Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anthem 5K Results


Official Time - 20:03 (6:27 min/mile pace)
Overall Place - 269 out of 8720
Gender Place - 238 out of 3759
Age Group (30-34) Place - 46 out of 538

I demolished my PR by a minute and 20 seconds. I'm happy with the results - great way to start the season off! Congrats to the rest of my KIDS Center training team for a great race. I'm pretty sure that we all set PR's today!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Anthem 5K Preview

The first road race of the 2011 season is tomorrow morning. The Anthem 5K is the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of running. Net proceeds from this race go the WHAS Crusade for Children, which helps children with special needs.

If you follow this blog, you know that I am raising money on my own for a similar cause. For more info on the kids that I'm raising money for, click here.

I'm definitely excited to get the race season underway. Triathlon's are what I train for, but the running only races are a fun way to start off and finish the triathlon season. I've only done the Anthem 5K two previous times, in 2009 and 2010. Last year I managed to shave 3 minutes and 5 seconds off of my 2009 time...that kind of improvement isn't going to happen this year!

My PR in this race is 21:23, which works out to a pace of 6:52 minutes/mile. This seems like a good pace, but I've managed to clock a 21:52 during the run portion of a sprint triathlon before (after swimming and biking), so I think I have room to improve.

My goal this year is to cross the finish line in under 21 minutes. In order to do this, my pace needs to be 6:45 minutes/mile or better.

Swag hooked my up with some lighter shoes, the Asics DS Trainer 16 (see picture to the right) to use for speed training and short distance races (such as a 5K). My current shoe, the Asics GEL-Foundation 9 weighs 13.3 oz. The DS Trainer weighs 10.0 oz. So will carrying .41 pounds less makes me faster? I've only had them on once and only did a mile and a we'll see if the shoes can help me reach my goal in the morning. Forecast is calling for a few clouds temps in the low 30's - sounds perfect!

2/19/11: Run - Aerobic Zone run - kept HR low (8.02 miles in 1:05:00)
2/21/11: Run - Aerobic Pacing test - HR below 150 bpm (6.87 miles in 58:27) - avg mile was 8:38
2/21/11: Weights - Strength Superset Series
2/22/11: Bike - LT test - 40 minutes at hard pace to establish LT HR (23 miles in 1:05:01)
2/23/11: Swim - TrainSmart Swim Group - 3800 yd in 1:29:20
2/24/11: BRICK - 90 minute bike (21 miles), 2 min. transition, 10 minute run (1.5 miles)
2/25/11: Swim - Easy swim (1470 yd in 27:06)

Friday, February 18, 2011

My New Rig

During the swim and run legs of triathlon, you are relying strictly on your body. If you've trained and fueled yourself (aka your machine) properly, you should be able to complete the race. The bike portion is a different story. It's the only stage in which you rely on something other than your body's ability to accomplish your goal. All the training in the world can be for nothing if you have a serious mechanical failure on your bike. That's why having a reliable bike that is well maintained is so important.

Other than God-given ability, there isn't much that causes triathlete's to envy one another...except for bikes. Walk around any triathlon transition area and tell me that you don't want to upgrade your bike and/or it's components. You tell yourself that with a more expensive bike, you could be so much faster. While this may be true to some extent, a fast bike can only help you so much...the motor that powers that bike is where the real speed comes from. I've spent the last two race seasons longing for a triathlon bike. I've been on a road bike since I started triathlon's back in August of 2008. While I loved and took very good care of "White Lightning", she just wasn't cut out for the grind associated with training and racing long-course triathlons.

So after my final race last year I decided that I would start looking for a new bike. I had a bike fit done, which you can read about here. Based on this fit, I started to price some bikes that would work well for me. I landed on the Argon E-112, Size M. Looks were not a factor for me, I just wanted the best bike I could get for speed, power and comfort....but I have to admit, it's a sexy bike!

I ordered the bike from VO2 Multisport here in Louisville and they did a great job of letting me choose what components I wanted before they placed the order...making this truly a custom bike, built just for me. Special thanks to Peter at VO2 for building this machine!

