Monday, August 31, 2009


so maybe there is something to this running cadence thing after all. Sunday normally isn't a training day for me, but with all the golf and fantasy football drafting on Saturday, I missed my workout. I ran 3 miles yesterday afternoon - concentrating on my cadence the entire time. I counted my foot touches about once every 2-3 minutes and I was always at either 29 or 30 - right where I need to be. The result:

3 miles in 22:04 = 7:21/mile

This is without a doubt the fastest that I have ever run three miles, and I felt like I could have continued to run at this pace. For reference, my time in the Anthem 5K (3.1 miles) back in March of this year was 24:28 (7:53/mile) and I was pushing as hard as I could on this race, with nothing left at the end.

So I'm now a believer. Increasing your cadence is truly the best way to become a faster runner. The goal is to eventually get to the point where I don't have to concentrate to run at this new cadence, to where it's my natural running style. This will take lots of training, but there's no better time to do it than now - after all, this is technically my "off season".

For those keeping track, I did spin class (45 minutes on the bike) at the gym this morning. I didn't push it too hard, I'm still a little tired from my 3:45am wakeup call yesterday morning!

Speaking of Ironman, I checked this morning and 2345 people completed yesterday's race. The last guy crossing the line in 16:57:13 - 2 minutes and 47 seconds before the cutoff! Congrats to everyone that competed...even the 104 that started, but were not able to finish. Hopefully they will train harder and try it again!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Awesome Day!

Viktor Zyemtsev just won this year's Louisville Ironman Triathlon in record time, 8 hours, 25 minutes, 27 seconds!

As you know if you follow this blog, I volunteered during the first few hours of the race this morning. While getting up at 3:45am wasn't exactly fun, I'm glad I was a great experience. (check out my twitter entries from this morning --->)

First thing I did was sort and box all 3000 of the athlete's "Special Needs Bags" for the bike course. This is simply a bag that you can fill with anything that you might like to have halfway through the 112 mile bike portion of the race. We took the bags from each athlete and sorted them by bib number before placing them in large boxes that were loaded in a truck that transported the bags to the bike course. Most bags contained what you would expect - Gatorade, energy bars, fruit, PB&J sandwiches, etc. Most bags were full of way more than anyone would want to eat in the middle of an Ironman. Better safe than sorry I guess. I did come across several candy bars and even what appeared to be a can of warm German beer. Yum! FYI - last year's winner, Max Longree only had 3 PowerBars and some unidentified pills in his bag. If I had to guess, I would say that they were either salt tablets or caffeine pills.

After all the bags were sorted and driven off into the sunrise, I moved over to T1. Pretty impressive sight to see 3000 bikes all lined up ready to go. As I stood there waiting for the pro's to come in from the river, I heard a "pop", then a quick "hiss". This sound could only mean one thing - someone's bike tire had just popped! While not common, bike tires will blow when no one is even on the bike. This can happen for lots of reasons, but most likely they were over inflated. So once I heard the noise, I had to find the flat tire. The phrase needle in a haystack mean anything? I recruited 3 other guys and I was able to find it pretty quickly. The bike tech's on hand quickly repaired the tire and we put the bike back on the rack...the bike's owner never knew that it even happened.

That's the beauty of a race like this, all of the volunteers that do little things that no one ever sees. I've now been on both sides of a triathlon and I have a lot more respect for the volunteers now that I've been one. I heard 3 other tires pop during my 2 hours in T1...we found and fixed them all...doing our part to insure that someone's months/years of training doesn't go down the "tubes"...get it?

Friday, August 28, 2009

IRONMAN is here!

When most people here the word "Triathlon", they think of the Ironman race. It's the distance that started it all. 2.4 mile swim • 112 mile bike • 26.2 mile run.

Tomorrow is the Ironman Louisville Triathlon. Around 3000 athletes from over 20 countries will be competing. Even though I'm not racing, I'm really excited about it. I'm going to be volunteering as a "floater" on the Great Lawn from 5am-10am. I'll basically be "floating" around helping out with whatever comes up. I'll be posting what I'm doing throughout the day on Twitter (see Twitter updates on the right side of this blog), so check back in tomorrow morning.

