Ironman next time

Well, looks like my long run will be chilly tomorrow. And this weekend... great... nothing like a 40ish and wet bike ride for 5+ hours.

Do I sound like a whiny little b**ch?

-- TJ

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The best thing that can be said about today's brick workout is that I did actually did it. And that I spent some QT with Chad. But, after trying like heck to make it to Georgetown on time and trying to keep up with Chad out to Mountain Gate, I was definitely done. My quads and hamstrings were screaming at me. I then did the the run when I got home and the first ten minutes were a trial in endurance. I did think about stopping and just going home. Thankfully, I didn't.

So, I only got in 40 miles on the ride and then my usual 3.5 mile brick run. I actually did it a minute faster than I did last week, so go figure. It was chilly this morning, too. Was going to leave at 7:30 but waited until 8 so the sun could peek over the tree line. Unfortunately, there will be more colder weather training over the next month.

Ironman Arizona is six weeks from today. Ironman Hawaii was yesterday. I watched some of it online and understand the Craig Alexander won the race. A guy from the DC Tri Club, Matias, finished in 9:49. Awesome..

-- TJ

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sugarloaf with Willie

Willie and I rode out to Sugarloaf together. It was the first time he has been. Good ride. A little slower than usual, but still challenging. We had a head wind for about 60 miles, but a nice tail wind on the way back. A little rain, but it was not even what I would call showers.

We ate like horses after at Austin Grill.

Tomorrow... Brick. I will be riding with Chad.

Outside Dickerson Market

-- TJ

Sunday, October 4, 2009

7 Weeks Out

We're 7 weeks away from race day. I just finished a nice training build and will gratefully get to dial it back a little bit over the next few days. This past week was tough, but I made it... with that dang Friday Tempo run testing my stamina, again. Just brutal... that is all I can say. I feel like my lungs are going to explode.

I rode with Willie on Saturday. Eric Guzman joined us for a bit, too. I knocked out 90 miles. I had mapped out our ride... much of it on roads that I've never ridden on before. Now I know why. I am sure Willie can't wait to tell his side of the story, but... well, we did have to ford a creek. The three of us carried our bikes across a body of water. On a ride that I navigated. I'll be hearing about this one for at least 10 years, knowing Willie.

I did a solo brick today. 58 miles on roads that I know don't have any natural obstructions. My archnemesis River Road had an ally today... Mr. Head Wind. On the way out, it was very gusty. But, it was behind me on the way back and I was even going 21 mph UPHILL on Democracy Blvd. over by 270. I dusted a group from the Bicycle Place, too... on Beach Drive. When I returned home, I ran off the bike and though I felt like dying the first 10 minutes, I settled into a groove and finished the run at a nice pace.

I missed my swim workout on Friday. But, I did stick to the two weightlifting sessions and again did the Thursday bike on the stationary bike at the gym. Honestly, I feel really strong on the bike and don't think I'm going to need to do too much work inside... as long as I get the long ride in Saturday and the brick ride on Sunday.

Next weekend... 100 miles again... aiming to do the Sugarloaf ride on Saturday. Anyone want to join in for all or parts?

Willie looked good on Saturday. I think he wound up doing around 80 miles. Though I was peeved about a few stretches of road I took us on Saturday (Brink Road, W. Old Baltimore Road and then Germantown Road), he seemed to be good-natured about it. I think from here on in, I'll just stick with the tried and true routes. There just doesn't seem to be a good way to get from Olney to west of 270 without having to go way north.

I am getting to the point in Ironman training when you start worrying about little gremlins that can happen. I'll have to start being extra careful and not get any stupid "around the house" type of injuries... like banging my foot on something or slipping on the steps. I have already started walking around the office with a paper towel in my hand so I don't have to touch any door knobs with my bare hand.

-- TJ

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ChesapeakeMan AquaVelo Results

55 - 59 Male Age Group Results

Willie did the ChesapeakeMan AquaVelo yesterday. As you can see, he grabbed 5th place in his age group. Is there a race report to follow?

