Sunday, February 23, 2014

Day 1

am: 63 min bike; 21 mi; 180ish watts

pm: 62 min bike; 21 mi; 190ish watts

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ironman Florida 2014?

This is my first post in almost 4 years.  I haven't finished an Ironman in that amount of time.  I've done some sort of work out (mostly 3-4 mile daily runs) just about every day during those 4 years, but nothing over an hour in the past 2 years.  I've signed up for Ironman Florida 2014 in November 2013 to give myself an athletic goal for the year.  And I think I can complete it in under 10 hours. But I won't train like I used to. I haven't even started real training yet.  I am relying solely on experience and base built up over several years.  We'll see how it goes.  I don't even think I can ride my bike for longer than 1.5 hours at the moment (1 hour is as much as I go); and I don't think I can run more than 10 miles (7 has been my limit).  I'll be completely upfront and say that I don't even know whether I will do the race: I don't have that much time nor the desire to train that much anymore.  Nevertheless, I will give it a shot, which means that I will just continue the normal training I do, an amount that doesn't interrupt life, and then if I am in good enough shape, will do an Ironman build 8 weeks out.  I'm starting up the blog again to give myself a little more motivation.   I have 7 months to get into Ironman - and sub 10 hour Ironman - shape.  Here is my journey.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

As I begin to approach the racing season, I thought I'd give a little update as to what's been going on. Training has been absolutely AMAZING. I feel awesome right now.

Since I've started with the coach, I have not had a single day off. Not one. There certainly have been easy recovery days, but no days off. And yet I never feel that taxed or tired. I feel fresh for just about every workout. And even when I don't, I'm still able to get through the training session at the correct targets. So the coach knows what he is doing. He has been awesome, giving lots of feedback, which in turn motivates me to train harder.

The training load has been hovering around 16-18 hours per week with lighter weeks in the 15 hour range. These hours are fewer than what I had been doing before, but there is so much more focus on swimming and running - I still barely bike - that the effort required to complete the week is greater. I am in better overall shape than I was before and it's only April. And despite the minimal riding, I completed a 3 hour rides at 230 watts this past week, the hardest steady ride I have had this year but right about where I'd be riding at this time of the year had I been training myself (my coach usually prescribes shorter rides with high intensity but on that day he told me just to ride and ride longer if I wanted - so I did). It felt great to the legs loose and see what I could do.

My first triathlon race of the season is coming up in mid/late May and from then on, I'll be doing a race just about every month. I'm excited but also curious to see where my fitness is.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Intensity and Frequency

So I'm now into my fourth week of structured training with the coach. We've been gradually building up the hours so that this week will be 15 hours of total training time. I'd say that the time is spread out pretty evenly among swim, bike, and run. But for me, that means a sh!tload of swimming, quite a bit of running, and very little biking.

My coach's training philosophy for Ironman, in a nutshell, is to periodize by first focusing on intensity or "speed" (speed is relative because I am learning I don't have any), which he says is general training, and then move to specific long training as the Ironman approaches. That is very different from what I have done in the past, which was pretty much reverse: i.e., first focus on long, relatively low power, pace, heart rate efforts, followed by race pace and lactate threshold efforts as the Ironman approaches. My coach's intense efforts though, are much more intense than I have ever trained before, such as doing 5K pace and sprint efforts.

Each week has consisted of about 5-6 swims, 5 runs, and 3 bikes. So frequency with respect to swimming and running has been key. The main workouts have consisted of a fartlek run, a long run, two-three main swims, and two days of bike intervals.

The training stimulus so far has been great. I am already swimming faster than I have ever swam before. My running is solid right now. And while my biking legs are not quite there, my power is not bad for this time of the year.

The nice thing about focusing on these intense efforts is that it provides a very much needed incentive to lose weight, and quickly. I definitely feel the extra pounds on the farlek runs. And I am carrying A LOT of extra weight - I put on about 20 lbs from IMWA to the end of my trip in Australia. After having lost some weight over the past few weeks, I'm now at 165....

Monday, January 18, 2010


Now that I have been back into structured training for a few weeks, it's about time that I updated the blog. A lot has happened since Ironman Western Australia and my last post.

