Ironman Vineman: Do It Once, Brag Forever.

IRONMAN Vineman

A huge thanks to my wife Virginia for supporting me through this endeavor. Being pregnant and managing a 2 year old was not easy when I was training 15+ hours a week. Also a thanks to my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and their kids for cheering me on throughout the race. I could not have done this without all your support.

About a year ago I raced in and completed my first Ironman race. It was one of the most challenging things I have done and probably will ever do. For those who do not know, and Ironman distance triathlon is the pinnacle of multi-sport, the longest and most grueling version of an already difficult contest. The race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and then a full 26.2 mile marathon. All said and done, 140.6 miles in one day.

Each race has it’s own specific difficulty and with close to 4000 feet of elevation gain on the bike and over 1000 feet on the run, the Vineman Triathlon is no slouch when it comes to difficulty. Lucky for me I was training in 90+ temperatures so though some were complaining of the high if 82, I was ready to go! I’ve already written about my twenty weeks of training for the race so I will start with the arrival at the hotel through the finish line.

Arrival in Santa Rosa

On Thursday, July 23rd in the evening, we arrived in Santa Rosa and checked into our room at the Marriott. Upon walking into our room I noticed the distinct smell of marijuana and we were immediately upgraded to a different and much large room (Thanks Residence Life). After check-in we met the family and settled in for the night. Friday would start the race prep.

Friday, the Day Before

Friday morning started out with a brisk tune up ride through Santa Rosa. Just thirty minutes to keep the legs nice and loose.

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Next it was prep time for all of my race nutrition. The one thing you do not see that much on timelines is the massive amount of planning that goes into proper nutrition during an Ironman. Over the course of 140.6 miles, you’ve got to eat, drink, and take enough supplements to that you can avoid the dreaded BONK and finish strong.

It took me about three years to figure this out but thanks to my friends at Hammer Nutrition, I finally got on a good plan. I basically take all of their supplement and electrolyte pills. An hour before the race began and each hour thereafter I averaged 5 supplement pills. Depending on which hour it was in a three-hour cycle, the mix of pills would vary and this is the cycle that works well for me on long training days. In addition I would eat a GU gel (Blackberry with caffeine) each hour, totaling 15 gel packs in a day. It got kind of rough.

Specifically on the ride, I had two water bottles at all times. The first was a 24oz filled just with water that I refilled every 2 hours on the bike. The second was a 28oz that had a double serving of Hammer Perpetuem Strawberry that would last four hours. This mix would be made a second time halfway through the bike. I also ate a Hammer bar at the start of the bike and at the halfway point.

On the run, I would drink at every mile marker table, and carry with me a tablet version of Perpetuem or “Solids” as they call them and eat one every 20 minutes (These are chalky and very rough to chew but totally worth it). This food, if you choose to call it that, allowed me to avoid anything they offered at the assistance tables so that I wouldn’t cause tummy problems late in the race (It happens, always stick to your plan).

You may be thinking, that is a ridiculous amount of supplies, how did you carry it all? Well, in an Ironman race, since it is so long (At least for me), you can pack a bike assistance bag and a run assistance bag in advance. The bike bag would be left for you at the 55 mile marker and I packed it with my second half supplies, sunscreen, and new bike tire tubes just in case. My run bag, which I could stop at when I began each of the three run loops, had two full water bottles, supplements, new socks, baby powder, sunscreen, and Vaseline. These assistance bags were glorious!

All totaled, I likely consumed close to 3500 calories and 350 ounces of water during this race. Seems like a lot but it is nowhere near what I burned and sweated off over 14 hours. Ok, that was a long aside but totally important so now onto the rest of race prep.

After getting packed it was time for my Dad, Sherpa extraordinaire, and I to go on an adventure.

First stop was Windsor High, the main site of the race where I could do packet pickup and set up my run transition area. Since this was my first Ironman, I didn’t realize how serious they were about you knowing what was going on. After standing in line for twenty minutes waiting to get my packet, I learned that I could not have it unless I sat through a half hour orientation. So off we went to orientation. Sat through it, didn’t learn anything new, but got my yellow X that allowed me to get my packet and bags.

