Saturday, September 27, 2008

Excuses are like…

Everybody has 'em and boy do mine stink!

So, where to begin?

How about at the beginning and work from there?

I was born...

OK. Let us take it from last post. Last post I had a miserable day. I went out for mock half iron and sucked on the swim, sucked on the bike and died on the run.

Everyone suggested taking time to taper and reevaluate the nutrition.

Honestly, I think everyone was right. So I took a mock taper.

I say mock because I still ran a level 4 (maybe 5) run but other than that, it was easy. Come the weekend and the Kokopelli Olympic.

This was my third and final Oly of the year and after all the training for the half, it really felt insignificant. I wanted it to be an A race, but I couldn't get my head around that. I was lucky to even consider it a C race.

Needless to say….the race sucked!!

After 5 months of hard training. 5 months of kicking the crap out of me and my body. 5 months of doing Olympic level bricks, rides, and runs, my performance was (almost) exactly the same as before!


Just to recap, the last time I was at this venue, there were hurricane like conditions, so bad that they cancelled the swim (after I was already in), and I felt like I was fighting in the ocean. After I struggled through the swim, it was onto the bike and by then I was exhausted. Finally, it was onto the run, my knees started acting up, and I had to walk most of the 6 miles!

All that easily made for a great excuse! I was OK being DFL.

This time?

Perfect weather! Like P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

There is no excuse. My swim? Actually not too bad. Then the bike, started off bad and downhill from there. I just had no pop no energy. Flash backs of my last post. I felt defeated and I was only 2 miles into this.

What has happened to me?

Finally, I was onto the run. And the flashbacks hit full force. I couldn’t run. Nothing! When I was running, it was an easy smooth 10 min pace. I felt like I could hold this forever no problem. 5 seconds later I would be walking. No clue what happened. Body said, “OK, walk now” and that was it.

End result? Almost the exact same time as last year! Both the bike and the run were within minutes of last years times. My only redeeming quality was my swim. This time there was no hurricane. There was no knee pain, this time should have been perfect.

What has happened to me?

All the training is for not!

All this effort and I am just as pathetic as when I started. I am utterly defeated. I want to give it up. Give the rest of the season up. Give up all the Half’s I have planned. Give up on CDA. Give it all up.

Maybe take up knitting. Something competitive that I can win at. Maybe eating? Or power napping?

Whatever, but not Tri. I am D-O-N-E!

What has happened to me?

Excuse #1
The few days prior my body was fighting a cold and it seemed that on race day my body gave up the fight and the cold hit full force.

Excuse #2
Somehow, my nutrition is still out of whack.

Excuse #3
I still need to rest. I didn’t really taper and my body is still feeling it.

Excuse #4
I can’t shake the failure of last time. It’s in my mind and I can’t get away from it.

Yeah, yeah yeah! Whatever!

The truth is…I don’t know. Perhaps I just suck. Maybe it’s time to recognize it. Either accept it and move on or accept it and move forward. Maybe.

Which brings me to now. Now is the Las Vegas Half-ironman.

This is on the same course as the mock ironman. Same swim, same bike, same run. I didn’t make it through last time.

I am nervous.

I’ve been forced to taper this whole week as I’ve been so sick that I’ve been coughing up lungs everywhere. I’ve been popping vitamin C and B like its going out of style and I am STILL sick. Still sick!

I am nervous.

I haven’t run or bike or done anything in a week. Nothing. I haven’t run anything over 6 miles or bike over 24 in two weeks. And the last time I did, it was a flop.


So here I be.

I’m full of nervousness and full of excuses.

I can easily not race tomorrow. I REALLY am sick. I really have no energy. I really don’t feel like I should be racing.

But I REALLY think that it’s because I’m scared. I'm scared of last time. I’m scared for this time. I’m scared for CDA time.

I’m scared that I suck and that its time to move on.

Full of nerves and full of excuses.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sick day

Friday I called in sick to work.

I should have called in Stupid!

This weekend we are going to California for a quick mini vacation. As much as I'd like to pretend that I'll run on the beach and swim in the ocean. I know the truth. I'll be swimming in Corona and running to the bathroom.

