Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ironman Louisville Official Results

Official 2011 Ironman Louisville race results:

2.4 mile swim
1:12:23 (1:54/100m pace)
137th out of 366 in my age group
828th out of 2439 overall

T1 - 6:42

112 mile bike
6:08:01 (18.26 mph)
142nd out of 366 in my age group
851st out of 2439 overall

T2 - 11:25

26.2 mile run
4:30:08 (10:18 min/mile pace)
101st out of 366 in my age group
 624th out of 2439 overall

140.6 mile total
112th out of 366 in my age group / 661st out of 2439 overall (Top 27%)

I'm very excited about the results and I can't wait to share my very lengthy race report.  It will be up in the next few days...once I get caught up with work (yeah, that thing that I actually get paid to do!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ironman Louisville...It's Here!!

"Ultimately, triathlon is about pain. Enduring it, knowing when it will come, and persisting through it. No matter how much you love being a triathlete, at some point a race is going to really, really suck. You don't play triathlon. You play soccer, it fun. You play baseball. Triathlon is work that can leave you crumpled in a heap, puking by the roadside. It's the physical brutality of climbing Mt. Everest, without the great view from the top of the world." - Chris McCormack, Ironman World Champion

Track me during Ironman Louisville by going to IronmanLive.com or the following link from MyAthleteLive.com (http://track.myathletelive.com/vemap.aspx?name=376835)

See you on the flip side....

Ironman Louisville Week - Gear Check

Basically every piece of triathlon gear that I own is in one of these five bags:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ironman Louisville Week - 250 days

I started my Ironman specific training program way back on December 20, 2010. That was 250 days ago. It's been quite a journey. I suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain less than a week into my training. I healed up from that and felt great during the long, hard training sessions this summer. The long running workouts compiled and I've been dealing with ITBS for the last 6 weeks, no doubt caused by overuse. I've logged a lot of laps and miles over the last 250 days. He are some of my stats:

122.11 miles (that's 8597 lengths of a 25yd pool)
76.11 hours

1,982.03 miles
105.47 hours

350.93 miles
49.44 hours

Bricks (additonal biking and running miles not accounted for above)
444.39 miles
28.56 hours

207.47 miles
18.85 hours

Other (Aqua Jogging, Rowing, Elliptical, etc.)
51.36 miles
8.43 hours

3,158.29 miles
286.86 hours

Most Ironman training plans call for 12-14 hours a week of training - that just wasn't feasible for me. I happened to come across a training program that promised to get the same results with only 8-10 hours a week. Instead of long swims, rides and runs, it incorporated more high-intensity interval work. Don't get me wrong, I still did an hand-full of 2 mile swims, 100 mile rides and 20 mile runs, but not nearly as many as most people training for an Ironman attempt. I spent a lot more time at the track and on the indoor trainer doing sprints than most. My average volume of training per week was 8-9 hours. I had a three 14 hour weeks and a few in the 12-13 hour range, but not many. I really enjoyed the training program and even without seeing the end result, I would recommend it. You can find it at TriathlonDominator.com.

Now for a list of people that I must thank for making this journey possible.

Jessica, Kate & Adrian
My family. While they weren't in the pool, on the bike, or pounding the pavement with me all those early mornings, they made sacrifices just the same! My wife is way more understanding than I deserve. She put up with me being out of the house literally EVERY Saturday morning (sometimes into the afternoon) for the last 9 months. She completely altered the way she cooked to help me eat healthier. She taped up my knee and hip butt when I was injured. After the birth of Adrian in March, she put her goals of getting back in shape on hold so that I could continue to train every morning. She's encouraged me throughout the whole process and kept my thoughts positive throughout my recent injury. She's heard about my training literally every day of this journey and never once acted like she was tired of hearing about it. In fact, most days she asks me how my workout went before I even get around to telling her. I love her so much and I will never forget how she helped me get to the starting line! I think she should start a "Ironman Wives Support Group" to help other wives of Ironman wannabe's deal with their husbands! As for my children, Kate and Adrian, they have missed mornings with their Daddy and while they don't know the difference, they have made sacrifices too. They've come out to races all season to cheer me on and I can't wait to see them all at the finish line on Sunday!

Mom & Dad
They've been nothing but supportive since I started this thing called triathlon three years ago. They come to nearly all of my races and have encouraged me numerous ways over the last 9 months. While I know that they don't like the beating my body has taken and of course my mom thinks I've lost too much weight while training for this Ironman, they've never once told me that I was "doing too much" or that I was "crazy". The way that they raised me gave me the self-discipline to set this goal and accomplish it. 

My Mother-In-Law - Mendy
She was there for the first triathlon I ever did - a Sprint race back in August of 2008. Even though I don't think she really understands what all of my races are, or why I do triathlons, she' always been supportive. She offers to help out in any way...which most of the time means staying with one or both of our children - allowing Jessica to either get things done while I'm off training or come to my races. While she always says that there's no need to thank her for spending time with her grandchildren, it needs to be said. So, thanks!