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After checking in I and getting my run transition ready we were off on a course charting car ride. First we drove out to Johnson Beach where the swim and bike transition would take place in the morning. This gave me a good idea on timing for arrival, where to park, and the look of the river in which we would be swimming.

Next it was time to drive the first loop of the 112-mile bike ride. I felt like this was important since I would spend the majority of my time on the bike. This decision proved fruitful right away because we missed the hard right turn down basically an alley at mile 5. That would have been bad on race day. The rest of the drive was relatively uneventful if not scenic with a quick stop to check out Chalk Hill Road, the largest climb (Elevation gain 385 feet) that I would hit at miles 45 and 100.

When we got back to the Windsor high school I decided to forgo driving the 5-mile connection road back to the 2nd loop and go back to the hotel. This almost proved to be a very bad decision (More on that later).

Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel, check into my separate hotel room, eat some Clif Bars for dinner, and get to bed early (Like 7am early). Luckily, unlike other races I slept well, so thankful for that.

3AM Saturday Morning, RACE DAY!

Though it seems early, 3am had and continues to be a normal wakeup time for me and probably most Ironman triathletes. I woke up, ate my normal spoonful of peanut butter, a Clif Bar, and had a cup of coffee from my portable Keurig. I took the “Don’t add anything new to your routine” advice pretty seriously. Next I finished packing up my two assistance bags and the rest of my swim and bike gear and hopped in the car with my dad for the drive to Johnson’s Beach.

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We arrived about an hour before race time, which gave me more than enough wiggle room to get my bike transition all set up, and pee 75 times (I get nervous). I dropped off my assistance bags, donned my wetsuit and it was time to race!

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The 2.4-Mile Swim AKA “Wait, I can just stand up?”

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Twenty weeks and really three years had been leading up to this moment. It was time to see if I could become an Ironman. I was in the first wave at 6:30am with the elite racers (Whom I would never see again, just sayin). Though I can safely say that for the first three minutes of the race, I was keeping pace in the front of the pack!

I waded into the water and waited. Finally, the gun went off and it was time to swim.

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Like my other races, I waited 30 seconds to let all the competitive people go so that I could avoid getting kicked in the face. While this helped initially, the course was so narrow that getting kicked in the head, neck, body, and legs, was all but inevitable during the eighty minute swim, but oh well.

This swim course was two loops with the second loop ending a bit before the beginning at an exit corral. I got into my rhythm quickly but it was broken up periodically by the shallow river. At points, the river got so shallow that I was raking the ground with my hands. At the far end of the loop people were even standing up since it was too difficult to swim. Admittedly this was a little strange and led to minor calf cramping but I powered through.

2.4-miles is close to 4000 meters or 80 laps in a pool so things get boring pretty quick. Also swimming in open water requires you to pay a lot more attention lest you add to your swim by going in a zigzag. There are also no water or supplements to be had so you just need to get it done.

I’ll be honest this was the part of the race for which I was most prepared as I tend to overdo it on the swim training. The shallow water and my inability to swim straight made things a little difficult but I took down that swim with little issue in 1:23:40, only 2 minutes off my goal time!

I trudged out of the water feeling pretty good and got caught in picture and video by my brother, Evan, who had arrived to see me complete that portion of the race. After that he got really into the day and we had some fun interactions over the course of the race. Now it was time for the bike!

 

Transition #1: Swim to Bike

I will say it now and always, I suck at taking off wetsuits. It’s not really something I can practice and I was not on board with someone ripping it off of me. Oh well, after fighting my suit off and downing some water and a GU gel. I tossed on my Rutgers cycling kit over my tri-suit for some additional butt padding and I was off. Taking some awesome advice from a volunteer I walked my bike up the initial steep hill so I had flat road on which to clip in. After that it was 112 miles to the run.

The 112 Mile Bike AKA “Please God No Flat Tires”

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As I mentioned before, my brother really got into this race once I left the water. At first I complained about the car in this picture below until I realized that was him driving behind me until I hit the 5-mile alley turn. I didn’t miss that turn and the first set of hills and then settled into my race. The course was beautiful. Almost every few miles we would come across another vineyard. Some riders even dismounted to take photos (I did not, not a chance). Really the first 2-3 hours were my time to get settled, lower my heart rate, and shovel in some much needed nutrition.