All of the local TV stations will be on hand, so be sure and check out some of the coverage - they will no doubt share some of the great stories that have brought athletes to Louisville. If you want to see live coverage throughout the whole race, go to

Last year's winner did the race is 8 hours, 33 minutes, and 58 seconds. Most non-professionals are more in the 12-14 hour range. Think about that...12 to 14 hours of physical exercise. Pretty impressive!

I've got beef...

with the guys who designed the two Urban Active gyms here in Louisville that have lap pools. I've been swimming in these pools for over a year now, getting in my laps, improving my times, etc. All along, I assumed that both of these pools were 25 yards in length. Why would I assume this? Probably because the two standard pool lengths are 25 yards and 50 meters (Olympic).

During my training, I would swim 70 lengths of the pool(s) at the gym to get in a mile. I became discouraged and confused when my mile times at the Mary T. Meagher indoor Olympic pool were several minutes slower.

Well, come to find out, the geniuses that designed the pools at Urban Active, didn't make them 25 yards in length. I found out this week that the pool at the Taylorsville location is actually only 21 yards and the St. Matthews location is 24 yards! WHY?!?!

If the architects didn't know that a lap pool is supposed to be 25 yards, you would think that the company that actually designed and installed the pools would give them the heads-up.

So all along, I've been short-changing myself in my swim training. Now it gets even more difficult for me to determine just how far I'm swimming.

I only had 20 minutes to swim this morning. I ended up getting in 46 lengths of the pool at St. Matthews, which equals 1104 yards (I know, that just looks stupid). Time was 20:49, which translates to 33:11/mile.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More on cadence...

Ran 5 loops around the St. Matthew's Mall this morning (it's right next to the gym - I didn't drive to the mall to run around it!). That translates to 6.1 miles. Time was 49:04 (8:02/mile).

I made an effort to get my cadence to 29-30 strides per 20 seconds on the first lap and it made a huge difference. My first lap was at a 7:39/mile pace. As expected, my mind drifted and I settled into my normal running cadence over the next 5 miles - thus my pace slowed to my normal 8:15-8:30/miles. When I felt myself slowing down, I tried to quicken my pace by increasing my cadence. This is a totally different philosophy that I've used in the past. If I felt my pace slowing, I would always speed up by lengthening my stride. Now I increase my cadence instead, and while it feels weird, I can see how it's more effective.

I know from swimming, that the best way to improve your form is to do drills. So I'm going to have to incorporate the following drill into my run training:

1. Warm up by jogging slowly for half a mile.

2. Now begin to run at my normal training pace. After I've got my momentum going, start my watch. For exactly 1 minute, count the number of times my right foot touches the ground. This is my current cadence (turnover rate).

3. Jog slowly back to the start.

4. Repeat step 2, and try to increase the number of right-foot touches per minute by two to five. Follow up with another recovery jog.

5. Do two to four more repeats, continuing to increase foot-touches each time until I'm not running comfortably anymore. Back off the cadence at that point, and for any remaining repeats, maintain the number of foot-touches that allows me to stay relaxed while still using a faster turnover.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your turnover drills:

Do them at least twice a week. One weekly session will net only minimal improvement, and once a month won't help at all. Incorporate them either before a long run or after a short run.

Stay light on your feet. As you count your cadence, imagine you're running on thin ice. By touching very lightly, you minimize the delay between touchdown and push-off.

Stay low to the ground. The more time you spend in the air, the longer it takes your feet to make a cycle. And if you're bouncing too much, you're expending unnecessary energy pushing your body upward. If you're having trouble reducing bounce, try shuffling at first; that is, aim for a foot clearance of an inch or less from the surface. As you become used to less vertical motion, you can ease back to your natural foot lift.

Stay upright. Leaning forward will reduce your legs' freedom of motion and will slow down your turnover rate. To keep upright, imagine you're suspended from the top of your head like a marionette. Your head should be directly over your shoulders, neck muscles relaxed, shoulders over the hips.

Shorten your stride if necessary. If you're struggling to speed up your cadence, shorten your stride length during the first 10 to 15 seconds of each repeat. This should relax the leg muscles and encourage a faster turnover. Once your cadence has increased, you can gradually lengthen your stride to normal.

If I'm patient and stick with these drills, in several months I'll reset my body's running clock at a faster rate. Until then, I have to try not to "zone out" on my runs...which is going to be tough!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Running Cadence

I first heard the term "cadence" in spin class several years ago. Cadence represents the amount of full revolutions taken per minute (rpm). This is pretty easy to understand for cycling, but in running a revolution can also be referred to as a stride.