As I was traveling Australia and New Zealand, it took two weeks for the swelling in my eye to go down. Nevertheless, I wanted to make sure that I got a run in in every place that I visited, so I still did a few short runs during those two weeks, but other than that, I virtually did nothing.

All the places I visited were amazing, but my favorite run was in Perth, a few days after IMWA. I was running on the path along the skyline and the Swan River, which flows into the Indian Ocean. As I was running, lost in my thoughts, staring at the city on the one side of me, and the water on the other side, two dolphins jumped out of the water and did a spin. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life - wild dolphins from the ocean swimming up to the skyline, jumping out of the water and spinning in the air was a once in lifetime sight. I can't think of any other city in the world where that happens. But running in every city/town in that part of the world was amazing - Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Sydney, Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef, Gold Coast, etc. It was an unbelievable trip.

During my time off from training, I took a lot of time to think about what I have achieved and what I still want to achieve in this sport. Despite training my ass off and putting up great numbers in training, I have yet to reach my goal. The journey has been amazing thus far, even without the result, but I also want the result, so I can complete the journey. Not having achieved my goal yet has been frustrating to say the least. And I can't afford to train another year without making progress.

So after taking those two weeks to think things through - for hours on end - I decided to switch things up from what I had been doing. It has been no good performing well in training while coming up short in races. I decided that I needed some objectivity in both the way I trained and the way I executed my races. So after weeks of deliberating, I decided to hire a coach.

But I didn't want just any coach. I wanted - and needed - a coach that understand where I was coming from and where I wanted to go. My main criteria was that the coach (1) had the credentials; (2) was able to articulate not only their training philosophy, but how implementing that training philosophy on me would generate the results that I want; and (3) perhaps most importantly, believed in me (at least almost) as much as I believe in myself.

I spoke to several coaches for hours at a time, both via email and on the phone. I asked every question imaginable. And then I finally settled on one. This coach has been amazing so far. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

My training has definitely been different from what I am used to. I have done a lot of swimming and a lot running. But I have barely stepped on the bike. Both my running and swimming are the best they have ever been at this stage of the year. So things are off to a great start.

I'm not sure how often I will update the blog now that I have a coach. I used the blog in part as a way to keep me motivated, but now that I am accountable to my coach, I'm not sure that I need the blog for that purpose anymore.

I also, however, liked the blog because I wanted to share my training with others so that what I was doing, both right and wrong, could help educate others as what to do and what not to do to achieve their goals, whether it be to finish an Ironman, to go sub 13, sub 11, sub 10, or whatever. And I also liked receiving feedback from readers and getting a different perspective on what I was doing and what they were doing.

I love Ironman. I love training for it. And I love talking about it and discussing it. So I'll continue to blog, but I'm not sure how detailed I can get about specific workouts since the workouts are not mine. I'll run it by my coach...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ironman Western Australia 2009

As the Australian saying goes: "That sucked balls mate!" In short, I got my ass kicked, quite literally.

I'll heavy load the report to the swim, well because, there was no run, and the bike was a blur.

Let's get to it. The race started at 6:15 a.m., an hour earlier than IMFL. I had set the alarm for 3 so that I'd have time to eat breakfast, digest, get to transition, and then otherwise get going. In this instance, the jetlag worked in my favor as still being on West Coast time, or East Coast time, or some time other than Western Australian time, I was wide awake at 2:50. After making the usual prerace preparations, (e.g., going to transition, taking a dump, checking out the bike, putting the water bottles on the bike, pumping up the tires, taking another dump, listening to Foo Fighters on the loudspeakers (even in Australia, Foo Fighters is apparently a M-Dot standard), putting away my dry clothes bag, putting on my wetsuit, walking around, taking off my wetsuit so I could try to take another dump), I finally headed down to the beach for the start of the race with ten minutes to spare.

The nice thing about Western Australia is that, like a big city stand alone marathon, there is a self seeding process at the beginning of the swim. When you register for IMWA, they ask you what your expected swim time is, and then they give you a different colored swim cap depending on the group withing which your expected time falls. When I registered, I had written down 1:05 (if you have noticed yet, I'm an optimist!), which put me in the white cap group, the second fastest expected group. The blue caps were the fastest expected group.