-- TJ

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Race Results 2004 - 2009

The Ironman workout schedule is relentless. It does not stop. There is always another workout looming. It is like the Terminator. But, if I miss a workout or have to delay a workout until later, I will be obsessed almost to the point of being anti-social until I get my "hit"... until I get my workout in. And the feeling while the workout is "on"... overall, it is bliss. It is serenity. It can be painful... but after the pain, it is total satisfaction.

Some workout observations from the past couple of days...

1. I have had complete weightlifting workouts. Monday/Thursday... past two weeks. It helps me keep my muscle tone, helps with endurance and I believe it augments my cycling and swim training. Gives me more power.

2. The Thursday bike ride was on the stationary bike at the gym. As daylight is back down to less than 12 hours a day, it is difficult to find time to bike on the road (dammit, work... why do you get in the way of having fun?!?!?) and it is just too dangerous to ride around here when it's dark. I considered getting a trainer but I think the stationary bike is going to work for me. I really don't have enough room in the house to setup my bike. God bless my girls... but they have annexed the whole house and I have one little corner of one room for me and my stuff.

3. Friday morning swim... one of those moments of bliss... got in the outdoor pool at 6:30 am (that's when it opens)... dark and drizzly outside... only a few of the pool lights work at the SS YMCA... the reflection on the bottom of the pool... it was like the light was dancing on the bottom of the pool at the deep end... just beautiful.

4. Friday after work tempo run... all I can say is "OUCH"... "VERY OUCH"... that hurts. My lungs were burning. iPod Shuffle mix was awesome and helped me keep the pace up. I think I did sub 8 minute miles over 10k. Getting faster...

5. Saturday long ride... I rode with Travis and another guy... I think his last name is Carlson... good rider (both of them!). I felt pretty good, though. I managed to get in 80 miles. We toyed with doing 100... but I ran out of road. I was definitely strong on the bike today and led most of the way out.

-- TJ

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Willie Update

I heard from Willie. He's been away on business on several occasions but has been training. He reported that he hasn't been swimming much but has run and biked. He ran along the Bay in Burlingame.... loves the California air. Tell me about it! He'll be doing the Chesapeakeman Aqua Velo this weekend and then the Sea Gull Century in early October. Keep it up, Willie!

I lifted weights on Monday, swam for a half hour at lunch yesterday and got in a 18 mile run this morning. It was humid out. I woke up at 3:50 am and got to running about 5:10 am. Sunrise is at 6:40ish so most of the run was done in the dark. I brought a light with me today.

Next week, long run will be back down to 10 miles and then I'll pyramid up again week after week to 18... (10, 12, 14, 16 and then 18). Then, I'll bring it back down for the taper and should be primed for Ironman Arizona.

By the way, the race is two months from yesterday... so we're really starting to reel in the days. It'll be here before we know it!

-- TJ

Monday, September 21, 2009

Threat Assessment

Approaching River and Falls Road

On my brick ride the other day, I got to thinking about cycling. I was riding around the noon hour on a beautiful Sunday in September. I live in Montgomery County, MD... a very urbanized area. Sometimes, my mind can wander and I was riding on Randolph Road and realized I wasn't paying attention to the road for about 90 seconds. This is not good and actually can be very dangerous.

Typically, on a bike ride, I am constantly doing a threat assessment. Approaching an intersection, lots of data needs to be processed. Is the light red, yellow or green? How many cars are around me? Are there pedestrians? Is there anyone pulling out of the driveway? I even look at drivers and make assessments based on what I see. Someone with a bike on their bike rack is viewed as a friendly. A mom in a minivan with kids and out of state plates is eyed warily as they may get distracted or not be used to driving while there are cyclists around.

And, that's a whole 'nother thing. When riding with a group, it can be very hairy. I float towards the rear or try to ride off the front so I can minimize how much information I need to process. Conditions of the road are another thing. I was on a ride a couple weekends ago when three guys all hit the same pothole. When you're moving fast, even hitting bumps in the road can be a disaster waiting to happen.