I was reading an article on a triathlon website a few weeks ago that discussed how important cadence is to increasing your endurance and speed. I've always thought that in order to run fast, I needed to increase the length of my stride...I was wrong.

If you look at elite distance runners (like those pictured above); you will find that they all have a very similar cadence. They all run with a cadence of around 88-94 strides per minute. Finding your cadence is actually pretty easy. Just count the number of times that your right (or left) foot hits the ground in 20 seconds. Then multiply this number by 3.

During my run yesterday morning, I counted my cadence three different times. First time I counted 28 foot strikes in 20 seconds, this equals a cadence of 84. Other two times I was at 27 (cadence of 81). So as you can see, my cadence isn't high enough. I'm not turning over my feet quick enough. But why does this matter?

1. A faster cadence means less impact and fewer injuries. With a lower cadence you spend more time in the air. A lower cadence causes you to come down harder on the ground with each landing. With a higher cadence and fewer injuries and running induced pain, we will be able to run more!
2. When spending more time in the air, you have greater opportunity for your leg to swing past your center of gravity and strike the ground in front of your body. A foot strike in front of your center of gravity actually slows your forward momentum down. When you don’t over stride, your foot strike and push-off work together to conserve and generate more momentum. So keep your cadence fast and your feet underneath you.
3. A higher cadence gives you more potential for speed when you bring the intensity up to a race pace effort. The bigger strides you take the further you are jumping from one foot to the other. You can only jump so far, so if you want to increase your speed, a higher cadence is the only way.

This sounds easy enough, but when I tried to increase my cadence to 90 (30 foot strikes in 20 seconds), my pulse rate jumped up to 172 very quickly. This means that I was working way too hard. So how do I improve my cadence without working too hard? I'll share that tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Feet. Meet Road.

Went for a 4 mile run this morning - weather was perfect! Got started right as the sun was coming up around 6:45 or so, and it was cool enough that I didn't even get a very good sweat going. Ran 4 miles in 31:56 (7:58/mile).

I decided to wear my heart rate monitor (HRM) this morning in addition to the normal watch I use for timing my training runs. I don't have one of those cool watches that does both...maybe Santa reads this blog! I've worn my HRM on the bike before and once before on a run. My heart rate started off in the 150's, but by the time I was a few miles in, it was holding steady around 163 or so. I don't know much about heart rate training, but I do know that you should be in the 70-75% of your max heart rate (MHR) during a base training run. Where I was today, the low 160's, is around 80% of my MHR.

What does this all mean? I'm not entirely sure, but plan to find out. I recently purchased "The Triathletes Training Bible" by Joe Friel. I know that he discusses training based on heart rate and lactate threshold, so I look forward to learning exactly how to use my heart rate data to improve my training.

Another thing I recently learned about has to do with your running cadence. I'll discuss this tomorrow...pretty interesting stuff.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Louisville Half-Marathon

The Louisville Marathon/Half-Marathon is on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

I will be competing in the half-marathon (13.1 miles). I've never done this race before, but it starts at Zorn Avenue and runs along River Road down past Waterfront Park and back. Flat course with a great view...should be fun!

My training started this morning with an hour on the bike at the gym. Yes, I realize that I cannot bike the half-marathon, but after pretty much taking last week off, I wanted to give my legs a little warm-up before hitting the pavement. Running will start tomorrow. Race day is only 8 weeks from yesterday, so I'll have to hit it pretty hard if I want to improve on my miniMarathon time. Being able to focus on running instead of running, swimming and biking will make the training a little more effective. I'll still mix in some easy rides and swims on days that I don't run.

I have a tentative training plan that I found online, but I will probably tweak it a bit over the next few days once I get some time to look at it in it's entirety.

Also - Happy 33rd Birthday to my brother Mark today! Congrats on getting another year closer to retirement!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week of gluttony

We'll, not really gluttony...but the closest I'll ever get to it. Once or twice a year, I will take a week and pretty much each whatever I want. The rest of the year, I'm pretty strict about my diet.

