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.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ironman Florida 2009

10:14:27. Res ipsa loquitur. Obviously I am very disappointed, but I think my time reflects well the training I did in the lead up to the race - more on that below. So I am not as disappointed as I was last year, even though my overall fitness level may have been better this year. Most of all, I was very happy to finish, and finish (relatively) strong.


S: 1:08:00. No surprise here. It's about what I expected given the level of swimming I did - 5 or 6 weeks of swim training before the race wasn't going to cut it, but I knew that going in so I wasn't that upset when I got out of the water.

T1: 00:08:07!!! Absolutely atrocious. Nothing remarkable happened in T1; I was just very slow. I have no idea how it took me over 8 minutes to get through it. Then again, I didn't know how slow I went until after the race, so it didn't affect my mental state at all while I was racing.


B: It took me about 45 minutes for my legs to open up, but once they did, I felt fantastic. My bike training this year was consistent and solid for the most part, though with one fatal flaw, which landed up, I think, ruining my whole race.

The first couple of hours of the bike, particularly on the Florida course, have been tough for me the last couple of years. Being a slow swimmer puts me in a terrible position once I get on the bike, and particularly because of the packs in Florida, it takes a concerted amount of effort to get by everyone. Lots of surges.

Unlike last year though, once I made my surges, none of the packs kept up with me and I never got swept up (until 100 miles into the ride), so I had some open roads where I was picking off literally hundreds of people (and tens and tens of packs) within the first hour and until the fourth hour.

(As an aside, if you have a moral issue with people drafting, don't do Florida. I personally don't care that people draft unless the drafting starts to affect my race, which it didn't this year. But I'd say the large majority of participants that I saw - and I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I were to say that > 60-70% of the people that I passed and 100% of the people that passed me - seemed to think that they were riding in the pro peloton.

I am proud of my bike time (even though I thought I'd be faster) and am highly suspicious of the majority of times posted in the results. If you are going for a Kona slot, I'd think twice about doing Florida; if you are racing for your own reasons or just competing against yourself, then the Florida course is fun and well organized - the drafting shouldn't be a problem).

I averaged 260 watts (269 normalized) for the first 3 hours with an average heart rate of 148bpm. (As a point of reference, I averaged 258w with an average heart rate of 162bpm at FL70.3 last May - so my biking fitness for this year's Ironman was very good). However, the wheels, so to speak, started to come off at about 3:30 into the ride. My back completely seized up around that point and from then on until the end of the bike ride, I struggled to produce any power whatsoever and struggled to push off during the run.

I see what happened as completely preventable and as a direct result of my training. While I had a lot of biking miles under my legs, my longest ride during my build was only 4+ hours, which I was nervous about and which turned out to be not long enough. It was within that 3-4 hour time span that my back acted up. Had I biked 6 hours in the aero position several times in training, I don't think I would have encountered the same problem.

Broken down by hour, my stats were as follows (my speedometer went in and out throughout ride due to poor magnet placing on my disk so distance and mph is slightly off):

Hour 0 - 1

Hour 1- 2

Hour 2 - 3

Hour 3 - 4

Hour 4 - 4:50

As the stats show, I wasn't having too much fun from 3:30 until the end of the ride (and unfortunately until the end of the race). Adding insult to injury, a huge pack, which I had worked hard to pass around the 40 mile marker, caught and flew past me at about the 100 mile marker. It was disheartening to say the least and I knew then that my dream of sub 10 for this race was likely over. TOTAL BIKE TIME: 4:50:16. Not outstanding, but good enough.

T2: 00:4:36. Less atrocious (relatively speaking). My transitions are obviously terrible. That comes from not practicing them and only doing 1 race per year, something I need to correct going forward.


R: I knew it was going to be a long day on the run course. If I couldn't push down on my pedals during the end of the bike, I was scared about being able to run. And unfortunately, I couldn't. I saw my parents out of transition and that gave me some adrenaline. But my marathon consisted of running 7:30-8's for a few miles and then walking. It wasn't fun. I saw my brother (who ran ahead so he could see me several times during the run) at mile 6. At that point, I had been averaging about 8:20's. He said I looked great, which motivated me to keep going, but I think secretly he knew I was struggling as he asked me if I had been walking and told me that I could slow down to make sub 10.

Once I got to the 11 mile marker, I was done. I could barely move. My back was killing, but I also think it was result of a lack of running fitness. My longest brick run off of a long bike was about 10 miles and it was then that I really started to hurt. I walked until mile 12 at which point I started to run again so my parents wouldn't see me walking where they were waiting for me at the halfway mark. Miles 13-18 were pure agony. For those 5-6 miles, I traded off running 8's for one mile and then walking for the second mile. At one of the aid stations, a very nice lady asked me if I needed anything; I asked for some advil and she said ok carry on, I'll bring it to you. I kept walking and 5 minutes later she pulled up to me in a full sprint with the Advil. (The volunteers and spectators were awesome).