Anyway, I thought I'd post about this because I did drift off mentally the other day. I have to remain vigilant at all times. Recently, a DC Tri guy who was training for Ironman Florida wrecked on his bike and broke his clavicle. His Ironman dream is over... for this year (Tuan will be back, though... I'm certain of it!).

I was reminded of a scene from "The Terminator". That's kind of what it looks like to me, sometimes.

"And it absolutely will not stop, ever..."

-- TJ

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Putting it all Together

Glorious weather this weekend. Though, a crisp fall chill is in the air as the sun comes up. It reminds me why doing a late season Ironman can be difficult.

I had a nice long ride yesterday. I rode with Davis, another neighborhood dad who I've ridden with before, and then we were joined by Eric Guzman-Alvarez at the BP (River and Falls Road). A DC Tri Club member, Eric is doing IMAZ, too. Eric rode out to Poolesville with me. I felt real strong on the bike and I was definitely leading the way and even felt good on River Road. I flatted on W. Williard Road outside Poolesville and we didn't have enough CO2 to complete changing the spare. But, a couple of Columbian dudes stopped and had a pump. It was funny, Eric, who is from Puerto Rico and these two Columbians were helping a native Montgomery County guy change his bike tire outside Poolesville, MD. I don't know... I think it's funny.

Anyway, I got in 78 miles. Really felt strong on the bike. Though, near the middle of the ride, it was clear that the cleat on my right bike shoe is too worn out. I slipped out of my pedal a couple of times and I had to concentrate on holding it just right to stay clipped in.

Today, a brick workout was on the schedule. I was planning on riding 50 - 60... but I wasn't able to get all that in. It was chilly this morning and I couldn't get it going in time. Davis was going to ride with me but texted that he couldn't make it. So, I admit it... I was not really interested in getting out there in the cold. So, i waited until the sun was out and things warmed up... but because Linda was at a work thing, I had to keep the ride short as I couldn't leave Jessica Rose along too long. It made for a good run, though... felt great... I think I'm starting to put it all together.

Here's a little post-workout summary...

Chocolate Endurox... my favorite post workout drink.

Hey... anyone seen Willie lately?

-- TJ

Friday, September 18, 2009

Training Build

Started another training build this week.

Too tired to write

-- TJ

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Training State Update

My sister Jessica and I before the 5k

My rest from training has continued somewhat. On Sunday, I ran in a 5k with my sister. The Victims Fund Run in Anne Arundel County. I met Jessica at her house and we rode the 10 or 12 miles on bike over to the race site. Then we ran. Then we rode back to her house by way of Annapolis. That part of the ride was about 20 miles, I believe. I can't remember. It wasn't much but it was still a nice workout. I placed 5th in my age group (40 - 49) with a time of 23:42 in the 5k. That is 7:38 miles which is pretty good for me. My heart rate on that was 158. I was definitely pushing it. All in all, a nice brick workout.

I took Monday and Tuesday off again. It has been a while since I've lifted weights. I did do the long run this morning. I think I did about 15.5 miles in a run time of 2:23. Avg. HR was 134. That's 9:16 per mile pace which is not too shabby for me.

Tomorrow... I'm going to try and fit in a bike ride and also hit the weight room. No weight room also means no core exercises and I'm already starting to feel fat.

Annapolis City Dock. Beautiful Sunday morning

Last... a shout out to Chad who completed the Everest Challenge. He climbed over 29,000 feet of mountains in California over 2 days and over 200 miles. You should see the elevations. Mr. Adorable is now Mr. Mountain Goat. Well done, Chad. Well done.

King of the Mountain from IMFL Class of 2006

-- TJ

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bear Week

I cracked this week. I admit it. I was so toasted that my workouts dropped off the table. Here is what happened...