This past week was one of these weeks. So what did I eat? Here's some of my indulgences from the is past week:

- Bacon cheeseburger
- Taco Bell (bean burritos and volcano tacos!)
- Cinnamon graham crackers
- Dr. Pepper
- Jessica's banana pudding (best thing I've ever tasted...seriously)
- Peanut M&M's
- Papa John's pizza
- McDonald's Arctic Orange Shake
- Birthday cake and ice cream (anticipating this tonight at Mark's B-day celebration)

Training for my next event starts tomorrow. What's the next event? find out tomorrow...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ohio River Open Water Swim

Good learning experience today in the Ohio.

Things I learned:

1. Treading water for 5 minutes while fighting the current of the Ohio River is not easy! They had us all get in the water to "warm up" about 5 minutes before the race started. I swam out to the starting area and then began to try and stay in the same spot. The current was pushing me away from the starting line. Five minutes of this was a little more than a "warm up" for me.

2. How to recover from having my goggles kicked off my face. About 10 minutes into the swim, I was kicked on the left side of my face, knocking my goggles half way off. Instinctively, I reached up and pulled them back over my eyes...only problem was...they were now full of water. So I had to flip over on my back and empty the water out of them before putting them back on. Not easy to while swimming in a crowd of people.

3. I DO NOT swim straight! Sighting is a big problem for me. I know that I was zig-zagging all over the place. I just couldn't see the small buoys that they used and trying to follow other swimmers wasn't a good idea. I had to be directed back on course twice by dudes in kayaks.

4. I can swim 1.2 miles. This was the furthest that I've swam, so it's always good to reach a new milestone. I felt good coming out of the water and felt like I could have gone further.

Swimming in the river was a good experience. We went 0.6 miles up river (against the current), turned around, and went 0.6 miles down river (with the current). Current makes a huge difference and this was my first experience with it. If you don't constantly swim, and swim hard, you will go backwards! My time against the current was 31:24, with the current was 19:44...for a total time of 51:08.

As for how dirty the water is, I didn't really notice during the swim, but the white drawstring on my swim shorts is now brown...probably not a good sign!

Friday, August 21, 2009

What's that smell?

It's the Ohio River!

So they've pushed back the start of tomorrow morning's swim 90 minutes, so it will be around 10:15 before I'm in the water. This means I get to sleep a little longer!

Spent about 15 minutes in the pool this morning working on a few drills, just to get the muscles moving again. I did some bilateral breathing for a few laps, but I'm still not confident enough to try this in the river. The plan is to breath every other stroke, mainly to my left side, mixing in some right side breathing if I can (how many people there are around me and how choppy the water is will be the determining factors).

If I swim at the same pace I did at the tri last weekend, my time for the 1.2 miles tomorrow will be around 48 I'm shooting for anything under that.

Here are some pics from the Tri Indy...

Transition area before the race - that's a lot of bikes! (copyright Express Digital Graphics Inc.)

Me in the canal - body position actually looks pretty good! (pic from Sona)

Me exiting the swim - heading to T1 (another Sona pic)

In the midst of T1...White Lightning eagerly awaits! (another Sona pic)

Back to transition area after 24.8 on the bike (copyright Express Digital Graphics Inc.)

Heading out of T2 on the run (thanks for the pic Mom!)

Just a few steps from the finish line! 32 miles done. (another pic from Mom)

With Jessica and Kate after the race. (another pic from Mom)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wetsuits. What's the deal?

So the Tri Indy was the first triathlon I participated in where wetsuits were allowed for the swim portion. I had heard a lot about people using them in open water swims, but to me, I thought of them as just something else to slow you down in T1. After all, it's not easy getting out of a wetsuit in a hurry.

After being passed by several people in wetsuits during the swim and listening to Jessica describe how effortless their swimming appeared, I decided to look into this a little more.

It's a fact - triathlon wetsuits help you swim easier (same speed but less energy cost) or they help you swim faster (faster speed but same energy cost). The USAT rules state that the water temperature must be 78F or below in order to wear a wetsuit. Magically, the temp of the canal on Sunday was exactly 78F, hmmmm.

What is the primary way that a triathlon wetsuit helps you swim faster? Floatation - drag reduction - the wetsuit puts your body in a great swimming position (horizontal) regardless of your head position or regardless of where your eyes are looking. Your head position generally controls your body position, and a good head position generally results in a good body position - but with a swimming-specific wetsuit on your body, your head is taken out of the equation. The wetsuit material should also offer a slicker surface than your skin, further reducing drag.

So why doesn't everyone wear them? One main reason - they are EXPENSIVE! A decent one will run in the $300 range. A top of the line tri wetsuit is closer to $1000.

