Posts Tagged ‘EN’

With all the things mentioned in recent blog posts, it continues on as much of a wild ride as predicted. With the new career focus of starting a tech company, the customary long hours and no or few days off are the norm. As one might expect, any firm schedule is a suggestion at best. Aside from my brain being over saturated, I still have the little task item of preparing for a long day in July. Whether I am ready or not, 140.6 miles  will be waiting, leave your excuses at the beach. Given all the circumstances, crossing the finish at Ironman Lake Placid will certainly be a significant life event. No doubt, it is a monumental experience for all those who take on the Ironman challenge.

One side benefit to be a singular team of me, myself, and I is that I can slip away to do that two hour workout when I have a break in the day, or do it on the fly. Working long hours, the mental break is most welcomed. The stress relief is a huge bonus.

Workouts are progressing slowly. I am beginning to complete about 70-80% of them as detailed in my EN Out Season plan. Weight is slowly dropping, and hope to be where I was last year (lightest weight) by late March. That all sounds good except I hope to lose much more before July. Balancing a diet, and increasing volume workouts in April is something I need to make happen.  I found a great deal on a like-new Quarq power meter for my tri bike a week ago.  Got it installed and working, no problems. Next I’ll need to time trial test and set a baseline while I learn this training with power business.

Recently got a bike fit with Jamie Campbell at Bike Loft  in North Syracuse. Using protocol from Specialized, it is a intensive in depth assessment of your joint alignments, range of motion, etc.,  before they even begin to look at bike sizing and fitting. My wife is a director of rehab at a skilled nursing facility, and I would draw similarity’s to what her physical therapists would look at  in the assessments of patients. Jamie was very thorough. When it was all said and done, I had a better position, and way more comfortable. My bike fit  that I had prior was not too far off, a few minor tweaks, a better fitting seat for my big butt, and I left as a happy camper. I have a few hours on the test seat, and will order that today. Highly recommended. We are fortunate to have a bunch of great bike shops in the CNY area. I enjoy heading back to the Bike loft, as my experience with them goes all the way back to when I was a young boy. This goes back to when Lance’s parents where running it. aside from that, it is a great shop,and I always get great service there.

As promised, I started swim lessons with coach Bill Houser at the  Cazenovia College pool. first night was pretty good. I liked working out as a group. It encourages one to keep at it rather than slack off. We ran warm up drills, and some baseline stuff. At the end we were all video taped to analyse what we are doing right/wrong or need to improve. My video should be a hoot. I’m bracing for the some good, some bad, and likely some very ugly. With the grace of God, and what help that coach can give me, I can reduce the last two items, and swim reasonably sorta slow as opposed to very slow. I am told that I can take a 2 hour swim, and bring it down to a 1:40-1:45 swim with fixing basic technique issues. That will certainly work for me.

My laundry list of things to get done or put in place are being checked off one by one. Despite the hectic times, there is progress, and very thankful for that.

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Middle of January, we’re in the thick of it, and on many fronts. Currently in Endurance Nation’s Out Season plan. The idea is to work on speed and needed skills. Of course in my case speed is oh so relevant and a large matter of perspective. Given that qualifier, I have faith and past experience that supports the belief that I will be ever so slightly faster on wheels, land and sea at the end of the Out Season (end of March). It is my hope that I will see substantial gains as compared to the here and now as I type this. After that, welcome to volume and endurance on top of some speed work, just not so much.

It has been overwhelming when combined with starting a new technology company. Long hours, up to my eyeballs trying understand more of the business side of things. As chief  everything officer, all things including the buck stops at my feet. Good news, office is up and running , and working on first contract. Getting it up and running and making money quickly sure helps.  I have yet to nail down a solid schedule with everything in flux. Having some flexible time does allow me to get  workouts in, but I need to get that down to a consistent schedule. Training for an ironman and starting a company, probably not the best idea, but it does help relieve the stress. No trouble sleeping this past week.