My Physical Therapist - Kevin Reichmuth
Kevin has been my go-to-guy for any and all injuries over the last few years. I've spent countless hours in the Dr. Rudy J. Ellis Sports Medicine Center lately. And while their new location is pretty nice, it's not somewhere that I enjoy going to hang out. Over the last three years, Kevin has helped me recover from a knee contusion, runners knee, a sprained ankle, plantar fasciitis, piriformis syndrome and IT Band syndrome. While this may sound like a lot of injuries, most were pretty easy to recover from and didn't keep me out of training very long thanks to Kevin. One day I hope I can repay all the favors that I now owe!

My Swim Coaches - Manny Nieto & Nancy McElwain
My wife got me an awesome Christmas present last year. A punch-card for 12 swim sessions with the Train Smart group. When I first started triathlon I couldn't swim. I literally swam 25 yards and was dead. I worked with both Nancy and Manny back then and they taught me the fundamentals of swimming. I have to admit that I was a little nervous (doesn't happen very often) when I first started swimming with this group on Wednesday mornings back in January. I considered myself an weak swimmer and I assumed that everyone in this group was an expert. With the coaching of Manny and Nancy, my swimming has come a long way over the last 8 months. They've tweaked my form and helped me shave almost 10 seconds per 100 meters off of my "race pace". It's been lots of fun swimming with these guys and I look forward to continuing it after Ironman...and some rest!

My Massage Therapist - Dee Dee Diamond
Most of my injuries are a result of muscle tightness and imbalance. I came to realize this after lots of time on the PT table with Kevin and the massage table with Dee Dee at the Training Studio. I would like to say that the time spent getting deep tissue massages was enjoyable...but it wasn't. They are supposed to hurt - and they do! The hour long sessions of wincing while she dug deep into my muscles and fascia trying to release all of the tightness were rough, but they helped me. She was able to find all of my "trouble spots" and show me how to stretch and work these areas on my own. These sessions have also helped me learn how to "zone out" when I'm in pain...maybe that will come in handy on Sunday!

Swag Hartel
Swag is pretty well known in Louisville for owning Swag's Sports Shoes. Over the years, I've gotten to know Swag pretty well and I always enjoy dropping in his store and talking with him about everything from running to politics. He has an opinion on everything - just ask him about something and you'll see what I mean.  He agreed early in the year to sponsor me this season and it's been a real blessing. He's hooked me up with some awesome gear, including a tri top and shorts, multiple pairs of running shoes, socks, hats, shirts...basically anything that I needed, he gave me. What's he getting out of all this? His logo on the shirt of a middle-of-the-pack Age Grouper. I've been a loyal customer for years and I will continue to be.

Chris Haragan & Chip Summers
These two guys are the owners of Air Equipment Company, where I've been employed for the last 10 years. They are not only great guys to work for, but they have been supportive of my Ironman journey in several ways. They agreed to sponsor me, which helped me out a great deal because this sport can be expensive. But their support goes far beyond monetary. I've had to make trips to my PT, the Massage Therapist, the bike shop, the shoe store, etc. at times during the day...and they've never once hassled me about it. They've asked countless times how my training is going and they just genuinely care. Great guys!

I'm sure I've left some people out that have been very key in getting me to this place and I'm sorry, but the old saying about raising a child holds true for making an Ironman..."It takes a village!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ironman Louisville Week - Course Preview

Living here in Louisville gives me the advantage of getting familiar with the course over the last year years of training. I've been able to spend lots of time in the river, on the bike course and I've actually run the majority of the marathon route several times over the last 10-12 years....so yeah, it's familiar!

SWIM (2.4 miles)
Unlike most Ironman races that take place in a lake or ocean, the IMLOU swim happens in a river...a big one. Because of this, it's not possible for everyone to start on a beach and go charging into the water together like most Ironman races start. IMLOU starts with everyone lined up single file and then jumping into the river. The line breaks into two at the very end, meaning that two (or more) people are jumping in at a time. You cross the timing mat right before jumping in, so your official time starts when you enter the water. From the video's posted online and talking with people, it goes pretty fast. The last person will be in the water 20-30 minutes after the first person gets wet.

Once in the water, you will swim upstream between Towhead Island and the shore. You go out past the end of the island and veer towards the middle of the river. The turn-around buoy is approximately 8/10ths of a mile from the start. Once making this left-hand turn around at the buoy, you will swim downstream the remaining 1.6 miles - finishing at Waterfront Park. There are about 5 or 6 steps that you have to climb up to exit the water, but there are volunteers everywhere to help you navigate these.

After exiting the water, you will have to run several hundred feet to get to the transitions area. This is never easy after being horizontal for over an hour. You will be given your T1 bags and then head into the tent to change into your bike gear. Most triathlons have transitions that are out in the open and you put on all of your bike gear while standing next to you bike. Ironman races are different. You are not allowed to sit anything on the ground next to your bike, so everything goes in a bag and you put it all on in a tent and then run out to your bike. As a volunteer the last two years I've been in this tent...it's not a pleasant place! I'll be in and out of there as fast as possible!