Here's a deeper look at the bike and some of the components:

The bike frame itself is made from a high modulus carbon and amazingly weighs only a little more than 3 pounds. It's not the lightest bike on the market, but compared to what I've been racing, it's a feather! The Argon is known for it's stiffness. Most of this stiffness comes from the carbon fiber fork that is designed to reduce road chatter while still giving you maximum control. I haven't had this bike out on the road yet, so I'll report on how stiff it actually is later. This bike also has the cables run through the frame, which is very common for tri bikes, but something that I didn't have on my road bike. The most unique feature of the Argon is it's frame shape. Most triathlon bikes use an airfoil shape, but Argon bikes use a diamond shaped tube. Whether or not this shape is an advantage when it comes to aerodynamics is debatable, but in the long run, aerodynamics is only a small factor in how fast you actually go.

For the controls, derailleurs and cassette I went with SRAM Force. SRAM is without a doubt the leader in the industry when it comes to components. They offer four basic grades: Apex, Rival, Force and Red. After reading lots of reviews and studies, and a brief education from Jeff at VO2, I went with Force. The Red is their Pro series and while it's undoubtedly the best they offer, it's also VERY expensive. The Force components offer a lot of the same features as the Red at a much more affordable price. 

In my mind, the most important components on a bike are the front and rear derailleurs. Cheap derailleurs can be very frustrating, I know first hand. There's not much worse than a bike that you can't get to change gears when heading up or down a hill! This morning was the first time that I road my Argon for any length of time and with the exception of dropping the chain (which was my fault), the gear shifting was very smooth through all 20 gears.

Another thing that I was really looking forward to with a tri bike was the aerobars. I went with the Profile Design Cobra Wing base bars and the T2 Plus Cobra aerobars. There's not much to say about these bars, other than the armrest are very comfortable. 

My road bike had a very hard seat. While it was uncomfortable, I got used to it. My longest ride was around 3-1/2 hours on this seat. My Ironman training will require some rides at least twice this I decided to invest in a more comfortable seat as well. At the suggestion of Rick at VO2 Multisport, I went with the Profile Design Tri Stryke Ti saddle. It features a cut-away vent to keep my underside cool and dry and has lots of gel padding making long rides more comfortable. It's no lazy-boy, but it's the best you can get on a bike.

The wheels are made by Fulcrum. Both the front and back are their Racing 7 clincher wheel. The rear wheel features their 2:1 technology that eliminates the flex in the wheel from rotational forces when you push the pedal. At first this seemed like some bogus marketing, but after reading more about it, I think it's legit. I am an Engineer after all.

For the pedals, I went with LOOK. I also decided to trade in my mountain bike shoes and got some Shimano SH-TR31 triathlon bike shoes. The pedals and shoes give me a much bigger platform to transfer power. Rick at VO2 also did a shoe fit for me, adding in some inserts that make my feet level and keep my lower leg in alignment for optimal power transfer - cool stuff!!

I also bought a Profile Design double bottle holder that mounts to my saddle. I had the same double-bottle design on White Lightning and loved it, so I went with it white this time, of course.

I decided to go all in and went ahead and bought an indoor trainer too. I did my research and landed on a CycleOps Fluid 2. While riding the stationary bike at the gym is a good workout, getting to spend time on my actual bike during the winter months will be very beneficial come spring and my first race. The CycleOps trainer uses a silicone fluid to simulate road resistance. I spent two hours on it this morning and it actually feels like you are riding on the road.

So here's a picture of my whole set-up.

Now I just need to come up with a name for this beauty....