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At around hour three I hit the first pass through Chalk Hill Road, the largest hill at an elevation gain of 385. I had been training on hills ranging from 300-700 so the first pass through this hill was not too bad, the second time though…

After Chalk Hill it was all downhill back to Windsor. I was flying down the much nicer roads trying so hard to hit my 3:45 split, that I tore by my entire family with only a wave. And they were all ready with signs and everything.

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Now, I thought they would be closer to the halfway point but I admit I did see them about a quarter mile out; I just wasn’t going to stop with so much momentum behind me. Do I regret that now, yeah. Would I go back and stop if given the chance…probably not. It’s all about the timing chip y’all.

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IMG_0283Anyway I reached the halfway point and stopped to restock my gels and water bottles. So far no flats but I grabbed my extra tire tubes anyway. After a few minutes there I was off on the last 56 miles of the bike.

You remember that I mentioned the choice to skip driving the 5-mile connection to loop number 2? Well this was the reckoning. At this point the riders were spread out and I was practically alone for this stretch. For the whole 5 miles, there were no signs, no arrows, no volunteers, and only one rider about a mile behind me. This is where I encountered the real challenge of Ironman, the voices inside your own head. “You can’t do this, you’re too weak, just quit…” Well this time the voices were screaming, “You went the wrong way, you’re lost, that guy shouldn’t be following you”. Hearing that for 20 minutes of riding gets tough and I almost pulled up and stopped on some random bridge to turn around but then, in the distance, I saw the road come to a T and decided to see where that would take me. I was elated to see a right turn arrow on the road just at the T and knew I was going the correct way, voices be damned!

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Again things settled in for a few hours until the real test, Chalk Hill Road pass #2. This was mile 100 and I could feel the downhill stretch calling my name. I was feeling good so those voices urged me to push hard up that hill. “This is your chance to pass a bunch of people,” they said. And I listened. I fought my way up that hill, passing rider after rider until I crested the top. Super proud I sat down to catch my breath and then….CRAMP!!!

It was mile 100, what the hell was I thinking! This cramp was on the inside of my right thigh and got worse with every rotation of my pedals. There was nothing I could do but stop, get off the bike, and massage it out. Luckily I had a few emergency salt pills and downed those with half a bottle of water. Sadly, all those people I passed victoriously sailed by probably thinking “What an idiot”.

A few minutes later I was able to gingerly mount my bike and continue on my way. The final twelve miles were relatively uneventful. All I wanted was to get off that damn bike and start my Marathon. I made it back to the high school with no more incidents and hit my goal time on the bike at 7:30:10!

Current amount of time in motion: 8 hours and 53 minutes. Yeah, it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Just a reminder, the race began at 6:30am, just some perspective. Now onto the final transition! Oh and by the way, NO FLATS!!!!

Transition #1: Bike to Run

This transition was a bit weird. You had to dismount a significant distance away from the transition zone and run, in cycling shoes, to your stuff. I took the 10 seconds and removed my shoes to avoid slipping and maybe cramping from that awkward walk. My feet did not like that but it was my only option. My family was around again and got to see me fly into this transition, my dad and brother even got photos and video of me coming though and getting ready for the Marathon.

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I stripped off my Rutgers kit and was finally down to the bare bones. Tri-suit, shoes, hat, and race belt. It was time for the final 26.2

The Marathon AKA “No Way In Hell I’m Getting a Glow Necklace”

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Loop #1: I’m feeling good!

All that stood between me and Ironman glory was 26.2 miles of running. No big deal. The run course of the Vineman consisted of three ~8.75 mile loops and about 1200 feet of elevation gain mostly set in miles 3 and 4 of each loop. That final hill was brutal…just brutal. I started out pretty strong logging my first mile at around 9 minutes but as I came past mile 3, I hit the hills. It was at this point on my first loop that my mile time crossed into the 10 minutes zone and climbed each time I hit those hills. For the first loop I was doing pretty well with nutrition. The GU gels were getting old and my Perpetuem solids were not too chalky just yet. I was very thirsty though and I was drinking 1-2 cups of water at every mile marker. The 82 degree heat didn’t help much either.