- I had a tremendous Labor Day weekend build of training. Two weeks in a row I did the Sugarloaf Mountain ride, which is a harder ride than you'd expect. Running... swimming... I don't think I'd missed a day of training since early August.

- I took Tuesday off.

- Wednesday, I did the long run after work.

- I haven't been taking my asmtha medication and I started experiencing some real breathing issues this week... on Tuesday is when it really started. I had a pain in my right lung, closer to my back. It only hurt when I breathed (HA!). It also felt like the vessels in the right side of my neck were constricted... it felt tight or kind of like a pinch. A lot of mucous build up, too. Spitting and sniffling stuff out of my nose. Glad you read this bullet point?

- So, I was toasted on Thursday. Was supposed to ride. No chance. I did go to the gym after work. I changed into my gym clothes. I spotted for Linda on flat bench. Then I just watched as she did the rest of her workout. One of the dudes who lifts heavy even made a wise crack about how my workout was going. I managed to NOT lift a weight, do any core... or even stretch. A total goose egg.

- Friday... morning swim on the schedule. I woke up at 5;15 am. Immediately texted Colette and informed her I was out. I could barely breath and was coughing up a lung. No chance. Tempo Run at lunch? Forget about it. Not even close.Plus, I had my one year checkup with Dr. Vu. He thinks my eyes look ok but the right eye does have a couple of thin spots in the retina. Honestly, I was starting to get more concerned about the breathing thing.

- Today... woke up late... puttered around the house. I was scheduled to ride long... but only like 60 miles. About 11 am, I clipped in and headed out. I actually felt better and the chest pain was very minor. I managed to get in 54 miles. Rode downtown... lots happening... Nations Triathlon tomorrow so everyone was racking up their bikes today. There was a Tea Party, too. Linda went down there and I rode over to the Capitol to spend a little time with her. Thousands of people were there. Seemed like a big crowd. Sitting here on the couch posting to this blog, my chest feels the best it has all week. Strange, isn't it?

Big shout out to Chad who is doing the Everest Challenge as I write this. 120+ miles of riding today with like 15,000 feet of climbing or something retarded like that. Go get 'em, Chad!

Tomorrow... Victims Fund Run in Severna Park, MD. I'm doing the 5k with my sister. We're going to make a brick out of it. We'll ride our bikes there, run, and then do a longer ride back to her house. Should be fun.

TJ & Linda in front of the US Capitol at a Tea Party

-- TJ

Friday, September 11, 2009

God Bless America

Never Forget

I love America. I am proud to be an American. And I am grateful for the men and women in uniform who served and are serving my country.

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
- John F. Kennedy

-- TJ

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Long, Slow, Distance Run

Longest run to date this training season... 1:52 run AVG HR 133... I think it was about 12 miles. Some things to note about this run...

1. It came AFTER work... was still torched this morning when alarm went off at 4:15 am. My running buddy, Colette, had already bagged the run as she texted about not feeling good last night. I held off until after work and work was a long tough slog today. Tough day.

2. I didn't eat a lot today. But, still my stomach was a little sloshy went I ran out. I don't think it ever settled down.

3. DANG IT... iPod Shuffle wasn't charged... so no music for the long run. There is no music race day but there is a lot of stimuli... running around Sligo Creek and Wheaton Regional Parks (for the 100th time... at least) could use a little 80s Metal spruce up.

This part of Ironman training is the tough part. Everything is long distance on long day and now I'm adding the speed workouts, too. My weight training has already decreased as I missed Monday and last Monday was really a haphazard workout. Supposed to hit the gym tomorrow but also manage to get in a bike ride. Rain is in the forecast so it might wind up being a stationary bike ride. We'll see...

Anyone heard anything from Willie?

-- TJ

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cynthia (Cindy) Reichhardt - Rest in Peace

She fought long and hard. She was a beautiful woman and a wonderful mother. Linda and I will miss you.

Cancer does not spare even the kind and gentle people in our lives.

-- TJ