BIKE (112 miles)
The 112 mile bike course starts out heading east out of downtown Louisville on River Road. The first 8-9 miles are flat and it's tough to hold back. Coming off of two weeks of easy workouts, my legs are going to be fresh...and my adrenaline is going to be sky high. Going too fast at the start of the bike would lead to big problems later, so I'll make a conscious effort to keep my heart rate and speed under control here. Once you turn left onto US-42 off of River Road, the hills start. The first one at mile 10 is a monster. It's a very steep hill followed by some longer climbs. From mile 10 to 18 you will climb 280 feet. 

Then you'll take a right onto KY-1694. This is the out and back portion of the course and is only 5 miles out and 5 miles back but it's exciting! You go straight down a hill, then up a hill to the turn-around...then do it all going the other way - down, then up. These downhills are very fast and the course is still pretty congested at this point, so getting up to the speed I normally do might not be the best idea...but I probably will anyway (Flash likes to go fast)! 

Once you turn right back onto US-42, there's a couple of rolling hills before starting the loop portion of the course. This starts with a right turn onto KY-393, then a left onto KY-146. The next 10 miles is almost all uphill. This portion includes going through the small town of LaGrange. They have a huge festival set up and there will be people on both sides of the street cheering and ringing their cowbells. Going through here will be fun. After getting through LaGrange, you hit a nice downhill portion before turning left onto Ballard School Road. Ballard School Road sucks. No other way to put it. It's a narrow road and you spend most of it moving from standing, back to sitting, then standing again. Once you finally hit a good downhill, you have to ride the brakes because you make a hard right hand turn at the bottom of the hill.

At the end of Ballard School Road, you turn right onto Old Sligo Road. You only spend about two miles on Old Sligo (mostly downhill, except for a very steep, short hill) before taking a left onto L'Esprit Pkwy. This is another tough stretch. While it's only 3 miles long, it's all uphill and there is no crowd support. At the end of L'Esprit, you will take a left onto Pendleton Road for a just a few miles before turning left back into US-42.

Once onto US-42, you will finally see some sustained downhill action. The turn onto US-42 is around mile 50 and you don't start on the second loop until mile 61 or so...the majority of this 11 mile section is downhill. The bad news is that once you get back to KY-393, you take a left and do the whole 393, 146, Ballard School, Old Sligo, L-Esprit, Pendleton loop a second time. 

Once you hit US-42 again on the second loop, you are at mile 81 and you are over 400 feet above the elevation where the bike course ends...so it's pretty much all downhill the last 30 miles. There are a few climbs, but nothing that will require you to get out of the big chain ring. Going back down River Road to the finish is a good feeling, but even the flats feel like hills at this point!

It's going to be cool to hop off the bike and just hand it to someone. Ironman has "bike catchers" that will take your bike from you as you come into T2. Once you hand your bike off, you run down and grab your T2 bag before heading back into the tent. A quick change into your running gear and you're off to complete the final leg of the race!

RUN (26.2 miles)
The toughest part (other than the last 24 miles) of the run is the first 2 miles. You exit T2, then after a short run on Main Street, you climb the on-ramp to the 2nd Street bridge...run across the bridge and back. For the most part, this is the only hill you will encounter. The run heads south out of downtown, past the University of Louisville, Churchill Downs and out to Iroquois Park. Thankfully, the course turns around at the park entrance and doesn't torture us with the massive hills hiding in there. After turning around at mile 8.5, you run back up the same route into downtown. Here's where the course designers decided to play mind games. At mile 14 you come up 4th Street and you can literally see the finish line ahead of you. When you get about 100 feet from the finish line, you turn right and do the whole thing again! I'm sure that I will be struggling at this point and seeing the finish line will either inspire me or piss me off.

The main chunk of the run is on 3rd Street and Southern Parkway. I grew up in the south end of town and I've run on Southern Parkway more times than I can count. I know every cross street and every landmark. You could literally drop me anywhere on this street and I would know exactly where I was. I'm hoping that this will help me mentally during the race. The familiarity of the course will keep me from having to figure out where I am and what lies ahead.

Seems like everyone that I know who is volunteering at an aid station will be on the run course. The support will be critical at this stage...I just hope that I'm able to recognize everyone, no telling what physical/mental state I will be in!

The finish shoot is the place where dreams come true...and IMLOU has one of the best in the business! Other than the World Championship finish in Kona, Hawaii, the finish shoot at 4th Street Live! is second to none. The background of this blog shows a picture of what triathletes will see right before crossing the finish line and hearing Mike Reilly say "...you are an Ironman!". It will all be worth it at this moment!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ironman Louisville Week - Women's Field

Yesterday I took a look at the professional men that will be racing here in The 'Ville on Sunday. Today I'll give a quick overview of the pro women's field.