I saw my brother again at mile 18. He told me that I needed 7:30s to hit sub 10. That wasn't going to happen. But I also wanted to finish strong and try to get under 4 hours for the marathon. Also didn't happen, but I did give everything I had, particularly from mile 22 until the end. Total Marathon Time: 4:03:28.


Despite not going sub 10, there are a lot of positives to take away from this race. First, I really feel like I am on the verge of going fast, even much faster than sub 10. This was the first Ironman that I have done where I felt like I was really racing. The other Ironmans that I have done have all been about survival.

Second, taking away my transition times, my swim, bike, run total time was actually faster this year than last year, despite my slower marathon time. And I placed higher in my age group and overall. The swim was much rougher and the bike much windier than last year too. So I think this year's 10:14 this was better than last year's 10:12.

Third, I know what I need to do to get better. Swim and run. I am going to dedicate myself to swimming as I have done to biking. While I used to the think the swim didn't matter, I now think that the swim completely sets the tone for my entire race. If I can get out of the water faster, I think my bike time and overall time will be much faster. This coming year will all be about the swim and run, though the run will take me longer to build up.

Fourth, while I only ran a 4+ hour marathon, I convinced myself that I can actually run in an Ironman. My 4:20-4:30 marathons of old used to be a result of lots of walking with steady efforts at 9-10+ min/miles sprinkled in. Now my 4 hour marathons are a result 7:30-8 min/miles sprinkled in with lots of walking. While the total times are similar, the efforts and fitness level required to achieve the latter are much different. Once I get my running miles up (I only started running 30+ miles six weeks out from the race), which I haven't been able to do for the last two years because of various injuries, I think I will be ok.

Fifth, it has been 2 days since the race and a day of traveling, and I have zero soreness or stiffness. This tells me that I have a good base going forward and that my rate of recovery has improved tremendously, which will help me as I train for next year's goal of sub 10.

Finally, based on this race, there is no doubt that I need to race more throughout the year. My race execution is terrible. My pain threshold during a race is terrible. And my ability to get into that extra gear during a race is terrible. No more 1-2 race seasons. I need to learn to race and that requires racing, whether it be a 5k or a half ironman. Furthermore, for the amount of training that I do, putting all my eggs in one basket is just a bad strategy.

Ironman is a frickin' tough sport and I am still learning what it takes to be good. But that's what I love about it. Here's to next year's training and racing. Cheers.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Training is done. Bike is in. Bags are in. Showtime!!!

B: 90 min w/ 3x3min max effort; 5 min recovery.

Going all black tomorrow.

And if it gets hot, I'll go Faris style with the manbra!




Thanks to everyone for the emails, texts, and phonecalls.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


If you had seen the course today, you would have thought that the race was going on right then and there. Everybody was out there today. Let's get it on!

Ate a huge meal tonight. Am stuffed.

S: 40 min.

B: 90 min.

R: 3 miles.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Slept too much yesterday. Had trouble sleeping last night.

The course is now littered with triathletes. I'd guess that over half the participants are here. Tomorrow will be crazy.

Nothing exciting going on today. Saw a movie and then swam 40 minutes this evening in the wetsuit. While I started my swim training much later than I should have, I'm hoping I've improved upon my time from last year - 1:08 - 1:09.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Here was my day. Woke up at 11 after 12 hours of sleep. Ate some cereal and fruit. Went for a 2 hour bike on the course. Came back, ate lunch and then went back to sleep for a few hours. Woke up and went for a 5 mile run. Went to the pool, which was freezing cold, for a little swim. Ate dinner. And am now going to sleep.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Travel to Florida. The sun was setting by 4:30-5. Don't like the time change.

Biked for an hour. Flatted a couple miles before I got back to the hotel. I was surprised to see so many athletes riding and running on the course already. I had thought that I'd be one of the first ones here. Some fit looking people out there. Pretty inspiring.

Went grocery shopping. Lots of fruits, veggies and cold cuts. But the grocery store is a very dangerous place right now! Was tempted by everything. Looking forward to pizza and beer on Saturday night.

Chilling now but not much to do around here. Anxiously waiting for the race to start.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Hard to believe that this is it. Last year's race seems like it was yesterday.

B: 1 hour. ~200 watts.

R: 6 miles easy. 2 runs left before the race.