That meant I needed to get all my training in during the week. Friday was the big one. I was gonna put my swim and my 50 mile bike together and combine it with my 10 mile brick. Heck add a few and I've got a full half (full half?? Half full?).

It started off good and went downhill from there.

What have I done! I have a race in two weeks and I am so not ready!

I had a great swim. Felt strong fast fluid. Everything good. Except the time. 1:00 exactly! Crap! That's 20 minutes slow.

so much for that, how about the bike?

Last week I rode 50 hard miles in about 3:30. The next day I rode 52 harder miles on very tired legs in about 3:39.

Today on the very same course that I had just rode, this time with much fresher legs...4:40.

That's an hour slower! My average speed fell from 15 to 11. It was miserable. I had no energy. My feet were on fire, I was hot; tired. My back hurt from carrying the camelbak. It was a slogfest.


On to the run!

First mile - great! Good pace; good cadence.

After the first mile, I was working on a 7/1 ratio. First 7 minutes of running, no problem. The second round of 7 minutes was up hill. I stopped running after the first 3 minutes. That's about the time I realized I was in trouble. Less than 3 miles in and the best I could do was 1 minute of running. It wasn't long before I was in negative territory. I was now walking more than I ran.

Run/walk; walk/run; walk/walk.

By mile 5 it was pathetic. 20 seconds of running, several minutes of walking.

By mile 6 it was pure walking. Powerwalking that devolved into trudging.

By mile 7, I was afraid.

I wanted to lay down right there on the trail. My mind was planning. I had told people where I was at. I could just lie down and rest a while. Surely somebody would walk the trail sooner or later. And if not, it wouldn't take my family long to realize that I was missing. I figured come nightfall they'd find me.

By mile 8, I could see the road. By mile 8.5, I reached the road and had reception. I called the family and let them know where I was. I fell asleep.

All totaled, I was out there for 10 hours (I took some looong transitions)

What have I done!

In two weeks, I have to do this distance and be fast. There's no sleeping, there's no resting on the side of the road. There's no crying and wailing taking time to eat and drink.

In just two weeks I have to RACE!

Hell! In less than a year, I have to do double this and finish in less than 17 hours.

What have I done!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jock math

I was Michael Phelps, if only for a little while.
The training plan called for 3 x 800 non stop (well duh!, it is an 800 after all).

I really though that this was easy. I mean just the other day it had me swim 1.5 miles. So an 800 no problem. So I just jumped in and off I went.

Now lets see.

Each pool length is 25 so down and back is 50.
50 goes into 100 2 times.
There is 8 100 in 800

I swim 8 laps.

I did math 3 times. Just to make sure. I confirmed the math at least once during each 800 swim.

It helps that my brain is oxygen deprived.

I swam each 800 in 10. Actually 9:XX.

Had I actually took the time to analysis the time I might had figured something was up.

I mean...10 minutes for 800? That's like a 45 sec per each 50 for 800. That's fast, at least for me.

This week I had the same workout planned. OK, sure. No problem. 10 minutes per I'll be done easy.

Until the Mrs. Mentions 16 laps. (apparently she's much smarter than me. She did this without counting!).

16 laps?

Crap! Yep, just to confirmed I checked my time at 8 laps (400).

Guess what my time was? 10 minutes!

Rest assured, my actually 800 was much higher.

20 minutes each.

I was Phelps for a day!

Speaking of Jock Math,

I was thinking about my recent race.

I had a good time and it was a good test race, but it wasn't great. Yet everybody kept saying how good I did.

"My race splits were good."

OH! Wait a minute, you guys don't know the course.

See its the Lake Las Vegas course. We had to do loops around the course.

Sprint had to do 3, Olympic had to do 5 laps. 3 vs. 5. The Sprint was 10-11. That's about right, but the Olympic? 5 laps only equaled about 17 miles.

Way short for an Olympic!

You guys saw my time of 1:08 and thought "wow! That Formulaic guy is fast. He biked 25 miles in one hour". Good try!

Now I'm still happy with my average speed, after all 17 mph is tough to maintain in Las Vegas, but its a far cry from 25.

And since we are on the subject on the impossible. I don't get my swim.

Stef pointed out that there was a 2 at the start of it (28:36) not a 3 or a 4. That's great! Except it doesn't make sense to me. I usually swim in the 3X-4X range. Always!