2/12/11: Run - Hill Repeats - 5 repeats jogging back down between each (6.15 miles in 48:59)
2/12/11: Run - Kids Center training team group run (5.17 miles in 1:00:14)
2/14/11: Run - 2 x drill routine and 1 mile hard at track (4.29 miles in 38:10)
2/14/11: Weights - Strength Superset Series
2/15/11: Bike - Form Sprints - 10 x 60sec sprints with 3 min recoveries (22 miles in 1:05:47)
2/15/11: Rowing (pool closed) - 5714 meters in 30:00 (avg watts = 90)
2/16/11: Run - Hill Repeats - 8 repeats jogging back down between each (4.00 miles in 34:46)
2/16/11: Swim - TrainSmart Swim Group - 2700 yd in 1:06:08
2/17/11: Bike - Spin Class with hill work (17 miles in 1:05:01)
2/17/11: Swim - 6 x 300yd repeats (2304 yd in 47:49)
2/18/11: Bike - Aerobic ride (37 miles in 2:00:00)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Not All Ironman Races Are Created Equal

I'm an Engineer, so by nature, I'm a stats-geek (actually I'm just a geek in general). I recently came across a website that does an awesome comparison of all Ironman traithlon races. They also compare half and full marathon's if you are interested in those results. The website is

RunTri analyzed 25 Ironman distance races and came up with tons of information. First and foremost, which race is the hardest? The top 5 are Kona (World Championship), St. George, Wisconson, Malaysia and Louisville. Yes, you read that correctly...the race that I'm doing in August is one of the five hardest in the world! What have a gotten myself into?!?!

Here's a chart showing the average 2010  finish times for each Ironman:

As you can see, the Louisville Ironman ranks right up there with an average finish time of 13 hours and 14 minutes. So how does this time break down on each leg of the race? There's a chart for that too:

It's hard to see from the chart, but the the Louisville swim ranks 2nd toughest behind only Malaysia with an average time of 1 hour and 25 minutes. The bike portion was more middle of the road, ranking 10th with a time of 6:26. The run ranked 4th most difficult with an average finish time of 5:07.

Another factor that they looked at was how many DNF's each race had. If you have done any triathlon's, you probably know what "DNF" stands's Did Not Finish! These initials send fear through my body just typing them. Lots of things can cause you to get a DNF, from a mechanical failure on the bike, to missing the cut-off times for each leg, to your body just physically shutting-down (yes, this happens a lot in Ironman races).

So here's the chart showing each race and the number of participants that finished and the number of DNF's.

So as you can see, the Louisville Ironman had by far the highest percentage of DNF's at 16%. Almost 400 people that started out the day intending to be celebrating at the finish line never made it there. Yes, that is scary!

So does all of this new info make me nervous? I can honestly say that it doesn't. I know myself, and I know that I'm going to train as hard as possible and baring an injury will stick to my training plan for the next 197 days. I have all the confidence in the world that the training plan I'm on will have me ready come race day.

I shared all of this information with you so that you will be even more impressed when I cross that finish line in August! ;)

2/8/11: Bike -High speed drills - 9 x 60 sec superfast spins in the saddle (19.5 miles in 1:00)
2/8/11: Swim - Alternating easy with hard laps (1100yd in 23:00)
2/9/11: Swim - TrainSmart Group Swim - focus on hard intervals (2750yd in 1:07:18)
2/10/11: Bike - Big Gear Climbs at low cadence, seated (16 miles in 1:01)
2/10/11: Swim - 4 x 400yd at endurance pace (1728yd in 35:37) 
2/11/11: Bike - Aerobic Zone Ride (27 miles in 1:30)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why Swimming Helps You Lose Weight

I listen to podcasts a lot when I'm riding the indoor trainer. Riding indoors is VERY boring and listening to podcasts helps pass the time. I have a couple that I subscribe to, but one of my favorites is done by Ben Greenfield. Yesterday I listed to one with that discussed using your body's temperature to burn fat. Not that I'm trying to burn fat, but some of what the guest speaker, Ray Cronise had to say was very interesting.

Ray wanted to lose weight but could not believe losing fat was as simple as calories in-calories out. One of the main reasons why Ray was having a hard time buying into this common myth was because of swimming great, Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories per day and is ripped. Ray knew that Phelps was certainly not able to exercise enough each day to support the excessive amounts of calories he consumed on a daily basis. So why could Michael eat that much food and not gain weight?

Phelps spends 3-4 hours per day in a pool. Water apparently is 24 x more thermally conductive then air. And if you have ever been in a public pool to swim laps, then you know they keep that water damn cold!