In any event, the swim starts out in the water, rather than a beach run start like IMFL. So in the water I got, treading water for 5 minutes or so, taking the time to pray that there would no sharks.

The gun went off. And I immediately felt the best I had ever felt during an Ironman swim. The fact that the swim was already almost sorted out, made me think of all the Hawaii Ironmans that I have seen on TV: long drafting lines drawn out over 50-100 meters. It felt very cool. And I was feeling fast.

The route of the swim takes you out a little less than 1.2 miles or 1900 meters (I'm getting very good with these conversions!), ends the first half with a U-turn along the jetty, and then takes you back to shore. If nothing else, I had kept up my swimming since IMFL (save for the past week). So adding in the drafting effect, and knowing that I was swimming with a group of relatively fast swimmers, I felt like I was flying, for me at least, so much so that with the help of my drafting buddy, I caught up to some of the blue caps. However, ironically, it would be the swim and the drafting that ended my day.

Once we hit the turnaround, suddenly everyone seemed to hit the breaks, a huge bottleneck occurred, and instead of there being a few swimmers in front of me, I was now surrounded by hundreds of swimmers. The washing machine had started.

Up. Down. Up. Down. White water all over. Chaos ensues. And unfortunately for me, I got absolutely clobbered. I took someone's full-powered kick right into my goggles which in turn twisted right into my eyes. I had just taken a knockout punch.

I moved over to the right side where I could try to collect myself, but it was tough. I literally could not see a thing. Both eyes were swelling up. And my left eye in particular stung like b%tch.

After treading water for some time trying to figure out what was going on, I just started swimming again (sans goggles) opening my eyes ever 10 strokes or so to make sure I was headed in somewhat of the right direction. I looked for a kayak, so that I could swim to it and ask for some help, but couldn't find any. So I just kept swimming back to shore - 10 strokes with eyes closed, stopping to look up, and then swimming again - for what felt like an eternity. I finally made it back. 1:09:51. Not bad. I thought it was going to be more than 1:20 - 1:30.

As I got into T1, I was just trying to determine whether to stop and ask for some assistance or keep going. I didn't want the slow transition time, so I just went, hoping for the best. The best did not come.

Out on the bike, both eyes started to swell up more and more over time. But my left eye swelled up completely - I couldn't open it. The sweat running down my race just exacerbated the stinging in my left eye. So I was depending on the little I could see out of my right eye. It wasn't fun.

Making matters worse, I'm not a very good at bike handling. Taking my left hand off the bike - especially the TT bike - makes me nervous. Here in Australia, because you are riding on the left side of the road, and passing on the right, you catch water bottles at the aid stations with your left hand. Putting my inability to see out of my left eye and my terrible biking skills was not a good combination. I had to pretty much come to a complete stop at every aid station to fill up nutrition.

As I kept going, my eyes were just kept getting worse and worse. It was very difficult to see at all so that by the time I was halfway through the bike, everything, and I mean everything, was a blur. I could barely even see my bike computer. My goal was to get to the finish line in one piece.

I haven't downloaded it yet, but I think my average watts for the ride ended up being about 190+. The bike course would be very fun if in peak shape. Very fast. Lots of room to ride. No cars in sight. And I'd say despite the flat course, everyone for the most part rode clean.

Once I got into T2, again, I was debating whether to stop and get treatment or continue on. I continued on. But not for long.

I landing up walking pretty much the entire first lap. I attempted to run at the very beginning, but I could not see a thing, the sun was hurting my eyes, and I had to keep my head down to try to shield my them as much as possible from sweat and any light.

Despite walking, the crowd support was unbelievable - by far and way the best support out of any Ironman that I have done. Those Aussies are hardcore. Very much into triathlon. The marathon course, which is a three-loop course, is covered the entire way with Aussies screaming their heads off. It was awesome, even if I was walking.