This might come off sounding like sour grapes, but I feel like wearing a wetsuit is kind of like cheating. First of all, the main reason that wetsuits are allowed for triathlons is because sometimes the races take place in bodies of water that are cold. A wetsuit is also a good way to keep warm in cold water. That water on Sunday felt like bath water - no one was wearing a wetsuit to keep warm! So why did the USAT set the cut off at 78F? I don't know, but I for one, feel like it should be lowered to somewhere around 70F.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"You're going to swim in the river?"

KRAMER: Well my swimming pool problems are solved. I just found myself miles and miles of open lanes.

JERRY: What is that smell?

KRAMER: That's East River.

JERRY: You're swimming in the East River? The most heavily trafficked overly contaminated waterway on the eastern seaboard?

KRAMER: Technically Norfolk has more gross tonnage.

JERRY: How could you swim in that water?

KRAMER: I saw a couple of other guys out there.

JERRY: Swimming?

KRAMER: Floating, they weren't moving much. But they were out there.

For those of you that watch Seinfeld, you will recall the episode where the above exchange takes place. This is pretty similar to the conversations that I have with people when I tell them that I'm going to swim 1.2 miles in the Ohio River this Saturday morning.

It's an organized event, so there will not only be other swimmers, but there will be lifeguards and people in kayaks along the route. If I'm going to continue to do longer distance triathlons, I need to get accustomed to swimming in open water. So I decided to go ahead and sign up for this swim. I'm just hoping it doesn't rain too much this week...I would really like to avoid trying to dodge tree limbs.

I'm sure Jessica will have my soap and shampoo sitting on the back porch when I get home - a garden hose shower will be required before I'm allowed to enter the house!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A little perspective...

After months of training, race day has now come and gone. While I'm not completely satisfied with my performance, I've put some things in perspective the last 48 hours.

I competed in my first triathlon just over a year ago with very little preparation. Most of my swim during that first race was spent doing a side stroke because I didn't know how to breathe correctly doing freestyle (it wasn't pretty - just ask anyone that was in attendance). I also had to stop and walk a few times during the 3.1 mile run portion of that first race because I wasn't in good enough shape. Just 6 months ago, I couldn't swim more than 2 lengths of the pool without being completely out of breath.

This past Sunday, I swam for 36 minutes without stopping. This was my first time swimming in something that didn't contain chlorine. I contained lots of other chemicals and bacteria...but no chlorine, or E.Coli according to this guy.

It also had no lines on the bottom to help me swim straight, no walls to push off of, no extra breaths between laps if I got tired. So not too shabby for a guy that could only swim for 2 minutes at a time a few months ago.

I can also honestly say, that the 2 hours and 50 minutes of pushing myself to exhaustion was the longest period of time that I've ever spent busting my butt without a break - and I loved every second of it!

So what's next? Check back tomorrow...

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Stupid

Actual finish times:

Swim: 00:36:58 (43rd out of 54 in my age group)
T1: 00:01:44 (10th out of 54)
Bike: 01:09:37 (7th out of 54)
T2: 00:01:22 (16th out of 54)
Run: 01:00:19 (36th out of 54)

Total: 02:50:02 (30th out of 54)

So my times we're exactly on par with my goals...but regardless of how hard you train, things don't always go as planned on race day.

Woke up at 4:30am and ate a bagel with crunchy peanut butter and a PowerBar. Washed them down with a Gatorade. Packed up the car and headed down to the race site around 5:30am. Got there and was one of the first people to set up in transition, so I had plenty of time to get me area all set up. Things were a little cramped with 8 bikes per rack, but we managed to squeeze everyone in. Something that I noticed while watching everyone set up is that this was the big leagues...little bit different than the short races I've done. Lots of professional bikes and gear, pretty impressive stuff!