As of today, there are 14 Pro Women racing. Seven of these ladies have experience with this race, including 2009 winner Nina Kraft (pictured to the right). She also came in 2nd in 2007, and has several other wins at both full IM and half IM races over the years. The German athelete is unfortunately most known for having the 2004 Ironman World Championship title stripped from her after testing positive for and admitting to using the drug erythropoietin (EPO). She was banned from IM racing for two years following this ugly incident. But this was 7 years ago and to her credit, Nina has never turned her back on this portion of her career and after serving her suspension, came back and showed that she didn't need the drugs to be one of the top athlete's in the sport. After a DNF here last year, I'm sure Kraft is ready to reclaim the title. It's not going to be easy, she has some tough competition.

The athlete with the most experience on the IMLOU course is Canadian Marie Danais. She came in 6th in '08, 10th in '09 and 8th last year. She finished in the top 10 at IM Lake Placid earlier this year and with her experience her, I'd say that she's in line for a podium finish.

Another pro that I think is a contender is Kelzie Beebe. This American is putting together a great 2011 season with a top 10 Ironman and a few top 10 finishes in 70.3 races. She finished 5th here last year and looks like she's primed to make a run for the title this year.

The athlete that probably has the most motivation to win is Jacqui Gordon (pictured to the left). She is very close to qualifying for the IM World Championships in Kona and a win here would solidify her spot. She's coming off of a 5th place finish at IM Lake Placid, a 6th place at IM 70.3 Steelhead and has experience here in Louisville - coming in 7th in 2008. She's still chasing that title of Ironman Champion and I think Sunday could be the day for the triathlete based in New Jersey.

Other women that have finished here before include Terra Castro from Texas (10th in '10), Maki Nishiuchi of Japan (7th in '09, DNF in '10) and Californian Jocelyn Wong (6th in '10). Of this group, I'd say that Maki is having the best season and could be a factor this weekend. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm no expert and lots can happen on race day, so I won't be shocked no matter who breaks the tape!

UPDATE: I just found out that Jacqui Gordon had a bike crash over the weekend and broke her clavicle...so needless to say, she will not be racing this weekend! Really sucks for her, not only will she miss IMLOU, but now racing in Kona for the World Championships is out of reach. With this recent development, I'm going to put all my chips on Kelzie Beebe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ironman Week...It's Here!

The big race is now less than a week away. I'm going to try and make a post every day this week leading up to Sunday's Ironman Louisville.

Today I'm going to take a quick look at the professionals that will be joining us amateurs out on the course this year.

While this list is subject to change (pros have the advantage of deciding to do a race last minute), it's likely that there will not be anyone else racing.

The men's field consists of 13, and features a mixture of guys that have raced in Louisville before and a few that are going to experience it for the first time. Most notable is the defending champ, Paul Ambrose from Great Britian (pictured above). Interesting fact I learned about Paul is that he's a training partner with Chris "MACCA" McCormack...the current Ironman World Champion. Paul dominated the field last year by having the fastest bike and run splits. His total time of 8:29:59 was 12 minutes ahead of the second place finisher. Paul just raced a half-Ironman (Lake Stevens) on August 14th where he finished 2nd...and after IMLOU, he heads to the Ironman 70.3 (half-Ironman) World Championships in Las Vegas on September 11th. So Paul's schedule is pretty full. Based on this schedule, I don't think is body will be up to the task to defend the title.

Patrick Evoe also returns to Louisville trying to improve on his 4th place finish a year ago. He raced the inagural IM Texas (his home state) earlier this year and came in 8th. He's also coming off of a 3rd place finish at IM 70.3 Racine, so I think he's probably looking good for a top 3 finish come Sunday.

Tim Snow is another American that is coming back to Louisville. He finished 14th last year, but has improved his Ironman times with two solid races already this year. Hiroyuki Nishiuchi, Dave Harju and Bojan Maric also raced last year. Let's just say that they are returning to conquer a course that conqured them last year.

Romain Guillaume from France hasn't raced here before, but he's put together some fantastic IM distance races this year (2nd in IM Bolton) and looks to be in good shape to challenge for the podium this weekend. Plus, the dude rides the same bike as me, so he's got an advantage there!

Chris McDonald is a name that might sound familar. The Australian won the inaugural IMLOU back in 2007 and came in 2nd to Max Longree in 2008. He didn't race here in '09 or '10, but is back on the roster this year. His nickname is "Big Sexy" and he's had some great races already this season (including a 4th place finish at IM 70.3 Steelhead) and seems to be coming into form. He's who I'm putting my money on this year.

The rest of the men's field is Ivan Albano Jr., Daniel Bretscher, Justin Daerr, Logan Franks and Richard Wygand. Only one of these guys has raced here before, and some of them are having great seasons...but their lack of experience on this course will make it hard for them to win. But then again, I'm no expert...so it's anyone's race.

Missing from this year's race are two pro's that everyone around here likes to see. Most notably is Max Longree of Germany. He won here in '08, finished 4th in '09 and 3rd last year. He clearly does well here and is known for wearing all white and eating a cheeseburger from the Hard Rock Cafe immediately after crossing the finish line (see picture to the left). I'm not sure what's going on with Max...I can't find any races that he's even done this year.

Also missing this year is John Flanagan from Hawaii. He's ALWAYS the first guy out of the water, breaking swim records everywhere he goes. His 6th and 13th place finishes the last two years point out the fact that the dude can bike and run as well.

One reason that I feel that this field isn't full of stud athlete's is because there is a competing race. Ironman Canada is held on the same day and offers a larger price purse ($75K vs. $25K) and more World Championship qualifying points (2000 vs. 1000) than Louisville does. There are more than twice as many pro men toeing the line in the race up north this weekend. I thought that the fact that IMLOU is one of the last races available to get points to qualify for the Championship in Kona this year would mean a larger field...I guess everyone planned ahead and isn't as desperate as I thought they would be.

I'll look at the women's field tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heat Acclimation

It's no secret that Ironman Louisville is one of the toughest races on the planet. I went into some details as to why on this previous post. The weather plays a large factor in the difficulty of completing the race. Here's what the weather has been like for the first four years of IMLOU:

2007 - 92° F and high humidity
2008 - 93° F and high humidity
2009 - 75° F and moderate humidity
2010 - 94° F and high humidity

So as you can see, with the exception of 2009, it's been down-right nasty. What will it be like this year? The extended forecast (still 10 days out) is calling for "extreme heat" with a temp in the high 90's!

I think everyone understands why this heat poses problems for endurance athletes. Studies have shown that heat in the 90's can lower the body's ability to perform by 7-10%. The average finish times for IMLOU in 2010 (94° F) and were over 45 minutes longer than in 2009 (75° F).

Exercising in heat also makes your heart rate higher than normal, increases your core temperature to dangerous levels, causes lactic acid to build more quickly (causing muscles to shut down), and can ultimately lead to heatstroke.

I've witnessed first-hand my wife carry and give birth to both of our children. I know that the human body is incredible! Believe it or not, your body can adapt for any condition, including extreme heat. Exposure to warmer conditions causes the body to become more efficient in keeping core body temperature low. Here's how your body adapts:
  • Sweating will start at a lower body temp (cooling starts earlier)
  • Sweat rate increases to help keep the core cool
  • Blood plasma levels increase, allowing the heart to beat slower and the body to sweat more before performance decreases.
  • Your thirst mechanism improves, causing you to drink more
  • Salt loss through sweat decreases
There are several methods out there to acclimate your body to heat. Most methods claim that it takes about two weeks for the body to achieve the items listed above. The method that I had planned on using required 90 minutes of exercise outside in the afternoon heat 3-4 times a week for the two weeks leading up to the race. I had planned on doing all of my runs in the afternoon and even a few bike sessions. However, due to my IT Band issues, there's no way that I'm going to run 90 minutes this week or next.

So the other option that I found involved something a lot more mind-numbing...sitting in a steam room. With the recent break in the temperatures here in Louisville, it's only been in the low to mid 80's in the heat of the day, so I'm not sure running outside would have done the job anyway.

The gym that I go to has both a dry sauna and a steam room. While the dry sauna actually get's hotter, there's no humidity involved. So I've opted for the steam room, which is plenty hot enough. Although I'm not exactly sure what the conditons are in the steam room, a little research online shows that they are typically around 110° -115° F with a humidity close to 100%.

So starting this week, I've been sitting in the steam room for 30 minutes at a time. If I'm the only one in there, I'll do my hip strengthening exercises and some stretches for the first few minutes. For the remainder of the time, or if it's crowded, I'll just sit there...and suffer. I'm not going to lie - it sucks. I sweat more than I thought possible. I wear my clothes (unlike most people in there), and they are completely drenched within the first few minutes. I continually sip on my water bottle and watch the time move very slowly. By the time I get to the last 5 minutes or so, every minute seems like ten. I'll try to get in 3-4 more steam-room sessions in the next 7 days. It's brutal...but hopefully it will help me come race day.

Despite the fact that I live in the same city as the race will be held, I don't feel like my training has prepared me for extreme conditions. I do just about all of my training in the morning, so with the exception of a few long rides, I haven't spent much time at all training in the heat of the day. The heat acclimation that I'm doing wouldn't be necessary for someone that lives in this area and has been training in the afternoon all summer.

Side note: I've seen some interesting things in the steam room. I just don't understand why a guy thinks it's ok to be in there totally nude with other men around....or put on lotion...or sit spread-eagle on the bench. It's not cool, stop doing this stuff. Keep a towel on and just sit there and sweat! There's also a guy that feels it necessary to cover up the humidity sensor and cause more steam to spray in the room every few minutes, making it hard to even breathe. You are not smarter than the guy that designed the room dude, just leave it alone!

Side note 2: If you are one of those guys in the club that sweats all the way through his "club shirt", you might look into some heat acclimation. You aren't going to pick up any chicks covered in sweat.


