Archive for May, 2012

This past few days had been worrisome for me.The club duathlon this week went well, and I was especially happy that I got a little speed out of my legs. I woke up Friday, and my had severe cramping on the inside of my right calf. Not sure why it happened. With 27 days until the big day, everything is a worry. Being older, it is not unusual to have aches and pains. Just the same, I’ll continue to fret. My wife Lee, is an occupational therapist and a rehab director for a skilled nursing facility. She works mostly with geriatric patients. So I qualify :). After a few days of deep tissue massage, stretching with a foam roller, my right leg is much better. I begrudgingly backed off training to recover. So close to the ‘A’ race, peak before taper. being a little under trained is much better than not being at the start line due to injury.

Since starting this journey, I have had to adapt to my older body, and more importantly, adapt my thinking about training. Since joining Endurance Nation, I made a lot of gains in the out season training, and some in the Half Ironman training. Jumping up the volume of work has been a struggle, and I have to modify the plan some for my current fitness. Historically, I have never been able to tolerate more than 3-4 runs a week, or much over 30 miles in a week. The biggest challenge over the past month is dealing with overuse injury, while trying to keep my gains, and while training for a half ironman. Mentally I have to keep focused on what I have learned, and listen to my body as it reacts to the stimulus (training). Like most, once you obtain certain paces, you really want to keep them. Coming back from minor injury is perplexing as it is a fine line of getting a workout in, verses pushing it over the line.

I signed up for Cooperstown sprint tri many months ago, as a warm up event for Syracuse. Even though my training plan has several race rehearsals scheduled, I like the social aspect of races. The danger is in going too hard for a non ‘A’ race, and have it interfere with the training plan. With my right leg giving my some issues, I would treat it as my long course, pace wise, and keep testing execution, transition, etc.

Kudos to ATC endurance, and Score-This for putting on a great race. Well organized, and just plain easy for the athlete to get situated. Very scenic course, and an enjoyable event.

The day before, I drove out and picked up the race packet. While I was there, I drove the run and bike course. I goofed and drove the bike course backwards. Sure would have been fast and slick if ran counter clockwise! 4:40 AM Race morning, Lee and I drove out, and got there 6:15 AM. Easy set up. Picked up my timing chip, and was all set to go. I was a little nervous, as this would be the first time doing a triathlon in over 15 years. I had a plan of attack, and was ready to go as we corralled into the swim start.

Swim started out just fine, Water was not too cold with a full wetsuit. It would be my first time out in a new wetsuit. May not have been the best idea. I stayed in the back third as to not be swam over. I am not a fast swimmer. Being amped up on gatorade, and power bars, I made a huge newbie mistake. I went out the first 200 yards way to fast, and blew up. The combination of going out way too hard, swimming in a new wetsuit, and being fueled up had me in red zone. I panicked a little, then realized that my breathing and heart rate was just racing. It took a long time to calm down, and had to alternate from back stroke to forward crawl several times before I settled down. I lost better than 6 minutes to it. I had figured 18-20 minutes (like I said, not very fast) for the 800M,and ended up 25:08. Way slower than I had hoped for. I was glad that I regained my composure and saw it through, rather than pull out.

T1 (first transition) was 3:58, not bad, considering I had trouble getting the last bit of the wetsuit off. Bike went well. I liked the course, and rode it conservatively as I worried about my right calf. Spinning easy up the hills, pushing a little on the down hills. I actually felt my legs stretch out some from the spinning. I averaged 16.4 MPH on the bike, and figured I could have pushed out closer to 18-19 mph average if I was racing it hard.

T2 (second transition) was 1:05, and I was pleased with that. I eased into the run with no twinges in my legs. I left probably too much out on the bike course, although it paid back nicely on getting my legs under me quicker during the run. My run goal for the day was to hit my long run pace, and take it to my half marathon pace (8:27) the third mile. I hit close to my desired marks although it was so tempting to run 7:50-8:15 a mile. With the slower pace, I concentrated on form, and being smooth. Heart rate stayed close to 144-150 bpm. The relaxed perceived effort allowed me to enjoy the scenery that much more.