Once I went past the first loop though, I saw the first aid station and stopped. I had them check me out and they said that I needed to stop the race and see the doctor. Again I was deliberating what to do. I finally told them to call for the van. And that was the end of my day. A long way to come for a DNF.

This morning I feel like crap. My left eye is completely shut. The cornea is apparently scratched up. And my right eye is still swollen, though I can open it somewhat.

Nonetheless, the pain from having DNF'd far outweighs any pain in my eyes. A 17 hour Ironman is better than a DNF. It really fucking feels awful, or as the Aussies say, "It sucks balls mate!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It took a frickin long time to get here - over 30+ hours - not including my travels to the east coast, but here I am in Busselton, Australia, ~ 24 hours before the race starts, after having finally slept in a bed and not on an airplane. It's been quite the adventure. Sunday: 8+ hours of travel to the east coast; Monday: 8+ hours back to the west coast; Tuesday + Wed + Thurs: (Lose a day due to the time change): 30+ hours from LA to Sydney to Perth to Busselton.

I'm all registered and now that I have given up trying to go back to sleep because of jetlag, I am finishing up packing my transition bags. This Ironman will be much different than the last 2-3 that I have done (which may be a good thing!) as I have not done much training since IMFL, have yet to ride over 190 watts since IMFL, and have not done a lick of training - nada - since last Sunday, the longest I have gone without doing anything, and certainly the longest I have not ridden a bike, in about 2+ years. I plan on doing a short run and a 1 hour bike this morning just to get moving again. But I have no idea where my fitness is, how to pace myself, or how I will feel during the race.

Right now, I have all the same pre-race jitters as I normally do, but I feel more similar to how I felt before my first Ironman - scared of the distance! - than I do to how I felt before the last two races in IMFL - focused on going sub 10. An Ironman is a long ways, something you start taking for granted when you get in relatively good shape. I'm just hoping now that I can finish without killing myself. So my goal for this race is simply to have fun, and enjoy racing in Australia -- but if I have another 8+ minute transition, I'll be pissed!

Busselton is just like any other Ironman venue that I have been to - a small town with not much going on, far away from any metropolitan area, in the middle of frickin' nowhere. I just happen to be in the middle of frickin' Western Australia, which is very crazy to think about. I saw a dead kangaroo on the side of the road as I was driving here, which made me feel like I was in Crocodile Dundee.

But I am no Crocodile Dundee. As I was flying here, I was studying the map of Australia. There is a place about 1000k north of here called Shark's Bay. 1000k may seem like a lot, but for a guy like me, 1000k is close enough to put shivers down my spine. In in any other type of situation, I get out of the water if there is a goldfish in it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Monday: Travel back to the west coast. Crazy day. Bad weather canceled flight from Connecticut. Took a taxi to New York and flew back from there.

Tuesday: Am about to get on a plane to Sydney for vacation in Australia and New Zealand. Stopping off in Perth and then Busselton for IMWA. I hadn't initially planned on doing this race and am grossly undertrained and still recovering from IMFL, but since I will be relatively close to the race, I've decided to do it. When else would I ever get to do an Ironman in Australia? This is going to really hurt but its going to be awesome. Apart from finishing, my goal is to have faster transitions. I arrive in Australia the day before the race. I can't wait!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


4 mile run with my dad this morning. The guy is tough as nails and has run 50+ marathons.

Travel to Connecticut, connecting through Philly. The Philly airport has changed quite a bit from when I used to live there. I remember once seeing Allen Iverson at that airport back in the day. Hard to believe he has now retired. Time flies. Airports were super busy today. 7+ hours of flying time, which is just a taste of the crazy amount of traveling I will be doing over the next few days.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wednesday - Saturday

Wednesday: 4000 meter swim; 90 min bike

Thursday: Off

Friday: 3000 meter swim.

Saturday: 3000 meter swim; 7 mile run.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday - Tuesday

Monday: 2k swim; 6 mile run.

Tuesday: 4k swim; 90 min bike.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


6000 meter swim.

6 mile run.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


S: 5000 meters

R: 6 miles.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday - Friday

Wednesday: 2 hour bike.

Thursday: 70 min bike; 6 mile run.

Friday: 4000 meter swim.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Bike. 1:30. Easy.

Run. 30 minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday + Monday

Monday - 2000m swim.

Sunday - 2000m swim. 1 hour group ride and then tacked on about another hour later on in the day. While it was fun, I'm not a huge fan of group rides. Dropped off the back and rode my own easy pace.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday + Saturday

Friday. Swim 2000 meters. Bike 2 hours. 187w.

Saturday. Off.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday: Bike 2 hours.

Thursday: Swim 2000m; bike 2 hours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on Resting and Training

"Arhh! Take a month off! You need to switch off mentally and physically. Or you're going to dig yourself into a big black hole."

Pete, thanks for the comment. I agree that I need to take it down a notch after having just raced the Ironman to rest and recover both mentally and physically. I plan to do that by lowering my volume and intensity and listening to my body.

I have now completed two years of solid training in which I have gained the ability to identify how my body is feeling and how it will react to different training stimuli and rest. When I feel like I need to take a day, week, or month off, I'll take it. The worst thing that can happen to me is to get injured or, as you say, dig myself into a deep black hole. Injuries over the last couple of years have really screwed up my run training. I hope to avoid that this year.

Having said that, I don't think complete time away for a month is necessary or beneficial. In his book "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell describes the results of an empirical study suggesting that wealthier children and Asian children tend to get better grades in school, achieve more success on exams and scholastic tests, and attain the intellectual ability to take more advanced classes, than their less financially well-off or completely "Americanized" peers, not because wealthier and Asian children have some intrinsic intellectual talent or advantage. In fact, at younger ages and in earlier grades, the children performed relatively quite closely on all exams and scholastic tests.

Rather, the study hypothesizes that wealthier and Asian children performed better on tests as they got older because they tended to study year-round without taking a summer vacation. The parents of the wealthier children tended to hire tutors to teach their children during the summer months; and the parents of Asian children tended to ingrain in their childrens' heads at an early age that studying year round was part of their culture and a path to future success.

On the other hand, the less financially well off children tended to get summer jobs to help provide support for the family and help put food on the table. And the "Americanized" children tended to spend their summer months hanging out at the beach or amusement parks.

What ended up happening though is that, while at earlier stages of their education all children performed similarly on tests, as the children got older and advanced to higher grades, the wealthier and Asian children started to pull away more and more each year and achieve much more success on tests and in school. The authors of the study, as Gladwell describes, hypothesized that the wealthier and Asian children started to do better because they had continued to study for an extra 3 months every year. While those extra three months may have had only a marginal impact in the first couple of years of educational development, after several summers, the wealthier and Asian children started to perform substantially better on test after test; all the summers of extra studying started to add up. Indeed, based on that study, many intellectuals and politicians have advocated for eliminating or shortening the summer vacation in public schools. (The teachers' unions however have a different point of view).

Whether in fact the wealthier and Asian students started to perform better on tests because of studying during the summer months or for some other reason, I think that lesson applies well to achieving success in most things in life, including Ironman. The point of the story, and my recollection of the exact details of the story might be a little off as I read the book awhile ago, is that consistently putting in the effort, hard work, and hours, day after day, week after week, month after month, pays off, whether the purpose is to succeed in school, jobs, relationships, or hobbies.

Having just completed the Ironman, there is obviously a delicate balance between doing too much too soon and recovering. However, the opportunity cost of doing nothing, I think, is great. The goal for me right now is to recover, but not fall too far off from my current fitness level, and not too far away from my current routine, which I think is also important in achieving success. I think I can achieve this by staying in my routine, but lessening the volume, almost as an inverse taper.

It is hard to believe that I did the Ironman last Saturday. I am not naive to think that I am even close to recovered, but I do feel surprisingly relatively very fresh. I actually feel very energized. So I'll continue to train easy, recover, and hopefully maintain close to my current fitness level so that when I do start up in earnest again, I will be starting from a much higher fitness level than I would be had I taken a month off completely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Quest for Sub 10 Continues

Monday: Swim 2000 meters.

Tuesday: Swim 2000m; Bike 2 hrs; Run 4 miles.