8/5/11 Aqua Jog - (7.0 miles in 1:00:00) 
8/5/11: Weights - Round and Round - 4 sets   
8/6/11: Bike - Endurance Ride (67.54 miles in 3:24:36) 
8/8/11: Bike - Power Ride (14.00 miles in 45:00) 
8/8/11 Aqua Jog - Intervals (7.0 miles in 1:00:00) 
8/9/11: Run - Easy Run (2.06 miles in 16:59)
8/9/11: Swim - Open Water Swim - Ohio River (1936yd in 36:01) 
8/10/11: Weights - Body Blaster - 4 sets 
8/10/11: Swim - Train Smart Group Swim (3200m in 1:14:19)
8/11/11: Run - Easy Run (4.22 miles in 34:24)
8/12/11: Bike - Power Ride (14.00 miles in 45:00) 
8/12/11: Weights - Round and Round - 4 sets   
8/13/11: Swim - Open Water Swim Race- Ohio River (2.4 miles in 1:25:16) 
8/13/11: Bike - Brick ride after swim (31.23 miles in 1:30:59)
8/15/11: Bike - Recovery Spin (19.00 miles in 1:00:00)
8/15/11: Weights - Body Weight Only I - 4 sets   
8/16/11: Run - Easy Run (1.12 miles in 10:03)
8/16/11: Swim - Open Water Swim - Ohio River (1936yd in 35:03) 
8/17/11: Swim - Train Smart Group Swim (2800m in 1:02:30)
8/18/11: Double Brick - Bike (5.5 miles in 18:00), Run (1.34 miles in 10:00), Bike (6.0 miles in 18:00), Run (1.12 miles in 10:00)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ohio River Open Water Swim Results

Saturday morning provided a good opportunity to get in 2.4 miles in the Ohio River prior to Ironman Louisville. The water temperature was actually warmer than the air temperature, which is a weird feeling. After getting more body marking than I thought was possible (both arms, both legs, top of my back and on my swim cap), all of us doing the 2.4 mile swim waded into the water an waited for the starting gun, horn, beep.

There was the normal kicking and pushing at the beginning that comes along with an open water swim. As we started, I knew that I was going to have a problem seeing the buoys. I couldn't even find the first one. We were to following red buoys on the way out and yellow buoys on the way back. These red and yellow buoys were around 2 feet in diameter. They look easy to see until your eyes are only a few inches out of the water and there are people in front of you splashing around. I'm not the straightest swimmer in the world, and not being able to find the buoys until I was about 20 feet from them made for problems during the whole swim. At the start, turn-around and finish, there were larger orange buoys that were easier to see (shown in picture above). Good news is that IMLOU uses huge buoys, so I shouldn't have this problem in two weeks.

Other than the zig-zagging route that I know I swam, the current made a huge difference.The two loop course meant that we had to swim upstream twice. Here's what each of the two loops looked like for me:

Loop 1
Upstream - 25:26
Downstream - 15:59
Total for first 1.2 miles - 41:25

Loop 2
Upstream - 26:47
Downstream - 17:07
Total for second 1.2 miles - 43:54

Total for the 2.4 miles - 1:25:20 (official time was 1:25:16)

This translates to a pace of 2:12 per 100 meters. In a pool, where I swim straight with the aid of the lines painted on the bottom, my endurance pace is 2:00 per 100m. So if I would have been swimming straight, I could have done this 2.4 miles closer to 1:18:00.

I know that I said my goal was to finish somewhere between 1:30:00 and 1:35:00; so while I'm happy with my time, I know that if my sighting would have been better, I could have knocked around 5-7 minutes off of this time.

I finished 13th out of 28 males and 17th out of 47 triathlete's that did the 2.4 mile swim. If you count all of the other swimmers (USA Swimming and Masters), I was 30th out of 63 total.

This picture shows me exiting the water, looking at my watch. I look really pale compared to everyone around me. I guess that Scape sunblock is working!!

After the swim, I hoped on Flash and did a quick ride. I rode 31.23 miles in 1:30:59 (20.6 mph) with an average HR of 137 bpm.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ohio River Open Water Swim

Tomorrow is the 3rd Annual Ohio River Open Water Swim. The event is put on by the Lakeside and the North Oldham High School swim teams. As usual, they are offering races of 1/2 mile, 1.2 miles and 2.4 miles. I did the 1.2 mile swim two years ago and it was a struggle! My swimming has come a long way since then and I'm looking forward to tackling the 2.4 miles in the morning. I've also been meeting some fellow triathletes for swims in the river the past two Tuesday mornings, so I'm very comfortable in the mighty Ohio.

The 1.2 and 2.4 mile distances may seem a little strange if you are not a triathlete, but these are the distances, respectively, of the swim portions of Half-Ironman and Ironman triathlons. Since I'll be competing in Ironman Louisville in two weeks, this 2.4 miles in the same body of water that I'll be in on race day seemed like good practice. Current water temperature is a warm and cozy 85° F!

However, all 2.4 mile swims are not created equal...especially when a river is involved.

Tomorrow's course will look something like this:

It's rectangle course. One loop equals 1.2 miles, so I will swim two loops around this course. This means that I will spend half of the race (1.2 miles) swimming against the current. 

Now take a look at the IMLOU swim course:

This course starts out going against the current for approx. 0.8 miles, then you make a turn and swim with the current the remaining 1.6 miles to the swim exit. 

