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