Anyway, as I approached the high school, my family was there waiting to cheer me on. My nephews Owen and Ari ran with me when they could.

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I hit the first loop marker at 1:34:15, a bit faster than goal pace and I was still feeling pretty good. Stopping at the aid tent for my aid bag, I restocked, drank some water, applied Vaseline where it was needed, and changed my socks. Then I was off on lap number two.

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Loop #2: Pit Stops Galore

My issue on the second lap, aside from the hills knocking my mile time over 11 minutes, was over hydration. I had consumed way too much water on that first lap and damn did I have to pee. Often. This was unpleasant but at least there were Porto potties at every mile marker. I used almost every single one on this lap. I tried to dial back the water and added ice to my hat to deal with the heat but the damage was already done. Stopping to pee every 10 minutes really makes it hard to get into a rhythm.

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Once I hit those mile 3 and 4 hills I knew I couldn’t keep running anymore. I had to start cycling in a walking minute. I began doing 9 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking which seemed to help. But I was starting to feel the pain of the day take on a life of its own.

There was one thing that pushed me on this lap. The race rules stated that if you finished lap two past a certain point (Where they knew you would finish in the dark), you would have to wear a glow in the dark necklace. There was no possible way I was getting one of those at the start of the third lap; I would not be out on the road in the darkness. NO WAY. You could see my pace pick up slightly in the final two miles of that loop, all to avoid the dreaded necklace and as I came back to the high school, I knew I had beaten the clock!

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This loop was finished in 1:43:50, slower than my estimated pace but I was there, only one loop to go! Once again I restocked, said hi to the family and was back on my way.

Loop #3: You Can Do This! Just Keep Moving!

The third loop and final 8.75 miles were the hardest I have ever done in my life. As you draw closer and closer to the end, your body truly begins to recognize the magnitude of punishment you have bestowed upon it. I hurt. In my soul. While this loop was a war with my body, it was more so a war with my mind. My brain was tired and it stopped wanting to take in any more GU gels, powders, or water. Everything began to taste foul and it took every fiber of my being to place one foot in front of the other. Those voices were back in full force telling me I wouldn’t make it and that I just wasn’t strong enough. This time I started to believe them.

When I came back to the final set of hills, I could barely run anymore. I went down to a 4 minute jog, 1 minute walk and on those hills it was mostly a walk. My mile time peaked here at 12:50 and I began to feel like I was carrying another person on my back. I made it up those hills to the final turn around and knew only 4 miles remained and it was all (Mostly) downhill from there

Pacing out the 4/1 split on my watch and counting all the people with glow necklaces still going out on their last loop was all I could do to keep my brain active. I forced down one final GU gel, ignoring the urge to vomit, and pressed on. Finally reaching the last mile.

It was there that I spotted my brother and my nephew, Owen, who wanted to run with me on the final mile. I tossed my disgusting hat to my brother and Owen and I made our way to the finish line. Sadly, yes, at the end of the Ironman, a 6 year old could pace me. That’s how bad things really were.

As I rounded the final turn and saw the finish line funnel, it hit me for real that I was going to do it. I was going to complete an Ironman!

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With the finish line in front of me, I reached over and grabbed a hold of Samantha who was waiting, confused and exhausted, and together, as is family tradition now, marched triumphant across the finish line. I had done it! IMG_0357

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It is hard to describe the feeling that comes with accomplishing a feat so challenging but crossing that finish line was and will always be one of the greatest experiences of my life. Period. I had completed something I never thought I could and didn’t think I would until I did. With a final loop of 1:50:27 and a 5:08:35 marathon, I was finished! I was an IRONMAN!

Final Time: 14:17:23

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So You Want to Train for a Full 140.6 Ironman

In April of 2015 it was time to begin serious training for the Ironman Vineman that was to take place on July 25th of that same year. I had done two triathlons leading up to this event, one Olympic distance in 2013 and one Half-Iron in 2014 but nothing could prepare me for the massive amount of training that would take place over the next sixteen weeks.

For the first two triathlons I created my own training plan based off of a little research and some assumptions on how far I would need to be able to go in each sport to survive the race distance. I had also incorporated weight training and insanity workouts into the mix just for good measure. For the Olympic race, this worked out well but it became readily apparent that I was not up to par for the half-iron distance. That race was the hardest thing I had ever done and I honestly thought I wouldn’t finish. When you are on the side of the road trying to fix a flat tire with hands shaking from the onset of heat exhaustion, you come to the realization that you do not know what you are doing and need some expert help.

For the Ironman I knew I should find a training plan that could help me finish and hit my goal time of approximately fourteen hours. Luckily the Vineman had a training plan designed specifically for the race by someone who had completed the race for many years. Upon opening up the first four weeks of training, I realized immediately how bad my self-designed plans really were. Here is a sampling of the revelations in training I discovered from this plan:

  1. Train by heart rate with a heart rate monitor. This was a game changer
  2. Swim way less and with a purpose. I was swimming a ridiculous amount.
  3. Shorter distances with intervals during the week then long and slow on weekends.
  4. Short runs after most weekend bikes just to get used to transition.
  5. Full on triathlons at the end of each four-week block. This was intense but worth it.
  6. Don’t lift weights after week two. This made me so happy.
  7. Proper nutrition and supplements are super helpful. Enter Hammer Nutrition

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As a final note before I get into what it was like to train for this race it is important to say that proper gear is a must. I got a carbon fiber Cannondale, new racing gear, new shoes, a Garmin, and so much more. It was really costly (Though probably a tenth of what others spend) but all worth it to make the transition to Ironman.

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Ok, here we go!

Training for an Ironman, no matter how you cut it, is totally ridiculous. If I was single and worked a 9-5 maybe, but I was married, with one child, another on the way (Born now, hi Brianna!), in a job with long hours, and starting a PhD program. Not the best grouping of responsibilities to which to add fifteen or so hours of training. Luckily, it was quickly approaching summer, which meant slightly less intensity at work and warmth in the early morning hours.

The first four weeks were really the ramping up process so it was not too intense, only 4-5 hours of training on each Saturday and 1.5 on each Sunday, no biggie. Average of 13 hours of training each week. Even the 1.5 mile swim, 2.5 hour ride, and 1 hour run was manageable. Then I received the second block of the training plan. I had wondered in the beginning why the coach sent out the training plan staggered in blocks of four. Now I realize that it was a way to stop me from panicking and quitting had I seen the whole plan up front.

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During the second four-week block of training things started to get a bit interesting. This was the time when I started to read for my first full week of PhD class and when the doctor told Virginia that she could no longer pick up our daughter. This meant that I had to be home as much as possible and had to substitute training during naptime for reading for class. All in all this materialized as waking up earlier, like 3:30am earlier for training. Weekends also started to get tough. Over five hours of training on Saturdays followed by two hours of training on Sundays start to take a toll on family life. It was not uncommon for me to need to shift things around in order to get Sammy to gym class or to meet a job commitment.

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The worst was the five-hour full triathlon on the last day of the training block. Since I had to swim at the gym and then drive home to bike (Lest my bike get stolen) things were complicated by the fact that the gym opened at 6am on weekends. Why does it open that late on weekends? Good question. Couple that with closing at 8pm and weekend training is really hindered. This issue resulted in me biking an hour, swimming, biking, and then running. This really sucked but it was the best I could do. It was also around this time that I started burning through books on tape at a nice and expensive clip. Block two, fourteen hours of training each week.

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Week nine of training began what we call the “Triathlon Widow and Orphan” phase of the Ironman experience. Average training time per week increased to sixteen hours and there were only so many hours before Sammy awoke and when I had to go to work each day. This also began the very apparent sense of solitude. I also had to randomly travel to a Risk Summit in Oakland so, my gear came with me. Walking through a hotel lobby with a bike over your arm surrounded by suited up professionals is interesting.

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Once you pass over 4.5 hours of riding each Saturday you have to become very comfortable with yourself, especially when you are training for an Ironman all alone. The most ridiculous part of this stage of training was that I began to need to stop at home to replenish water bottles on every Saturday ride. You can only have so much water on the bike and 5 hours was my limit. There is also an alpaca farm at around mile 35, we have become friends.