So the swim tomorrow will consist of more swimming against the current, in theory making it a harder swim. Of course, there will be several thousand fewer people in the water tomorrow, so maybe it's a wash!

I'm hoping to complete the swim tomorrow in the 1:30:00 to 1:35:00 range. If the rain holds off, I plan on getting in a 2 hour ride right out of the water...we'll see how it goes!

IT Band Update
I went out for an easy run yesterday morning before catching an early flight up to Cleveland for some work duties. It felt fantastic! Granted it was 4:30 in the morning, but the temperature was in the mid 60's and it felt awesome! What didn't feel awesome was my knee. I had only planned on going about 4-5 miles, but right at the 4 mile mark, I started to feel some pain in my left IT band again. So I shut it down and walked back home. 

I made a trip to my PT this morning and had him work it over good with the Graston tools and hit it up with a "cold laser" to help with the inflammation. Strength work, stretching, foam rolling and icing protocols will continue. He also showed me how to tape it with kinesio tape, so I'm going to give that a try early next week and see how it feels. Two weeks to go...really wish it was 2 months so I could heal up!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Supplements are one of those topics that I hear/see come up pretty often on podcast that I listen to and articles that I read on-line or in running and traithlon magazines. It seems like no matter what you are trying to accomplish or prevent, there's a supplement out there that someone advertises will take care of it. I've always been pretty skeptical of supplements and for as long as I can remember, the only pill I popped was a multi-vitamin. 

In fact, as recently as 6 months ago, I was still only taking a multi-vitamin once a day with my breakfast. Once I started getting into the longer rides and runs as part of my Ironman training, I began to look into other supplements that would help me sustain energy and recover faster. The number one criteria for all of my supplements is that they be 100% natural. So here's list of what I currently use and why:

If you read this blog, then you know that I love Hammer Nutrition products. They do not use artificial ingredients and they make easy to digest stuff. 

On rides and runs lasting over an hour and a half, I use Hammer Perpetuem. I mix various amounts of this powder with water depending on how long I'm going to be out. Perpetuem contains complex carbohydrates, GMO-free soy protein, healthy fats, and other key nutrients that help maximize stored fat as energy and prevent muscle fatigue. I like the Orange-Vanilla (dream sickle) flavor.

Along with the Perpetuem, I take a Hammer Gel once an hour on long rides. It's one of the only energy gels out there that does not add any refined, simple sugars and has no artificial colors or flavors. One gel provides me with an extra 90 calories that I need to reach my goal of approximately 350 calories per hour on the bike. I've tried lots of flavors, but I've been stuck on Apple Cinnamon for a long time now...tastes like an apple pie!

While some new research that I've been reading about has me questioning their necessity, I also take an electrolyte supplement during my workouts. After trying several different electroyle capsules, I landed on the Millennium Sports Athlytes product. Their capsules provide both electrolytes and sodium to replenish what is lost sweat. I've experimented with taking between 2 and 6 per hour and I've decided that 4 per hour (700mg of sodium) is what I need.


About three months ago, I started taking a post-exercise supplement made by Wicked Fast called Recover-Ease. This all-natural supplement blends 8 ingredients that the body uses to repair damage following intense exercise.  It helps repair tissue damage in the muscles and lungs. I'll take 4-6 capsules after a hard workout and 8 after a long (100+ mile) ride or a race.

From time to time I'll also mix up a smoothie with some Hammer Recoverite after a long workout as well. Strawberry goes well with a fruit smoothie and chocolate tastes good mixed with almond butter and bananas!

As I mentioned before, I have been taking a multi-vitamin on a daily basis since I was able to chew. The brand has differed over the years and particularly when I was in college, I would just get whatever was the cheapest at the grocery store! What I've learned since then is that these cheap multi-vitamins are full of fillers and additives. I also realized that if I'm eating a healthy, balanced diet, I shouldn't need to take a multi-vitamin. They are good for people who are lacking critical vitamins in their diet, but for the most part, everything found in a multi-vitamin can be obtained through food. Your body will just flush out excess vitamins, so why waste the money? I stopped taking a multi-vitamin about a month ago once I ran out of the ones I had. If I decide to take them again in the future, I'll definitely go with a brand that is all organic, such as those made by Garden of Life - the brand we give our 2 year old.

What I do take on a daily basis is a Fish Oil supplement. Fish oil has proven to be beneficial for a wide range or reasons. One of the reasons that I take it is ability to reduce inflammation. It also improves your skin health, reduces post-workout fatigue, and lowers the risk of heart disease. Like the multi-vitamin, you have to stay away from the cheap brands. Make sure that the fish oil you take has EPA and DHA in it. I can't think of the brand that I take now, but I got it a Whole Foods.