With multitasking in overdrive to the point of mental abuse, I did accomplish a few things for my ironman quest. Swimming lessons start in two weeks. That will take up Tuesday night time slot. Renewed YMCA membership  to get other swim days in, plus tread mill for those over the top nasty winter days (winter running is my favorite). Three blocks from my office,and very handy for a early or midday workout. Hopefully I will be bike training with a power meter in a few weeks. Looking forward to better more consistent and objectively measurable workouts on the bike. The watts don’t care about other factors or how you feel. More watts, harder, faster. I am signed up for race rehearsal camp in June in Lake Placid. It will be great to get a real feel for the venue. Should be a big confidence builder. Anything I learn there will give  me a few weeks to either enhance or correct before the big day. Looking forward to meeting my teammates that weekend. Even with all this going on, I am still working on getting the payload down. Getting faster by dropping weight is a plus. Still have to get a bike fit done before those long 3/4/5/6 hour rides.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I will forgo some of the usual races to stick to the training plan, not to mention keep a reign on discretionary spending. Broke my heart to not sign up for boilermaker (favorite race) That day will be a two hour bike and 20 min run, with a four hour bike the day before.  I am signed up for Lake effect 13.1, and the new Syracuse 13.1. Looking forward to doing those as I can fit them into my current out season plan. Of course it calls for doing 1/2 mile repeats  at tempo pace with 2 minute recovery pace between each one. Smile and run anyway  🙂

Mike

Wow what a year! I am currently breaking tri-geek protocol with a glass of fine Riesling, as I reflect on 2012. There will be one or two more before the ball drops. 2012 was a huge year for so many reasons. I’ll start at least from the triathlete perspective.

2012 was my year of renaissance, my comeback to the sport.  I went all-in, with both feet. Joined the Endurance Nation team, and tried to string together as many “right” things to do that I am capable of. In my singular “world view”, I was shaking in my boots. I was going from zero to 70.3 after a 14 year hiatus from the sport. My “A” race was Ironman Syracuse 70.3, a half ironman event.  Goal accomplished, I overcame and adapted as the year unfolded. It was not a perfect race season, but a very good one. I worked through whatever happened, and I literally enjoyed all of it.

For my overly positive perspective, I can easily point to Endurance Nation, the EN team,and coaches Rich & Patrick for the majority of it.  Even though I am much older, certainly much slower, as compared to my glory days of my thirties, I felt more empowered, and in control of each and every event. Having the mental toolkit to deal with the actual race was a game changer for me.  The race season include several sprint tri’s, an olympic tri, Syracuse Ironman, 4 half marathons,and an assortment of 5k’s,and other mid distance running events. The one disappointment was NYC marathon which of course was canceled. Mother Nature can be a very cruel in her fury. Recovery for the people in those areas is still on going. Despite the destruction, the cancellation, The “Run Anyway” event that came together that Sunday, was inspiring, and a lifetime memory.

Race season slowed after the first week of November. I entered into a bike concentration plan that is now just ending. As you will understand further, the past month leading up to this was very stressful, and not as productive training wise as one might hope for. Despite the awe inspiring comeback year, My professional life took it in the shorts a week before Christmas. My company was sold and only half of the engineering team was offered a position in the new company. Myself and the one other remaining original founder of the company was not invited back, as well as other very talented engineers. Ying and Yang in full effect for me personally.

Not all is lost. I am starting a new technology company, and we’ll see if it sinks or swims. I am driving the bus for now. With that it leaves some uncertainly for Ironman Lake Placid, which is my “A” race for 2013. Obviously if I am not successful  I cannot afford the costs associated with the event. It is an unknown for now. In the mean time, I have a career plan, and an ironman plan in place to succeed at either or both (both is the correct answer). It is more important to succeed with the company in order to keep our land, our home, and to contribute to our bills. In that regard, triathlons take a back seat. It does mean that I will be at fewer races, which is ok as far as not distracting from the training plan for Lake Placid. I can live with that. As we are taught how to adapt to race an iron distance  endurance event, I must adapt to the abrupt change in my career as an engineer. My quest to cross the finish line as an ironman could realistically be postponed. Either way, I will continue to train,and make the best of it. After all triathlon is my play time, my stress relief.

There is a crossover from the tri world to the career world as well. The goal driven mentality, the perseverance, the stick with it till you make it mantra, all comes in handy on the real life side of things. I can assure you that I will apply all of those things within my power, and capabilities. My lively hood is at stake, and while I train for a full ironman, reality for making the distance, and making my company succeed, will never be more than a thought away.

I will be truthful, as much as I have had many great things in 2012, I am doubtful and worried about 2013. In both work and play, I am tackling two very large unknowns. In my plus column, I have the unwavering love of my wife and family, my health (a big thank you to my doctor, Dr. Lynn Cunningham), and I am blessed in so many ways. Team EN will have my back as they always do, and with any luck, 2013 will be a pivotal year, even more so than 2012.

With that I leave you in a hopeful but concerned state of mind. I wish you all a great 2013, and I hope to cross paths as our lives forge forward. Tomorrow you can find me at the Resolution Run in Syracuse, and you can be sure I have a few resolutions to carry with me throughout the year.

God bless, and may your travels this holiday season be a safe one.

Mike

Still not totally “reconciled” a week after the ill fated canceled NYC marathon.

Still no resolution or word on what will be done for the 45000 runners who got little or nothing for their $250, not to mention those of us with non-refundable hotel/travel arrangements. Worse of all and more importantly, many of the storm’s victims are still without heat or power. Gas is a priceless commodity as well. That would be the negative side of the equation. Indeed, people are still suffering a huge loss in those areas. No win-win for anybody.

On the positive side, many runners donated, some traveled directly to the areas hit by the storm, and did good deeds, making a difference. The impromptu runs came together quickly thanks to the ever so connected world of social media. “Run Anyways” was an inspirational event, and I am glad to have witnessed it, and participate. More funds and donations were raised and collected there as well.

As I chose to run a solid half marathon effort, my recovery was quick, and I spent the transition week running with our weimaraners, and a few light bike trainer workouts. Even though training leading up to do the marathon certainly benefits my fitness that I can carry over, it was more run focused and endurance based.

Now that I have done a hard reset per EN protocol, I am all in with one singular focus, one goal: Cross the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th, 2013.

37 weeks to go before the big dance.

This will be a very different season coming up. I love to do events/races. As a social athlete, I am in for the fun and excitement of the events. Over the next eight months, I will forgo many races that I might normally do. I have set my mind to follow the training plan, and not look to make exceptions to accommodate races that cause me to shift things around in the training plans, or require me to recover and not just train through them. This does not mean that I won’t do other events, but they will have to fit my training schedule, and not interfere with each week’s specific purpose. Each week from here on out, has a specific purpose, and necessary to achieve my goal.

As an Endurance Nation athlete, I have a season plan that takes me to the big day. Unlike what you may be thinking, it is not 37 weeks of ironman training. I chose to do Lake Placid, as it was designated as a EN team event, and part of the Master Season planned races. This means I will be working with the same goals as many of my fellow team mates, and draw upon the collective knowledge of the coaches and team members.

My 2013 season is broken down as follows:

  • 6 weeks of Bike Focused Plan- this includes running skills, heavy bike training no swimming. I picked this as I can make big bike fitness and time gains. Heading into winter, means cycle training indoors. Have to up my mental game.
  • 1 week reset, unstructured workouts as I feel
  • 14 weeks of Out Season Training. lot of work on getting faster, train to be faster. No swimming called for, but I will be looking for swim training/coaching on easy or rest days to improve my water skills. Weakest link, and I can drop a 2 hour ironman swim down to 1:40-1:45 maybe better than that. It will be a matter of when and where classes will be offered.
  • Mid April I will switch to 16 weeks of ironman training and begin adding endurance on top of the expected speed gains. I may attend EN training camp early June, as training on the actual course is priceless and critical to knowing where/when to execute race strategies.
  • Along with all this, I am focused on reaching reaching that 160lb weight goal, as I don’t want to haul around anymore of my fat butt than I have too.

Much of the focus will be similar to training for Ironman Syracuse 70.3. Of course it’s twice as long, and requires attention to all details. As before, Coach Rich & Patrick, my fellow EN teammates will have my back, and will guide me through the highs and lows, illnesses and or injuries should they occur. As much as I am in awe and intimidated at completing a 140.6 mile journey, I am excited for what I expect will be an epic day, and a experience that will be life changing.

13 days and counting to race day in the big apple. This past weekend turned out very different than planned and for a whole bunch of different reasons. Originally on tap was the last morning long run (roughly 20 miles), a little hunting, projects around the house, and volunteering for Leaf Peeper Half Marathon on Sunday.

Unfortunately, my favorite Aunt had taken a turn for the worse. She had been fighting a long and painful battle with cancer. That news came on Friday. Left work early to take mom to see her, and then that got postponed as I neared Syracuse to pick her up. However, we went Saturday, as the news of my Aunt’s condition had become more dire.  Sadly she passed away on Sunday. The bright side was the long painful battle had come to an end, and that she would finally be at peace. What makes it more emotional aside from being my favorite Aunt, whom I have so many fond memories of,  is the similarities to the way my dad passed away from leukemia. As they say, “cancer sucks.” An emotional rollercoaster as these life events usually are.

My scheduling of the final long run in route to NYC obviously was changed several times, and ended up an evening run instead of a morning run. It does help to do something very physical in stressful times to calm one’s soul, and feel a little grounded. It also helps to have control of something you can come to grips with. I did choose to run the Erie Canal path from Dewitt to Chittenango, and back to get the distance in. My meals earlier in the day were not exactly the best prep for a long run, but I had to roll with it. Along with the emotional undercurrents,  I had been fighting off the flu/cold/bug whatever it is that had been going around at work. I felt it coming on during the past two weeks, and felt achy, but fought it off. Gotta love that Zicam. Needless to say, I was not 100%

Miles and miles of flat running doesn’t thrill me much, but the softer path is very welcomed for a 20 miler.  Most of the run went as planned. I eased into it slowly, keeping heart rate down, and trying not to hit the gas with a full load of powerbars, and GU gels. I mixed lava salts in my drink bottles, and that seems to do the trick. No cramping issues during the run. As advocated by Endurance Nation, I went out the first six miles 30 sec to a minute slower.

Very few people on the canal path. The further I got from Dewitt, the less I was within sight of another person. There were miles along the pathway that was just nature, and myself with my thoughts. Very calming, it brought some solace, and inner peace. With all that was going on, there were thoughts about my father, most certainly of my Aunt Joan.  Funny how I can’t remember a lot of stuff, and then remember things 40-50 some years ago with such clarity. Not only did we like/love Aunt Joan, we hung out alot with her children  (our cousins) Dorthy, Billy and Bobby. The house in Alexandria Bay, the basement with the huge black spiders, the cool rocky ridge behind their house, and  “Wolf,” their german shepard. Lots of fun memories of those times. Aunt Joan would watch me when mom would be at work while dad was at sea in the Navy. Anyways, I’ll stop rambling, you get the picture.

Around mile 11, I could feel I was not at 100%. I was running smooth (as much as I run smooth) and felt no pains or issues. However I could tell that I was working a little harder than I like at marthon/long run pace, and that the latter miles would have me earn them in a big way. Fatigue was coming on way earlier than I would have liked. Before that, I had walked 30-40 steps every mile after mile 5 to race sim the water stops. I did walk 30 steps at mile 2. As I reached mile 17, I knew the last 3 miles were not going to come easy. Referring to a prior blog post, I had my EN kit of tools to draw from. No worry, just work through it, and find what works, what doesn’t, and make the best of it. That I did. I walked more than I liked, walk a tenth of a mile, run 4 or 5 tenths. It got me to the end, and that was the best I could do given how I felt both emotionally and physically.

No excuses, I’ll have what I have come race day. during the taper, there will be some light speed work, a few short runs at goal pace, and time on the bike trainer. I’ll be out there for a long time, but I will be with 45,000-48,000 of my best friends,and I’ll have plenty to think about. Most certainly. I have much to be grateful for.

To those running at NYC marathon, good luck! Say hi if you see me, I’ll be the slow guy in the bright yellow top.

For all practical purposes, my first season back to the sport of triathlons and as an Endurance Nation Team member has come to a close. Still on the calendar is NYC Marathon, and maybe a club fun run here and there. After NYC Marathon, I’ll be training for the 2013 season, with the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid.

Before I dive into it, up front I’ll tell you that I am biased, spoiled in many ways, and of a skewed opinion. Reasons for my perspective:

  • First year back returning to triathlons.
  • Picked great races that were well ran, and quality events.
  • Effectively nipped in the bud- impending health issues.
  • Actually sought real training resources.

Technically, I have been with Team EN for 8 months, but have done a full North East Regional season under their coaching guidance. Granted my goals were not complicated, or too lofty. Train well enough to complete Ironman Syracuse 70.3 and look reasonably well doing it. Gotta look good for the pictures 🙂

I know that people go from zero – 70.3 every year, and finish in impressive times. For me, I felt it was daunting, and felt somewhat scared. I did one 18 years ago, at 155 lbs and 34 years of age. Last October I was 51 years old, and just under 200lbs. Of course I did it back in 1994 by the seat of my pants, and lucky to finish it unscathed. Anyway, my zero to 70.3 endeavor was a big deal for me. Truthfully, it qualifies as a life changing event.

Joining Endurance Nation was a key decision for my season. Very economical in an online group coaching environment, as opposed to one on one coaching. I was looking for general guidance, and once in awhile specific answers to things that cropped up. The online team forum was also very helpful and friendly. The closest way to describe it: cloud team coaching. It is overwhelming at first with the volume of information and resources they offer. Once you get past the first few weeks absorbing the training approach, it quickly starts to make sense. The results show quickly.

The team is very big on return of investment, and that all this stuff should be fun. Best viewed as a game we all enjoy to play. It is clear as you dig deeper, that these guys are in for the long haul, and wants it’s members to stay in the sport, not burn out and flame out in a season or two. Coach Rich & Patrick lead by example, and the training plans constantly evolve as things are learned and fed back by the team itself.