After the pre-race instructions, we all walked the 1.5K to the swim start. The swim started in waves of 30 people, I was in wave #4. Didn't get much chance to warm-up, but I was ready to go once I saw Jessica, Kate and Sona on the bank cheering me on. Got up near the front and quickly realized that I needed to get out of this mess of people. There were arms, legs and bodies everywhere! I think I accidentally grabbed some woman's butt. I dropped back and got into a good rhythm. The swim took place in a canal that is roughly 30 feet wide. THE BAD: I thought that I was swimming in a straight line until I nearly hit the wall on the right side twice. I can't imagine how many extra meters I swam by zig-zagging instead of swimming straight. Got kicked in the face about half way through and swallowed a lot of water. I tried to keep swimming, but I had to cough. You know that feeling...when you try to keep from coughing, but you can't? So I had to stop for a few seconds and clean out my lungs. After that I got back to moving forward and just tried to stay calm and keep swimming. This was my first open water swim, so I can't bee too disappointed in my time, but I know that I can definitely improve on this time by practicing my sighting (learning to swim straight) and getting more comfortable swimming without being able to see the bottom. - As a side note, the water temp was 78F, so wetsuits were legal. Wetsuits make a HUGE difference! With a wetsuit on, you don't have to kick your feet to swim. Not that I'm making excuses, but I don't own a wetsuit!

Climbed up the steps out of the water and looked down at my watch to see what my swim time was...I was amazed to see that I completed the swim in 00:00:00! Or maybe I just forgot to hit the start button. Not having any idea how fast or slow my swim was really was a mental block for me. I need to know if I'm on pace to reach my goal!

THE GOOD: T1 went good, I was on my bike and out on the course quickly, nothing I could have done any different. My T1 was the 10th fasted in my age group.

Once the course turned onto a straight run, I began methodically taking down the competition. I've always been strong on the bike and I was passing people the whole way. I'm sure one of these people I flew past was the joker that kicked me in the face during the swim! With more time to look at the results, I could probably figure out exactly how many people I passed, but I'm going to guess it was around 50 or so. I took in a gel about half way through the bike and had a few sips of diluted Gatorade too. The bike course was two 12.4 mile loops. THE STUPID: After the second loop, I knew that I was getting close to the transition area and was looking for signs. Unfortunately, I missed the turn off and rode an extra 10 seconds or so before realizing. I had to turn around and probably lost about 30 seconds by making this stupid mistake. My bike time was still the 7th fastest in my age group, which I am happy with. I'm sure those other 6 dudes have much more expensive/faster bikes!

THE STUPID: Heading into T2 was a little crazy. There were about 4 of us all dismounting the bike at the same time. I had my feet out of my bike shoes and was coasting into the dismount area. Suddenly, about 10 feet from the dismount area, the guy in front of me decides to suddenly stop. I had to lock up my brakes and jump off my bike to keep from hitting him. In the process, one of my shoes unclipped and went flying. So I had to go back and get my shoe to keep from getting a 2 minute penalty!

After I finally made it into T2, my transition went about as well as I could have expected. Racked the bike, took off my helmet, slid my run shoes and hat on and was out on the run. My T2 time was a little longer just because of the time lost running back to get my shoe!

THE VERY BAD: My legs felt a little tried when I started the run, but that's typical. Problem was, the miles were not marked on the course, so I had no idea how fast my pace was. All I knew was that it was very sunny and there was no shade to be found. I was taking water at every aid station and dumping water over my head to try and cool down. Much like the bike, the run course was two loops (3.1 miles each). I did the first loop in around 27 minutes, so I knew that I was a little off my pace, but I thought that I had enough gas in the tank to speed it up on the second loop. I felt that I was running at my goal pace of around 8:30/miles, but as I kept glancing at my watch, I could tell that I wasn't. I asked my legs for all they had and there was nothing left. I pushed it as hard as I could the last few miles, but I was done! My run time was very disappointing and is really what kept me from being happy with my overall race.

Finished 30th in my age group and 189th overall. MORE GOOD: Even though I didn't reach my goal time, I still enjoyed the race and had a lot of fun spending time with friends and family in Indianapolis. Got to spend Saturday night with Sona and Dave; then after the race, we met up with my Parents, Aunt Nita, Uncle John, cousins Amy and Leslie and my good buddy Jeff for lunch. I didn't so much enjoy the 2-1/2 hour drive back to Louisville, but I sure did enjoy hitting that pillow last night!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tri Indy in the books!

So I didn't reach my goal for overall time. I finished with a time of 02:50:02, which is around 15 minutes slower than I had hoped. I could have probably shaved about 8-9 minutes off of this time with a better swim and run, but obviously my overall goal time was a little lofty.
Even though I'm feeling frustrated and slightly disappointed right now, I still had lots of fun out there this morning and I can't wait to schedule my next tri.

