Wednesday, August 25, 2010

70.3 Timberman

This was my 8th year participating at the Timberman 1/2 IM. Yeah, I really like this race. Although, It was quite a bit different this year under the new ownership. The race expanded to over 2,700+. This was about 800 more than last year and a far cry from the 500+ that competed in the first year. Here's a pic of the transition area:

I drove up to the race on Saturday morning in the most comfortable ride around:
[caption id="attachment_4125" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This car rocks!"][/caption]
I love this car.
I wanted to get up to the race venue early to register and get organized. I was able to catch up with teammate Mark Vermeersch and last year's teammate Mike Lavery on Saturday at registration. They were looking super fit and ready to have some fun on Sunday. Both Mark and Mike had fantastic races on Sunday.
Race morning came in with perfect weather conditions. It was in the high 60s/low 70s and overcast. We even got a little bit of rain on the bike and run. You just couldn't ask for better weather conditions. I always plan a race strategy with my coach, Paul Regensburg ( The strategy for Timberman was to swim hard, then build into the bike and try to hit the 2nd half more aggressively then the 1st half. We've had different approaches at the other races this year. While each race course and weather conditions are different, we've noticed that I've had problems maintaining a strong 2nd half bike this year in my 70.3 races. So for the Kona prep, the strategy was to hit the 2nd half hard and get the run right up to pace and hold it.
My swim wave was scheduled to go off at 7:55am. It was the 13th wave of the morning. I saw Zach Pratt before the swim start and I thought we might be able to work together on the swim. I had swam behind Zach at 70.3 Rhode Island. So, I thought that if we could work together on the swim, we could be more efficient. However, that game plan went out the window when we got about 400 meters into the swim and started to catch the wave in front of us. It became too crowded. So, I spent the entire swim by myself. This worked out ok as I just focused on finding my rhythm and trying to avoid the packs of athletes swimming on top of each other. I exited the swim in 27:45. My Aquasphere Ironman Icon worked perfectly.

I was out onto my Orbea Ordu and ready to try to put the game plan into effect: I settled in and made sure I got my heart rate under control. I relied on my Timex Global Trainer to dial in on my heart rate, speed, and cadence. I felt really good with the dialed down effort. I was also able to really focus on my nutrition and electrolytes. I still maintained a minimum of 800mg/hour of sodium even with the cool conditions. I found out later in the day that this was a very good strategy. I hit sections on the 2nd half of the bike, that I have really struggled with in the past. However, this year, I felt great. There were a few sections on the bike course that got a little dangerous with all of the extra bodies. There are a few steep downhill sections and there were a few people riding right out in the middle of the road and on their brakes. This created a little bit of an issue when a car was coming up the other side. However, that's part of racing in the age group wave start format. I came off the bike in: 2:17:02. This was about a 2.5 minute CR for me. I was most pleased with how fresh I felt coming off the bike. I was really looking forward to the run.
I went through T2 pretty quickly and tried to build into my race pace. I felt really strong and I started to open up my stride at the 2 mile marker. Endurance racing is funny. You can feel great one moment, then the wheels can come completely off the next. Well, the wheels did not come off, but at the 2.5 mile point I got a massive cramp on inside of my left leg. It almost brought me to a complete stop. I shortened my stride and grabbed my Thermolytes. I started to chew on one. This was not enjoyable at all, but it was very effective. The cramp went away and I made it to the next aid station and took 2 more Thermolytes. In hindsight, it was fortunate that I was so proactive with the electrolytes on the bike. Things could have been a whole lot worse. I continued on my electrolyte dosage the remainder of the run. I felt really strong until the 11 mile mark, when my muscles started to fatigue a bit. I started to incorporate coke at this point for the simple sugars.

I was able to finish the run in 1:19:03, which was my best run on this course by 2 minutes. My overall time was 4:06:36 (my best time by 3.5 minutes on the course). This placed me first amateur overall and 9th including the pros.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Park City Olympic 2010

I came into this race off of my first real big block of training for Kona. I had put in 3 weeks of 20+ hour training. The training has been going very well. I have been handling the bigger volume decently. I have experienced some aches and pains, but nothing has been severe. I did go through a little stretch of overreaching a bit and I noticed that I was having a very hard time hitting key workouts. This lack of ability to hit the tempo threshold type of workouts is a clear sign of muscle fatigue. So, I had backed things off a bit leading into this race to let my muscles recover a bit. I felt ready to roll on race morning.
Every season is different. This season, my pool swim fitness is the best it's ever been. My bike is a little off but my run is the best it's been as well. When I look back at my off-season, it all makes sense. I had a very good run focus in the off-season. My swim had started off the year a little behind where I thought it should be, so we bumped things up in the water. The result was my endurance speed is the deepest it's ever been. My bike is a bit different story. I had to put my bike training on the back burner at the beginning of the year as I was focusing on building my new businesses: Personal Training Professionals of Southport ( and Lifesport Coaching ( In addition, I usually start my racing season in late March. However, this year I did not do my first triathlon until the middle of June. These factors have contributed to my bike fitness coming in at a little lower level. This is not such a bad thing, as my main focus this year is to race in Kona in October.
Now about the race: the swim was a bit choppier then last year. This slowed things down a little bit. I felt pretty good once I got going and I came in @ 19:35. This was 31 seconds slower then last year, but comparing it to other swimmers and the conditions, it was actually a faster swim.
I went through T1 quickly and got right onto my Orbea Ordu. I had my powermeter again and I put it on average watts so I could dial in a consistent effort on the flat course. I pushed hard and watched my power climb for the first 3 laps. I slowly built my power output. As I was finishing the 4th lap, I noticed that my wattage was starting to slip. It was not a drastic slip but over the last two laps I lost 5 watts from my average I was holding on the first 3+ laps. My net power comparison was 7 normalized watts lower in 2010 then 2009. I came off the bike in 2nd place and I knew I was going to have to put out a serious run to try to close the gap. In 2009, I had a pretty decent lead off the bike, so I was able to shut things down on the 2nd loop of the run. This race was a lot different. I had a 40 second deficit coming off of the bike.
I thought I could pull back 10 seconds per mile on the run. However, as the run progressed, I was not making any gains on the leader. I hit the turnaround for lap 2 and I went as hard as I could. I finally started to close the gap a little. I got the within 20 seconds, but that was all I could do. I ended up coming across the line 22 seconds down. My racing philosophy has always been to give everything I have and always feel good about my race after I cross the finish line. I can say without hesitation that I gave everything I had. Results: