Sunday, November 30, 2008

Goals for 2009

I did pretty much nothing this past week. It felt good to relax and not have to schedule in training time. However, I am now ready to get back to work. I am probably more focused then ever. I think not going sub 10 may have been a blessing in disguise as I probably wouldn't be motivated to keep going.

After having a week to reflect on the past two races and my training leading up to them I have set up a preliminary program for the upcoming year. I'll talk about the specifics of the schedule in a different post. But here are my goals for Ironman Florida 2009:

Swim: 59 minutes

Bike: 270 watts

Run: 3:15-3:20

It may seem that these goals are a bit ambitious; they are. (At IMFL 2008, I swam 1:08; biked 234w; and ran 3:51). But I am confident I can get there. I've learned a lot from my training and racing last year.

First, I think I can get a lot better simply by learning how to execute at race pace and on race day. One of the problems I had last year is that I couldn't really turn it on at will. I either felt great or I didn't. And if I didn't, then I couldn't race to my potential. I need to fix this. I plan to do this by (1) racing more frequently--I never raced before IMFL--and training more frequently at race pace and at Tempo. I plan to do several halfs and Olympic-distance races starting in April/May.

Second, I need to swim much more than I did last year. I only started swimming in June. That is much too late. This year, I will swim much more frequently and throughout the year.

Third, I need to increase my run volume. Last year, I didn't run that much, not because I didn't have the desire to, but because my shins bothered my for pretty much the entire year. 30 miles a week was a good week for me. I need to fix that. And to do so, I need to get my shins fixed. I plan to see a doctor hopefully this week.

Fourth, I need to improve my diet and body composition. I was pretty good leading up to IMFL. This year, I plan to eat healthy throughout the year. I don't mind cheating every now and then and will only get really strict again in the couple months leading to the race. But I hope to remain lean throughout the year so my body is used to producing big watts at a lower weight. I also hope eating healthier throughout the year will prevent me from getting sick or tired as often.

I will start training again probably some time this or next week. I don't plan on doing any crazy sessions now and don't mind missing workouts at this time. Everything will be very easy. But I am eager to keep moving forward toward a great race in 2009.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Update

I plan on taking at least this week off to recover and refresh mentally and physically. I don't plan on doing any structured training until December. I'm trying to eat and sleep as much as possible; it hasn't been too difficult because of Thanksgiving.

I ran about 3 miles yesterday and may do a 15k race this weekend. Otherwise, it has been nice just to relax. I'll list my goals soon some time before I pick up my training again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ironman Arizona Race Report

In the words of Austin Powers, "that really hurt!" I wanted to feel some pain, and I did. I gave it my all this time and so although my time was slower than IMFL, I felt much more satisfied crossing the finish line.

On the swim, I swam as hard as I could. I still didn't go any faster than IMFL. So my swim obviously is not that good and I plan to work on it a lot for next year. (I'll write about my goals in a different post).

Total Swim: 1:09:57

On the bike, I started out by averaging 248w for the first 1 hour and 20 minutes. I felt good, but not great. I then realized that there was a huge headwind going out and huge tailwind coming back. I was spinning out my gears back into town. So my strategy then became to push hard into the wind, and let up a little coming back. I averaged 253w for the first 2 hours 20 minutes. Once I got to the 70 mile marker, however, I started to feel the cumulative fatigue. I knew then that just finishing the race was going to be difficult. From that point on until the end of the race, I was just battling to get to the finish line. I kept questioning why I was still doing the race. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that my oldest brother flew out to watch me. My average power for the entire ride was 232w.

Total Bike: 5:03:46

Once I got onto the run, my plan was to start out running 8:20-8:30s and then pick it up after mile 4. I stuck to that plan, but was nevertheless really tired. I suddenly got a second wind at mile 7. At that point, I though I could maybe have a decent run. But then I completely crashed at mile 12. From then on, I was in a lot of pain and couldn't turn over my legs. I saw my brother at mile 20 and he told me that if I run 10min/mi, then I could still go under 11 for the race; I couldn't. I landed up walking pretty much all of miles 12-26. My splits are below:



Total Run: 4:38:53

I definitely gave it my all this time. I may have overestimated my fitness and underestimated the recovery time I needed, but I was ecstatic to cross the finish line, especially considering how much I was hurting throughout the day. Overall, the day was much more rewarding and fulfilling than IMFL.

Total Time: 11:03:46

Here is a video of the race that my brother put together.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday: IMAZ Check in and 19 mile bike; ~15 min swim

Should be a good one tomorrow. Bid # is 346.

a.m. ~15 min swim.

lunch. 1:10min ride with 3x3min hard (~300w). 19 miles.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts Going Into IMAZ

I'm headed to Tempe later today. I have to work this morning.

I will admit that I do not feel like I am in that good of shape and not even close to where I was 3-5 weeks ago heading into IMFL. I'm also about 3 lbs heavier. If I didn't taper enough last time, I may have tapered too much this time. I don't really feel like I am firing on all cylinders.

Having said that, I have zero expectations for this race. I have no idea as to how my body will hold up or where my fitness is. I did 10:12 at IMFL, but it was almost an "easy" 10:12. I left too much out on the course and really wasn't prepared to, and really didn't, suffer--I didn't have the energy to suffer.

Going into this race, I don't care about my time, which is somewhat of a nice feeling. I'd be more satisfied than IMFL if I finish knowing that I gave it my all. I have a strategy for this race, but unlike last time, I'm prepared to hurt and even to blow up. That's my goal for this race.

Friday: 5 mile run; abs

a.m. 5 mile run. 8:08min/mi.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday: 21 mile bike; 1 mile swim

1 mile swim w/~5 minutes hard. ~30 minutes

21 mile bike. 60 minutes w/3x3 min hard. 220w.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday: 20 mile bike; abs

1 hour recovery. 20 miles. 185 watts.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday: 63 mile bike; 2 mile run; abs

3 hour bike. 63 miles. 211 watts.

2 mile brick run. 8:12min/min. frickin' shins.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday: 30 mile bike; abs

1:32. 30 miles. 184w. Starting to feel better but also feel like I am in the worst shape I have been in in a long time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday: 20 mile bike; 6 mile run

Still under the weather. It's been tough to hold on. 6.58 mile run. 8:39min/mi. 1 hour recovery ride. 20 miles.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday: Day Off

Have had a cold all week (again). Probably needed more down time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday: 23 mile bike

1:04 min. 23 miles. 227w. 125bpm.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday: 60 mile bike; 3 mile run; 1 mile swim; abs

a.m. 3 mile run. 8:25min/mi.

p.m. 1 mile swim. Then 60 mile bike. 282w; 149bpm. 79rpm. Felt amazing. One week too late, after having had two beers last night, and McDonald's for lunch (which btw, now that I haven't had it in a while, doesn't taste that good anymore). Go figure.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday: 4 mile run

a.m. 4 mile run. 8:07min/mi. 143bpm.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday: 21 mile bike; 14 mile run; abs

a.m. First run since IMFL. 7 miles. 8:35min/mi.


p.m. 21 mile bike: 60 min. 7 mile run. 7:25min/mi

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday: 56 mile bike; abs

FL: 2:37:48; 219w; ###bpm; 80rpm; 21.3mph.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ironman Florida Race Report

I had been planning to set some time aside to sit down and write out a very detailed race report. However, I now prefer to keep it short(er). To be honest, I actually don't remember much of the race. And as I am sitting here now--two days after the race--I have absolutely zero soreness and zero stiffness (I did not have any soreness or stiffness yesterday either).

The fact that I don't remember much of the race and that my body is not sore tells me that my body was prepared to race; my mind wasn't. I do not believe I raced to my potential. I know I had a better race in me at the same fitness level. So rather than dwelling on what could have been, I am now ready to pick up my training again and move forward. I am going to start training again tomorrow.

I woke up on race morning an hour early after only about 3 hours of sleep. I was very excited to get going. However, I was not nervous at all. I found that to be a bit odd considering how much I had invested in this one day. On the one hand, I think it was good that I was relaxed; on the other hand, and in retrospect, I think I
was much too relaxed. I should have been much more pumped up. Instead, I felt like I was just going through the motions.

After I woke up, I first ate breakfast. Two bagels, both with cottage cheese, a Cliff Bar, a Cliff Builders bar, and a banana. I then ate another bagel. I also drank lots of water, Gatorade, and a Red Bull. I then took a shower.

One hour later though, I was still completely full. I ate way too much. I had never eaten that much before a big workout. And now, right before the race, my stomach was completely bloated and I was having trouble walking. I was literally praying that I would have to go to the bathroom before the race to empty out my stomach. Eating too much was the first mistake I made. I shouldn't have changed things up that morning. I finally did make it to the bathroom, but I couldn't get rid of my bloated stomach. And I never really did throughout the day.

After going down to transition to check my bike and transition bags, I went back upstairs to the hotel room to change into my wetsuit. I made it out to the beach about 15 minutes before the the start. Even down by the beach, I was much too relaxed. Here was race day, the biggest day of the year for me, the day that I had put everything into, and I yet I was struggling to pump myself up. I was either too confident, or I was treating it much too much like another training day. I am not sure which one, but either way, I wish I had been a little less relaxed and a little more pumped.

15 minutes later, the gun finally went off. I started out the 2 lap swim not feeling that comfortable. I just didn't feel like had much energy. Furthermore, I was getting punched and kicked quite a bit. That is to be expected. But for some reason, I just let it get to me. Rather than settling into a groove, I was just getting frustrated. I kept trying to get it together, but never could. I only have myself to blame for that. It is frickin' Ironman. What did I expect?

I finally finished the first lap and looked at my watch. It said almost 35 minutes. I was really upset with that, and was actually a little bit shocked. I knew I was taking it easy, but I didn't realize I was taking it THAT easy. So I was determined to swim harder during the second lap, which I did. Now that I have seen the swimming race splits, I am pleased to know that I am one of the few participants that negative split the swim, even if only by a few seconds. Just about everyone else swam a few minutes slower during the loop. So that tells me I just did not execute properly and probably did not expend enough energy during the fist lap. TOTAL SWIM: 1:08:57.

I made it through transition ok and then got on the bike. However, within the first few moments of the ride, I noticed that my Powermeter wasn't working. I had no watts, HR, time, mph, or cadence readings. Nothing worked. Having trained to race on data, whether HR or power, I stopped again. It took me several minutes (probably about 3-5) to get the computer working, though I never did get it working entirely. I had no mph reading for the entire race. Furthermore, I was not sure if it was working properly (which I'll come back to).

Once I got going again, I started out by pushing 260 watts (272np) at a HR of 152bpm for the first 56 minutes. My legs felt very heavy and I still felt like I had no energy. But I was determined to sit on 260 thinking that based on my training, my legs would eventually come around.

56 minutes into my ride, I suddenly got swept up by the Tour de Florida (i.e., by at least 50 cyclists all at once). (As an aside, while some have very strong opinions about it, I have never had a problem with drafters before as it tends not to impact my race. I race for myself. If others want to draft so be it; that is their choice. And they will know their result is a result of drafting).

Nevertheless, and back to my report, I became convinced that my Powermeter was wrong and that when I pulled over to fix it, I did not fix it properly. I thought to myself, and without having MPH as a reference, there is no way that I could get passed like that had I been averaging 260w. So I became determined to ride even harder. I made several surges trying to get past the group of riders that passed me, but as soon as I did, everyone just sat on my wheel. This went on for quite a bit. I became completely demoralized, not because I cared that anyone else was drafting, but because I couldn't get away and so thought I had no power in my legs on that day. And the truth is, I really didn't. Furthermore, making these surges, I think, further ruined my day. I was used to riding steady, and yet on race day I was making stupid surges, using up the little energy that I had had. I then lost it mentally and became content with sitting on an easy pace, around 200-210w. I am definitely disappointed in myself for doing that.