I crossed the finish line in 1:42:47. If I had been pushing it or racing it (and not blow it on the swim), I might have broken under 1:30. Legs felt really good after the finish, and I was all too happy with the choices I made on the bike & run while racing it. Goal accomplished! I have a big week of training before Keuka Lake Tri this coming Sunday. It is the plan that I will execute much the same way as I did this race, and hopefully do a better job of easing into the swim and getting it done without difficulty. Key item for next event: I will have to seriously prepare mentally to keep it together on the next swim.


I took a deviation from my training plan to attend a CNY triathlon club’s duathlon series training event held @ Jamesville park. I did this for a number of reasons.

  • Although only a short bike and run compared to the 70.3 course, it is still on a portion of the Syracuse course.
  • I needed a break from the solo training runs and rides, good time to meet some of the club members
  • Another chance to practice bike to run transition
  • Test a little speed on legs

The event is low key, everybody times themselves. Entirely ran by club volunteers. I especially liked having bike racks as one would expect to see in a race. Good race simulation, and I liked it for the fact I could dial in paces,and work things through with race support, and plenty of fellow triathletes around me.

Mentally, this was a good break for me, as I had been nursing the IT band problem in my right leg for what seemed like too many weeks, and I was itching to see how a little speed would work out. Having a decent long run last week was encouraging.

The event was set up as a 1.7 mile run/10 mile bike/1.7 or 3.2 mile run. First run leg went well, as I was all fueled up ,and legs felt better than good. 8:14 to 8:25 pacing really felt easy, so much that I wanted to go faster. I decided to be happy with turning up the gas more than I had been able to in recent weeks, and did not want to risk it.

Transition to the bike went smooth,and was all good until I slipped my chain going up the first hill. Minor diversion,and back on course quick enough. I got dialed in, and stayed in the aerobars nearly all of the 10 miles.  Cadence stayed high,and I felt fluid churning the pedals. Using Endurance Nation bike protocols, I stayed seated or aero while keeping a smooth pedal stroke. As predicted, I would pass a number of people while keeping smooth on the bike. My bike split had me just under 19 mph average on a slightly hilly course. I was liking it.

The transition back to the run, was not a graceful as one might expect. Overall I switched out shoes and was running in under 90 seconds. The first 1/4 mile I experienced severe calf cramps (both legs). Stopped and massaged them for a minute, and the discomfort subsided. It was in the high 70’s and rather warm pushing out the second run. I settled in on a 9:00 minute pace, and did one loop.

It was a great change up to the training,and I got in a solid hard workout. Best news, my legs were ok. I probably need to drink a little more water on the bike with the heat. Easily addressed next time. Another two days of training, and then off to Cooperstown to do a sprint Tri on Sunday. looking forward to racing in scenic upstate New York leatherstocking region.

Hats off to the CNY Tri Club,and the volunteers that made for a very enjoyable evening!

Ironman Syracuse 2011 Bike Part 1 on Youtube

Video preview of the first 15 miles from last years race

This past Saturday I chose to do the upper half of the race course as part of my 3 hour training ride.Since I am not an elite cyclist, or a serious contender for an age group win, I can say “part” or “portion” of the course. Those in the mentioned categories can certainly complete the 56 mile leg under 3 hours. Where I live in the eastern portion of Cortland County gives me plenty of options to include a hill workout, whenever I desire to, and times when I don’t. Not at all hard to do hill workouts that would benefit training for the big race.

I had done the lower section of the bike leg back earlier this spring for one of my 2-2/1/2 hour rides. In both cases I started my ride in Truxton, which anchors the south west corner on the route. Conveinant for me, as it is just a few miles from our home. During that ride, I picked up the 15 mile to 43 mile mark of the course by bridging over on route 90 and picking it back up in Fabius. I got a good taste for the dip around mile 19, and the climb up to mile 30 on West Lake Road. Once back on route 13, you get a nice reprieve. Most of the back end of the course is void of any big climbs, a few small rises.