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Week ten I hit 88 miles on the bike, which was a very interesting distance. This meant that I needed to start a second loop since my longest loop was 68 miles. It also meant that even though I would begin my rides at 4am I would inevitably run into the other cyclists in town as some point. There is something very satisfying about the look on their faces when they ask you what mile you are on and you reply with “Eighty” at around 9am. I was also reading a ton and basically had given up on balancing everything. My only recourse was taking Sammy along on some of my runs; the Bob Ironman stroller was a godsend.

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The final practice triathlon in week twelve was the most intense of them all; in fact, it was a true Half-Ironman. This week was also the tail end of June and super hot. In order to make sure I was prepared for what was coming in four weeks, I did the workout in order, which meant I started at 6am and finished around 2pm. By 2pm it was 97 degrees out, which was both good and bad. Bad because I almost passed out from heat exhaustion, good because the predicted high for the race was 82 degrees. Let’s just say I had almost reached my breaking point.

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Week thirteen was the peak and by far the most intense week. Topping off at seventeen hours of training, the only blessing was knowing that the taper would begin the following Monday. This was also the week I would leave for Colorado for my first class yet somehow I still had to get all my training in before leaving (OK, that didn’t work out so well). That weekend was when I realized how nonsensical training for an Ironman really is. I had to ride six hours and run thirty minutes on Saturday, but it was going to be super hot. My solution, just get up at 2:45am. 2:45!!! How stupid is that?

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Anyway, I did it and then had to follow up with a 2:30am wake up the next day to go for 2 hours of the total 2:45 run. This is because I then had to catch a flight at 8am down in Fresno. And of course I picked up the last 45min that evening in Fort Collins in the pouring rain. Cause, why not?

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Thankfully things began to calm down and that next week in Colorado I was able to get some elevation training in which would give me a big boost on race day but since I had no bike, I had to ride in doors. That is no fun, no fun at all. I’m pretty sure my cohort thought I was very strange since I would go swim most days at lunch and then workout 1-2 more times each day. But that’s ok; they know I am strange now.

The final two weeks of Ironman training are kind of odd. They are a mixture of rest, reconnecting with that family who forgot me, planning for the race itself (That is a whole other post entirely), being confused as to why I’m not running seven hours, and reading articles that tell me I am going to die during the race. Really, I searched a lot of articles and had numerous panic attacks in the final weeks. Luckily, I also had a paper due for school so that distracted me…I guess.

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Before you know it, race day is upon you and you forget what you went through leading up to it but I still say that the training is what gets you, not the race itself. 240 hours, which is 10 days of my life, went to preparing for my first Ironman and I don’t regret it for a moment.

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Wildflower Long Course 2014: Triathlon Training Plan

Well here we go again. It’s time for training to start up again! This time it is for the Wildflower Long Course (An unbranded Half-Ironman), distances of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. After Training for two Olympic distance triathlons and competing in one, I have revised this plan based on a few things I learned over the past year:

  1. I need to spread things out a bit instead so I do not get too exhausted. I also need to vary up some of the training so it doesn’t get stale. This time around I will be doing a 4/1 week cycle so I can build longer but more slowly between recovery weeks.
  2. I did not run enough. Aside from everything, the run being the final leg means that I need to put in more miles in my Brooks.
  3. I was not fast enough in the bike and the run. I was in the middle of the pack in my swim but bottom in the other two. While I can run more, biking much more is unlikely so I need to incorporate other things into training to strengthen my legs.
  4. I need to be stronger all around. This time, I plan to build in Insanity and P90X workouts into training to help with that issue. I am also spreading out my weight workouts over two weeks and five sessions. This way I can isolate body parts more over the course of the 20 weeks.
  5. I need to get much, MUCH better in the transitions. I was literally last in the bike to run transition and close to it from swim to bike. Mainly because I didn’t know what I was doing. It was also hard to transition my legs to the new activity in the bike to the run. To fix this I have built in brick workouts (Bike to Run) at the end of every 4 week cycle. This increases each time to almost 80% of the actual distance 2 weeks before the race.
  6. I definitely need to be lighter. Every pound lost is one I do not have to carry with me. I managed to gain back 15 of the 20 pounds from the last race so my work is cut out for me but my goal is to be under 170 by May 1st. That will be close to a pound a week and 5 pounds less than the Olympic but I know I can do it. The big thing will be figuring out how to keep the weight off this time around.