Full race report with what when right and what went wrong tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ready to go!

Just finished up a nice dinner in downtown Indy with Jessica, Sona and Dave. Heding to bed soon. Morning comes at 4:30 tomorrow. I visited the race site earlier and checked out the transition area and drove the bike course. Course is pretty flat, but roads are not in the best shape. Can't wait for the morning! I'm ready to go!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Setting goals

I'm a firm believer in setting goals, both in my professional and personal life. I'm a good self-motivator, but having a goal for myself and telling others what my goals are gets me though those tough days. It's risky, if I don't accomplish my goal, then everyone knows. On the other hand, if I never shared my goals, then I could go through life pretending that I'm doing everything I set out to do.
When I competed in my first triathlon last summer (with only 7 weeks of training), the goal was to just complete the race and have fun. I not only accomplished my goal, I became hooked on triathlons!
Now that I have a few races under my belt, the goal is no longer to just complete the race. I like to set goal finish times for each discipline and the entire race. Doing this isn't easy because while I know the distances of the race, all courses are different (pool vs. open water, flat course, lots of turns, hills, how long is the run to transition, etc.).
For the race this Sunday, I've looked at the course details online, went back to last year's results and looked at how fast other people were, and also factored in my typical pace.

So here are my goals:
Swim: 00:32:00
T1: 00:01:35
Bike: 01:07:00
T2: 00:01:15
Run: 00:53:00

Total: 02:34:50

Based on last year's results, this would put me in the top 10 in my age group (30-34). With 1200 people registered for this race, I'd be VERY happy with a top 10 age group finish.

To put my goal time in perspective, last years winner of the Tri Indy finished in 01:57:49. The gold medal in the 2008 Olympics was won in 01:48:53. Those dudes are fast!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Training is complete!

Today was my last day of training before Sunday's triathlon. Tomorrow will be a rest day and I will probably run a little once I get to the race site to pick up my packet on Saturday. I spent 25 minutes in the pool this morning doing some interval work.

400 yard warm-up
6 x 100 yd. intervals with 1 minute rest between
200 yard cool down

Goal was to do all the 100 yd. intervals in under 1:45, which I was able to do. Something funny that I noticed is that when I breath to my left side, I'm a few seconds slower than when I breath to my right side (1:41 vs. 1:38). Only problem is that I tend to take in a little water when breathing to the right...something I'll work on later.

So now that the training is done, thought that I would take a look at my training log and check out my totals for the year (Jan. 2 - Aug. 13). If anyone would like to know how much time goes into training for an Olympic distance tri, here ya go:

Swim Distance: 45.63 miles
Swim Time: 28 hr. 10 min.
Swim Calories burned: 18,252

Bike Distance: 1,430.5 miles
Bike Time: 77 hr. 47 min.
Bike Calories: 57,220

Run Distance: 311 miles
Run Time: 42 hr. 56 min.
Run Calories: 31,110

Total Miles: 1,787.13
Total Time: 148 hr. 53 min.
Total Calories: 106,572

Seeing all the time that I've devoted to training makes me think about how supportive my wife Jessica has been. She has never once complained about me going on a run after I get home from work, or leaving her in bed every morning to head to the gym or out on a long ride. Especially now with the new addition to the family, there isn't much free time for either of us, but she's been very encouraging and understanding. Not to mention that she lets me sleep at night while she get's up with Kate because she knows how important sleep is to my training. Even more impressive than all that, she listened to me tell her about how my swim/bike/run went every day and never once acted like she didn't care. Love you babe!

"To try is to live; not to try is to die. That is the real essence of life; the doing of something, irrespective of success or failure." Mark Long

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The taper continues

Short brick this morning wearing the tri suit. 8 miles on the bike, followed by a 2 mile run. Bike ran smooth after the tune-up, I sure can tell that the rear breaks were adjusted! Tri suit felt good on the bike and run, so we're a go for wearing it on Sunday.
Last night I switched out the laces in my running shoes with speed laces (see picture to the right). I only use these for races, because shoving your foot into shoes that are already tied is a sure way to cut down the life of very expensive running shoes!
Since today was the last training run on White Lightning, after my ride, I started stripping all the unnecessary components off the bike. Hand pump, wheel reflectors, saddle bag, strobe light...all gone. While all of these components are important to have while doing long training runs, they aren't any help on race day. If you get a flat or have a mechanical problem during a race, someone will come a pick you up. All of this extra stuff just adds to your overall weight and makes you less aerodynamic (I admit that this is mostly in my head, but triathlons are 75% mental half the time...or something like that)
We also confirmed plans to stay with some friends the night before the race in Indianapolis. One more thing done on the pre-race check list!