I don't remember much about hours 2-4 except for going easy and waiting for my legs to warm up. They finally did, but only at the 4 hour mark. By then it was too late to have a really strong ride. I picked up the power a little but not too much, thinking I might as well go for the best run I could. From the 4 hour mark on, I averaged 241 watts. My powermeter recorded 4:57 minutes of the ride. It says I averaged 233watts, less watts than my ride from last year. My np was outrageously high due to the surges I was making so that my VI was 1.40. My average HR was 139bpm. I trained to ride close to 156-160bpm. TOTAL BIKE: 5:02:01.


By the end of the ride, I was convinced that having ridden at such a low HR, I was poised to have an incredible run. It didn't turn out that way. As soon as I got off the bike, my legs felt the worst they had felt in any of the brick runs I had done throughout the year. I was bloated and I needed to go to the bathroom.

Nevertheless, I kept it going until I hit the end of mile 3. By then, my shins did not feel great, and I became concerned that they were going to flare up. They ultimately did not, but I used them as an excuse anyway to go to the bathroom and walk it out until mile 5. Again, I was weak mentally.

I then started running again. But I really did not feel good. I kept going until I hit mile 15 and mile 16. I was seriously lacking energy by this point. And so I stopped to walk, trying to get in calories through drinking Coke and Gatorade and eating Gummy Bears. The problem, however, was that I was still very bloated. So taking in more calories was only making things worse. I started to run again at mile 17 and ran through 18, but again lacked energy. I stopped to walk again at mile 19 to get in more calories. At that point, I knew sub 10 was not possible, yet I was determined to finish strong. And it was really the only part of the day that I was mentally strong. Miles 20-26 was my fastest run segment. TOTAL RUN: 3:51:02. Below are the splits again.


At the end of the day, I am pleased with the effort leading up to the race. I however don't think my race execution was that great. I was mentally weak throughout the day. And so that is something I need to work. Perhaps entering more races, perhaps some 70.3s would help.

Furthermore, and quite frankly, I just didn't have it that day. Perhaps I was not as fit as I thought I was, which certainly is a possibility. Some have commented that I screwed up my taper. That is also certainly a possibility and something I am thinking about. On the other hand, I also think that given that I did not taper much, the fact that I took three very easy days right before the race might have also cost me. I had never done that before in training. And I know from my past training that taking easy days--especially when doing nothing--tends to make my body shut down. So either I need more taper or if I am not going to taper, then I need to continue training more up until the race. I will work on those things this year to nail it for the next race.

I appreciate all of words of encouragement and support that I have received. It means a lot to me. I will continue to blog. I am convinced that I can get much better and that I can have a much better race. It took Macca 6 times to win Kona an yet his fitness was probably the same every year (he was even leading the race the first year). Same with Mark Allen and many others. I need to learn how to execute properly, figure out how to tap into my fitness on race day (which includes tapering correctly and being better mentally prepared for the race), and improve upon my fitness.

I am not sure which race I will do next. I am signed up for IMFL again next year. But as I said above, I will begin training again tomorrow and go from there.

Thanks for the support.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday: IRONMAN FLORIDA

It's f$cking race day! I'm up an hour early--3 a.m. Couldn't really sleep. Also with the time difference (PCB being 1 hour behind EST), I screwed up the alarm on my blackberry and so set the alarm 1 hour too early. I was sorta up anyway, just dosing. I'm completely wired, and yet surprisingly not that nervous. I'm sure the nerves will kick in once I get down to transition. I've already eaten 2 bagels with cottage cheese, one chocolate chip Cliff Bar, one banana, and one Cliff Builders bar (Chocolate Mint). I'm already full, but will try (and now have extra time)to get some more calories in. F$ck yeah!!!!!!!! Here we go!!!!!!!!!

______________________________________________________________________________________

Well, today just wasn't my day. I picked the wrong day to have a bad one. I just didn't have it today. I never felt like I ever had any energy and as a result was constantly playing catchup. I'll post a full race report in the next couple of days once I have had time to digest the race. I learned a lot by doing it and know I didn't leave my all out there. I know my fitness far surpasses my race result. And I feel like I just did a 5k, not an Ironman. So now I am more motivated than ever. My powermeter didn't work to start the ride, which I will elaborate on in the report, but I'll post what data I have once I get my bike back. Below are my runs splits.