But this time it was MUCH lower. According to the Garmin, the distance was right (.93) and I swear I didn't cheat.

So what gives? Either I rose to occasion or... Well I don't know. The race time is the official time, so its not my Garmin. The distance seemed right and the Garmin confirmed it.

So... Whatever it is, I know that I won't be relying on me to add it up.

M-athlete? Not I!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The one that got away

For weeks now, I've been treating my body like a machine.

I expect it to keep going and going and never give in.

And that's OK. Because it is a machine. It can keep going. As long as I treat it right. Give it the fuel it needs.

My body is my temple, right? Well my temple feels like a landfill.

I watch(read) Baboo, who truly is a machine. Event after event. Tough! Or Lucho, talk about a machine. Watching him run is more like a work of art than a workout.

But both of these people and hundreds of people out there (including my competition) fuel themselves right.

This isn't a Sprint. This isn't an Oly. I'm working on the Half and focusing on the full.

I can't keep shoving crap into me and not expect me to be...crap.

Garbage in garbage out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sick Puppy

Like a spider, the lone cyclist rides alone lurking for the unsuspecting group riders to fly by. He flings out his web and latches on. He’s being pulled by the group. He is one with the group. He eats the group!

That’s the analogy.

Like a sad puppy that is put in the tub for his bath. He tries to escape, he jumps, leaps and scrabbles for the edge, hoping that his nails will catch and he’ll find his escape. You watch him; you know that he can’t escape. He flails against the side, nails scraping on the tub. Hopelessly he slides back down. Again and again, until finally he gives up and huddles shivering and shaking in his own pee and bath water.

That’s the reality.

And that’s how my group ride went.

Group after group flew by and my legs looked at me and defiantly turned the other way.

No way they were gonna join in anyone else’s fun. That day it was all about them and them alone. ALONE, I say!

It was their private revenge for two days of hard riding.

Two long rides in two days.

It took me two days to do it but 100 miles done!

Day 1 - 3 hours 48 minutes for 50.5 miles. That’s a lot of long grueling hills. I went from my house to Lake Mead and then back up through the Pumpkinman course. Here’s a profile of the Pumpkinman ride. Yes, that’s a climb of 1400+ feet

Day 2 – The group ride with the Silverman crew. That is where I learned how much group rides can suck when you ride alone!

03 hours 39 minutes for 52.54. Nothing can be as bad the Pumpkinman route right?? WRONG!

The Silverman route is tough! And that didn’t even include the sisters!

But hey! At least it's done!

Whew! In one week I got almost ¾ of all my bike mileage of last month in!

And this week looks to be about the same! I am so going to be ready for taper!

Week 36
2 Run – 3.8 mi – 00:40:01
4 Bike – 119.4 – 08:35:26
2 Swim – 5696 yd – 2:09:22

Aug Monthly Total:
10 Swim – 16985 yd – 08:25:20 (10.62 miles)
10 Bike – 200.2 – 15:16:22
12 Run - 52.3 – 10:21:29

32 Workouts
34:03:12 Hours
262.1 miles
20964 Calories Burned

Slow boat to China

While watching the Olympics, I saw the open water swim event. It was billed as a 'marathon' swim, but in reality it was only a 10k.


The women finished just over 2 hours and the men finished just under 2 hours.

And I finished just in 2:09 minutes!



I did 2.4 in 2:09

They did 10k in 2:00

10k! That's 6.2 miles! That's 2.58 (3333) more times more than me.

That means that they did 2.4 miles in...

Um....Divide. Then take the quotient and then....

OK. Great!

Not only am I slow but I AM s.l.o.w.

I have the video and I'll be studying their form.

But don't worry; I doubt I'll be in London 2012


On the slow boat in the short bus

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The wheels on the bus - Lake Las Vegas Race Report

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round:

5 loops! F-I-V-E! That’s a lot of loops. Especially when those loops are surrounded by hills. On both sides. The struggle of getting up one hill is rewarded with the thrill of flying down the other side. Hoping that your momentum will carry you up the next hill. Feeling yourself slow and feeling that deep burn as you have to pedal the rest of the way up. Up and down and up and down and up and down.