On the upper section I hit the dreaded climb out of Jamesville to Sweet Road leg burner. Coming from Truxton, I had 20 miles on my legs before I tackled that. At least I was warmed up for it. It did get up in the high 70’s that day, and was a nice day to do it. Once I crossed route 20, I left the course, and headed south, back to route 91 and ended back in Truxton.

Living near the course is priceless, as I could learn where I can push or hold back as needed. One of the protocols that is emphasized heavily with Team Endurance Nation, is not to blow up on the bike leg, and ruin your run. Once you are forced to walk on the run leg, you lose so much more time than you could ever gain on blitzing the bike. Their saying for this- ” No such thing as a great bike, followed by a poor run”

My goal in previewing the course aside from getting a mental picture of turns, and visual clues, was to learn what gears I needed to keep my heart rate from spiking, and where not to red line. More time to gain by methodically working up the hills spinning rather than trying to crush them. By not crushing the hills, I can come over the top, and pick up the cadence on the following descents. crushing the down hills so much easier on the legs 🙂  On Sweet Road however, I found my heart rate jumping into zone 5, even though I was using small gear ratio’s. I did learn where the hill had a few breaks in grade, and where I could spin more, and recover my heart rate. It’s a real bonus to get a heads up to were I need to pay attention.

All in all, very happy to get it done,and I learned lots of valuable race information. I plan to do sections of the course again and in it’s entirety before race day.

Even though my legs are toasted today, I am stoked for the weeks winding down to the big day. After backing off running intensity, and volume for the past few weeks, I decided to do a gut check to either green light doing Syracuse Ironman, or regroup, and explore less desirable options. With just 36 days to go, I needed to find out whether I could post a long run without major pain/discomfort, or have to bail out due to pain or further injury.

During the past two weeks, I put in a few runs that went 50-60 minutes. I did feel twinges, and some tightening of the Iliotibial band on my right leg. No real pain, just my brain freaking on every little twitch I felt. Once I finished, no significant discomfort. Stretching with foam roller continues with immediate relief of any tightening that I might have.

Having a possible show stopper this close had me worried. So much riding on the big build up to finish the 70.3 miles. No sponsors to please, no prize money that I would ever need to worry about. This is not my day gig, or payday. It’s purely emotional, as it represents all the effort from committing to it this past October, and bringing my health & wellbeing back to a place it needs to be.

Spring Turkey season continues, and lack of sleep is still an issue. Beginning of the week, I spent three days in Vermont. Although I didn’t get much training in, I did a fair amount of hiking while out hunting. The long hikes felt good on the legs. My Endurance Nation training plan this week called for a 120 minute long run, which I planned to do last evening. I actually slept in that morning to shake off the fatigue. Running from my house, I put in a hilly 11.5 miles. My first mistake was not doing a few flatter loops to warm up. Instead, I went right up the hill from our driveway. Heart rate spiked at 172 bpm, 0.7 miles into the run. Realizing my mistake, I backed off, and concentrated on getting down to zone 3 or low end of zone 4 efforts as I had more climbing in the miles ahead. Because of this, I felt I was working much too hard the first 3 miles. Eventually I recovered, and settled into a nice rhythm. I did want to work my legs some, but was not too excited about doing intervals. I picked the hilly route to put in some work on the legs, but without the pounding. Over the 11.5 miles, I put in 1,393 feet of climbing.

End result, my legs are toasted from doing work, and no other ill-effects. Whooo! Hoo! I still need to ease back into more miles, and some intensity, but as long as I concentrate on form, and watch what I do, I’ll be good to run on race day! One more long run in two weeks in the 120 minute range, then taper.  Getting past this hurdle is a huge relief!

Tomorrow, I’ll do my 3 hour ride on the Syracuse Ironman bike course.

Big training week! Earlier part of the week was broken up due to traveling to AIA Vision Technology show in Boston. Put up a decent run effort of 5 miles without IT band flaring up. I did the run on a treadmill to dial in paces (not to much, too fast, too soon.) Stretching with foam roller continues.

Friday was the swim rehearsal. Although no epic fails, I posted boat anchor splits for 500 yard intervals. Absolutely sure that I will not be first out of the water on the swim leg. 4AM mornings in the turkey woods is catching up with me. 5hour energy drink does not cancel out 4-5 hours of sleep………..