As a side note, I check the forecast for Indy...low of 69 Saturday night and high of 87 on Sunday with partly cloudy conditions and only 10% chance of rain. These are great conditions for mid-August. Let's pray that the forecast is accurate!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Easy run

This morning was spent doing some interval running on the track at the gym followed by some light weights. My intervals were pretty simple:

1 mile warm-up run (14 laps of the track at the gym) at my race pace

4 laps (.285 miles - yes, I know, it's a weird distance) at 90% effort - I try to do these in under 2 minutes
2 laps at 50% effort (rest)

I repeat this set of 4x2's three times and then do some stretching. It takes about a total of about 20 minutes.

I'm heading to pick up "White Lightning" here in a few minutes, it will be good to have her (yes, my bike is female - just like every boat and car is also a female) back in my possession. Having your bike in someone else's care 5 days before a race can be nerve-racking!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trying out the tri suit

Spent about an hour on the bike this morning at the gym (roughly 20 miles), and then hit the pool for 20 minutes of swimming (1000 meters / 0.62 miles). Worked pretty hard on the bike, but took it easy in the pool...after all, this is suppoesd to be an easy week.

For my birthday back in April, my wonderful mother-in-law gave me a Pearl Izumi Triathlon suit. This suit is a single piece of clothing that you can swim, bike and run in. This really cuts down on transition, trying to put a bike jersey on when your wet is not easy! Anyway, even though this expensive tri suit has been hanging in my closet for almost 4 months, I've never worn it in the water, on the bike, or running. Since the plan is to use it in Indy this weekend, I thought I should give it "tri" before race day. So today, I took it to the gym and put it on before swimming some laps. Needless to say, I felt kind of silly walking around in the locker room wearing it, but it felt good in the pool. So sometime in the next few days I'll wear it on the bike and get in a few miles with it on running. Maybe I'll throw on some shorts over it for the run, so I don't scare the women and children in the neighborhood!

Also dropped my bike off at Cycler's Cafe this morning for a tune-up. Always a good idea before a race!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

7 days and counting

7 Days until Tri Indy! This will be my first Olympic distance race and I'm excited to see what I can do. God rested on the 7th day, and so do I...Sunday's are my rest day and believe me, I need them!

Olympic Distance Triathlon = 1500 meter (0.93 mi.) swim, 40K (24.8 mi.) bike, 10K (6.2 mi.) run

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Last long ride before next weekend's race. Took White Lighting (that's my bike) on a 40 mile ride this morning, followed by a 2 mile run. Doing two disciplines back-to-back is known as a "brick". I wanted to practice the bike to run transition because to me, this is the most difficult part of a triathlon. Trying to run on legs that feel like jello after two hours on a bike isn't easy. It usually takes me about half a mile before I feel normal running, today was no exception.

The bike ride was fun, as it usually is. Although I do not enjoy the sun rises getting later and later...I had to sit in the garage and wait 15 minutes this morning for the sun to come up. Saw two deer and heard a rooster crow on the ride today - pretty eventful. I wasn't chased by the Jack Russell this morning like I usually am on this route...I kind of missed seeing the little guy!

This next week leading up to the Tri Indy will be a fairly easy one, which my legs are excited about!

As a side note, I'd like to mention a couple of fellow cyclists that I see out most Saturday or Sunday mornings. Sometimes it's two guys, other days, they have a third rider with them. If anyone has ever run or rode, you know that you always acknowledge follow runners or cyclists as you pass them. Maybe it's a little wave, or a simple head-nod. It's just considered common courtesy. Every time I see these guys, whether we're going opposite directions, or I'm passing them, I always either give a wave or say good morning. I have never received any sort of response. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I do get some joy out of flying past these dudes like they are sitting still. I won't stop being courteous, but I also won't stop kicking it up a notch as I leave them in my dust!

Friday, August 7, 2009

First post

Thought that I would create this blog so friends and family would be able to keep up with how my training and races are going. This might also be a useful tool for other multisport athletes looking for training idea's. My plan is to post as often as possible so check back frequently.

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