The supplement that I started taking most recently, as in this week, is digestive enzymes. I take Raw Enzymes made by Garden of Life. These enzymes help the body digest foods that you may have an intolerance to, such as dairy, grains, nuts, seeds, beans, etc. They also help your body absorb nutrients from foods, allowing you to utilize all the natural benefits found in raw foods. These raw enzymes also boost your immune system and act as an anti-inflammatory (which is always good). I take one before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

About two or three times a week I will also put 5-6 drops of Oil of Oregano under my tongue before bed. I drink a full glass of water to wash it down. It leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, so I do it right before I brush my teeth. So why do I do this? Here's a list of some of the healing powers of this herb. It treats allergies, it's an anti-fungal, it contains antioxidants, it eases pain from arthritis, works to heal bacterial infections, eases diarrhea and aids in digestion, helps cure eczema, boosts your immune system, works as a natural pain killer for headaches and muscle soreness, clears up sinus and nose problems, and skin rashes. Another buyer-beware on this stuff. These health benefits are only found if the oregano is in it's true form. There are products out there called "oil of oregano" that are comprised of thyme or marjoram oil. So don't buy anything that is less than 70% carvacrol (found in wild oil of oregano). The brand that I use is Source Naturals. It has a handy dropper in the cap.

So that may seem like a lot of stuff, but on most easy workout days, I'm only taking the fish oil and the enzymes. As I said before, there's nothing that can replace all the nutrients your body gets from eating a healthy, balanced diet. These are called "supplements" for a reason. They are meant to supplement your diet, not replace it or give you an excuse to eat junk!

In other news, I set out for a run this morning. My first run on dry land in 12 days. I logged just over 2 miles at an easy pace. No sign of pain from my IT band. While this was really encouraging, the fact that my heart rate was 10-12 beats higher than it should have been at this pace is a clear indication that I've lost a significant amount of my running fitness over the last 4 weeks. I'm also not really sure where to go from here. With Ironman Louisville just 18 days away, do I try and continue to run more and up the mileage until my IT band hurts or do I just keep doing my therapy and rest it? I think I'll consult my PT...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ironman Bib Numbers Published

Bib numbers came out today for IMLOU. THIS JUST GOT REAL!

The numbers are doled out based on age and gender, so the youngest females have the lowest number. The Pros get numbers 1 thru 34, then it's all the females, starting with the youngest. The males start at number 676 and go up to 2800 something. I was given number 1255. There are 360 other competitors in my age group, which is Males, age 30-34. There are over 3-1/2 times more dudes than chicks racing. 

On August 28th, I'll be doing my best to take a clean piece of paper that will look something like this...

...and turn it into a shred of it's former self. It will be covered in sweat, water, Hammer Perpetuem  and gel (my fuel of choice), urine, possibly blood, and possibly tears by the time I cross the finish line. 

Feel free to make large posters and signs with my name and number on them! If you feel so inclined, you can rent out some billboard space somewhere near UofL - I'll be needing a boost when I get to that point!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

T-Minus 23 Days...

Ironman Louisville is a mere 23 days from today. It's hard for me to believe that the day is almost here! Although my training has been derailed by ITBS, I'm still really excited about competing in my first Ironman and I'm anxious to see how my knee responds once I start the marathon. I've been logging some extra time in the pool this week and doing lots of strength work, foam rolling, stretching and icing.

Pre-race meetings with event planners have begun and some interesting info has leaked out of their most recent meeting:

The 2011 edition of Ironman Louisville will have more first time Ironman racers than any other IM race in North America! Somewhere between 40-50% of the athletes (including yours truly) will be attempting their first 140.6 mile race.

The race was capped at 3,000 athletes. At present, with some early withdraws, there are around 2,850 registered.

I can't imagine what being in the water and on the road with over 2,800 other people is going to be like...should make for an interesting day!


7/21/11: Brick - Bike (3.50 miles in 12:00), Run (0.76 miles in 5:47), Bike (5.00 miles in 15:05) 
7/22/11: Swim - Endurance Swim (3200m in 1:04:50) 
7/24/11: Bike - Progression Ride (67.57 miles in 3:27:21) 
7/25/11 Aqua Jog - Intervals (3.5 miles in 37:11) 
7/25/11: Swim - 100-75-25 (1800yd in 34:48) 
7/26/11: Bike - Mile Repeats (18.00 miles in 55:00) 
7/26/11: Weights - Extreme Core I - 4 sets 
7/27/11 Aqua Jog - Sprint Intervals (4.5 miles in 43:28) 
7/27/11: Swim - Train Smart Group Swim (3300m in 1:20:53) 
7/28/11: Bike - Skills (19.00 miles in 1:00:00) 
7/28/11: Elliptical - Easy (2.50 miles in 20:00) 
7/29/11: Elliptical - Distance (6.20 miles in 1:00:00) 
7/29/11: Swim - Short Intervals (1100yd in 20:13) 
7/30/11: Bike - Long Ride (112.21 miles in 5:55:20) 
8/1/11 Aqua Jog - Sprint Intervals (5.00 miles in 45:00) 
8/1/11: Weights - Body Blaster - 4 sets 
8/2/11: Swim - Open Water Swim - Ohio River (2464yd in 48:30) 
8/3/11: Swim - Train Smart Group Swim (3600m in 1:18:58) 
8/4/11: Swim - Speed Sets (2800yd in 47:37) 
8/4/11: Weights - Extreme Core II - 3 sets 

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