The wipers on the bus go "swish, swish, swish"; "swish, swish, swish"; "swish, swish, swish":

This was my first open water swim sans wetsuit (OWS WO WTST), but that wasn’t what worried me. I was afraid that I’d be DFL out there, again! After my pathetic swim, I realized how slow I am. So my goal here was to find a good pace and stick with it. OH! I finally found another person who had a Garmin in their swim cap! I’ve been doing this FOREVER, but up until now, I’ve never met anyone else who did it.

When the swim started, I was near the middle and got my first body contact. Yes, it’s been 5+ races and I’ve never been touched. Not so bad! One guy did try to dunk me but he disappeared after one attempt.

The rest of the swim was uneventful. It took a while to get into a groove, but once I did it was OK. Not true bilateral breathing but 5 breaths on the left and 15 breaths on the right. Close enough. I did find that I settled into an easy pace. My “I could go on like this forever” pace. Surprisingly, I actually passed somebody at this pace, but I need to work harder on these shorter swims. I’m not swimming “forever”, I’m just swimming for this race, and I need to pick up the pace.

The horn on the bus goes "Beep, beep, beep"; "Beep, beep, beep"; "Beep, beep, beep":

The great thing about the course is that there are so many loops and so many people. I have never heard “On you left”, so much in a race. From me to others; others to me; others to others; heck, a few times I said it to myself.

It is a thing of beauty to see the pro’s or at least the elites ride up those hills. They are smooth, they are fluid; they make me look like I’m standing still.

Whirl, whirl, whirl. Is it a car? Nope it’s the guy with the disk wheel climbing up the hill.


The lady on the bus goes “Get off my feet”; “Get off my feet”; “Get off my feet”:

Consistency. That’s what it comes down to. If you’re going to do something, stay consistent the whole way through. The Lake Las Vegas Tri HAS consistency.

Hills on the bike and hills on the run.

So many hills! Long steep hills on dirt and gravel. I could not find a rhythm. I took it easy up the hills and pushed just a leetled coming down. But because I didn’t know the course, I didn’t know when to push and how hard to push.

When I finally did, it was too little too late.

The baby on the bus says “Wah, wah, wah”; “Wah, wah, wah”; “Wah, wah, wah”:

This is the part where I whine and mope. It was a good swim, but it wasn’t good enough. I still need to work on my technique. The Garmin guy used his Garmin as a pace setter. It warned him when he was going too slow. That is something I’ll need look into.

The bike was good but not good enough. As much as I enjoyed watching the elites zoom by me, I would have loved to pass more people.

The run was good but not enough. The hills really cut into my time on the run, but more than anything it was my mind that hurt me the most. I was afraid that my body would crash, so I held back for too long.

The mommy on the bus says “Shush, shush, shush”; “Shush, shush, shush”; “Shush, shush, shush”:

And this is the part where I tell myself too shut and train.

  1. I finished the race. That is itself is a BIG victory!
  2. I did a great job on the swim. I passed people! P-A-S-S-E-D! That is cool. Not only that, I decided to near the middle of the action. I found that it’s not really all that bad. After the first 200 yards everyone, who is going to pass you is already gone, but at least you didn’t what and you’re well into the swim.
  3. As much as I wanted to pass EVERYONE, I did pass some people. I did a god job climbing the hills; I was fast going down the hills. I went through the curves fast and fluid. Plus as an added bonus, I was able to pass a pointed head guy! NICE!
  4. It’s time to start pushing the run. I occasionally run with Frank’s group and while I still suck, I run faster with them then I do elsewhere. It’s time to step up to the plate and start running that pace all the time. My body can do it; it’s now time for the mind to admit it. My last mile 9:00 m/m. That’s after 5 miles of hills and dirt.

All the people on the bus say “We had a nice ride”; “We had a nice ride”; “We had a nice ride”:

All in all it was a good race. I beat my old time (although that wasn’t hard to do). I rode hard and ran semi-hard and still no knee pain. That’s big!

This race was really a bell weather for me to determine how ready am for Kokopelli. Now I know my strengths, I know what I need to work on.

Come on Kokopelli! I’m ready for you!

Swim – 29:23
T-1 – 1:23
Bike – 1:07:26
T-2 – 1:28
Run – 1:05:17

Total – 2:44:55