Anyway, Ray figured this out and then did a little self experimentation. In the first 12 weeks he attempted to lose weight before realizing what he did about the water, he lost 21 pounds. That’s 1.75 lbs per week. Not too bad.

After he realized cold exposure was the key to Phelps’ lean body, he lost an additional 27 pounds….but in only 6 weeks! That’s 4.5 pounds per week!

He also talked about taking ice baths (which I've done after long runs) and subjecting your body to cold temperatures during training (which I do lots this time of year). Even drinking ice water throughout the day can be beneficial. He's a former Rocket Scientist for NASA, so he used lots of Thermodynamics terms that I hadn't heard since Engineering School, but I found it all very fascinating.

In a nutshell, exposing the body to the cold increases a hormone secreted by fat cells that are responsible for fat burning. Your body will burn more fat trying to maintain it's desired 98.6° F temperature.

So spend some time in the pool and lower that water temperature in the shower a few degrees!

2/4/11: Run - LT test (6.04 miles in 45:51). Test to find my Lactate Threshold HR - turns out it's 167 bpm, down from 174 six weeks ago!
2/4/11: Swim - Easy recovery swim (960yd in 18:17)
2/6/11: Bike - Long ride at aerobic pace (41 miles in 2:01:59)
2/7/11: Run - Cadence Skills (5.40 miles in 40:01) - 7 x 30s high pace intervals with 2min between
1/24/11: Weights - Strength Superset Series

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pimpin' Running All Over The World

Within a week I ran in two very different environments. My wife and I went to Chicago the weekend before last for a little get-away and then I was in Las Vegas this past weekend.

Chicago was snowy and cold. It was 9° F and snowing the morning that I went for a run along Lakeshore Trail. I don't mind the cold and being the first one to make foot-prints in the fresh snow was kind of cool. This path along Lake Michigan is a favorite of mine and I always make it a point to get in a few miles on it every time I'm up there. Here's a few pictures from that run...

Trail on the way back after some other runners (and cyclists) had joined me.

Lake Michigan - yes, it's frozen.

This past weekend, I was in Las Vegas for work and took advantage of some warmer weather (56° F) and sun to get in a run. I started from my hotel (MGM Grand) and headed out behind the strip and went east. I just did a simple out-and-back run to avoid getting too lost. The view on the way back was pretty awesome. I could see the strip with Mount Charleston in the background. The sun was nice, but the wind made it hard to completely enjoy my run. Gusts of up to 25 mph are no fun to run it. Here's some pictures from my Vegas run...

I really enjoy running when I'm out of town. Being away from home makes it hard to stick to my training and nutrition, but it's worth it to get to experience running in new places!

1/23/11: Run (Chicago)- 8.32 miles at aerobic threshold heart rate (1:15:30 - 9:04/mile pace)
1/24/11: Bike - 30 min on the recumbant bike at the hotel gym
1/24/11: Weights - Strength Superset Series
1/25/11: Run - AT Pace Test - 4 x 1 mile intervals keeping HR at AT (times were 8:27, 8:37, 8:38, 8:46)
1/26/11: Swim - TrainSmart Group workout (3000 yd in 1:27:13)
1/27/11: Bike - Tempo Time Trial - Established new bike lactate threshold HR of 161 bpm.
1/27/11: Run - Hill Repeats on stairclimber
1/28/11: Swim - T Pace Test - New 100yd T pace is 1:53 (total workout of 1584yd in 33:23)
1/28/11: Weights - Extreme Core Set
1/29/11: Run - 7.90 mile Kids Center Training Group Run (1:21:40 - 10:20/mile pace)
1/30/11: Run (Las Vegas)- 10.00 miles at areobic threshold hear rate (1:25:25 - 8:34/mile pace)
2/2/11: Swim - TrainSmart Group Wokrout (solo) - (2784 yd in 1:07:21)
2/3/11: Bike - Spin Class with hill and speed intervals (Covered 24 miles in 1:13:36)
2/3/11: Weights - Strength Super Series

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