Today was the bike/run rehearsal. 56mike bike and 6 mile run were on the menu. No real problems on the bike other than strong cross winds. Wind gusts kept me out of the aero bars quite a bit. I ditched the fourth 14 mile loop after doing 42miles. I had enough of riding in the cross winds. Nutrition worked ok with Rocktane & Power Bars. Averaged just under 18 mph, considering the lack of sleep, I’m ok with it. Run transition went well, and my legs responded better than expected. It was getting hot, in high 70’s. Per Endurance Nation protocol, I did the first 3 miles, 30 seconds slower plus backed off the pace a little more due to the heat. I did have a side stitch after using Gator Aid Perform. Walked a little after mile 3, and picked it up on the back side of the run. may need to add water to the Perform or use something else. I may just use gels, no past problems with those.

Solid workout, no major issues other than being exhausted. Next week calls for a 120 min long run, little nervous about IT band. I plan to ease into it, and see what happens.

On to final six weeks to go!

With my right leg Iliotibial band acting up, I dropped running this week. Last Sunday I ran my workout with 1/2 mile intervals,and I could feel my Iliotibial band tighten up, and I bagged the run with a slow last mile, and some walking.  No accute pain, just overall tightening,and my shin felt a little sore. I purchased a foam roller and got immediate relief. Per Coach Patrick’s suggestion I worked it all the way up on to my hip. I could really feel it when using the roller. With six mornings of chasing turkeys around on the big ridges, stretching and working it out with the roller, I felt good enough to run today.

I fretted over this during the week. Not that I am so worried over time goals, or speed. I just want to finish well,and not hobble along or have to pull out, and throw away the money invested in the event schedule. In my reality, it really is a motivational investment for my health. The side bar to having an interruption to stave off further injury and heal up, is that the unscheduled rest also has benefits with intense training. Admittedly, I probably don’t rest/sleep enough with all the things I have going on.

After a morning of turkey hunting with my wife, I decided to do a 2.5 mile run on a seasonal road in Solon. With turkey hunting ending at noon each day, the road would be quiet,and I can run our two weimeraners unleashed. The route I chose has a few small hills, and it would give me a chance to see how the legs were doing. I ran the work out as called out for in my plan, and negative split the return back to the truck.  To be truthful, I was itching to get back to running, and it felt great. I found that my legs wanted to go faster than what was called for. That and It all came with less perceived effort and lower heart rate. I felt a few twinges here and there, but the run went well, and I only felt a little tightness in my Iliotibial band. Went home, used the roller, refueled and headed back out for round two with the bike.

Two hour bike today after the run. By the time I got out, it was windy,and It had me nervous for a bit. I had the race wheels on, and the side winds made the bike very twitchy to be down on the aero bars. I’ll opt out on the rear disk next time on a windy day. All in all, a solid bike. The ride really stretched out my legs. I kept the cadence high, using smaller gears. Things are on the mend.  Other than that, a decent week on the bike. Swim sessions much the same.

I may have to ease back in to running over then next couple of weeks, but I should get in two or three runs in the 11 to 13 mile range before the big day. I will have to watch the speed work, and intensity to not further aggravate my Iliotibial band. With two half marathons under my belt this season, really no need to worry on having enough training to at least complete the third leg of the race. It would be great to apply all my gains that I have made the past few months, but not at the expense of having to pull out of a race due to injury.

My goals are to finish well. I’m not fixated on a specific time or pace goal other than trying to execute the race plan Endurance Nation style. I ‘ll have whatever fitness I have come race day. Executing the plan with well thought out paces will make for a good race. My real worry is to having down time over this distraction should it turn chronic, and I would rather deal with it now. I am in this for the long haul. I have events later in the season along with NYC marathon in November. Not to mention there may be another 70.3 this fall, or in 2013.  Being healthy and injury free plays a big part in all this.  How well my body adapts to the training, and how well I recover, execute, and perform on the big day in June, may lead to or rule out making a commitment to a full ironman in 2013 or 2014.

Things are getting back on track, and looking forward to it!