While this seems daunting, I am in a much better place than December 2012 when I started training for the first Wildflower. You can see the difference in the weeks in the following picture, a much better baseline from which to start.

Tri 12-13_Page_1With I year of training under my belt, I am positive that this plan will work well for me. Though I do need to remain flexible because an 8-12 month old will throw a wrench in the plan pretty regularly. Even when she sleeps well I mess myself up by leaving the car in the garage instead of the driveway. It will be little things like that plus some travel and a unpredictable work schedule that will make things interesting but one way or another a half-ironman will be run. The really fun part is that the race is on Samantha’s birthday and those of you who read this blog know that Sam was born 2 days before the race last year (You can read that post here). This means that regardless of USAT rules and regulations, Sam will be accompanying me across the finish line. They can disqualify me if they want.

Below is the plan. Set up in 4/1 cycles with two, 2 week intervals, followed by 2 weeks of peak and weeks of taper. In the mix are a Spartan Sprint, a Spartan Super, and the D.C Half Marathon. NASPA week will be a mess and this year it is not a recovery week so we will play that one by ear, good thing it starts with Half Marathon. I’ve also spread out all the different activities across the 2 week intervals but build faster with each week. Overall, the increases from last year to this year are: Swim 20% more, Bike 14% more, and Run 70% more. The big change is the increase and isolation in strength training plus a bunch of other workouts. These include weekly Insanity workouts plus P90X and abdominal workouts every other week. I’ve also added a spin class each Friday to help with speedwork though I have to increase the intensity far beyond what the instructor does. The age and fitness levels are kind of out of sync.

Well, that’s the story, we will see how it all pans out over the next few weeks. Take a look below at the plan and let me know what you think.

Wildflower 2014 Training Plan_Page_1 Wildflower 2014 Training Plan_Page_2 Wildflower 2014 Training Plan_Page_3 Wildflower 2014 Training Plan_Page_4 Wildflower 2014 Training Plan_Page_5

 

One Year On My Little Fuji

newest-10-usa2-main-photo-largeOne year ago today I rode my Fuji Newest 1.o for the first time. I had not ridden a bike since middle school and never a road bike. It was a different feeling to be on a road bike, lighter and more connected to the ride. When I first started riding on my Fuji, the 3.5 mile ride to work was difficult but over time my skill and endurance has increased. I’ve added better wheels and adjusted the fit to my size. I started training more seriously and have significantly increased my capacity to ride. While training for my first triathlon I maxed out at 160 miles in one week. My longest ride to date is 50 miles and my top speed is 35.50 mph. A huge difference from the first time on the bike. I have also had over a dozen flat tires (Most before I upgraded to GatorSkin tires) and two pretty stupid crashes, one leading to a new wheel entirely. Below is the recap of my first year, 261 rides, over 2000 miles and 100,000 calories down, many more to go. While I am saving for a real triathlon bike, my $800 Fuji will always be the bike that got me started as a cyclist. Here’s to hitting 3000 miles in 2013!

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Pacific Grove Triathlon Training Plan: July 2013

133_1Well this training plan is getting a bit beat up. With a newborn who doesn’t sleep more than four or five hours and trying to get multiple workouts in each morning I have been getting a bit run down. I’ve skipped a handful of workouts and adjusted more and my knee has been hurting. Additionally, I’ve begun practicing drills more when swimming. I picked up a set of Total Immersion swimming books and DVDs and have been trying to learn some swim technique. While I have not been swimming the laps on the plan, I have been spending an hour each swim day just drilling and it seems to be making a huge difference. When I do practice actual laps I am more balanced, swim smoother, and move further on each stroke. It feels a lot better, maybe I should try and learn some technique in running and cycling. I also recently did an Insanity workout and it kicked my butt so I’m thinking about how to work that and maybe some P90X back into training.

Anyway, in the official training plan I switch Tuesdays and Thursdays to try and space out my medium and long runs a bit. We will see how that goes. The whole month of July will probably be swimming drills so I won’t log those meters but the practice should pay off dividends. 2 months until the triathlon!

Tri Cal - July 2013
Click the link for a larger image

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