As to my results, I went from running some, to in a single year: 1-half Ironman, 4- half marathons, 2 sprint tris, 1-olympic tri, a bunch of club events, a pile of shorter road races, and soon to finish a marathon in two weeks. My weight bottomed out with a 54 lb loss (over two years), about 15 lbs of it with EN. My running VDOT went from 32 to 41.

Aside from the big jump back in, the biggest gain from all this is from the improved head space. Hence my previous comments on being biased, spoiled, etc. Seriously, much of the credit for this comes from being on Team EN. I became empowered by the resources and training methods that the team promotes. This is profound in the fact that here I am 18 years later, much slower, but enjoying it oh so much more, not loathing the slower paces, or dreading the longer times out on the race courses. Will get even better as I feel better, lose more weight, and get faster.

As I run , bike or swim, I have in the back of my head, a basket full of tools to deal with whatever comes up during the race. Things to try, or choices to make to better improved either my race execution or at least my race experience. “Conductor/engineer of your own train” is the best way I can describe it.

There are the performance tangibles to look at as well. I expect the upcoming season to see more weight loss, improved paces, power output, etc. Next July is the big brass ring. I have to say, that it is every bit as daunting and scary as it was last fall, jumping back into the sport and going big. I’ll have a full 40 weeks of guidance getting to Lake Placid, with a complete season plan that will drop into the final 20 weeks of the Ironman distance plan. I’ll blog soon about the new Master Season plan, which I will be partaking in. It is comforting that Team Endurance Nation, and Coaches Rich & Patrick will have my back on this one.

Dog days of summer are here for sure! Has been a hot one, and great weather to be out doing what you love to do.  Five weeks have past since my big ‘A’ race @ Ironman Syracuse.  Still feeling it a little, but not at all like I remember after doing Firmman Half Ironman back in 1994. Much better recovery this time around. Today at lunch I went out for a 4-5 mile run with a couple of mile repeats. I hacked my marathon hack  in my training plan to accommodate a catered half marathon training run @ Deryuter Tromptown races this Thursday. I signed up for the early start as I planned to run something between racing pace and my long run pace, which may go out past two hours. I was suppose to run yesterday, and had stomach issues that were cause to adapt and reschedule.

Very stoked with the mile repeats at lunch. Moderate weather in comparison to last few weeks. 68F at noon today, some overcast, and light wind.I decide to see what I crank out at a slightly lower gear with a 160bpm to 165bpm heart rate. First repeat came in at 8:47 with my heart rate hovering around 162bpm. Walked a 100 yards to drop heart back down, recovery pace for the remainder of the next mile. For the 2nd mile repeat, I decided to push it to another gear, but not all out like I would for a Vdot test. I stayed close to 172bpm until the last quarter mile,and then it jumped to 177bpm. Clocked a 7:55, and was very happy to inch closer to mile repeat pacing that I saw this spring. Starting to get some snap back in the legs.

This Thursday at Tromptown will be about smooth execution,and maybe a little push. The course is scenic as it travels clock wise around the reservoir and back in to town. It is an evening run, and will be subjected to the heat and humidity of the day. Predictions are for a high of 81F so far. I will ease into the first three miles at a 10ish per mile pace, and then drop it down if I feel it in the legs. If not, I will enjoy the ride at a long run pace, maybe with a few surges or mile repeats to break up the distance.

I am at a good head space relative to 51 weeks to go for Ironman Lake Placid. Loosely following a EN (Endurance Nation) get fast plan with a marathon hack for NYC marathon in November.  A short break, and then out season training, a little time of single sport focus (have to decide on bike or swim), and then the major decision of doing a period of get fast training with a 12 week build to Lake Placid or going straight to a 20 week build. I have plenty of time before I need to decide. Everything I do now can add or detract to Lake Placid. The pressure is off, and I can focus on just building fitness, some speed, and enjoy the long runs leading to NYC marathon. Looking very forward to checking off that bucket list item.

In a few weeks I will toe the line at the Turning Stone half marathon,and then the Little York Sprint Tri in September for the last triathlon of my season. As it turns out, I will also revisit Festival of Races 5K on 9/30. I volunteered as a technical Coordinator for Dave Oja for the inaugural race, and several years after. Hard to believe 30 years have past. Just happens to be the day before fall turkey season, so no conflict. Opening day of fall turkey season is akin to a national holiday at our house.

Other than Endurance Nation training camp at Lake Placid next Jun, no solid event plans for winter /spring 2013. Ironman Syracuse is most certainly being thought of, maybe as part of a relay team or as a volunteer. We’ll see on that. The importance of Ironman Lake Placid will dictate what events I may consider depending on whether they complement or conflict with the training goals/schedule, to-do’s at home, family events, and my budget.